Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE)

Becoming a Specialist Leader of Education with the Alliance of Leading Learning

Please see the SLE application guidance and Click here for an Application Form /  (Click here for word version)

  • Do you have a passion for high quality education provision and a desire to ensure that all children within your region have an opportunity to succeed?
  • Are you an experienced middle or senior leader who’s interested in sharing your skills and expertise with other colleagues?
  • Have you already supported other staff within your school or local area and helped them to become more effective practitioners?

If yes, the Alliance of Leading Learning are looking for you!

The Alliance of Leading Learning (ALL) is currently looking to increase its portfolio of expertise and is expanding its School-to-School support network.  We are currently recruiting new SLEs to join our team and support our schools and teachers within the local area.  Not only that, but with the Alliance of Leading Learning’s extensive national network of schools, we are looking to highlight our own region’s talented professionals as part of a drive to increase the quality of educational provision throughout England and the United Kingdom.

What does an SLE do?

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles focus specifically on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing the capacity and capability of 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’ll 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.

Who can apply?

To become an SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role other than Headteacher for at least 2 years. Your Headteacher will be asked to confirm that you’re in an appropriate role.  Unfortunately, Higher Level Teaching Assistants are not eligible to apply.

  • You can be from any type or phase of school.
  • You must have at least one specialism from our areas of expertise, which are based on the areas of focus in the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework (September 2016):

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
  • a good understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in your field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • a good 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 grow leadership capacity in others

You can also use evidence gained from completing leadership development opportunities, such as NPQML and NPQSL qualifications.  For further information about these qualifications, click here.

Time commitment

The role lasts for 4 years, at which time there’ll 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’s no minimum or maximum time commitment. You and your school will need to think carefully about capacity and negotiate your availability together.  We will discuss any potential deployment with you and your school though should your expertise be requested for support.

The Application Process:

Useful documents:

Please see the SLE application guidance and the standard version of the application form for reference only.

Application form:

Click here for an Application Form /  (Click here for word version)


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 
  • request an appeals form and submit the form within 10 working days of receiving the outcome you’re 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 us before making a formal appeal.