Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE)

Specialist Leaders of Education

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are outstanding middle and senior leaders who have the skills to support individuals or teams in similar positions in other schools. They understand what outstanding leadership practice in their area of expertise looks like and are skilled in helping other leaders to achieve it in their own context.

The SLE role was created to help raise standards and improve the quality of school leadership through school-to-school support and peer-to-peer learning. This new designation recognises the important role that senior and middle leaders play in improving schools and outcomes for children.

Further information about SLEs, and the support they offer, can be found here>>

If you would like to speak to us about the School to School support the Cheshire Vale Teaching School Alliance can offer, please complete the Contact Us form with your details and we will be in touch as soon as possible. 

Victoria Cross

Victoria Cross

Drama and Theatre/ITT
Victoria Cross has been teaching for 15 years and has taught in both the comprehensive and the youth prison setting. She has been Head of the Drama and Theatre department at Helsby High School for 11 years. She has built an outstanding department where uptake and results are excellent. Tor has created an inspiring and inclusive curriculum which gives all students the opportunity to achieve highly. All groups of students including PP and boys achieve highly in her department and develop skills of resilience and capability. GCSE results last year saw 65% of students achieve A*-A. Tor has been a workshop leader at Primary Heads and Deputy conferences for a number of years where she has helped leaders understand the benefits of using Drama strategies in the Primary setting to improve creative writing and oracy skills. Tor has worked on the Leading Edge project within her school for the past 5 years and her projects have led and supported developments in Teaching and Learning. For the past 3 years she has co-led Teaching and Learning working with the AHT, changes have resulted in improvements in the amount of teaching in the school being graded as outstanding. Tor is also very proud to have been an ITT mentor for the past 12 years and was recently awarded Outstanding Mentor of the Year from Chester University (nominated by her ITT students). She has a very structured way of leading as a mentor and 86% of her training teachers have been graded as outstanding by the end of the course with the remainder being graded good with outstanding features. In November 2014 Tor was awarded NPQSL and as part of this qualification worked on the whole school improvement of Teaching and Learning and on using techniques from Drama to close the gap across the school.
Steve Chappell

Steve Chappell

Geography
  Steve has spent over 21 years developing expertise in curriculum development and pastoral management in contrasting schools across the North West of England. He currently leads an oversubscribed, highly successful and popular Geography Department. Steve is passionate about Geography Pedagogy and the delivery of a Geography curriculum that excites and engages students of all abilities where students are challenged and supported to reach and exceed their potential. He leads the most popular option subject at GCSE and a department who consistently meet and exceed challenging FFT target grades. He has several years of experience as a Geography examiner and a team leader. Steve has recently taken on a key role in the training of Associate Teachers through the Cheshire Vale Teaching School Alliance, where he successfully leads a team of subject mentors in their training of beginner teachers through high quality coaching and mentoring.
Stephen Moffatt

Stephen Moffatt

ICT & Learning Technologies
Stephen is in his 4th year at The Bishops’ Bluecoat High School in Chester as Head of ICT & Learning Technologies. Prior to this, Stephen worked as a Professional Learning Co-ordinator and Subject Lead for Business Studies at Hillside High School in Sefton. Since his arrival at Bishops’ Stephen has been responsible for strategically managing a department that faced a number of challenges. As well as results now being outstanding in a range of courses, when analysed both locally and nationally, Stephen and his team’s practice has been recognised as worthy of sharing with others. Stephen has experience in embedding new curriculum changes and has designed, planned and implemented new courses for GCSE/A Level ICT, ECDL, Computing and Business Studies as well as tools for tracking, monitoring and intervening with students. Stephen is a recognised expert in his field and has been approached to present at national conferences, and delivered inset regionally. He is passionate about teaching & learning and has supported colleagues in order to ensure that creative, inspiring learning occurs, providing students with memorable learning opportunities and the opportunity to make real progress in lessons across a range of subjects. Stephen is also well placed to advise on whole school systems to support learning, having lead on the design and implementation of virtual learning environment to support school improvement and is a CEOP trained e-safety Ambassador.
Shane Richardson

Shane Richardson

English
Shane has worked in a variety of contrasting settings, in a number of roles, driving up standards in English.  As an AST in North Yorkshire, he worked in one of the county’s highest performing schools, and led improvements that saw a sustained period of record breaking numbers of students achieving A*s in English.  Contemporaneously, Shane was seconded to a number of schools in the authority in Ofsted categories, and worked with their English departments to embed systems, structures and approaches to teaching and learning, that saw the number of students achieve A*-C in English rise significantly.  Since moving from North Yorkshire, Shane has led the Communications Faculty at Queen’s Park High School, driving up standards of attainment and progress, over a sustained period.  Attainment in 2016 was above the national average, and represented the school’s best ever English results.   The progress made by students placed the English department in the top 10% nationally, and ensured that it was one of the top six highest performing in Cheshire West.  This is further amplified because it was achieved with a cohort of students who came into the school from significantly lower starting points than other students nationally.  Students at the school now can expect to make progress in English that is in line with the top 10% of students nationally; equally, the number of students achieving the highest grades has never been greater.  Furthermore, in English at Queen’s Park High School, disadvantaged students can expect to make the same progress as their peers.  Shane was appointed as an Assistant Headteacher in 2016, continuing the work that he had undertaken on Pupil Premium and Assessment as an Associate Assistant Headteacher since November 2014.   Shane’s expertise lies in using data to identify areas of under-performance, devising coherent and high-impact strategies to drive up standards, leading to rapid and sustained improvement in line with the very best performance nationally. 
Sarah Brookes

