Jim Heal (English Teacher and Behaviour & Discipline SLE) describing the use of Harkness to develop Independent Learning

Specialist Leaders of Education

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are outstanding middle and senior leaders, with at least two years’ leadership experience, who have the skills to support individuals or teams in particular subject areas and/or specialisms. They are system leaders, deployed strategically to raise attainment/performance, based on identified needs.

Through coaching, mentoring and sharing best practice, their role is to build sustainable leadership capacity.


If your school would like to take advantage of the SLEs in our alliance, please email wctsp@wellingtoncollege.org.uk.


Tracy Baker Maths Teacher (AST) The Holt Wokingham
SLE Designation December 2014 in Maths

Tracy has been teaching since 2003. She has been involved in outreach work in a variety of schools since being awarded AST status in 2007. Following her move to the Holt School (from Slough) in September 2015, she is looking forward to working with schools in the partnership.

Supporting teachers by working on implementing numeracy across the curriculum policies, gifted and talented provision, organising mathematics clubs, or helping teachers implement new teaching strategies in the department.

Assisting with lesson observations, undertaking learning walks of a department, feeding back to teachers and subject leaders, then supporting the creation of action plans for departmental improvement.

Providing departmental training in a number of schools, and working with individual teachers on improving subject knowledge, and teaching and learning in mathematics. She has spent a good deal of time supporting NQTs during their first year of teaching, working individually with them using a plan - teach - review cycle, or leading training for groups of teachers.

Cressida Henderson Deputy Headteacher, Co-curricular Wellington College, Crowthorne and The Wellington Academy, Wiltshire
SLE Designation December 2013 in Academies and Academy Transition, MFL, Leadership of Curriculum, Behaviour and Discipline ,Attendance

Cressida joined Wellington College in 1993 and has worked part-time at The Wellington Academy since 2010, representing the sponsor, Wellington College, on SLT in this state-independent school partnership.  She has set up teachers at each school with a teaching partner to share good practice, resources and knowledge.  Joint CPD, teacher exchanges, teacher training placements have all been organised to further develop teaching and learning.  She has also set up a number of student events and activities with a range of objectives including raising attainment, service learning, and artistic and sporting collaboration.  She has developed the school's strategy for Forces children in receipt of Pupil Premium (some 40% of the school population).

She is part of the project team for the new Wellington Academy Primary school which opens in September 2014.

Cressida has previously been a Head of Modern Languages, leading that department to significantly improved results: an average 15% increase in A*-A at GCSE, A*-B at A level and 6-7 at IB as well as overseeing the department's first cohort of MYP through to some of the highest scores worldwide in a variety of languages.  She has also been Head of Key Stage 4 in charge of pupil achievement for these year groups.  She is a trained coach and a trainer of coaches.

Sophie Jobson French Teacher Wellington College, Crowthorne
SLE Designation December 2013 in MFL

Sophie is a French national and graduate of University of Rouen and IFI Business School, France.

Following her PGCE in French, at the University of Surrey in 1995-6, she spent 12 years teaching in the maintained sector, latterly as Head of Modern Language at Reading Girls School. Later Sophie became the MFL lead teacher for the Secondary National Strategy in 2006 for the Reading LEA.

Sophie joined Wellington College in 2008 as Head of French with responsibilities for the introduction of the IB and the Middle Years Programme with the MFL department. In her role at Wellington College she was engaged in 2013 to co-author Hodder Education's first IB French textbook for the UK, US and international markets.

Some of Sophie's skills include being OFSTED trained and an accredited Coach.  She has demonstrated and shared best practice across the spectrum of the maintained sector schools, including 'failing' schools in special measures and two of the UK's top performing grammar schools. In addition she has supported graduate trainees and NQT development within her department and those of other network schools. Some of this support has included off-site meetings at Oxford Brooke's and Reading universities.

Janet Perry School Business Manager The Holt School, Wokingham
SLE Designation December 2013 in School Business Manager and Financial Management

Janet joined The Holt School in 2011 as School Business Manager, just in time to lead changes as it became an Academy. All areas of finance, premises, I.T., catering and administration have been restructured since that time and Janet has also been successful in securing over £1.3 million from the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund for building projects.

Janet has previously worked in three other schools. This includes holding the post of Finance Director of Chelsea Academy, a brand new school for London where she was responsible for setting up all finance systems and staff recruitment prior to the school opening and was part of the project steering group for its £42 million new building.

Janet is an enthusiastic advocate of the benefits a SBM can bring to a school and is able to offer a wealth of practical support based on her experience and coaching to others in similar roles.

Yvonne Smith Director of Professional Development and Training The Holt School, Wokingham
SLE Designation December 2013 in Leadership of Continuing Professional Development, Initial Teacher Training and Newly Qualified Teacher Development.

Yvonne is an experienced Teacher of Geography and Head of Department. She joined The Holt School as Head of Geography in September 2006 and was appointed Head of Humanities in January 2007. Following a successful year as a Development Assistant Head she was appointed to her current role of Director of Professional Development and Training in September 2010.

As CPD lead Yvonne organises, implements and facilitates the CPD programme. She regularly attends CPD Lead meetings and has worked very closely with the Wokingham Federation of schools, helping to plan and coordinate events including Federation INSET days. She has planned numerous CPD programmes in school and has recently introduced a series of Teaching and Learning Groups which encourage staff to take a more proactive role in their own development (CPDs).

Yvonne is an experienced NQT Induction coordinator and ITT Coordinator. An active member of the School Direct Steering Group, working as part of the team to plan and implement the current extremely successful application and selection process. She has worked with ITT HE providers including Reading University, OU and Oxford University. She has used her coaching skills to support and guide mentors, trainee teachers and new teachers as they move through their ITT and NQT years.

Yvonne is passionate about the development of all teachers and aspirant teachers and can provide bespoke advice and guidance.

Richard Staton Assistant Head, Bulmershe School, Reading
SLE Designation December 2014 in Closing the Gap, Science and Behaviour Management

Richard joined Bulmershe School in 2013 as Assistant Headteacher. He joined as part of a new Leadership team having previously served on a leadership team of an outstanding academy for three years.  All areas of  Bulmershe School have been restructured in the last 18 months and these developments have helped secure a hugely improved Ofsted report in the most recent inspection, moving the school to good in all areas. Richard's leadership in the use of the pupil premium to close the gap for disadvantaged pupils at Bulmershe has been recognised as excellent and he has presented to other local schools, both primary and secondary in West Berkshire and Wokingham.

Richard has previously worked in three other schools in a variety of contexts. He has experience of State boarding, outstanding academies and Local authority schools. In each of these sectors he has held Pastoral leadership roles and taught Science. During his time as a teacher he has consistently offered outreach work in Science to other schools to help develop best practise. He has a passion for sharing the very best practise between schools in the most effective, thoughtful and practicable ways possible.

The Wellington College Teaching School Partners