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Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE)

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE's)


Specialist Leaders of Education can be deployed to offer school to school support and develop leadership within schools. A true form of school-led system leadership and development.


Each teaching school has a designation of SLE's that complement their teaching school offer. To request SLE deployment, please complete the below form and we will work with the Leicester City Teaching Schools' Group to ensure the most appropriate SLE is deployed to meet your schools' requirements.

Any PDF document can be translated into another language by Google Translator, a link to the translator and instructions on how to use it can be found in our policies section, by clicking on the link below:

AFTA's Designated SLE's


Lorraine Biddle

Lorraine Biddle is a Specialist Leader in Education with an interest in Special Educational Needs.   She is currently the Senior Teacher at Ward 3, the CAMHS inpatient unit, at The Hospital School.  She has been a teacher for 24 years, having worked for the Leicestershire Autism Outreach Service and as a primary school SENCO.

Lorraine has a particular interest in supporting a holistic approach to education, with a focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing.  She is passionate in supporting young people who struggle to access education as a result of poor mental health, anxiety or additional needs.  Lorraine is experienced in delivering school to school support, multi -agency working and collaborative partnership planning and delivery. 

In her spare time she is a full time Mum to 2 girls, enjoys reading and has been known to ‘shuffle’ the odd 5K!


Vicky Bland

Vicky is a skilled classroom practitioner, a motivated subject coordinator, a proven manager and leader, all of which have been recognised by OFSTED. She has worked within the special needs field for over 17 years and has completed her SEN diploma; Leading from the Middle and Leadership Pathways.

Vicky has developed CPD opportunities in her own school, is a team teach trainer and has led training for the local authority. Vicky leads the CLASS assessment group and has introduced a new assessment system at Oaklands in light of the  Rochford Review. Over the past year she has worked as an SLE completing some SEND reviews in local primary schools and on developing outreach opportunities at Oaklands with the local authority and local schools.


Ellen Croft

Ellen is a Vice Principal at Ash Field Academy in Leicester, which is a Specialist School for Children and Young People with Physical Disabilities or complex medical condition. She is Director of Ash Field Teaching School, Challenge Partners HUB Manager and a Specialist Leader of Education SEND with a particular interest in learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. Ellen believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together to improve the academic and social outcomes for our learners with SEND.

Ellen is an outstanding classroom practitioner and has extensive experience in leading whole school improvement priorities, including curriculum, teaching and learning and CPLD. Through the Teaching School’s School to School Support Network she has supported, mentored and coached school leaders both with specialist and mainstream settings. She is an experienced facilitator of CPLD and has delivered courses to ITT students, teaching assistants, teachers and leadership including SENDCOs.

Ellen has spoken at several national conferences about outstanding provision for learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. Ellen sits on the National Board of Trustees for EQUALS, a charity which is committed to supporting the work of teachers, TAs, schools and parents/carers of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) severe learning difficulties (SLD) and moderate learning difficulties (MLD).


Diane Davies

Diane Davies is a deputy Headteacher at The Children's Hospital School. She has many years of Senior Leadership experience and is the leader at Willow Bank School. Current responsibilities include Examinations, Assessment and Data, Timetable and Curriculum, Referrals, Behaviour and Attendance. Diane is a trained Challenge Partners Reviewer and as an SLE she has undertaken reviews in primary schools. She leads and supports staff, encouraging professional development to develop expertise and to enable staff to contribute to the school. In the classroom Diane is a mathematics teacher. She has recently completed a MA in Education, Learning and Teaching through Leicester University.

In her work Diane seeks to ensure that all students can access education with a curriculum to maximise their life chances. This includes multi-agency work and effective management to achieve the personalised curriculum that brings about the best outcomes for each individual student. Diane is respected as a leader that has managed changes and significant growth at The Children's Hospital School and she is ambitious for the students, staff and the school. Her attention to detail and careful resource management is key to ensuring the school delivers the service required to change young lives.


Natasha Jackson

Natasha is an outstanding leader for SEND and EAL, whilst continuing to work on delivering a high quality, inclusive education for all pupils in her role as Senior Assistant Head Teacher. Her commitment to excellence is evident through the work she undertakes as part of a SEND HUB, where she is an active leader, enabling effective collaborative work between the HUB schools and with the LA.

As an experienced mentor for the LESP EAL Leadership Programme, mentoring a wide range of primary schools across the city, Natasha has proven her capacity to enable schools to make sustainable improvements, raise attainment for pupils and empower other leaders.


Caroline Lindsay

Caroline Lindsay is a Specialist Leader in Education for children with special educational needs and disabilities and is currently the Vice Principal responsible for Secondary and FE at Ash Field Academy Special School. Prior to this, Caroline was a curriculum leader for the Yellow Pathway; a curriculum for pupils working just below age related expectation and those with moderate learning difficulties.

This newly developed curriculum and assessment framework was lead and developed by Caroline and her team to ensure that pupils with SEND learn the functional skills that best prepare them for their future, whilst accurately assessing their smaller steps of progress. Caroline has a passion for curriculum development and enhancing the skills of teachers and teaching staff. She has written and run CPD courses through the Ash Field Teaching School, written and delivered SEND lectures on the Primary and Secondary PGCE courses at Leicester University, is a QA tutor on the Leicester and Leicestershire Early Primary SCITT and has been published in the educational magazine SecEd for her advice on supporting pupils with SEND in mainstream schools.


Dan Pinder

Dan Pinder is a Specialist Leader of Education with a particular focus on SEMH in the primary and secondary sector and mediation. He is currently working at Millgate School, an SEMH school with a reputation for innovation and child-centred approaches to intervention. Dan is an Assistant Head who leads in 2 provisions; “The Bungalow”, a specialist setting for students with ASD and social anxiety and the school’s primary setting.

Prior to this Dan has worked with marginalised/excluded pupils  setting up an alternative curriculum  unit within a school and  young offenders within the Youth Offending Team and a Young Offenders Institute.  He is also a trained Challenge Partner reviewer and relishes the opportunity to work within a variety of different schools and settings believing that every school brings its own successes and challenges.

Dan led the Conflict Resolution In Schools Programme which set up Peer mediation services across the region. This work was then used nationally and internationally.


Elizabeth Taylor

Liz Taylor is a Specialist Leader in Education with a particular interest in SEND. She has been a senior leader and leading practitioner at Parks Primary School for 16 years which is an outstanding school in the city centre and is well renowned in Leicester City for its innovative child-centred and inclusive approaches to teaching. Liz has taught in all year groups across the primary age range from Foundation Stage to Year 6.  Initially she was Key stage 1 lead and then became Inclusion Manager.  Over the years Liz has been seconded to other schools to be SENCO on a part-time basis. She is also a qualified Reading Recovery teacher. She has supported the LA in leading training to large groups of teachers and teaching assistants in Literacy interventions including Boosting Reading and Writing Progress and Inference training. She was awarded with Advanced Skills status 10 years ago. Liz has supported many city primary schools in order for them to develop practice and improve the progress and outcomes of children. She has coached SENCO’s, teachers and teaching assistants to improve the teaching and learning of all pupils and in particular those children with SEN.  This has included team teaching, modelling and demonstrating, collaborative planning, observation and feedback and facilitating opportunities for staff to be self-reflective. Liz has recently spent 2 years seconded by the local authority to develop the new EHCP format and processes.

Liz is fully committed to improving the life chances of children with Special Educational Needs and

Disabilities. She relishes the opportunities given to her to support other schools and brings with her many years of experience working across the city where she has built up positive working relationships.



Page edited 27/09/2019 by SHOLLIDAY​