Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

Specialist Leaders of Education, known commonly as SLEs, are the people on the ground who make a difference in school improvement. They are excellent classroom practitioners who have the capacity and skills to make an impact beyond their own classroom and there are now 8500 of them. Some have developed expertise in other areas like initial teacher training, Pupil Premium reviews and numeracy and literacy. Getting help from an SLE is the best you can get because it comes from a colleague practitioner working in the same context as you are with up-to-date knowledge and skills.

The SLE gains as well. Supporting other teachers and schools provides an exciting new professional dimension for classroom teachers, honing skills and becoming a key driver in school improvement.

Schools win out tool. SLEs earn money for schools through the outreach work they do and the school as a whole benefits from the additional expertise and confidence gained by SLEs.

Find an SLE

You can find a specialist leader to support work in your school either through a local teaching school or directly  through the Regional SLE directory. That has been recently updated and you can find it here.

Become a Specialist Leader

There are two application windows for new SLEs each year at the end of May and October. Having two dates makes it easier to plan the training courses offered by teaching school alliances. The region still needs new system leaders so if you are interested watch out for information sessions offered by teaching school alliances, download an application form and check the head teacher supports you. Head teachers can build these new arrangements into professional development programmes and their financial planning. The assessment day structure involves a presentation, a formal interview and some kind of written or group exercise. It’s a really good qualification to have!


Regional SLE Training


SLE Documentation

The links below are to a range of documents connected with the application process and designation of SLEs. You will also find here two sub regional directories providing up-to-date information about accredited SLEs.

The Application Process

Assessor’s Documents

Candidate Task Sheets

Training Materials


SLE Training and Quality Assurance

St Thomas More TSA in Bedford and Chiltern TSA in Luton were NCTL designated SLE training centres prior to SLE recruitment being distributed to TSAs. They helped to develop regional training for SLEs covering recruitment and preparation for deployment based on six teaching schools. The regional accreditation makes SLE coordinators more confident about the deployment of SLEs and the SLEs themselves have found the training very helpful. NCTL has recently published a new accreditation certificate which will be merged with the TSC East regional certificate.

As training centres the two original schools were regularly quality assured by NCTL. Having been through this process Susanne Combs at St Thomas More and Chris Gill at Chiltern TSA undertook the quality assurance of our six regional training centres during 2017.Their brief was to work with the training centres and develop the documents needed to support peer to peer QA of the training centres in subsequent years.