Growing & Embedding Outstanding

Eligibility Criteria for SLE Applications

Applicants must have at least one specialism from four areas of expertise, which are based on the 4 areas of focus for OFSTED as outlined in the table below.

Ofsted focus

Areas of expertise


and management

Academies and academy transition; assessment; leadership of continuing professional development; school business management and financial management; leadership of curriculum

Pupil achievement

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

Initial teacher training and newly qualified teacher development

Behaviour and safety

Behaviour and discipline; attendance

Applicants must have, demonstrate and evidence the skills and experiences outlined in the table below.


  • A minimum of two years’ experience in a leadership role within a school or academy.


  • Outstanding middle or senior leaders
  • Capacity and commitment: SLEs will have a commitment to outreach work, and the capacity to undertake such work.
  • Excellent knowledge in a particular field of expertise.
  • An understanding of what constitutes ‘outstanding’ in their field of expertise and  ability and confidence to articulate this
  • Appreciation of how their specialism and skills can contribute to the wider school improvement agenda.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • High levels of emotional intelligence to work sensitively and collaboratively with peer colleagues.
  • An analytical approach in identifying needs and the ability to prioritise accordingly, including the ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
  • The ability to grow leadership capacity in others

Track record

  • Successful track record, supported by substantial evidence of impact 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.