Serco Education

Senior Leader Apprenticeship (SLA) for School Business Professionals (SBPs)


Serco, in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire, have developed a bespoke Senior Leadership Higher Apprenticeship (MBA) - (SLA - MBA) for School Business Professionals (SBPs). This will enable SBPs with a strategic management role, to complete a master’s degree after completing the apprenticeship.

Our next cohort will start in September 2024.

Course code: 650

Duration: 27 months

Accreditation: University of Gloucestershire (UoG), CMI

Level: 7

We have a fantastic opportunity for School Business Professionals in a senior management role to gain a Master's qualification!

Our SLA (MBA) gives you the opportunity to gain a master’s degree awarded by the University.  The programme will include face-to-face sessions with online and work-based learning, covering a wide range of management and leadership skills, knowledge, self-awareness and behaviours, as well as a work-based project focused on the senior school business professional role.

Who can apply?

The SLA is open to for School Business Professionals based in England of any age.  Please note that, for the purposes of the apprenticeship, we use the term ‘school’ to refer to any educational establishment.

Applicants will usually have been in a senior management position for a minimum of two years and have a first- or second- class undergraduate degree from a UK university or an equivalent overseas qualification.  We do, however, welcome applications from individuals who do not possess the above qualifications but who have significant management experience.

A minimum of English & maths at Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE grade A*-C) are required for this apprenticeship but if you don't have these qualifications you will need to complete the functional skills tests in these subjects while you study the SLA (MBA) for SBPs programme.  Support is available to help you achieve this. 

It is essential that you have the support of your line manager.

PLEASE NOTE:  Anyone currently undertaking an apprenticeship or DfE funded programme of study will not be eligible for a higher apprenticeship until they have completed their current apprenticeship/studies.

Programme details

The SLA for SBP will take approximately 27 months to complete and is open to School Business Professionals who wish to enhance their senior leadership skills.  The programme will include modules on:

  • Leadership and Context
  • Finance, Strategy and Resource
  • Leading and Managing Change
  • Consultancy Skills
  • Project Management
  • Education and Sustainability

Apprentices will be required to produce a Portfolio of Evidence throughout their studies and to complete a work-based project.

Our next cohort will start in September 2024 with a three-week online induction followed by the first module.  Face-to-face workshops (usually 2 days per module) will be followed by the remainder of the programme being delivered at your workplace and online. 

How will SLA-(MBA) benefit you and your school?

Successful apprentices will achieve:

  • An SLA (MBA) awarded by the University of Gloucestershire undertaken while in full or part time employment and funded by the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • CMI Chartered Manager status delivering an increase in revenue by £62k each year and £310k over 5 years on average, to their organisation.
  • Studying relevant management and leadership practices allows SLA (MBA) students to evaluate their own leadership performance and make improvements to increase efficiency and therefore get worthwhile results.
  • Boosts confidence in both their work and decision making.
  • A project, addressing a genuine issue or area for improvement at your school, undertaken with guidance from your tutor and executive mentor.
  • A network of fellow professionals sharing knowledge and experience at this senior level.

Other considerations

The apprenticeship levy will cover the cost of the training programme but does not cover travel or accommodation costs for workshops, salaries will not be covered.

This is an exciting opportunity to potentially gain a Master’s in Education whilst working but please think carefully about your time commitment and how you will manage the day-job. Your employer must allow you to spend a minimum of 20% of your normal working hours for off-the-job study/learning.

Please note that, whilst your learning will be guided, with support from your facilitators (at the workshops and online) and your executive mentor, you will be expected to work through the learning materials via the University’s online web platform.  Each module which you study will have a start and end date and you may have one or two milestones during the module, but aside from these it will be up to you to determine the pace at which you study and the amount of additional reading you do.  This may be a different style of learning to your previous experience and it relies on your own motivation and commitment to succeed.

Ready to apply?

If you are ready to apply, once you have read the Key Documents and discussed with your employer/line manager the commitment you will be making, please apply here to start the application process.

The next cohort will start in September 2024.

What our participants say...

The course is very engaging, challenging in lots of different ways. I didn't really know what to expect but I am very glad I enrolled.  The biggest learning improvement for me has been the volume and breadth of research which has been extensive but has provided the most benefit.

I think this is great from a learning and development perspective, and is a positive course to be able to offer employees.

(Quotes from previous Serco SLMDA apprentices, who have successfully completed our qualification)

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