Specialist Leaders in Education

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. The St Marylebone Teaching School Alliance has 18 SLEs drawn from a variety of alliance schools and beyond. Their skills cover a wide range of areas and many work cross phase.


Key Points

  • Whilst SLEs will be outstanding at what they do, they can come from any school, regardless of the school’s Ofsted grade. However, the head and chair of governors must agree that the school has the capacity to release them. Most of our SLEs come from our Alliance Schools.
  • SLEs need to meet strict designation criteria, which can be found here. >>
  • SLEs have expertise in a specific area, for example English, Maths, Science, Geography, Humanities, literacy, curriculum development, behaviour or phonics.
  • A list of our SLEs can be found here.
  • Often SLEs are able to work cross phase and many were Advanced Skills Teachers with many years experience of outreach work.
  • There is no pre-defined time commitment for SLE work because models and types of deployment will vary, but on average it will be around 5 days a year.
  • There are no plans to have a pay scale for SLEs. London Teaching Schools have agreed a fee for SLEs of £350 per day. Deployment usually results in some funding to the SLE’s school to cover staff, this will need to be agreed by the schools involved when the work agreement is drawn up at the beginning of a project. If remuneration does not take the form of direct funding, it could involve an exchange of services that may help support or enhance an area of the SLE’s school. See here for a charging list of our SLE work

Examples of what our SLEs do:

  • Science support from a secondary and primary SLE to support a primary Science Coordinator.
  • Maths support from two SLEs to support a new Head of Department, one focusing on data use, one focusing on management of staff.
  • Phonics support for a new Free School.
  • Several SLEs deployed to support CPD in a school that is becoming a through school.
  • Performing Arts SLE to develop a Faculty Head.
  • MFL SLEs working on an action research project across five Alliance Schools.
  • Several SLEs deployed to support the setting up of a new Sixth Form in a school.
  • Bespoke after school or INSET day training for large or small cohorts of staff in a variety of areas.

Why become an SLE?

An SLE is a middle or senior leader with a particular area of expertise who will support middle/senior leaders in other schools.
Deployment is based on need and demand. Deployment types will vary.
There are many benefits for SLEs and their schools, e.g.:

  • Opportunities to work independently, to be creative and try out new ideas.
  • Developing coaching and facilitation skills.
  • The opportunity to network with peers.
  • Gaining experience of different school environments.
  • The chance to learn from ideas and approaches used in other schools.
  • Developing skills and knowledge which can benefit their own school.
  • The knowledge they are helping others to improve and are having a positive impact on outcomes for children.
  • Suitable and challenging professional development.