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Specialist Leaders of Education Recruitment

Recruitment window for Specialist Leaders of Education is now open!
NHTSA are working in partnership with KMTSN (Kent & Medway Teaching Schools Network) to recruit our next round of SLEs. The application window is now open and the closing date for all applications is 15th May 2017.

What is an SLE?

SLEs are a nationally accredited designation led by Teaching Schools and designated through the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

They are part of the strategy for building capacity or systems leadership and school to school support. SLEs are middle and senior school leaders with specialist expertise in subject leadership or a whole school issue such as behaviour management, ITT or SEN. They provide support to individual leaders and teams in other schools by using a high level coaching or facilitation approach which draws on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area.

In Kent and Medway there are currently in excess of 175 SLEs in primary, secondary and special schools. They work with their local teaching school and are deployed to support school improvement and leadership in a variety of ways. Teachers report very positively about the opportunities that being an SLE has afforded them.

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 (SLE).   Each year there are two windows – in Autumn and Spring.

What an SLE does

Specialist Leaders of Education focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles (for example, Advanced Skills Teachers) focused on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

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
  • joint action planning

If selected, you will 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.
Time Commitment
The role lasts for 4 years, at which time there will 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 or even delivery of a CPD session. Time may be taken as a block of consecutive days or spread over a longer period.

There is no minimum or maximum time commitment. You and your school will need to think carefully about capacity and negotiate your availability together.
Core Training Day
All new Specialist Leaders of Education have to attend this training day as it provides essential information about the role and gives you the tools and techniques for effective school-to-school support. It also gives the opportunity to meet others in the role.  The cost for SLEs to undertake this training is £100.00 payable by their home school.

Who can apply

To become an SLE, applicants need to have been in a middle or senior leadership role below the headteacher for at least 2 years. You can be from any type or phase of school.

Your headteacher will be asked to confirm that you are in an appropriate role. Higher Level Teaching Assistants are not eligible to apply.

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 (up to 15 days) in other schools. You must have at least one specialism from the listed areas of expertise, which are based on the 4 areas of focus for Ofsted.

Ofsted focus

Areas of expertise

Leadership and management Academies and academy transition; assessment; leadership of continuing professional development; school business management and financial management; leadership of curriculum
Pupil achievement 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 Initial teacher training and newly qualified teacher development
Behaviour and safety Behaviour and discipline; attendance


Potential SLEs should be reminded that they must prove their skills in a particular area of expertise e.g. numeracy, behaviour, a subject areas, nonteaching areas such as business and finance etc. and they must meet the strict designation criteria as outlined below:

  • 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
  • Applicants must also provide supporting evidence gained from completing leadership development opportunities such as:
  • the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership
  • the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership
  • the SSAT lead practitioner accreditation

How to apply

Being an SLE is a really beneficial experience both for the SLE and their home school.  They get to experience a wide range of different learning environments and challenges, developing their skills considerably, which in turns benefits their day-to-day role at their school.   Indeed a number of SLEs have been given additional responsibilities from their school due to the increased skill and expertise that they have developed.  Similarly it gives outstanding staff an opportunity to impact on the life chance of students from a wide range of schools which is an incredibly rewarding experience.

All applications should be submitted to