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Specialists Leaders

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) and Lead Practitioners

We are excited to announce the first round of primary SLE recruitment for the Romero Teaching School Alliance.

The Romero Teaching School Alliance supports the development of middle and senior leaders to become either Senior or Specialist Leaders of Education.

Aspirant and current middle leaders may also which to consider SSAT Lead Practitioner accreditation.

What is a Specialist Leader of Education?

SLEs are outstanding middle and senior leaders, with at least two years’ leadership experience. They have a particular area of expertise (such as a subject area, early years, behaviour or school business management) and a successful track record of school improvement.

SLEs support leaders in other schools. They have excellent interpersonal skills, are able to work sensitively and collaboratively with others and have a commitment to outreach work. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of specialism looks like and can help other leaders to achieve it in their own context.

The SLE role is about developing other middle and senior 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 peer coaching or facilitated group support and could involve a variety of activities, such as data analysis, coaching or joint action planning.

SLEs can come from any school or academy, including nursery, primary, secondary, special, pupil referral unit, independent or free school, or sixth form college. Whilst the individual must be outstanding, his or her school does not have to be.

What are the expectations?

Applicants must have the support of their head teacher who agrees to release them to deliver outreach support. There is no set amount of time; however we believe that a minimum commitment of 6 days per academic year will be required to ensure that the programme has sufficient capacity.

SLEs will provide high quality support in other schools, which will be structured and evaluated through an agreed action plan. SLEs will agree to engage in ongoing training and development as well as termly after school team meetings.

The Romero Teaching School Alliance is responsible for the recruitment, designation, brokerage, deployment and quality assurance of SLEs.

What are the benefits of being an SLE?

  • Receive training in how to coach and support other leaders

  • Become part of the network of outstanding leaders

  • Moral purpose: showing commitment to improving outcomes for all children.

  • Develop and share your expertise; and at the same time learning from effective practice in other schools

  • Deepen your leadership skills

  • Excellent experience to support career development

  • Being part of a school-led system of improving education


SLEs are unsalaried roles. Schools requesting SLEs support will be charged for the service to cover the costs incurred by the SLE’s school. The current cost for the services of an SLE is £350 per day.

Phase 1 Recruitment

In the first instance we are looking to recruit a minimum of 20 SLEs. Our aim is for the SLEs to be able to provide general support for teaching and leadership as well as be able to provide support for pupil achievement in one or more specialist areas.

Specialist Areas 

  • Maths

  • English

  • Science

  • Religious Education

  • Early Years

  • Phonics

  • Special Educational Needs

  • More Able

  • Diminishing the Difference

  • Initial Teacher Training

Timeline for Recruitment, Designation and Training


Application details to head teachers and prospective applicants

Deadline for applications


Assessment Day

Inform NCTL of outcomes

SLE Training


How do I become a Specialist Leader of Education?

If you are an experienced middle or senior leader who is interested in supporting leaders in other schools, you may wish to apply to be a specialist leader of education (SLE). The DfE says there are currently just over 6,000 designated SLEs.

Teaching Schools are responsible for the selection, training and placement of SLEs. This is one part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system.

The Romero Teaching School Alliance is currently recruiting eligible candidates to become SLEs working for the Alliance.

To apply, you should complete and return an application form (Click here) and obtain a supporting reference from your Head teacher / Principal.

SLE Commissioning Process - pdf

Evaluation of SLE / Quality Assurance - pdf

Useful Link - SLEs - SLEs

Meet our Current Alliance SLEs [To Follow]

What is a Lead Practitioner?

The Lead Practitioner (LP) programme celebrates and motivates great teachers on an individual basis, especially ones who lead others to develop themselves. Through a rigorous process of self-reflection and evaluation, Lead Practitioner Accreditation improves the individual’s professional skills and expertise.

The programme is made up of a framework of professional standards and a process of accreditation that has been designed by the profession, for the profession. It recognises the skills, experience and qualities of school staff at every level, serving to embed and extend teaching and learning that impacts positively on learners.

Typically, practitioners get started by using the LP framework to develop small-scale research projects that impact on students’ learning. But the programme takes off when applicants present their evidence beyond their existing teams to colleagues within their school and beyond.

If you have decided that leadership of learning, rather than system leadership, is your chosen career path, the Lead Practitioner Accreditation programme provides a structure that enables you to develop and flourish.

Once accredited, LPs continue their journey by developing as leaders of learning, inspiring others to embrace Lead Practitioner standards and creating communities of learners across the system.

Accredited status is awarded to the individual, but the programme is at its most powerful when headteachers get behind it on a whole-school basis, harnessing the LP standards to their own development priorities both as part of the accreditation process and beyond the award of LP status.

Accreditation can be achieved as an individual practitioner or by a group of practitioners working together, with many schools implementing their own Lead Practitioner accreditation programmes to support and develop their best practitioners within their school.

How do I become an Accredited Lead Practitioner?

To apply, you should complete and return an application form (Click here) and obtain a supporting reference from your Head teacher / Principal.

Alliance Lead Practitioner Commissioning for Research and Development

The Romero Teaching School Alliance is keen to commission and accredit teachers as lead practitioners to undertake teaching and learning research and development projects and to disseminate findings across the alliance.

Annually a number of funded projects (TLR 3s/bursaries) become available through the alliance or are commissioned by alliance member schools.

Click here for funded projects proposed for 2016-17 (Coming Soon)

The alliance keeps a data-base of research and development projects undertaken by practitioners and supports a Teacher Learning Journal, PedEx, where LP research and development projects are disseminated. Alliance LP’s are also encouraged to present their research findings at the annual Teacher Learning Conference.

Useful Links


PEDEx - Click here

List of Current Research and Development Projects - Click here

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