Friday June 7th 2024

Let's recognise
and celebrate the achievements of our School Business Leaders

Register interest for National SBL Day 2024

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National School Business Leaders’ Day has been created by School Business Services to recognise and celebrate the incredible contribution School Business Leaders make to their schools and the
wider community.

On National School Business Leaders’ Day, we want schools to celebrate the vital role SBLs play and recognise the amazing way that they have championed and supported one other.

About #NationalSBLDay

Celebrations in the run-up will include:

    • Celebration event, including guest speaker
    • Give and receive #SBLKudos
    • Virtual networking
    • Partner giveaways


Francis Benali MBE

Francis Benali was born and raised in Southampton and is a former Professional Footballer who played in nearly 400 games for his hometown club Southampton FC.

In recent years he has completed a number of ultra endurance challenges, which culminated in 2019 and has raised £1.4 million for Cancer Research UK. As a result of his fundraising efforts he was the first recipient of the Barclays Spirit of the Game award, a Cancer Research UK Flame of Hope Award Winner and the JustGiving Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year. He was also recognised by Southampton City Council making him a free man of the city. In 2019 he became an official Club Ambassador for Southampton FC and was awarded an MBE in the New Year 2020 Honours List.

Francis currently works in the media as a football pundit working with companies such as Sky Sports, BT Sport and the BBC. He is also a public speaker delivering inspirational talks to various audiences including corporate educational and sporting clients.

He has been married to Karen for 30 years and they have a son Luke (29) and daughter Kenzie (27).

Learn more

Event Partners

SBL Day Partner logos

Leave your own #SBLKudos message for someone

Your submitted kudos will be shared on our website, social media and PR.

School staff are encouraged to leave their own #SBLKudos message for someone. Whether that’s supporting emerging practitioners, thanking peers that mentor other SBLs, or stories of specific achievements and ingenious solutions.

Live feed of #SBLKudos

From: Helena Honeybone
To: Emma Ellwood

"Thank you to our fabulous SBM Emma for your amazing work, impacting positively on continued school improvement at Town Field. Your knowledge and expertise is valued by all!"

From: Claire Walters
To: Pauline Aitchison

"Thank you for being such a strong representative to the SEND network. The work that NNoSS do is truly transformational for the education of our young people. "

From: Conny Brandt
To: Laura Williams

"Thank you for your amazing support over the year, whether via workshops, emails or informal chats!"

From: Matt McIver
To: Amazing Cidari SBP's

"Sending huge #sblkudos to our Cidari school business professionals. Our success is built on strong SBPs empowered to use their specialist skills, and a passion to develop their expertise & knowledge for the benefit ..."

From: Amber Patterson
To: Maggie Hunter

"Happy School Business Leader Day 2023. I know you always try to keep the celebrations low key, but sometimes you have to shout it from the roof tops!"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Dawn Boyes

"For having faith in me and being extremely approachable and supportive of all the finance and SBP/l's in the trust"

From: Jess Shulman
To: Neil Eveson, Director of Business and Finance

"On behalf of the Governing Board, I would like to thank Neil for his incredible dedication to his role. Neil always puts children at the heart of his work, and governors recognise his outstanding contribution to our..."

From: Sian Turner
To: Michelle Mahlik

"Such a positive member of staff, leading her team well and continuing to develop and grow in her role. Thank you for all that you do "

From: Richard Bennett
To: Katie Ross, SBM at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys

"Katie is an absolute pleasure to work with. She puts the views of key stakeholders within her organisation at the forefront of procurement decisions, working collaboratively to reach the best outcome. She is always ..."

