Leadership & Professional Development

The Astra Learning Alliance currently has the following SLEs in this category:

Ahsan Abbas - Leadership (Dr Challoner's Grammar School)

Rachel Appleyard - Leading Professional Development (The Misbourne)



Ahsan Abbas

School:  Dr Challoner’s Grammar School

Position held: Subject Leader for Geography

SLE area of expertise:  Geography, Leadership, Curriculum Development, Digital Learning, Trips & Expeditions

Current responsibilities:  Leadership and management in Geography from KS3-KS5; Planning and leading extra-curricular visits to compliment the Geography curriculum from KS3-KS5; Reviewing, evaluating and developing the department; Mentoring NQTs & trainee teachers; Experienced tutor from KS3-KS5

Previous career history:

Since graduating from King’s College London and completing my PGCE from the Institute of Education, I have worked in two schools as Student Development Leader and Subject Leader for Geography. I have run middle leadership workshops across a number of schools. I am committed to my own personal and professional development and actively pursue my work in the field of trekking and humanitarian photojournalism outside of school time. I have led a number of short and long-haul expeditions and I have travelled to over 50 countries. I have recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for my contributions to global education and am shortlisted Landscape Photographer of the Year. I was selected to sit on a judging panel for the Royal Geographical Society for their ‘Explore’ photography competition.

What you hope to achieve as an SLE:

I am passionate about improving the quality of teaching and learning in Geography across the county. I am keen on raising the profile of Geography by creating a shared community where teachers can collaborate and discuss how we can create an inspiring and engaging curriculum for our students.

Specific areas of expertise, and how you might be able to help other schools:
  • Geography curriculum KS3-KS5

  • Mentoring staff to Leadership positions

  • Coordinating and promoting Geography in whole school curriculum

  • Provide advice and expertise on extra-curricular school visits

  • Coaching and mentoring new team leaders

Future career goals:

I am looking forward to connecting and collaborating with colleagues across the county to raise the quality of teaching and learning.


Rachel Appleyard

Rachel Appleyard

School:  The Misbourne

Position held: Assistant Headteacher

SLE area of expertise:  Leading Professional Development

Current responsibilities:  Leading Teaching and Learning including whole school professional learning and CPD; ITTCO for School Direct and NQT; Coach and Mentor; Leading the Pedagogy Team; Teaching Music

Previous career history:

I completed a Music and Related Arts Degree followed by a PGCE at IOE.  I have taught in a range of contrasting schools over 16 years.  I have worked outside of education in a national youth organisation for 6 years before returning to teaching yo take on the role of Curriculum Leader for Performing Arts.  I have held the position of Professional Tutor at my current school for 4 years and in the last year I have completed my NPQSL.

What you hope to achieve as an SLE:

I am commited to supporting colleagues to discover routes onto professional learning though a range of rich and varied patheays. I believe that evidence-based research can be a powerful tools to improve and develop practice in schools and that staff need time to learn and reflect if they are to continue to be fully reflective in their role. I am keen to help otherws reflect on strategies for prioritising professional learning which will, in turn, lead to greater effectiveness in our schools.

Specific areas of expertise, and how you might be able to help other schools:
  • Creation of a developmental lesson observation process.

  • Supporting with a developmental marking review process.

  • Establishment of a Pedagogy Team.

  • Formation of a school specific pedagogy.

  • Creating a Professional Learning Community Programme.

  • Coordination and monitoring of ITT provision in a school.

  • Coaching and mentoring.

Future career goals:

To work with a wider cross section of staff from a range of schools to share expertise and continue to grow a culture of professional development and learning to raise standards for the young people with which we work.