School to School Support

We offer school to school support. If you are interested, please contact us directly or contact LA for more details.

Specialists Leader of Education

If you are an experienced middle or senior leader who is interested in supporting leaders in other schools, you may wish to apply to be a specialist leader of education (SLE). 

There are currently just over 6,000 designated SLEs.

Teaching schools are responsible for the selection and placement of SLEs. This is one part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system.



The application round to become an SLE is now open.

To apply, you should:

  • contact your preferred teaching school directly to check whether they are recruiting SLEs – contact details can be found using the school to school support directory
  • complete an application form provided by your chosen teaching school
  • get a supporting reference from your headteacher

Your local teaching and leadership adviser may be able to advise which teaching schools are recruiting in your locality.
Please see the SLE application guidance (PDF, 283KB, 8 pages) and the standard version of the application form for reference only.


Who can apply

To become an SLE, you need to have been in a leadership role below the headteacher for at least 2 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 don’t need to be in an outstanding school or a school that is part of a teaching school alliance, but your school will need to have the capacity to release you to work in other schools. You must have at least 1 specialism from our areas of expertise, which are based on the 4 areas of focus for Ofsted.

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
  • an understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in your field of expertise and the ability and confidence to communicate this
  • an 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

National Leader of Education

National leaders of education are headteachers, executive heads and CEOs, who have experience of effectively supporting schools in challenging circumstances. If you meet the current eligibility criteria you might want to apply to become a national leader of education. In this role, you and your staff would provide high-quality support to those most in need, in addition to leading your own school.

NLEs work alongside teaching schools and other system leaders to support schools in delivering educational excellence everywhere to help raise standards.

There are currently over 1,100 NLEs. Our goal is to increase this by up to 700 more NLEs by 2020, targeting recruitment in areas of greatest need.

Target areas

Tranche 20 is a targeted application round focusing on areas of greatest need to ensure that all schools can access high-quality support. If you can provide support to schools in the target areas, even if you’re situated outside of a target area, please specify how you’d do this within your application. Your application will be considered on an individual basis by the designation panel.

National support schools

If you’re selected as an NLE, your school will become a national support school (NSS). This is to recognise the fact that your staff are likely to work alongside you in any support you may provide.

Click here to find out more details.

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