The Role of the Subject Leader of Education

Teaching schools are responsible for the designation, brokering, deploying and quality assuring SLEs. SLEs will be outstanding senior or middle leaders for a minimum of two years and will have a particular area or areas of expertise. SLEs will have a successful track record of school improvement and will be expected to provide school-to-school support within their own and other schools.

SLEs will:

  • have excellent interpersonal skills
  • be able to work sensitively and collaboratively with others
  • have a commitment to outreach work
  • understand what outstanding learning and teaching is
  • understand what outstanding leadership practice in their own area of specialism(s) looks like
  • have the ability to help other leaders to achieve it in their own context

SLEs may be commissioned to work in the following areas:

  • continuing professional development: e.g. INSET, twilights, training days
  • initial teacher training/NQT year
  • school-based research and development work
  • school improvement work

Support may be provided in the form of:

  • Undertaking learning walks/observations
  • Leading subject/departmental audits
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • One-to-one peer coaching
  • Facilitated group support/training
  • Data analysis
  • Joint action planning

Impact of SLEs:

In their own school:

  • an excellent form of continuing professional development for senior and middle leaders
  • enhancing knowledge, skills and abilities to further improve their current role and influence others
  • supporting schools’ internal succession planning strategies by enabling individuals to demonstrate that they are ready to step up to the next leadership level
  • further developing skills such as coaching and mentoring to support colleagues in their own school
  • re-energising and motivating both the SLE and, through dissemination of learning, other staff
  • opportunity to share outstanding practice with colleagues
  • learning about how different systems and contexts from the schools they support helps to develop practice back at their own setting.

To schools receiving support:

  • peer-to-peer support and building leadership capacity delivered in a collaborative way
  • partnership approach to developing local solutions, taking into account individual schools’ own circumstances
  • embedding coaching and mentoring approaches that support sustainable change and improvement
  • engaging with an outstanding expert with leadership skills in a particular field of practice who also understands current challenges, policy, best practice and local needs
  • ensuring that staff feel empowered and have the skills, knowledge and understanding required to improve practice and in turn outcomes
  • improved practice/systems are sustainable.