The next application round for SLEs (Specialist Leaders of Education) will be open between 02 – 23 October 2013
The Designation/Role of SLEs – Frequently Asked Questions & Answers supplied by The National College For Teaching and Leadership
1. What are specialist leaders of education (SLEs)?
SLEs are outstanding middle and senior leaders in positions below the headteacher for example, assistant headteachers, subject leaders or school business managers, with at least two years experience in a particular field of expertise. SLEs have the capacity, skills and commitment to support other individuals or teams, in similar positions in other schools. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of specialism looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders achieve it in their own context.
2. Who can become an SLE?
To be designated, applicants will need to meet strict designation criteria. SLE designation is open to individuals that hold middle or senior leadership roles in schools and who have a particular specialism that is included in our directory of expertise (for example, subject areas, inclusion, performance management, literacy, early years, behaviour or school business management). We do not plan to try to precisely define middle or senior leadership – we recognise that roles and responsibilities are different in different schools and that routes to leadership are not always straightforward. The headteacher of a potential SLE will therefore be asked to confirm that the individual holds a middle or senior leadership position. One important point to note is that although SLEs themselves must be outstanding at what they do, they do not have to come from outstanding schools – they can come from any school.
3. What are the benefits of being an SLE?
The new designation is a way of formally recognising those outstanding leaders who have an excellent track record of supporting others and have specialist expertise that other schools in their area can benefit from. From our experience of deploying system leaders, this type of recognition can help to boost an individual’s morale and provide a renewed sense of purpose. We expect that SLE work will support continuing professional development for these individuals, through, for example: opportunities to work autonomously and independently; gaining further experience of working collaboratively with others; being creative and trying out new ideas ; developing coaching and facilitation skills; access to other contexts, processes and styles of working, widening their experience of different school environments; the chance to learn from ideas and approaches used in other schools, to improve their own performance and that of colleagues in their own school the opportunity to network with their peers. All of the above can help the individual to improve further in their current role, as well as to support them if they wish to think about promotional opportunities. Finally we know that system leaders benefit from knowing they are helping others to improve and having a positive impact on outcomes for children, by using and sharing their own knowledge and skills. It is this sense of moral purpose that can often prove to be the biggest incentive of all.
Following an initial sift, applicants with appropriate leadership responsibility and experience will be invited to undertake some form of face-to-face assessment, where they will be expected to demonstrate their interpersonal skills, including communication, collaboration and coaching.
4. How does someone become an SLE?
We are keen to ensure the process for becoming an SLE is fair and equitable, whilst also ensuring local needs and priorities are met. Before beginning an application, individuals must find their nearest or most appropriate teaching school that has the responsibility for recruiting and designating SLEs. Teaching schools will have identified their priorities based on local intelligence and the needs of their alliance and area, and will recruit SLEs according to them. Individuals will be required to complete a two-part application through the College website which will then be passed onto the identified teaching school. Applications are reviewed against the agreed SLE designation criteria. Your local Teaching School is the Jurassic Coast Teaching School Alliance, The Woodroffe School, Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3LX
5. Can a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) become an SLE?
Currently HLTAs are not able to become SLEs.
6. What will SLEs do?
SLEs will act as ‘system leaders’, supporting individual leaders and teams in other schools by using a high level coaching or facilitation approach that draws on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area. This may involve a wide variety of support approaches, including diagnostic models, one-to-one or facilitated group support. Regardless of the type of support model delivered, the ultimate aim of SLEs will always be to contribute significantly to improving the outcomes for children through developing the capacity of peer leaders in other schools. SLEs will support high quality professional development of leaders and may also potentially play a key role in the future development of school-to-school support, by identifying outstanding future leaders.
7. Can an SLE be a specialist in more than one area?
Yes. However, the SLE approach is about focusing on key strengths.
8. What training will be offered to SLEs?
The training model offers one core day of mandatory induction training plus a menu of optional enrichment sessions. SLEs will be entitled to attend up to two of these sessions at no cost to their school. The SLE training will be delivered by selected teaching schools around the country. We expect SLEs to have existing facilitation skills, as this requirement is part of the designation criteria, but we hope to further enhance these skills through initial training, ongoing continuing professional development and the role itself.
9. How will SLEs be monitored and quality assured?
SLEs will be monitored and held accountable for the quality of the support they provide, through their Teaching School Alliance.
10. Will SLEs be funded and if so, where will the funding come from?
There may be payment for specific SLE deployments, either from schools receiving support or from other sources or commissioning bodies, to help the SLE’s school towards reimbursement for ‘backfill’ or supply cover. However any such payment will be agreed and managed by the Headteacher and Governors of the schools concerned, in line with statutory guidance. We expect that different models and approaches will be developed over time; for example, schools may agree to ‘swap’ SLEs on a cost-neutral exchange basis, or schools within a teaching school alliance might jointly agree a day rate for SLE time within their group. As with other aspects of the initiative, we will use the development year to look at different approaches and gather feedback on how this is working. The Jurassic Coast Teaching Schools Alliance is reviewing daily rates and will post them on their website (www.jctsa.org.uk) in due course. There are no plans to have an SLE pay spine or to provide formal financial reward for individual SLEs. We do recognise that some other teacher designations currently have a formal financial reward, however the SLE approach is in line with that for NLEs and LLEs, where any individual remuneration is agreed by the parties involved.
11. Where can I get further information about SLEs?
Your Local Teaching School, the JURASSIC COAST TEACHING SCHOOLS ALLIANCE, can assist you with any specific questions that you may have. Please contact Nicola Payne on 01297 442232, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website www.jctsa.org.uk
Click on the link for an A3 October SLE Application Round Information Poster. A3 App Poster (225.5 KiB, 453 hits)