No one school is the same. Each have their unique strengths and distinct challenges. In order to ensure we are able to cater to the needs of our schools, we are always looking to extend and broaden our network of shared expertise and SLEs.


SLE designation offers middle and senior leaders the opportunity to:

  • Make a significant difference to the lives of young people
  • Raise standards in some of the most challenging circumstances
  • Share creative ideas and develop innovative practice
  • Work collaboratively with, and learn from, leading practitioners across the region
  • Develop coaching and facilitation skills
  • Work in a wide range of diverse contexts outside your own school


To become a SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role below the headteacher for at least two years. Your headteacher will be asked to confirm that you are in an appropriate role. Higher level teaching assistants are not eligible to apply.

You can be from any type or phase of school. You must have at least one specialism from the areas listed in the table below.

Ofsted focus Areas of expertise
Effectiveness of leadership and management Academies; leadership of continuing professional development; school business management and financial management; leadership of curriculum
Outcomes for children and other learners Art; closing the gap; drama; design and technology; early years; English; geography; history; information and communication technology; maths; modern foreign languages; music; phonics; physical education; personal, social and health education; religious education; science; special educational needs; support for the most able pupils
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Initial teacher training; assessment
Personal development, behaviour and welfare Behaviour and discipline; attendance

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.

You do not need to be in an outstanding school or a school that is part of a teaching school alliance, as long as your school has the capacity to release you to work in other schools.

To be successful in your application, you should have:

  • A successful track record of working effectively within your 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 your field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • A good understanding of how your 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

You can also provide supporting evidence gained from completing leadership development opportunities such as the NPQML and NPQSL.

Time Commitment

The role lasts for 4 years, at which time there’ll be a review. There’s no minimum or maximum time commitment. You and your school will need to think carefully about capacity and negotiate your availability together.

Application and Selection

Applications are made directly to Star Institute.

Applications are currently open until Wednesday 13th November 2019.

To request and application form or make any enquiries please contact

The Department for Education Specialist Leaders of Education Application Guidance also provides an overview of the application process, reference requirements and assessment process.


Star Institute is committed to providing quality support. All our SLEs must undertake our core SLE Training Programme before any deployment can be commissioned.


Programme SLE designation
Duration Tailored to individual school
Entry requirements Leadership role for at least 2 years
How to apply Applications are made direct to Star Institute