From: Irene Celis
To: Ellen Maden, Carrington School, Redhill (@carrington_sch)

"Ellen has been super proactive as a client, is a lovely person and has remained focused under 'less than desirable' circumstances when facing issues from a supplier. She is a true tribute to her school 😊"

From: Lesley Allen
To: Lisa Andrew

"Thank you for never getting fed up of my relentless questions and always helping with a smile and a giggle "

From: Luke Mulhall
To: Andy Jacobs

"Andy, you are so calm and always have everything in hand. Nothing is too much trouble. You always do an amazing job and make it look effortless. We all appreciate your work. Kind regards, Luke"

From: Oli Tomlinson
To: Maggie Duncan

"Maggie You have been life changing for the Lancs Cluster. Thank you for being so excellent at your role as well as working so very hard. Your dedication and commitment are massively appreciated. "

From: Vicky Stinson
To: Andrea Robinson

"Andrea you have literally changed my life over the last year. Thank you for everything you do for me and the school #notallheroeswearcapes!"

From: Jess Shulman
To: Helen Harris

"Helen, thank you so much for the wonderful job you do putting the ‘fine’ into finance! You are fabulous and we appreciate all you do for us. "

From: Rhonda Blakemore
To: Michelle Stocks

"You are amazing and do so much for our school. Thank you "

From: Sally Boaden
To: Jonny Coates

"Just a stand up guy whose morals and beliefs drives high standards without apology. Also an amazing colleague who gives support just at the right time. Thank you."

"Thank you for all that you do! We couldn't get through a day without your input. You're the best"

From: Matthew Bradley
To: Sharon Underhay

"Sharon is an amazing SBM who provides me with the right amount of support and challenge in the work that she does!"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Sian Turner

"Thank you for being an amazing support in my new role, imparting your wisdom with grace and good humour - a real good egg!"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Lucy Woodward

"For being the best new School Business Manager I know - implementing a huge amount of positive change in a short time and surviving three audits in her first term!!!!"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Vicki Rush

"For eventually making me a brew today! Only kidding. For showing me the ways of the trust and supporting me in my attempts to bring the cluster staff together."

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Ange Eames

"For ensuring the warmest of welcomes to the trust and being a font of knowledge for all ."

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Dana Ellis

"For her amazing attention to detail and being an amazing finance manager - including supporting her fellow operations staff across the cluster whilst still being relatively new to the role"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Anna Piessens

"For being the best office buddy, the most knowledgeable and caring HR Manager and fellow chocolate addict I could wish for "

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Tracy Eccles

"The best Operations Manager! Treats everyone with fairness and respect whilst she triages the lives of so many people."

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Lisa Parker

"For being the biggest 'Stitch Fan', sharing my love of really big cars, always having a smile on her face and finally learning to say no!"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Sharon Pullen

"For starting out on her journey as an EBM - no doubt you will be amazing!"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Kate Lainton

"For being an amazing FBP and always being at the end of a TEAMS message / car TEAMS meeting and sharing many a laugh whilst ensuring our schools are financially sustainable"

From: Maggie Duncan
To: Judith Halliwell

"The most gracious and compassionate lady you will meet with a wicked sense of humour. Fantastic at whatever she turns her hand to and I was gutted that I couldn't take her with me when I changed roles"

From: Claire Keefe
To: Jade Lines

"For being the most amazing Assistant School Business Manager, for continuing to develop, evolve and learn everyday and being an integral part of the school."

From: Sally Mann
To: Matthew Smith - Sheringham Woodfields

"Matt, you go above and beyond every day supporting business managers all over Norfolk and now slightly further afield. You've made my transfer in to special schools much easier, answering all of my questions and mak..."

"Has supported her fellow newbie in unpicking many complications and fathoming the way through! Always brings the fun to Fridays :) "

"Dawn - you are incredible! Look at the hurdles you have overcome this year and how far you have travelled on your journey as a new SBM. And all the time you have kept smiling and kept persevering! You rock lady!!!!"

