Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs)



Specialist Leaders of Education or SLEs are outstanding middle and senior leaders in positions below the headteacher, with at least two years’ leadership experience. They have a particular area of expertise (such as a subject area, early years, behaviour or school business management) and a successful track record of school improvement.

Become a SLE

Our SLEs are innovators and take a lateral approach to their role. Working as a team they are exploring opportunities and looking to see where there are gaps in networks, training and school-to-school support work. If you have been in a leadership role for more than two years, have a specialism in one of the required areas of focus and would like the opportunity to develop your peer-to-peer support skills then please get in touch for details of our application and designation process.

The Spring 2019 SLE recruitment round will be open: 1st May – 31st May 2019. 

SLE Application Guidance

SLE Application Process

General SLE Information

SLE Application Form

SLE Referee form

Find the right SLE to work with your school

SLEs play a significant role in raising standards in our schools. The nature of SLE work is attractive to schools because they develop leadership capacity in colleagues in other schools with similar positions. It’s about discussion, asking the right questions and seeking solutions together. Below you will find profiles on our team of SLEs. If you would like to explore the possibility of working with one of our team please get in touch.

Paula Ayliffe has over 30 years experience of teaching. She’s currently an Assistant Head at Mayfield teaching Year 2 and in the past held the position of Head of Chemistry in a secondary school. Paula has taught part-time on the Early Years and Primary PGCE course at the Faculty of Education in Cambridge and has been involved in research investigating pupil voice and self-assessment in the Early Years.
Helen Mulligan is currently working as Deputy Head at a Bewick Bridge Community Primary School in Cambridge. Helen has a passion for whole school improvement and capacity building driven by learning and leadership at every level, as well as a love of language, literacy and learning.
Sarah Stepney      
Jess Lane
Laurie-Lee McDowell    
Laurie-Lee McDowell
Kate Slater is an experienced Upper Key Stage 2 practitioner who is currently working in a mixed-aged Year 5/6 class. Kate is a Teaching and Learning Lead at Abbots Ripton Church of England Primary School; she also has over five years’ experience of English Leadership. Kate is particularly passionate about the development of children’s literacy and believes in the importance of both reading and writing for pleasure.
Specialist Leader of Education