What are Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)?

sle teacherThe Schools’ White Paper 2010 introduced the SLE role to improve the quality of school middle and senior leadership below head teacher level through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning. Building on the success of the work of National Leaders of Education and Local Leaders of Education this third tier of school-to-school support is available nationally through Teaching Schools.

SLEs are middle and senior leaders with a specific specialism who have been designated and trained by the Teaching School and the National College to support whole school improvement. SLEs can be deployed over a short period of time to deliver staff meetings or Inset, or over longer periods of time to provide on-going support to address whole-school priorities.

SLEs work to develop the leadership capacity of others, using coaching or facilitation support that draws on their knowledge and particular area of expertise.

Although supporting other schools is the key focus, SLEs are also able to engage with other areas of work leading to school improvement. This could include, for example, undertaking research activity on behalf of the Teaching School Alliance, preparing and delivering training events or working alongside a newly-appointed leader as a mentor/coach in the form of an induction package.

All SLEs have gone through a rigorous assessment process to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and that they have a proven track record of successful working with other school professionals.

For further information please contact us:  call 01604 434612

The Benefits for Your School

  • The SLEs work is rooted in current leadership practice and draws on real, relevant experience
  • The support takes place within your own school, with the SLE working alongside staff to improve outcomes for children
  • The support is flexible and bespoke, adapting to the particular needs of your school
  • The SLE will bring a fresh perspective to specific challenges or issues, as well as specialist knowledge and expertise
  • Working with an SLE can help to assure long-term, sustainable improvement
  • A deployed SLE can contribute to improving overall school performance, by providing a specific focus for development and implementing tangible goals that staff can really engage with
  • SLEs use a coaching model which is non-judgemental, whose aim is to support the on-going development and improvement of the school
  • The SLE will follow a clearly defined agreement based on the needs of the supported school put in place prior to the deployment

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the decisions about SLE deployment? The Teaching School
What are the priorities for SLE deployment? Key Performance Indicators
Which schools are eligible for SLE support? All schools within the Inspire Teaching School Alliance have priority, however if an SLE is not deployed then a placement outside the Alliance would be considered.
What is the support intended to achieve? To develop a self-improving school system.
How is the SLE home school to be paid? The Teaching School will pay the home (supplying school) upon receipt of their invoice in accordance with the amounts agreed by the Lead Schools..
Can the Local Authority or other strategic partner block book an SLE(s) to meet its own priorities? Yes - as long as the deployment is in keeping with the Teaching School priorities.
How many days should an SLE be deployed in one school? The amount of time is negotiable, as long as the deployment contract is clear and the targets are appropriate/realistic to the timescale. As a guide, teaching schools are looking to deploy their SLEs for 15 days per year.
Should SLEs be available on demand? SLEs are not for intervention/fire fighting. Their deployment should be foreseen and dependent on the whole school improvement plan. However, Inspire Teaching School may consider such deployment in exceptional circumstances.
What is a reasonable expectation of the flexibility of deployment of an SLE? SLE’s have timetabled commitments in their schools, therefore receiving schools will have to accommodate this.
How is the impact of SLE deployment to be evaluated? A range of proformas will be completed after the deployment by the SLE and the principal of the school receiving support. Impact and evaluations will be monitored by the Lead Schools.
Is the SLE involved in the initial meetings to discuss the Deployment Agreement? Not usually – the SLE will be introduced once the diagnostic meeting has taken place between the NLE and the Principal of the school requesting support.

Pricing for SLE Support

SLE Support is charged at a daily rate of £315.00 for Alliance members and £350.00 per day for non-members.



Thank you to all of our colleagues for working alongside us at Inspire.

We have now closed our operations.

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