Specialist Leaders of Education

Specialist Leaders of Education are outstanding middle and senior leaders identified by the Teaching School. They have at least 2 years' leadership experience in a particular specialism (for example - mathematics, school business management, initial teacher training).

SLEs focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles (for example, advanced skills teachers) focused on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

The SFX Teaching School Alliance recruit and manage the placements of specialist leaders of education and their deployment to train and support other schools. The Alliance also ensures that SLE's own training and development is maintained to ensure the highest quality professional standards.

Meet Our National Leaders of Education

Mr M. Hinton

Mark has 12 years of school leadership experience and has been headteacher of St Joseph's Catholic Primary School since January 2011. He led St Joseph's to its first 'Outstanding' OFSTED inspection outcome in April 2015. Mark's areas of expertise are assessment, leadership and management, school improvement planning, self-evaluation and monitoring systems as well as Religious Education and Catholic life. He has experience of leading schools in areas of high deprivation and challenge.

Meet Our Specialist Leaders of Education

Mr D. Simmons

David is currently the Deputy Head Teacher at St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School. He is also subject leader of Computing and English and is also responsible for the development of middle leadership across all subject areas. He has been a school based mentor for NQTs within school as well as School Direct Students throughout the Teaching School Alliance. Within St Francis Xavier School he is the leader for Assessment and Moderation across the school, ensuring high quality teaching and learning standards.

Mrs A. Bullock

Alicia is an Assistant Head Teacher at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School. As part of her role she is SENCo, RE coordinator, KS1 coordinator and Pupil Premium lead. Alicia specialises in curriculum leadership, with a particular focus on RE, and differentiated provision for a range of learners.

Alicia is an experienced mentor; she has mentored NQTs and worked with a variety of teacher training programmes, including School Direct.

Mrs J. Cheema

Mrs Cheema is a Specialist Leader of Education. She has been the Year 6 teacher at St Joseph's since September 2012 and prior to this was the school's Year 4 teacher. Jas has a good track record of helping children to make strong progress and a good knowledge of the Year 6 curriculum. Her areas of expertise are classroom management, behaviour management, organising supportive provision including booster classes and tuition, teaching and learning in Year 6, test preparation, Religious Education and Catholic life, supporting staff who are new to Year 6 and primary / secondary school partnerships. She has very successful experience of teaching in Year 6 in a school with deprivation and challenge.

Mrs S. Chapman

Sam is a Specialist Leader of Education. She has been Deputy Headteacher at St Joseph's since September 2012. She was part of the leadership team that led the school to its Outstanding OFSTED inspection in 2015. Sam's areas of expertise are assessment, data intelligence, monitoring and evaluation as well as English and the role of the Deputy / Assistant Headteacher in the school improvement process. She has experience of teaching and leading in a school with high levels of deprivation and challenge.

Mrs M. Hancox

Megan is a Specialist Leader of Education. She has led the EYFS setting (Nursery and Reception) at St Joseph's since 2012. Her work to improve the EYFS and develop a skills based curriculum resulted in the EYFS at St Joseph's being judged to be Outstanding by OFSTED in 2015. Her areas of expertise include EYFS curriculum, parent partnerships, the outdoor learning environment, organisation of the indoor learning environment, leadership and management of staff, supporting teachers, redesigning the curriculum, assessment and effective approaches to child initiated learning. She has experience of leading the EYFS in a school with significant deprivation and challenge.

Becoming an SLE with Us

If you are an experienced or middle senior leader who is interested in supporting leaders in other schools you may wish to apply to be a Specialist Leader of Education. There are currently over 6000 SLEs.

To become an SLE you must have been in a leadership role below the headteacher for at least two years. The role is about developing other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

The role lasts for 4 years, at which time there will be a review. There is no minimum or maximum time commitment.

All areas of specialism fall into 4 categories, which include:


  • Academies & academy transition
  • Assessment
  • Leadership of continuing professional development
  • School business management and financial management
  • Leadership of curriculum


  • Art
  • Closing the gap
  • Drama
  • Design & technology
  • Early years
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information & communications technology/Computing
  • Maths
  • Modern languages
  • Music
  • Phonics
  • Physical education
  • Personal social & health education
  • Religious education
  • Science
  • Special educational needs
  • Support for the most able pupils


  • Initial teacher training and NQT development


  • Behaviour and discipline
  • Attendance
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