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Senior Leaders of Education - SLEs

Call 0161 773 6436 for more information

Senior Leaders of Education - SLEs

Using specialist knowledge to drive improvement

SLEs are outstanding middle and senior leaders in positions below the Headteacher, for example, Assistant Headteachers, subject leaders or school business managers, with at least two years' experience in a particular field of expertise. SLEs have the capacity, skills and commitment to support other individuals or teams, in similar positions in other schools. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of specialism looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders achieve it in their own context.

SLEs will act as 'system leaders', supporting individual leaders and teams in other schools by using a high level coaching or facilitation approach that draws on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area. This may involve a wide variety of support approaches, including diagnostic models, one-to-one or facilitated group support. Regardless of the type of support model delivered, the ultimate aim of SLEs will always be to contribute significantly to improving the outcomes for children through developing the capacity of peer leaders in other schools. SLEs will support high quality professional development of leaders and may also potentially play a key role in the future development of school-to-school support, by identifying outstanding future leaders.

SLE Profiles for St. Monica’s Catholic Teaching School Alliance

We have a full range of specialisms covered by our Alliance team of SLEs who all have a proven record in School to School support.

[To find out more about our SLEs experiences and areas of specialism click on their name]



Gilly Walker  
St. Monica’s R. C. High School and Sixth Form Centre
PSHE / Behaviour and Discipline / Attendance
 Suzanne Leyssens
St. Monica’s R. C. High School and Sixth Form Centre
Leadership of English
Susan Cookson  
St. Philip’s R.C. Primary School
Leadership of Whole School Curriculum Development, Key Stage 2 and the Co-ordination and Monitoring of Whole School Reading and Writing. 
Angie Gates St Monica's R. C. High School and Sixth Form Centre Art and Technology Leadership, Art Skills and project development
Anne Hodgkinson St Monica's R.C. High School and Sixth Form Centre Data and Assessment
Jennifer Bonson St Monica's R. C. High School and Sixth Form Centre Leadership of Assessment, Leadership of Computer Science Curriculum
Leanne Deakin Christ the King
R. C. Primary School
Curriculum Leadership (EYES)/ Early Years/ Phonics/ ITT and NQT Development
Sarah Higgens Christ the King
R. C. Primary School 
Leadership of the Curriculum, NQT Development
Sinead Coyle Christ the King
R. C. Primary
Leadership of the Curriculum, NQT Development

Do you want to use the services of our SLEs – then click here to contact us.


Recruitment of SLEs for St. Monica’s Catholic Teaching School Alliance

We are recruiting for the following subjects during January 2017:
Primary (Early Years/ Year 6 - transition)

Application process

You must apply to Teaching School alliances who are recruiting in this application round. Each Teaching School has identified the priorities within their alliance or area and is recruiting SLEs in accordance with their needs.

You can apply to any recruiting Teaching School alliance, but we recommend that you apply to one that has the priorities that match your specialism(s).

You’ll need to contact the Teaching School you’re interested in to obtain their recruitment priorities. All contact details for recruiting Teaching Schools will be available when the application round opens.

You’ll also need to consider location, so that you’re close enough to any placements that the Teaching School alliance assigns to you. If you would like to know more about a Teaching School alliance, we recommended that you contact them to discuss your situation and opportunities before applying.

Dates for the next application round - 

Activity Date
Application round opens 9th - 27th January
Application round closes 27th January
Assessment and interviews 10th March
Submission of recommendations and validation 10th March
Notification of outcome 15th March
Training April 2017

Click here to apply to be an SLE with St. Monica’s Catholic Teaching School Alliance

Click here for SLE application guidance (PDF, 285KB, 8 pages)
Click here for SLE guidance for referees (PDF, 222KB, 2 pages)
Click here for SLE sample application (PDF, 226KB, 8 pages)


Learn more about becoming an SLE, the commitment and application process from the National College for Teaching and Leadership

To become a specialist leader of education, you need to have been in a leadership role below the Headteacher for at least two years. Your Headteacher will be asked to confirm that you are in an appropriate role. Higher level Teaching Assistants are not eligible to apply.

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 must have at least one specialism from our areas of expertise, which are based on the four areas of focus for Ofsted. (Leadership and Management, Pupil Achievement, Quality of Teaching, Behaviour and Safety)

To be successful in your application, you should have:

  • 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

You can also provide supporting evidence gained from completing leadership development opportunities such as:

There is no cost to apply. Successful applicants will be entitled to some training at no cost to their school. However, the school will have to pay for associated travel or supply cover for the training.

For more information click the link:

Before applying

  • Read our SLE application guidance (PDF, 285KB, 8 pages).
  • Review the list of recruiting teaching schools (this will be available before 1 October 2014).
  • Use the contact details in the list to request an application form directly from the teaching school where you want to apply.
  • Make sure your referee has read the SLE guidance for referees (PDF, 222KB, 2 pages).
  • Download our SLE sample application (PDF, 226KB, 8 pages)


There are 2 situations where you have the right to appeal:

  • if your initial application is not successful
  • if you become an SLE and, when reviewed, are judged to no longer meet the criteria

To make an appeal you should:

  • read the SLE appeals procedure (PDF, 219KB, 3 pages)
  • request an appeals form from the relevant teaching school
  • submit the form to the teaching school within 10 working days of receiving the outcome you are appealing (if the outcome is received at the end of term, this period will transfer to the following term)

We encourage you to try to reach an informal resolution with the teaching school before making a formal appeal.

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.

Read case studies that give examples of the type of work being done by SLEs.

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. 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.


There may be payment for specific placements, either from schools receiving support or from other organisations using your services, to help reimburse your school or pay for supply cover. Any payment will be agreed and managed by the Headteachers and governors of the schools concerned, in line with statutory guidance.

How the programme works

  • Allocation to a Teaching School Alliance

    You will need to identify your nearest teaching school alliance that is recruiting for your specialism. A list of recruiting schools will be available when the application round opens.
  • Core training day

    All new specialist leaders of education have to attend this training day. It provides you with essential information about the role and gives you the tools and techniques for effective school-to-school support. It also gives you the opportunity to meet others in the role.
  • Additional training sessions  

    You can choose from a menu of optional training opportunities. They consist of one or two enrichment sessions. You are entitled to attend up to two of these training opportunities at no cost to your school. Currently, optional training sessions are offered in: developing others; leading and managing organisations; developing your leadership potential; and leading teaching and learning.
  • Placements to support other schools

    Each placement will be designed to meet the needs of the supported school. They may involve coaching, mentoring or facilitation skills – there is no set method, but support will always focus on sustainable leadership development and school improvement. You will need to keep your allocated teaching school informed of progress regularly.
  • Access to ongoing support and training

    Your teaching school will ensure that there is support available for you where required. Our team will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
  • Additional opportunities

    As well as supporting other schools, we expect that you will also be able to engage with other areas of work – for example, research activity on behalf of teaching schools or working with national policy makers in relation to particular specialisms.

SLE core training day providers (PDF, 88.1KB, 2 pages)

Contact us

For further information about specialist leaders of education, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact our help desk.

Help desk - Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm GMT, excluding UK bank holidays.

EmailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone 0345 609 0009
International calls +44 1349 882095

Contact Us

St Monica’s Catholic Teaching School Alliance
Bury Old Road
M25 1JH

Tel: 0161 773 6436
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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