Our team of Project Leaders/ SLEs

SLEs & Professional Development Consultants

“The ‘Project Leader’ role is designed to help improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning, ultimately raising standards and improving the outcomes for children.”

What is a ‘Project Leader’?

Project leaders 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.

Project Leaders support leaders in other schools. They have excellent interpersonal skills, are able to work sensitively and collaboratively with others and have commitment to outreach work.

They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of specialism looks like and can help other leaders to achieve this in their own context.

Project Leaders will:
  • Be outstanding middle or senior leader with at least two years’ experience and a first class knowledge in a particular field or expertise
  • Have a successful track record, supported by substantial impact evidence, of working effectively within their own school and/or across other schools, or working with a range of teachers within a single school
  • Have of evidence of successfully using coaching and/or facilitation skills to bring about sustainable improvements
  • Have a commitment to outreach work and the capacity to undertake such work
  • Be supported in their application by their headteacher
  • Have an appreciation of how their specialism and skills can contribute to the wider school improvement agenda
  • Have an analytical approach in identifying needs and an ability to prioritise accordingly, including the ability to set and establish new and innovative working practices
  • Have the ability to grow leadership capacity in others
What a Project Leader does

Specialist leaders of education and Professional Development Consultants focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles (for example, advanced skills teachers) focused on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools. Project Leaders work beyond their own schools, supporting individual or groups of leaders using a high-level coaching or facilitation approach that draws on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area.

This may be done through one-to-one or group support and could involve a variety of activities, such as:

  • diagnostic visits
  • data analysis
  • coaching and mentoring
  • facilitating and training
  • joint action planning
  • developing action plans, identifying key priorities and SMART targets
Benefits for the Project Leader and their school

The project Leader role is an excellent form of continuing professional development (CPD) for middle and senior leaders, enabling them to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities in a variety of ways.

This can mean that their ability to undertake their current role is further improved. It can also support schools’ internal succession planning strategies by enabling individuals to demonstrate they are ready to step up to the next leadership level.

The coaching and mentoring skills that Project Leaders develop can be used to support colleagues in their own school, for example, through in-house training and development. In addition, what they learn about different systems and contexts from the schools they support will help them to develop practice back in their own school.

System leadership supports the sharing and development of outstanding, innovative practice, which can benefit both schools in a partnership.


Project Leaders will be deployed beyond their own schools in response to local needs. The main objective of the Project Leader programme is for SLEs and Professional development consultants to support the development needs of peers in schools other than their own through outreach work.

The teaching school, the Project Leader school and the school/organisation in need of support all agree on the terms of the deployment. The time commitment will vary considerably, depending on how much support the school/ organisation needs.

Some projects only take a few days, others can take longer. For example, one deployment might be a two-day diagnostic exercise, whilst another might require a three-month full-time support role.

Teaching schools are responsible for the quality assurance of SLEs’ work and will need to demonstrate the impact of SLE deployments on outcomes for children.


All new Project Leaders have to attend the Systems Leadership Core Training programme. It provides new Project Leaders with essential information about the role and gives them the tools and techniques for effective school-to-school support.

The teaching school will ensure that there is support available for Project Leaders where required.


General support: sle.enquiries@education.gsi.gov.uk

For more information about becoming an SLE/ Professional Development Consultant or if you would like to commission any of our SLEs/ Project Development Consultants, please contact: admin@nelta.co.uk


Profiles of some of our current SLEs

Name: Mr Rob Laird

School: Beal High School

Current Position: Assistant Principal – KS4

Designation: Leadership of Curriculum – Science

I am currently an assistant principal at Beal High School. I have a responsibility for outcomes at KS4. Previously I have taken a lead on assessment and I have been a Director of Science. I have been involved in outreach work in a number of schools. Roles have included reviewing and then supporting departments, coaching middle leaders and helping develop teachers.


Name: Mr Thomas Mooney

School: Beal High School

Current Position: HOY 11 & Teacher of Drama

Designation: SLE Drama

I am an experienced Head of Drama and I have worked in five very different schools. Drama should inspire, motivate and make students question the world around them, and they will do this with exciting lessons. I have experience in improving the attainment at GCSE and A level, as well as increasing the uptake for both qualifications.


Name: Catherine Burrard-Lucas

School: Beal High School

Current Position: Principal of NELTA

Designation: History & Politics

Having held a range of positions at Beal High school (KS3 History Curriculum Leader, AfL Lead Teacher, Professional Development Director, Head of Politics and now Assistant Head Teacher) I have amassed both History and Politics specific and more general Teaching and Learning experience. In my role as AHT I am responsible for the recruitment, selection, training and assessment of trainee teachers which means that I have gained significant experience working with colleagues in schools around North East London. I am committed to sharing my knowledge with other leaders in order to ensure that all students in all classrooms have a high quality learning experience.


Name: Mr Bruno García Méndez

School: Beal High School

Current Position: Director of Professional Development & NELTA Professional Tutor

Designation: MFL (Spanish)

As someone who grew up outside of the UK, I have always valued language learning very highly as I truly believe it opens many doors within the professional sphere. In the spirit of embracing other cultures and ideologies, I have made it my mission to instil my students with a curiosity for learning that will broaden their understanding of their place within the global community.

I have been teaching in comprehensive secondary schools since 1999. Since I joined the profession I have taken on a number of roles. I was Assistant Year Manager, I have organised and conducted community languages clubs and exams, I have worked within the Inclusion and Learning Support Department and further taught Mathematics and ICT part-time.

Profiles of Some of Our Current Professional Development Consultants

Cécilia Chantaduc


Nimi Matharu


Stella Kasperkowicz

Design Technology

Rashida Morisiya

Applied Learning


We have worked closely with schools in different contexts to bring about desired improvements and have a track record of positive feedback in this work. The outcomes and impact of each deployment is evaluated by the Project Leader and the client school through weekly and final evaluation forms.

We have worked closely with schools in different contexts to bring about desired improvements and have a track record of positive feedback in this work. The outcomes and impact of each deployment is evaluated by the Project Leader and the client school through weekly and final evaluation forms.

 ‘Wow! Thank you for your amazing work with X and these detailed notes. He has already told me how incredibly useful he has found your support and he is clearly determined to implement what he has learnt from you immediately. Thank you so much’.

‘Thanks a lot for listening and helping us move forward. We are now feeling so much more confident and we will try our best to continue to implement the strategies you have suggested.’

‘I feel like I am working in a brand new department! I am now able to challenge members of my department when they are underperforming – and they know that!  You have been such a star, I can’t thank you enough!’

‘I will remember this visit for a very long time and implement much of what I have seen’.