Press Release: Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust becomes the first MAT to pilot ISBL’s Professional Standards self-assessment tool

July 21, 2023

Following last month’s updates to their Professional Standards, the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) has now announced the launch of a self-assessment tool for school business professionals, with Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT) the first multi-academy trust to pilot the platform.

The launch of this tool will now enable school business professionals to carry out an assessment against ISBL’s Professional Standards, which provides a widely recognised framework to anchor continuous professional development for professionals from entry level to senior executives.

The standards – which have recently been updated – are designed to set clear practice expectations, supporting schools and trusts to conduct more effective performance management and recruitment.

Assessment works by reviewing uploaded evidence and using this documentation to identify at which stage of professional development a school business professional (SBP) is currently working. This then enables the SBP to make a claim against that level of practice and receive a formal certification to recognise this achievement.

The purpose of this process is not only to celebrate the often unseen development of SBPs throughout education, but also to enable practitioners to more easily and effectively identify their current working level and what training is required to help them progress further.

Speaking at the launch of the tool on site with NPCAT on Wednesday (12 July), ISBL CEO Stephen Morales said: “It was a privilege to be invited to NPCAT to launch the ISBL Professional Standards Accreditation scheme and to be among many of the trust’s business and finance professionals. Trust operations are only effective when teams pull together, play to each other's strengths and have a sense of common purpose. 

“This was very evident today, so we are excited to be partnering with NPCAT on the pilot of this accreditation scheme, to be followed by a national roll-out in the autumn.”

Commenting on the decision to use the platform, NPCAT’s head of business and financial support services Jonny Coates said: “NPCAT is an ambitious trust, and business professionals play a vital role in supporting our 38 schools on a daily basis.

“We are keen to give colleagues access to high-quality continuing professional development and support and are delighted to have been involved with this pilot which will enhance our offer further and provide a clear pathway for business professionals in the trust.”


Established since 1997, The Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) is the UK’s only national professional body, solely dedicated to supporting business operations professionals in all schools, whether they are an aspiring SBP, a practitioner in a standalone setting, or operating at an executive level across multiple schools.

We set the benchmark for effective practice through our sector-endorsed professional standards and provide development opportunities for our professional community and their institutions through a portfolio of quality-assured qualifications, training, resources, research and events.

To find out more about ISBL and our work, visit: 

Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT) is one of the country’s largest educational trusts, with 38 schools located throughout Teesside, North Yorkshire and the city of York, including two sixth forms and a football academy.