Deployment of SLEs

Brokering an SLE

The AET Teaching School Alliance Specialist Leaders of Education have a wealth of experience across a range of subject areas.

They focus on raising attainment through a combination of Continued Professional Development, coaching and support.

SLEs time are coordinated and supported by our Curriculum Support Team. SLEs deployment is based around two types of support:

1. Working with the Curriculum Support Team to develop policy and processes that work across our Trust.

2. Offering on site support in academies.

SLEs are brokered in two key ways. (1) The most common approach is through the Curriculum Support Team. Principals raise a referral to the curriculum team who process the request, the process will allocate the appropriate solution, SLE, time allocation and success criteria. (2) Between academies and schools, through senior leadership.

Quality assurance and measuring impact

SLEs are monitored and held accountable for the quality of the support they provide by the core curriculum support team and principals. SLEs model a system leadership approach and therefore they will be expected to be able to evidence that their work has had a positive impact.

As a Teaching School, we pride ourselves in providing high-quality support to others and fully evaluate all work undertaken.

Before an SLE is deployed there would be a brokerage contract completed to outline specifically what the area of focus is, the agreed duration/scope of the deployment, funding agreement and impact indicators and success criteria.

Specialist Leader of Education (SLE)

There is an expectation that our SLEs work with throughout the trust for a minimum of 6 days, to raise attainment and improve the quality of teaching and learning by:

  1. completing an appropriate initial needs analysis with the academy to define their needs and identify success criteria to raise attainment
  2. offering credible peer support, rooted in current practice and drawing on real experience
  3. sharing best practice in the development of outstanding and innovative skills, knowledge and understanding
  4. supporting identified target groups in a range of capacities and facilitating intervention, support and team teaching strategies
  5. providing a collaborative, coaching model based on system leadership which helps develop other leaders, to ensure long-term, sustainable improvement
  6. employing a positive, constructive approach to specific challenges or issues, as well as using specialist knowledge and expertise
  7. providing the opportunity for leaders to learn about different academy contexts and systems which can be adapted for whole school improvement
  8. contributing to continued professional development (CPD), enhancing leaders’ knowledge, skills and abilities in a variety of ways
  9. summarising and evaluating the impact of support provided and progress made through regular SLE update logs and forward onto those involved, including your own principal as a record of your SLE work.

Effective Working Practices: Guidance for SLEs


In order for all communication and collaboration to be effective it is agreed that SLEs:

  1. are professional in terms of dress, including wearing a name badge
  2. are professional in terms of behaviour, for example when addressing staff in front of pupils or meeting staff for the first time this should be formal
  3. should ensure that the HT/ Principal knows that they are going to be on site
  4. are “On time, every time” (Crosby). Deadlines/timeframes/meetings are negotiated, agreed and kept to
  5. communicate consistently and inclusively with staff and the Lead SLE being copied into e-mails. Wherever possible, communication should take place in person, if this is not possible then communication should be by telephone, Skype or Google hangout
  6. use and explain correct terminology
  7. follow email etiquette in line with the email policy
  8. deal promptly with conflict by immediately referring to the Lead SLE
  9. provide regular and clear communication to build sustainable capacity
  10. complete regular SLE update logs within three to five working days

It is good practice to:

  • plan dates ahead for the term for visits
  • send out email reminders for meetings and training events 3 or 4 days prior to clarify details of venue, time etc.

Effective meetings can be achieved by:

  1. all parties being on time
  2. taking the time for introductions when meeting colleagues for the first time
  3. having an agenda, a purpose and being clear about the desired outcome and success criteria
  4. listening to others, making sure that everyone in the group is heard and offering
  5. encouragement when others contribute a good idea or perform a task effectively
  6. summarising and using the update log to record what has been achieved or agreed. Being clear on follow up actions

Always remember to:

  1. use a positive, approachable manner when communicating with each and every member of staff, whether it’s face-to-face, or via phone, email, Skype or Google hangout
  2. praise as well as highlighting areas for development
  3. empathise with others
  4. create transparency. Be honest and open about what can and what cannot be achieved. If you do not know something say so, but say you will find out and definitely follow up with a reply within an agreed time frame
  5. listen
  6. try to respond to a request or contact within 24 hours
  7. use your out-of-office assistant for annual leave, sickness and extended training
  8. use the portal. Ensure frequently used documents are stored centrally for ease of access
  9. balance face-to-face meetings with cost effective technology where appropriate
  10. do not presume that what you have (resources etc., methods, systems etc.) is better than what is already in place

SLE Guidance

Find out more about the role of SLEs from DFE here

SLE toolkit here