Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are ‘outstanding’ middle and senior leaders including deputy and assistant head teachers, subject leaders, pastoral leaders and school business managers with a particular area of expertise and a successful track record of school improvement.  SLEs have the ability to apply their skills to raise standards, whether it is teaching and learning or support services.  SLEs support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

The Department for Educations’s The Importance of Teaching : The School’s White Paper 2010 introduced the SLE role to improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning.  Building on the success of the work of National Leaders of Education and Local Leaders of Education this third tier of school-to-school support is available nationally through Yarlside Teaching School Alliance.

SLEs have been designated and trained by the Teaching School and the National College to support whole school improvement.  Although supporting other schools will be the key focus SLEs can be deployed in other of areas of work leading to school improvement such as to delivering staff meetings and Inset, working alongside a newly-appointed leader as a mentor/coach in the form of an induction package or undertaking research activity on behalf of the Alliance.


All of our SLEs have gone through a strict assessment process to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and that they have a proven track record of successfully working with other school professionals.


If you would like to request support from one of our SLE’s then please see our page on brokering an SLE which explains our commissioning process and what to do next.  We also have a deployment handbook which explains the complete process and contains an application.   If you have any further questions then please contact


Who makes the decisions about SLE deployment?

The Teaching School identifies an appropriate SLE and will request their release by their employer for an agreed time

What are the priorities for SLE deployment?

To develop a self-improving school system.  SLEs are intended to enable colleagues in other schools to develop, not to ‘do their job for them’.

Which schools are eligible for SLE support?

All schools within the Yarlside Teaching School Alliance have priority, however if an SLE is not deployed then a placement outside the Alliance would be considered.

What is the support intended to achieve?

To develop a self-improving school system.

How is the SLE home school to be paid?

The Teaching School will pay the home (supplying school) upon receipt of their invoice in accordance with the amounts stated on the SLE Deployment Record.

The financial arrangements will be handled by Yarlside Teaching School, which will raise an invoice to charge the host school and in turn the home school will invoice Yarlside Teaching School in order to be reimbursed.

Can the LA or other strategic partner block book an SLE(s) to meet its own priorities?

Yes – as long as the deployment is in keeping with the Teaching School priorities.

How many days should an SLE be deployed in one school?

The amount of time is negotiable, as long as the deployment contract is clear and the targets are appropriate/realistic to the timescale.  As a guide, teaching schools are looking to deploy their SLEs for 15 days per year.

Should SLEs be available on demand?

SLEs are not for intervention/fire-fighting.  Their deployment should be foreseen and dependent on the whole school improvement plan.  However, Yarlside Teaching School may consider such deployment in exceptional circumstances.

What is a reasonable expectation of the flexibility of deployment of an SLE?

SLE’s have timetabled commitments in their schools, therefore receiving schools will have to accommodate this.

How is the impact of SLE deployment to be evaluated?

Organisations requesting deployments are asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the deployment.  SLEs are also asked to evaluate the impact of their deployment.  How the impact of the SLE is monitored will be specified in the SLE Deployment Record.

Is the SLE involved in the initial discussions about deployment?

No.  Once it is agreed with the SLE’s own school that they can be deployed, SLEs will get in touch with the main contact identified to discuss the nature and context of the deployment further.  At this stage the SLE Deployment Record can be updated appropriately.  Any amendments will be shared with all parties.

How much does it cost?

The cost to the host school will be calculated on a daily rate or pro rata for half days.  There is no pre-defined time commitment for SLE work because models and types of deployment will vary, for example, a half day each week for two terms, a full day a week for one term.  Overall, we expect each SLE to be available for 15 days per academic year.

The daily rate for school-to-school support (all phases) is:

Cost to Purchasing School: £350*

*To include travel costs and SLE supply cover

** Please note: Due to COVID all courses have been cancelled. We will contact you regarding refunds ***