What are 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.

Aspire Learning Alliance has SLEs who are able to support schools with Inclusion, with a focus on behaviour, pastoral systems and SEND. We also have SLEs who are specialists in supporting literacy, as our experience shows that the majority of students who become excluded also struggle with literacy. Our partnership work with the Youth Driver Trust supports the focus on literacy.

Who can apply?

Outstanding middle or senior school leaders with a particular area of expertise and the capacity, skills and commitment to support others in similar positions in other schools.

We are looking to recruit more SLEs who are passionate about supporting inclusion in their pastoral or SEND roles, or who have primary or secondary expertise in literacy. We are also looking to recruit SLEs who support inclusion through their subject leadership and are always interested to hear from colleagues with a strong track record of inclusion within the classroom

Applicants need to have:
• at least two years’ experience in a leadership role within a school or academy
• a successful track record of working effectively within thier 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 thier field of expertise, and the ability and confidence to communicate this
• an understanding of how their 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

What’s involved?

As an SLE, you will work with the deploying school or commissioner to develop the leadership capacity of individuals and teams in other schools. The emphasis is on ‘working with’ not ‘doing to’ and, as a result, you will be required to use coaching or facilitation support that draws on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area. This will contribute to improving outcomes for children.

SLE’s are allocated to a Teaching School Alliance, which for you will be the Aspire Learning Alliance (lead school: Aspire Alternative Provision) and you will be required to attend a day's core training following designation.

There is no pre-defined time commitment for SLE work. Designation is for four years, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility criteria, after which you will be subject to a review by your teaching school.

There is no cost to apply.

Apply to become a SLE?

If you are interested in applying, please email Sarah Holding ( for details of the next round of interviews. Since this role involves a commitment from your Headteacher to be released to support other schools, please discuss your application with them before applying.

Aspire Learning Alliance is anticipating holding further SLE interviews and you will be informed of the next recruitment round upon enquiry.

SLE Pen Portraits

Click on a SLE to see their Pen Portrait