SLEs Overview

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. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of expertise looks like and are skilled in working alongside other leaders to achieve it.

Key points:

  • Whilst SLEs will be outstanding at what they do, they can come from any school, regardless of the school’s Ofsted grade.
  • SLEs need to meet strict designation criteria.
  • SLEs have expertise in a specific area, for example a subject area, inclusion, literacy, early years, behaviour or school business management.
  • There is no pre-defined time commitment for SLE work because models and types of deployment will vary. Deployments can range from a single / few days to provide immediate support and diagnosis of areas discussed, or may be for significant periods with the SLE deployed in a school on perhaps one day per week for a term to provide bespoke support.
  • Teaching Schools have the role of recruiting, designating and deploying SLEs. We currently have SLEs who are able to offer support to other schools at a rate of £357 per day.

How to deploy an SLE:

If your school requires SLE support please contact either  Ladywood Teaching School or St James CE High School by:

Email:  or

How to become an SLE:
If you are an experienced middle or senior leader who is interested in supporting leaders in other schools, you might want to apply to be a specialist leader of education.

To become a specialist leader of education, you need to have been in a leadership role below the headteacher for at least 2 years. Your headteacher will be asked to confirm that you are in an appropriate role and be willing to support your application.

You can be from any type or phase of school.

You do not need to be in an outstanding school or a school that is part of a teaching school alliance, as long as your school has the capacity to release you to work in other schools.

You apply direct to the Teaching School of your choice who will be responsible for assessing applicants and making the designation recommendations to the National College for validation.

Specialist Leaders of Education