Specialist Leader in Education

The Path to Success

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) are outstanding, experienced middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar roles in other schools.

SLE’s are able to develop other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of expertise looks like. They are highly skilled in developing others to achieve and drive improvement across an institution.

This may be done through one-to-one or group support and could involve a variety of activities, such as:

  • Data analysis

  • Coaching

  • Facilitating and training

  • Joint action planning

  • Driving up standards within subject areas

  • Supporting the leadership within focus areas (e.g. Teaching and Learning, Pastoral, Pupil Premium)

Local Leader in Education

Expert Guidance

LLEs are successful headteachers who work alongside other school leaders to drive forward improvements and build capacity to ensure that improvements can be sustained.

The role of the LLE is to work outside their own school, providing support to another headteacher and their school with the aim of school improvement. The role is flexible and based on context and may involve:


  • Coaching and supporting a new Headteacher who would benefit from assistance in the transition period to maintain momentum in their school’s improvement


  • Offering peer challenge and support to a Headteacher to ensure impact in school improvement strategies


  • Conducting a diagnostic assessment to gain understanding of the extent of a school needs


  • Providing focused support to a school identified through the inspection framework as ‘requires improvement’ or vulnerable to under-performance

National Leader in Education

A comprehensive approach

National leaders of education (NLEs) are strong school leaders, who have experience of effectively supporting schools in challenging circumstances. NLEs work alongside teaching schools and other system leaders to provide high quality support to those who need it most.

If you meet the current eligibility criteria you might want to apply to become a national leader of education. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has now introduced a more sophisticated and balanced approach to designating system leaders – one which relies less heavily on Ofsted judgements and more on timely and accurate data, and the skills and track record of those applying.

Together these improvements will help to ensure that more of the most effective school leaders and schools are able to provide high quality support, especially in areas of the country where this support is most needed.

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