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Who can become a Specialist Leader of Education?

To become a specialist leader of education (SLE), you will need to hold a middle or senior leadership role below the Headteacher in a school and have a specialism that is included in our list of areas of expertise. We do not precisely define middle or senior leadership because we recognise that roles and responsibilities differ and that routes to leadership are not always straightforward. Your Headteacher will, therefore, be asked to confirm that you hold an
appropriate role. Although you need to be an outstanding leader, you do not need to come from an outstanding school as long as your school has the capacity to release you for outreach work.
SLEs will need to meet strict designation criteria.

Experience - SLEs will:

  • Be outstanding middle or senior leaders with at least two years' experience and a first class knowledge in a particular field of expertise
  • Have a minimum of two years' experience in a leadership role within a school or academy

Track record - SLEs will have:

  • A successful track record, supported by substantial impact evidence, of working effectively within their 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 improvement

Capacity and commitment - SLEs will:

  • Have a commitment to outreach work and the capacity to undertake such work
  • Be supported in their application by their headteacher

Skills - SLEs will have:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to utilise high levels of emotional intelligence to work sensitively and collaboratively with peer colleagues
  • An understanding of what constitutes 'outstanding' in their field of expertise and the ability and confidence to articulate this
  • An appreciation of how their specialism and skills can contribute to the wider school improvement agenda
  • An analytical approach in identifying the needs and ability to prioritise accordingly, including the ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
  • The ability to grow leadership capacity in others