How to become an SLE

How to become an SLE

Recruitment for new SLEs takes place three times throughout the year.  We’re looking for experienced teachers in middle or senior leadership positions, who have already demonstrated success in school improvement – either within their own school, but ideally in another setting.

SLEs must be able to build rapport and positive working relationships quickly. They need to be able to both challenge and support working with teachers and leaders at all levels and need the confidence and skills to work in complex and at times challenging situations.

Equally important are observation, listening and interpersonal skills. This can be a sensitive role, with the need to coach and guide others and to understand the unique context of each deployment.  SLEs need to be able to quickly assess situations and to identify short-term quick wins, but also to help put in place long-term, sustainable strategies to help a school achieve its goals.

To be successful in an application, a potential SLE should have:

• A successful track record of working effectively within their own school and/or across a group of schools, or working with a range of leaders within a single school

• Evidence of successfully using coaching and/or facilitation skills to bring about sustainable improvements

• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

• A good understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in their field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this

• A good understanding of how their specialism and skills can contribute to wider school improvement goals

• An analytical approach in identifying and prioritising needs

• The ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices

• The ability to grow leadership capacity in others

Time commitment

The role lasts for four years, at which time there’ll be a review. The types of placements will vary. For example, one might be a two-day diagnostic exercise, while another might require a three-month, full-time support role. Time may be taken as a block of consecutive days or spread over a longer period.

There’s no minimum or maximum time commitment. You and your school will need to think carefully about capacity and negotiate your availability together.

More information

The DfE has a useful section on SLEs here.

Assessment interview

Successful applicants will be invited to an assessment interview where they will also take part in a group discussion with other applicants. You will be assessed by Teaching School Directors from within the East Sussex Network, alongside Jo Clayforth-Carr, who manages the SLE deployment for the region.

If you’re ready to apply, you can find the application form here.
If you feel that you need more experience in another setting before you apply, or if you’d like to shadow an SLE first, please contact us.

SLE assessment dates

Our next round of SLE assessments will take place on Friday 30 April 2021. Each assessment interview takes 45 to 60 minutes, including an additional 15-30 minutes for a group discussion task.

The closing date for applications is 12pm on Friday 23 April 2021.

Assessment interviews will take place by video call.

Benefits of becoming a System Leader

Working as an SLE or LLE is challenging, enriching and extremely rewarding. It provides opportunities to reflect on your own practice, test your problem-solving skills, devise and implement new strategies and systems, and develop further professional confidence. Most SLEs find great satisfaction in coaching and developing others and knowing that pupils are benefitting. In addition, while the actual improvement work is taking place in another school, many system leaders find the experience beneficial to their own classroom practice and school as they bring this experience back with them.

I intend to use my experience and knowledge to inspire other teaching practitioners and schools with developing enriching, inspirational English lessons that will not only engage their pupils but challenge them and give the opportunity to excel. Supporting other teachers has been an extremely positive experience for me and I wish to develop this further by becoming a committed SLE who can provide further outreach support and continue to support a variety of schools with my expertise.