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SPECIALIST LEADERS OF EDUCATION

The role and who it is for?

SLEs are outstanding middle or senior leaders with at least two years’ leadership experience. They have a particular area of expertise and a successful track record of school improvement. SLEs provide school to school support and peer to peer learning to senior and middle leaders in other schools.

We are delighted that we have our own SLE, Paul Clark (Deputy Headteacher).

 SLEs will:

  • have excellent interpersonal skills
  • be able to work sensitively and collaboratively with others
  • have a commitment to outreach work
  • 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 focuses on building the leadership capacity of middle and senior leaders in other schools to develop their skills so that they can lead teams and improve practice within their own schools.

 This may be done in a variety of ways such as:

  • one-to-one peer coaching
  • facilitated group support
  • data analysis
  • coaching
  • joint action planning

 How it works

Teaching schools are responsible for the designation, brokering, deployment and quality assurance of

Teaching schools will assess applicants before making designation recommendations. SLEs will undertake a one-day core training session and will be entitled to two enrichment modules, both fully funded by the National College. Teaching schools will work with other schools to broker SLE deployments.

Models and types of deployments will vary according to local need. For example, one deployment might be a two-day diagnostic exercise, whilst another might require a three-month full-time support role. Time may be taken as a block of consecutive days or spread over a longer period. There is no pre-defined time commitment for deployments. Deployments should be agreed between all parties prior to taking place and the capacity of both the SLE’s school and the SLE will need to be given consideration. SLEs will be expected to evidence that their work has had a positive impact on outcomes for children and young people, by developing leadership capacity in other schools.

What are the benefits to the SLE's school?

System leadership supports the sharing and development of outstanding, innovative practice, which can benefit both schools in a partnership.

 An SLE brings a wealth of benefits to their own school:

  • It is an excellent form of continuing professional development (CPD) for middle and senior leaders
  • It enhances knowledge, skills and abilities to further improve their current role and influences others
  • It can support schools' internal succession planning strategies by enabling individuals to demonstrate they are ready to step up to the next leadership level
  • Skills such as coaching and mentoring that SLEs develop can be used to support colleagues in their own school
  • It can re-energise and motivate both the SLE and, through dissemination of learning, other staff
  • Learning about different systems and contexts from the schools they support helps them to develop practice back in their own school

We know that system leaders benefit from knowing they are helping others to improve and having a positive impact on outcomes for children, by using and sharing their own knowledge and skills. It is this sense of moral purpose that can often prove to be the biggest incentive of all.

What are the benefits to schools receiving support?

An SLE brings the following benefits to the school receiving support:

  • Peer-to-peer support and building leadership capacity delivered in a collaborative way
  • Partnership approach to developing local solutions, taking into account individual schools’ own circumstances
  • Embedding coaching and mentoring approaches that support sustainable change and improvement
  • Engaging with an outstanding expert with leadership skills in a particular field of practice who also understands current challenges, policy, best practice and local needs

 For more information please contact Paul Clark (Deputy Headteacher, SLE) at the School.