When I was first approached about applying to become an SLE, my immediate reaction was “No way!”. My view of an SLE’s role was completely wrong, with me imagining that I would have to be an expert in all aspects of my subject and spend loads of time outside of the classroom.
However, upon investigating it further, I discovered that actually, this role was about using my own experiences and successes and supporting others with this. It’s not about being all-knowing in every element of my subject but rather sharing things that have worked and supporting colleagues in using the things that I have found have worked well.
The initial application stage of becoming an SLE involved reflecting on my practise and considering where I have had the most impact. Although working within my own academy was important, having a wider impact on other schools and academies was a real focus throughout the application. This is definitely something to consider when thinking about applying for SLE status as the role largely focuses on support outside of our own academies. Taking time to support and collaborate with other schools and academies prior to applying for this role is hugely valuable to the application process and will give you an idea of whether this is a role for you or not.
After successfully getting through the first round of the application I was offered an interview. This was quite daunting as my interview date came through as the final day of our year 6 residential; a week of camping with 11 year olds didn’t leave much room for preparing for an interview! The interview involved me giving a short presentation about why I would be suitable for the role and what I had already done. Having tangible evidence, such as school data, to show impact was really important. It backed up what I was saying and also helped me to focus my presentation around the reason I was there anyway - to work with schools to give children the best education they could possibly get. So often we are surrounded by targets, pressure and the sparkle of new positions in schools that we lose sight of what it is all about. For me, this is why the role of an SLE is so exciting; it is an opportunity to share with others what we are doing well. By sharing and developing ideas together, it also relieves some of the pressure that teaching staff are under and I am excited to have this opportunity.