Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

Specialist leaders of education (SLEs) are exerienced middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools. This ‘outreach’ work typically involves providing other leaders with coaching or facilitation support, to help them develop. SLEs have at least one specific area of expertise.

How can I become an SLE?

To become an SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role other than headteacher for at least 2 years. You must have the capacity, skills and commitment to support others in similar positions in other schools. You must also have at least one specialism based on the areas of focus in the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework. These are shown below.

Ofsted focus Areas of expertise
Effectiveness of leadership and management Academies; leadership of continuing professional development; school business management and financial management; leadership of curriculum
Outcomes for children and other learners Art; closing the gap; drama; design and technology; early years; English; geography; history; information and communication technology; maths; modern foreign languages; music; phonics; physical education; personal, social and health education; religious education; science; special educational needs; support for the most able pupils
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Initial teacher training; assessment
Personal development, behaviour and welfare Behaviour and discipline; attendance

Your headteacher must endorse your application for the role of an SLE. You are therefore required to provide a reference from your headteacher that supports your application and validates both your eligibility and capacity to perform the role.

We would advise you to check the Department for Education's SLE webpage for more information.

If you are considering this, please contact the teaching school for further details, as well as to find out if we are recruiting for your area of expertise.

Commissioning SLE support

In the Belleville Teaching School Alliance we have many experienced middle and senior leaders with expertise in particular subjects, aspects of pedagogy or school leadership roles. We have deployed leaders over the past year or so to provide support to other schools in literacy, phonics, MFL and SEN amongst others.

You may be interested in accessing support from an experienced senior leader to help you or your school. For example:

  • you might want someone to visit you for a day or two, to look at your provision in a particular subject
  • you might need someone to support your school over a longer period of time, perhaps a day a week for a whole term
  • you may want someone to help you run a one-off INSET or staff meeting

These are just examples and we are happy to discuss any ideas or needs you may have!

SLE support (or support from any experienced senior leader working for the Teaching School) is normally commissioned at a rate of £350 per day, although this may be negotiated depending on the type and length of support required. If you are interested in commissioning SLE support from Belleville, please contact Lesley Dibbens, Teaching School administrator, at

We have strong links with other Teaching Schools across London so even if we can’t help you ourselves, we are likely to know someone else who can!