How to become a SLE
Specialist Leaders of Education, working through Teaching Schools, 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.
Criteria for becoming 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 are in an appropriate role. 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.
- at least one specialism from our areas of expertise, which are based on the areas of focus in the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework. These are listed on the attachment on the previous page. In order to apply, please complete this application form and get a supporting reference from your current headteacher.
- 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 needs
- the ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
- the ability to grow leadership capacity in others
You may also provide supporting evidence gained from completing leadership development opportunities such as:
- the NPQSL or NPQML
What do SLEs do?
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. Each placement will be designed to meet the needs of the supported school. They may involve coaching, mentoring or facilitation skills – there’s no set method, but support will always focus on sustainable leadership development and school improvement.
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 or 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.
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. There will be fixed rates for SLE time.
As well as supporting other schools, we expect that you’ll also be able to engage with other areas of work – for example, research activity on behalf of teaching schools or working with national policy makers in relation to particular specialisms.