From: Hannah Gilroy
To: Amy Young

"I wanted to give #SBLKudos to my amazing colleague Amy! She is just so wonderful, friendly, funny and I don't know what I would do without her! "

From: Marie Adams
To: Baljit Bains

"Baljit has had a really tough time but she's still smiling and still being a truly awesome SBM"

From: Gill Mcdonald
To: Tina Christmas

"I’d like to thank Tina for her help and support it has made a real difference to my role."

From: Karen Hayler
To: Sarah Jones @accidentialsbm

"Your passion, enthusiasm and experience is inspiring and I wish you all the best with your well deserved new role. "

From: Kerry Stanford
To: Sarah Rothwell

"Thanks for always going the extra mile to support and assist all of the staff and pupils in all our 9 schools and our central team! We couldn’t do it without you!! "

From: Sarah Deacon
To: Laura Williams

"Thank you to Laura for her constant! Her emails are brilliant and knowing she is out there for information is great! Thanks Laura"

From: Sam Knowd
To: All of the BDAT trust SBM network

"These two networks are literally a local lifeline. Face to face support, on the end of the phone, daily group emails asking for help and often instantly replying. You special people (current and former BDAT ESBMs) -..."

From: Conny Brandt
To: @Lauraljbusiness

"Thank you for advice, understanding and always being there!"

From: Conny Brandt
To: @SBL365 Hilary Goldsmith

"For being awesome!"

From: Conny Brandt
To: @PaulineAitch

"For picking up on what Special School SBLs need, and responding so quickly and effectively"

From: Nicky Hodgson
To: All SBM's/SBL's

"You are all amazing and we all need each other!"

From: Claire Walters
To: Pauline Aitchison

"Thank you for all of your work setting up the National Network of Special Schools - it has been of huge value. "

From: Vix
To: Cheryl Campbell @CherylSBM

"For being such a driving force in the SBL Community. Proud to be #TeamLondon for the #SBMStepsChallenge participant!"

From: Claire Walters
To: Hilary Goldsmith

"Thank you for your book and being so funny on twitter (and sweary!). "

From: Carrie Osborne
To: Tracy Wall

"I would like to give #SBLKudos to my amazing finance assistant for her knowledge, hard work and good humour and for her strength in overcoming personal adversity. I couldn't do what I do without her."

From: Claire Milne
To: Sue Fletcher-White

"For always going the extra mile in everything she does for the school. Nothing is too much trouble."

From: Tracey Fenn
To: SLT @ Ashby Hill Top

"What a team we are! Together we have been through so much and come out stronger the other side I appreciate all of your courage, communication, strength, leadership and humour to name but a few of the traits that m..."

From: Anjna Chadha

"Works over and above all the time and helped me through my bereavement when i lost my hubby 3 months ago"

From: Kerry Stanford
To: Sarah Rothwell

"Thanks for always being there and supportive!! Your a STAR!!"

From: Melanie Mills
To: Emma Plane

"A heartfelt thank you to our SBL Emma for the outstanding work and leadership you bring, day in day out. You make such a wonderful difference to our schools and our children. Thank you!"

From: Vanessa
To: David Young

"For being a pillar in my support system, being the kindest, most humble and trustworthy person for whom I have infinite admiration and gratitude"

From: Sam Knowd
To: The #SBLConnect crew

"Always informative, nearly always funny which is always a bonus. Outraged is good too so we can have a collective rant...."

From: Emma Harrison
To: BCCET Central Team and all of our School business staff

"Thank you for the amazing job you do every day, you are appreciated. Enjoy the trust celebrations today!"

From: Sharon Williams
To: Lisa Appleton CEO Accordia Academies Trust

"Leading our schools, staff and pupils ahead - and making a difference for our pupils"

From: Jonny Coates
To: Emma Harrison at BCCET and Louise Levy at BWCET

"Louise and Emma have supported me with my career progression and just general advice, being honest sounding boards with great knowledge, experience and advice. Nothing is ever a problem despite their incredible work..."

From: Baljit Bains
To: Marie Adams

"Thank you to Marie for her unwaivering support and fabulous mentoring advice. also Kudos to @SBLMentors and @CherylSBM for connecting us!!"

