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Apply to become a SLE with Pioneer Teaching School

Applying to become an SLE


Pioneer Teaching School is responsible for designating Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs). SLEs help improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning, ultimately raising standards and improving the outcomes for children. Our SLEs understand what outstanding practice in their area of expertise looks like and are skilled in helping others to achieve it in their own context. We currently have SLEs with expertise in Maths, English, Assessment, Curriculum, Phonics, SEN, Early Years, Inclusion, Teaching & Learning Behaviour and Closing the Gap. Pioneer Teaching School are receiving many requests from schools for development of teaching and learning.




Currently, Pioneer Teaching School Alliance are not recruiting new SLEs due to restructuring.  However, if you are interested please do get in touch with us for an informal discussion.  Contact Paula Parkes at or calling 01329 239584.  


Benefits for you and your school

  • This is an ideal opportunity for an excellent practitioner to work with others to develop practice and gain experience of leading collaborative development.
  • As an SLE, you will receive nationally accredited training in coaching the improvement of teaching and learning.
  • You will be deployed into schools to develop the leadership capacity of individuals and teams using coaching and/or facilitation that draws on the knowledge and expertise in your specialist area.
  • Your work will contribute to improving outcomes for students in other school settings.
  • All deployments are based on need and demand by the Teaching School in conjunction and agreement with the needs and capacity of your own school. Supply cover costs are met by brokerage agreement.



  • To become an SLE, you need to have been in a middle / senior leadership role (not as a headteacher) for at least 2 years.

  • You can be from any type or phase of school and your school will need to have the capacity to release you to work in other schools (deployment durations vary and are usually short ).

  • You will need to provide evidence that you understand what outstanding leadership practice in your area of expertise looks like and you know how to support other leaders to do the same in their own context.

  • Your current headteacher will be asked to confirm that you are in an appropriate role and you will need to obtain a supporting reference from them.

  • Higher level teaching assistants are not eligible to apply. 


What is involved?

Typically, SLEs will work with schools to:

  • carry out diagnostic visits

  • develop action plans, identifying key priorities and targets

  • provide one-to-one or group support

  • offer coaching and mentoring support

  • provide access to resources and training

  • run INSET / staff meetings
  • Some of our SLEs also deliver ITT training sessions for SCITT trainees and work in other flexible ways.


Deployment is based on need and demand by the Teaching School in conjunction and agreement with the needs and capacity of the SLE’s own school.  If you would like to discuss the role further, please contact us and we will ask one of our current SLEs to get in touch.



  • Following success at interview, you will undertake accredited SLE training before being deployed.

  • Training will be provided and funded by Pioneer Teaching School with National College trained facilitators.



  • opportunities to work independently, to be creative and try out new ideas

  • development of coaching and facilitation skills

  • opportunity to network with peers

  • experience of different school environments

  • the chance to learn from ideas and approaches used in other schools

  • development of skills and knowledge that can benefit their own school

  • the knowledge that they are helping others to improve and having a positive impact on outcomes for children




Quotes from our SLEs and schools


“I am passionate about providing high quality leadership, training and coaching to support individuals and teams in achieving their goals and view working as an SLE as an absolute privilege.”


“It developed my range of leadership styles, as you must be sensitive as an SLE, and empathy with your partner school and colleagues is vital.”


“My SLE role has been a fantastic learning experience for all involved, but especially for me!”


“The SLE role allows me to widen my experience outside of my own school, enabling me to offer support, guidance and help to colleagues working in different contexts. It also enhances my own school, as I pick up golden nuggets of experience along the way.”


“School to school support has made us reflect and challenge our current provision and also gave us the capacity to make real gains in a short time frame. As a result our leadership team are empowered to make a difference. Teaching School Associate support has empowered our LSA’s to deliver quality phonics”.

Jill Roseblade, Executive Headteacher - Alver Valley Schools


“School to School support through partnership & sharing and developing excellence is helping to make my schools great.”

Carol Walters, Executive Headteacher - Northern Schools Federation

Find out more about our current SLEs:

BOOK NOW: The Literacy Shed: Enhancing Literacy through still & moving image in your primary school Tuesday 3rd November, 2020, 9am – 4pm