Specialist Leaders in Education (SLE)

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Specialist Leaders in Education (SLE) 2016-11-18T16:01:13+00:00

Specialist Leaders in Education in our Alliance

The Specialist Leaders in Education (SLE) in our Alliance have at least one specialism from areas of expertise based on the four areas of focus for Ofsted.

OFSTED focus Areas of expertise
Leadership and management Academies and academy transition; assessment; leadership of continuing professional development; school business management and financial management; leadership of curriculum
Pupil achievement Art; closing the gap; drama; design and technology; early years; English; geography; history; information and communication technology; maths; modern foreign languages; music; phonics; physical education; personal, social and health education; religious education; science; special educational needs; support for the most able pupils
Quality of teaching Initial teacher training and newly qualified teacher development
Behaviour and safety Behaviour and discipline; attendance

What does an SLE do?

Specialist leaders of education focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles (for example, advanced skills teachers) focused on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing other 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 or group support and could involve a variety of activities, such as data analysis, coaching, facilitation and training, joint action planning.

If you are an experienced middle or senior leader who is interested in supporting leaders in other schools, talk to your head teacher about the possibility of becoming a specialist leader of education.

There are currently over 3,800 specialist leaders of education nationally. Teaching schools are responsible for the selection and placement of specialist leaders of education. This is one part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system.

Who can apply to be an SLE?

To become a specialist leader of education, you need to have been in a leadership role below the headteacher for at least two years. Your headteacher will be asked to confirm that you are in an appropriate role. Higher level teaching assistants are not eligible to apply.

You can be from any type or phase of school. You do not need to be in an outstanding school or a school that is part of a teaching school alliance, as long as your school has the capacity to release you to work in other schools. Full training and support is provided by the Teaching School.

To be successful in your application, you should have:

  • a successful track record of working effectively within your own school and/or across a group of schools, or working with a range of leaders within a single school
  • evidence of successfully using coaching and/or facilitation skills to bring about sustainable improvements
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • an understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in your field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • an understanding of how your specialism and skills can contribute to wider school improvement goals
  • an analytical approach in identifying and prioritising needs
  • the ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
  • the ability to grow leadership capacity in others
NCTL SLE Application form

Apply to be a Specialist Leader of Education

If you have had a discussion with your headteacher and wish to be considered as a Specialist Leader in Education, complete the application form and return to Education Teaching Alliance Lewisham. Included in the form are links to application guidance and more information about SLEs
NCTL SLE Application form