What are SLEs?

Specialist leaders of education (SLEs) are outstanding middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools. Since 2011, over 3,800 SLEs have been designated.

The Astra Learning Alliance currently has SLEs in a number of designations; more information, including SLE Pen Portraits, can be found in the menu links on the left of this page.

Who can apply? 

Outstanding middle or senior school leaders with a particular area of expertise and the capacity, skills and commitment to support others in similar positions in other schools. 

You will have:

  • at least two years’ experience and a first class knowledge in at least one specialism including: Art; Drama; Assessment; English; Geography; History; ICT; Music; PE; Science; SEN; Primary; Phonics.  Please note that all specialisms will be considered for designation, and that SLEs can be designated in more than one specialism.
  • at least two years’ experience in a leadership role within a school or academy
  • 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

What’s involved?

As an SLE, you will develop the leadership capacity of individuals and teams in other schools, using coaching or facilitation support that draws on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area. This will contribute to improving outcomes for children, with priority likely to be given to supporting the needs of underperforming and challenged schools.

You will act as a ‘system leader’, using a high level coaching or facilitation approach that draws on the  knowledge and expertise of the individuals and teams in their specialist areas.

SLE’s are allocated to a teaching school alliance, which for you will be the Astra Learning Alliance (lead school: Dr Challoner’s Grammar School).

You will be required to attend a day's core training following designation; more details can be found on our training page.

There is no pre-defined time commitment for SLE work. Designation is for four years, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility criteria, after which you will be subject to a review by your teaching school.

There is no cost to apply.  For more details, and to apply, please see "Apply to become an SLE"