The Professional Clerking Programme


Who is it for?

The Professional Clerking Programme is a new, nationally available development opportunity designed for those working in a clerking role.

The whole programme is based on the DfE Clerking Competency Framework, and so applicable for clerks in all educational settings.

Programme Detail

It develops the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to provide professional clerking to the governing boards of maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts.

Programme curriculum content

There are 8 core topics delivered through module workbooks. These are easy to access on-line units designed to build the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for effective and efficient clerking.

Modules subjects are:

  1. Professional clerking, based on an assessment of vulnerabilities in clerking practice.
  2. Implications for clerking between the maintained and academy sector
  3. Clerking in a MAT structure
  4. Risk, compliance, effectiveness and efficiency; including conflicts of interest
  5. Assurance and prevention of fraud
  6. The professional clerk as an information provider
  7. Recruitment and performance management – the professional clerk’s role
  8. The professional clerk’s role when a school or trust receives a special notice (i.e. Financial Notice to Improve or Special Measures)

These 8 modules will include blended delivery and intersessional tasks to put into practice the learning acquired.

In additional to the 8 learning areas, there are some additional bespoke programme modules:

  1. Getting to grips with the legal and technical framework of academies and MATs
  2. Getting to grips with company administration
  3. Managing Relationships

The programme includes:

  • two face-to-face workshops with an experienced facilitator focusing on the development of clerking competencies
  • professional trainers to provide guidance, knowledge and ongoing support
  • a dedicated contact person who is available throughout the whole programme
  • a diagnostic self-review undertaken at the start and end of the programme – to evaluate strengths and development needs, and assess the learning journey
    access to newly written, interactive clerking and governance e-learning modules and resources
  • participation in peer-to-peer and group learning to strengthen and enable networking
  • reflective activities and projects to ensure that learning is embedded and has impact in the participants role
  • accessible workbooks and learning journal so that learning can be recorded and revisited, in personalised programme records

Personalised action plan

Participants will undertake a self-review which is designed to explore the requirements of the DfE Clerking Competency Framework. This can be shared with the Head and Chair of the Board.

Based on review and feedback, participants will then develop an action plan for improving the effectiveness of their work. Upon programme completion, a further self-review will be undertaken to assess if there are any further areas of learning required.

Time commitment

The programme includes an initial self-review to assess learning needs, two face-to-face sessions, eight online modules; and the completion of a self-review at the end of the programme. This is expected to take one year.

There are additional masterclasses; and an optional celebration event at the end of the programme.


This new programme is designed, developed and delivered by ISBL and CIPFA, who offer expertise, credibility, capability and confidence to the participants.

CIPFA brings over 100 years of experience in designing and providing world-class leadership development to public sector organisations;

The Institute of School Business Leadership brings the focus on financial performance and accountability for governing boards.

Focus on ethical leadership

We have a commitment to ensuring that at the heart of governance is the drive to ensure better outcomes for the students that governing boards serve.

Flexible learning approach

We understand that clerks maybe working for more than one educational organisation and may have other commitments on their time. We have therefore designed the learning takes place through eight core modules, which will be delivered via workbooks. This will allow participants flexibility in how they manage their time as they travel through the programme.

Focus on joined up-leadership

The programme focuses on ensuring that the goals of the organisation are realised by boards and executive leaders working together, with the guidance and knowledge of a professional clerk.

Access to our networks

Participants gain access to the networks via the face-to-face sessions and our online learning networks, allowing them to discuss best practice and share resources with other clerks.

Bespoke programme

By starting with an assessment and creating a tailored action plan we ensure that participants’ needs are being met by the programme curriculum. The bespoke support we offer in addition to the core modules and masterclasses is designed to ensure that they are able to effectively deliver their action plan.

This programme offers a blend of flexible learning and will take approximately one year to complete.

Personal development

Participants will develop many transferable skills, which can be used in clerking roles in all kinds of setting. This includes; risk, compliance, effectiveness and efficiency; assurance and prevention of fraud and the professional clerk as an information provider.


The Programme costs £425. DfE funding worth £350 can be used against the full cost of the programme, meaning that participants pay just £75. *

*Please contact ISBL for more details, full terms and conditions and the funding criteria.

Next Steps

Please click the button below for further information and to register your interest, and a member of our School Partnerships team will be in touch with more information and next steps.