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Specialist Leaders of Education


Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

"I have worked in school for over ten years and thoroughly enjoy it. However, sometimes we can lose the spark and our way. I wanted to say that since I started working with you I have been re-inspired and focused; so would like to say a huge thank you.” comment given in regard to working with one of our SLEs. 

 System leaders are people who work with schools outside their own. Are you already an effective school leader looking to broaden your skills and experience?

 If so, the East Sussex Teaching Schools Network is currently looking to recruit Specalist Leaders in Education (SLE) and Local Leaders of Education (LLE) to support its ongoing school to school support.



Local leaders of education (LLEs) have made and continue to make a significant contribution to supporting schools since the programme was introduced in 2008.

LLEs provide a range of school-to-school support and coaching an mentoring for headteachers.



 If you are an experienced middle or senior leader who is interested in supporting middle and senior leaders in other schools, you may wish to apply to become a specialist leader of education (SLE).

 To become an SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role, other than headteacher, for at least two years. Your headteacher will be asked to confirm you are in an appropriate role.



Summary - SLE information: 

Teaching Schools are responsible for designating SLEs, brokering SLE deployments and providing ongoing support.

The Department for Education introduced the SLE concept in their The Importance of Teaching: The Schools White Paper 2010. The SLE role is designed to help improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning, ultimately raising standards and improving the outcomes for children.

As an SLE, you will be deployed into schools to develop the leadership capacity of individuals and teams using coaching and/or facilitation that draws on the knowledge and expertise in your specialist area. Your work will contribute to improving outcomes for students in other school settings.

Any deployment will be fully discussed and agreed with your own home school Head teacher prior to any committment being made. 

What is an SLE?

SLEs are outstanding middle and senior leaders in positions below the headteacher, with at least two years’ leadership experience. They have a particular area of expertise (such as a subject area, early years, behaviour or school business management) and a successful track record of school improvement.

SLEs support leaders in other schools. They have excellent interpersonal skills, are able to work sensitively and collaboratively with others and have a commitment to outreach work. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of specialism looks like and can help other leaders to achieve it in their own context.

The SLE role is about developing other middle and senior leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools. This may be done through one-to-one peer coaching or facilitated group support and could involve a variety of activities, such as data analysis, coaching or joint action planning.

SLEs can come from any school or academy, including nursery, primary, secondary, special, pupil referral unit, independent or free school, or sixth form college. Whilst the individual must be outstanding, his or her school does not have to be.

There are now over 4,900 SLEs designated to date

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for teachers who have held a middle or senior leadership role in a school for at least two years and have a specialism that is included in the list below. See also SLE eligibility criteria and application guidance, and who work in either the Primary or Secondary phase.

What is involved?

Typically, SLEs will work with middle and senior leaders to:

  • carry out diagnostic visits
  • develop action plans, identifying key priorities and SMART targets
  • provide one-to-one or group support
  • offer coaching and mentoring support
  • provide access to resources and training.

The ultimate aim of SLEs will always be to contribute significantly to improving the outcomes for children through developing the capacity of peer leaders in other schools.


Once you have passed your application and have been successfully designated as an SLE, you will need to undertake Core training. This is a required element of the designation, and all SLEs must do the core training before being deployed in their SLE role.



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Monday, November 5, 2018 10:29 AM



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