School Improvement

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are outstanding middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of expertise looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders to achieve it in their own context.

The SLE role was created to help raise standards and improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning.

What does an SLE do?

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/training and joint action planning.

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.

What are the benefits?

The SLE role has a number of benefits, including:

  • offering credible peer support rooted in current practice and drawing on real experience
  • the sharing and development of outstanding, innovative practice
  • a collaborative, coaching approach, which helps develop other leaders to ensure long-term, sustainable improvement
  • a fresh perspective on specific challenges or issues, as well as specialist knowledge and expertise
  • the opportunity for leaders to learn about different school contexts and systems
  • contributing to continuing professional development (CPD), enhancing leaders’ knowledge, skills and abilities in a variety of ways


To become a SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role for two years and be able to demonstrate impact in your own area and impact in another area of school or in a different school. You will need to provide evidence that you understand what outstanding leadership practice in your area of expertise looks like and you know how to support other leaders to do the same in their own context.

If this role interests you but you do not quite meet the criteria then talk to us about how you might gain some experience so you can apply in the future.

Current Applications

If you’re interested, please email

Bright Futures Training
Cavendish Road, Bowdon
Altrincham WA14 2NL
Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust