Providing the Golden Thread of Teacher Development

Join Us

Are you interested in joining our outstanding team of Specialist Leaders of Education?

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

Teaching schools and system leaders support the Department for Education's goal to provide every child and young person with access to high-quality provision, achieving to the best of their ability regardless of location, prior attainment and background.


Please apply using our application form on the right hand side of this page.

Who can apply?arrow pointing right icon

  • To become an SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role other than headteacher for at least 2 years. Your headteacher will be asked to confirm that you’re in an appropriate role. Higher level teaching assistants are not eligible to apply.
  • You can be from any type or phase of school.
  • You don’t need to be in an outstanding school or a school that is part of a teaching school alliance, but your school will need to have the capacity to release you to work in other schools.
  • You must have at least 1 specialism from our areas of expertise, which are based on the areas of focus in the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework (September 2016):

Ofsted Focusarrow pointing right icon

  • Effectiveness of leadership and management.
  • Outcomes for children and other learners.
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare.

Areas of Expertisearrow pointing right icon

  • Academies; leadership of continuing professional development; school business management and financial management; leadership of curriculum.
  • 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.
  • Initial teacher training; assessment.
  • Behaviour and discipline; attendance

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
  • a good understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in your field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • a good understanding of how your specialism and skills can contribute to wider school improvement goals
  • an analytical approach in identifying and prioritising needsthe ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
  • the ability to grow leadership capacity in others

You can also provide supporting evidence gained from completing leadership development opportunities such as:

  • the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership
  • the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership

There is no limit on the number of times you can apply. There is no cost to apply. You can apply to multiple teaching schools, but can only accept designation from one.

What an SLE does?arrow pointing right icon

SLEs focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles focus specifically on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing the capacity and capability of 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
  • facilitating and training
  • joint action planning

If selected, you’ll be expected to provide evidence that your work has had a positive impact on outcomes for children and young people by developing leadership capacity in other schools.

Time Commitmentarrow pointing right icon

The role lasts for 4 years, at which time there’ll be a review. The types of placements will vary. For example, one might be a 2-day diagnostic exercise, while another might require a 3 month, full time support role. Time may be taken as a block of consecutive days or spread over a longer period.

There’s no minimum or maximum time commitment. You and your school will need to think carefully about capacity and negotiate your availability together.

Paymentarrow pointing right icon

Discussions on payment for SLE support will be held at a local level between the teaching school, the supported school, the SLE and SLE’s home school.

Appealsarrow pointing right icon

There are 2 situations where you have the right to appeal:

if your initial application is not successfulif you become an SLE and, when reviewed, are judged to no longer meet the criteria

To make an appeal you should:

  • read the SLE appeals procedure
  • request an appeals form from the relevant teaching school
  • submit the form to the teaching school within 10 working days of receiving the outcome you’re appealing (if the outcome is received at the end of term, this period will transfer to the following term)

We encourage you to try to reach an informal resolution with the teaching school before making a formal appeal.

For further information and prices please contact:

Tracey Withers
Senior Leader Teaching School
St Patrick’s RC High School
0161 921 2300