From: Andrea Howard
To: Shirley Si Ahmed

"Amazing presentation at Ed Edxec! Love your opinions!!"

From: Rachael Wainwright
To: Vanessa Lambert

"She is a fantastic colleague and mentor who always has time to give advice and listen."

From: Steve Livesey
To: Jo Wright

"You are amazing and keep the whole Trust going"

From: Gill Benning
To: Elaine Gilpin

"I work with sbls in their many forms across the country via CIF and other curriculum bidding so meet many of you. Elaine Gilpin from Stramongate Ptomary school Kendal is simply outstanding. She keeps that school afl..."

From: Tom Moseley
To: #SBLTwitter Community

"Just a huge thanks to everyone on the #SBLTwitter community. Being new to the role and not knowing many other SBLs the networking on Twitter has helped so much as I adapted to the new role. Thanks :)"

From: Sally McConnell
To: Sally Moore

"Thank you for all the help and support "

From: Sarah Casling
To: Laura Williams

"For a new SBM, Laura's masterclasses and supportive emails have massively helped.... I've really appreciated the support and whilst I've not always had the time to interact as much as I would have liked, the fact I ..."

From: Emma Plane
To: All our fabulous SBLs

"Although it often feels as though we are swimming against the tide, you all do a fabulous job for your schools. Thank you!"

From: Emma Plane
To: Karen Jarvis

"I just don’t know what we would do without you! You are always there when we need you. Thank you! "

From: Emma Plane
To: Hayley Kelly

"Thank you for all that you do for the Hopton family. You are wonderful!"

From: Karen Hayler
To: Kate Truss

"Thank you for supporting me in my first week of my new role - your knowledge and experience sharing has been invaluable. "

From: Dawn Gallagher
To: Jamie Elliott

"It’s been quite a journey so far. We have seen highs and lows, twists and turns and we have navigated our way together with steadfast determination and true grit. Thank you. "

From: Val Andrew
To: Generally to new SBL's

"There's a lot of negative language circulating on social media about the profession and the challenges we face. I am not trivialising the challenges, but for the next generation of SBL professionals I believe that t..."

From: Jo Gathern
To: @sbmsea

"My partner in crime and best SBM buddy. Always there to lend an ear, compare notes, share ideas, and have a giggle. Every SBM needs a bestest SBM buddy like her! "

From: Bradley Smith
To: Jenny Goy

"Thank you for all your help and support it has been amazing. "

"Thank you Emma! You have had a whirlwind of a year - learning as you go! Your commitment and enthusiasm do not go unnoticed and we think you're amazing!"

From: Sarah Casling
To: Laura Williams

"For a new SBM, Laura's masterclasses and supportive emails have massively helped.... I've really appreciated the support and whilst I've not always had the time to interact as much as I would have liked, the fact I ..."

From: Bradley Smith
To: Jenny Goy

"Thank you for all your help and support it has been amazing. "

From: Nicola Chester (CEO)
To: Kathryn Johnson

"Kathryn has been my rock, friend and an amazing shoulder over the last year when she came to work with me at my last trust. She’s been a constant comfort and source of advice and guidance for me and supported me ..."

"Thank you for being such an amazing SBM, colleague and member of the team - your diligence and commitment help to make our school run like a well-oiled machine!"

"Anne, thank you so much for all you do for us all! We could not have successfully kept both our Special Schools open throughout the pandemic without you"

"A simply brilliant colleague. Jeanette keeps us all organised; ensures effective communication; constantly scans the horizon and has one eye out for a bargain at all times! Never afraid to don the rubber gloves eith..."

"Often your hard work goes unnoticed but you are always highly valued. Thank you."

"Duwan, you are simply one in a trillion. I could not run this school without you. You are instrumental in our school being Outstanding. Thank you for being so awesome. Your commitment is second to none."