Level 5 Diploma in School Business Management (DSBM)

Level 5 (DSBM) programme details

The Level 5 (DSBM) develops the leadership and management of school business managers (SBMs), enabling them to fulfil a strategic role in determining the direction of their school. The Level 5 (DSBM) is one of several training opportunities that we offer SBMs.

Our Level 5 (DSBM) programme and units are based on standards developed by the National Association of School Business Managers (NASBM) and recognised by the  National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). We have continued to develop and update the materials for the Level 5 Diploma (DSBM) since the programme began in 2005.

Key features of our programmes include:

  • Several start dates throughout the year
  • Fully accredited programmes available
  • Flexible learning styles
  • Affordable options
  • 12 months study

Who can apply?

We suggest that you should either be, or want to be, a SBM currently performing all or part of the SBM role at either senior administrator or management level, working within, or closely with, the senior leadership team (SLT).  You will need the support of a school in order to carry out work-based study. It is important that the SLT are willing to share information with you in order to help your studies.

If you are not currently working in a school or the education sector, then it is possible for you to apply for Level 5 (DSBM) via the Aspiring SBM pathway. Please contact us if you need to discuss your eligibility for the most appropriate programme.

Not sure which level to apply for? See our simple, new guide ‘Which programme should I choose?’ (under Key Documents, right) which helps to distinguish between each level of study so you can choose the best level for yourself.

We recommend that you complete the Level 4 (CSBM) programme prior to undertaking the Level 5 programme, although we do welcome applications from those who would like to proceed directly to the Level 5 (DSBM). In these cases you will be asked to provide further information about your professional and academic background as part of the application process.

Need more information? Please see the links under Key Documents panel (on the right) to print or download helpful documents.

Full Programme or Unit Study

The Level 5 (DSBM) full programme is offered in two formats: 

  • The Blended Learning format (course code: 270) consists of online learning with the support of a peer forum and six (full day) regional face to face workshops. From 2016 we will be alternating between North (Leeds) and South (Reading) venue locations per intake (see schedule below). 
  • The Fully Online format (course code: 275) is online learning only (with the support of a peer forum), which enables you to study entirely through distance learning.

The Individual Unit options are only available in a fully online format (pre-arranged groups only).

Note: ILM accreditation for both the full programmes and individual units is available at an additional charge.

  1. Full Programme

    The Level 5 (DSBM) comprises four programme phases and a total of nine units (see table below) which are studied over a 12 month period (approx.).

    The full programme begins with an online induction  (phase 1) and is followed by three further phases when you will study 3 units per phase. You will complete the units using a variety of blended learning methods including 3 x 2-day regional face-to-face workshops (blended learning option only), online interactive units, school-based projects and private study.

    If you apply for the full programme (blended learning pathway), you will be required to attend all face-to-face workshops.  Since 2016 we have been alternating between North (Leeds) and South (Reading) venue locations per intake (see schedule below).  At the point of offering places you will be advised of the dates and exact location of workshops.

    Level 5 programme structure:

    SBM Diagram - Diploma of School Business Management

    Details regarding the next intakes can be found by scrolling to the foot of this page. You will also find application links in the table at the foot of the page. 

    Please note that from September 2017 amended conditions will apply to our Level 4 and Level 5 SBM programmes as the programme structures are due to change in 2018.  Please contact us at sbmpartnership@serco.com  for more information regarding 2018 programmes.

    Local groups are also offered – for locations of available pre-arranged local groups (arranged with a MAT  or a local authority group, etc.) scroll down to see date table below.

  2. Individual Unit

    Individual units are available for pre-arranged groups only.

    Please contact us first to discuss options and prices if you want to study an individual unit(s) first. Individual units are only offered to pre-booked groups (LA groups, MATs, or teaching alliances, etc., minimum numbers apply).

    (Note: you cannot complete the full programme via individual units alone – please contact us to discuss your options).

Ready to apply?

Apply now – pay later. We will invoice you a few weeks before your programme starts, so payment is not required at the time of application.

The application form is located on the  Serco Learning Centre website and so you will be automatically transferred to the site when you click on one of the ‘Apply Now’ buttons below.

If this is your first application, you will need to create a user account, which only takes a few minutes. You will be asked for your name and email address, and to create a username, password, and security question.

You will then be able to proceed to the application form.

Upcoming schedule:

  • Level 5

    Fully Online (all areas)

  • £1273
  • or two staged payments of £801 & £535
  • Apply by: 29th September 2017
  • Start date: 13th November 2017
  • Apply Now
  • Level 5

    Blended Learning (South)

  • £1841
  • or two staged payments of £1160 & £773
  • Apply by: 22nd September 2017
  • Start date: 6th November 2017
  • Apply Now
  • Level 5

    Individual Units

  • £tba
  • Please contact us for options
  • Apply by:  Contact us
  • Start date: 2017/2018
  • Apply Now


All prices exclude (but are subject to) VAT.  Programmes and units are offered subject to numbers.

Full Programme (course code)Apply byStart date 
Level 5 Blended Learning South (Reading area) (270)22nd September 20176th November 2017Apply Now
Level 5 Fully Online (275)29th September 201713th November 2017Apply Now
Level 5 Individual Units
Available to groupsContact us2017/2018Apply Now

All elements of the course from the face to face, online learning and further reading worked well in creating a good all round knowledge of the subject. I have found this knowledge very useful in the workplace and feel that it has greatly enhanced my performance

Current Level 5 participant, who has just completed Phase 2

Our Programmes