Sarah Brookes

English and Literacy Across the Curriculum
Sarah has worked at Weaverham High School as curriculum leader of English for the last 3 years. Previously, she was second in English and Whole School Literacy Coordinator at Salford City Academy. She has taught English for 12 years. Since becoming curriculum leader at Weaverham High School, Sarah has implemented many changes that have resulted in the department becoming increasingly successful. She has introduced many new initiatives that have moved the department forward such as: changes to the curriculum to ensure that the needs of all students are met, the embedding of cooperative learning strategies which have allowed pupils to become independent learners, rigorous monitoring of teaching and learning and progress, developing a team that works well together. Sarah is passionate about the implementation of literacy strategies across the curriculum to ensure that pupils have every opportunity to develop their reading and writing skills and cultivate their enjoyment of these areas too.
Richard Gillard

Richard Gillard

Science
Richard has been Curriculum Leader of Science at Tarporley High School for 7 years. In this time Richard has led the faculty through significant curriculum re-development and this has involved challenging traditional teaching strategies. This has improved the motivation and engagement of students, the quality of teaching and learning across the faculty and subsequently the progress and attainment achieved. Richard has experience in a wide range of areas such as the self-evaluation process, tracking systems, data analysis, effective use of intervention, co-coaching and topical issues such as assessment beyond levels. Richard has established and developed the Tarporley Science Hub in Cheshire West and Chester as part of the Science Learning Partnership with Holmes Chapel Comprehensive school. In this role he has supported Science subject leaders from Primary and Secondary schools by planning and delivering Science subject leader network meetings and CPD events. Richard is also currently leading a whole-school strategy in developing a “language for learning” with staff and students. The strategy is intended to develop the key skills needed by students for 21st century learning while developing a common understanding of learning and use of shared language to articulate.
Rachael Povey

Rachael Povey

History
Rachael Povey is Head of History at Weaverham High School. She is also one of the Teaching and Learning Leads at the school. Rachael is an experienced and high performing classroom practitioner who is committed to raising standards of achievement for all learners. She enjoys developing cutting edge and innovative practice in the classroom and leads a successful and well-respected department within the school. Previously, Rachael was an Advanced Skills Teacher (Teaching and Learning) in a large comprehensive school in Hertfordshire, where she led whole school initiatives in her own school and also in other schools in the local area. In addition to her AST role, Rachael also worked for three years as a Lead Practitioner (Humanities) with the SSAT. In this role, she contributed to national and regional conferences and worked within a range of History/Humanities Departments across the country, helping them to respond to current challenges and develop high quality provision for all learners. Rachael is passionate about exciting teaching and learning and works hard to share practical and strategic thinking with colleagues within and beyond her own school. In addition to her Head of History role, Rachael is also currently a CPD Tutor for AQA. In this national role, she delivers subject specific training to Heads of Departments and History Teachers across the country. In all of these roles, Rachael offers well-considered and exciting thinking on a whole range of issues currently challenging History/Humanities teachers.
Nicola Cook

Nicola Cook

History/ Humanities and Curriculum Development: Whole School Literacy Coordination and the provision for Gifted, Talented & More Able Students
Nicola is a specialist in evaluating capacity for improvement in teaching and learning. A creative and innovative teacher, Nicola has a firm commitment to developing and sustaining outstanding teaching and learning in History. Having successfully led history departments in two different school settings, she has much experience of re-imagining the History curriculum, raising student attainment and developing staff. Nicola is strategic in her approach to improving results and values the importance of leading a team effectively. Nicola has excellent knowledge of identifying, developing and leading whole-school policy. Within her current role as Curriculum Development Leader, she has created a new culture of differentiation for more able, gifted and talented students. She has also embedded a coordinated, data driven approach to various whole school literacy strategies focused on developing student reading, writing and oracy skills.
Neil Cross

Neil Cross

PE & Geography
Neil is Assistant Head Teacher at The Catholic High School, Chester and teaches Physical Education and Geography. He has taught at several schools in the North West and overseas; previous posts have included being Assistant Head of Upper School at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and more recently he was Head of PE at St Bede’s College in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mr Cross joined The Catholic High School in 2009 and was Head of Year prior to his appointment as Assistant Head Teacher in 2015. He is responsibility for the pastoral welfare of all students, ensuring that there are no barriers to students achieving their full potential. Neil has introduced new approaches to behaviour management including the adoption of a "Restorative Approach" which has already had a significant impact on student behaviour and he has introduced new processes to improve systems for managing pupil behaviour. He has aslo developed strategies to improve attendance across the school.
Karen McCarthy

Karen McCarthy

Student achievement, Closing the Gap, Drama & Theatre Studies
Karen McCarthy is an Assistant Headteacher at Bishop Heber High School (Student Achievement - Closing the Gap) Upon appointment as Head of Drama in 2002 at the Catholic High School, Chester Karen proceeded to turn the department around, addressing the negative residual at GCSE and raising the profile of the subject through the delivery of high challenge lessons. Drama and Theatre Studies has been publicly acknowledged in the Governor Dashboard Report as a ‘Stronger Area’ based on a 3 year trend. Having created a culture of excellence, Music and Drama continue to thrive at the school. Karen has led developments in the recording and evidencing of verbal feedback in practical subjects, ensuring students are able to effectively respond to targets in order to make progress. Karen has considerable experience in the organisation of both Performing Arts and whole school events. Now leading on closing the gap at Bishop Heber, Karen continues to develop strategies to further raise the attainment of different cohorts, including SEN, Aim Higher (G & T) and Disadvantaged (PP). Having just gone through the new style Pupil Premium Review, Karen is well placed to advise on interventions that deliver impact and improve student outcomes. Karen uses an evidence-based approach to lead on an overall school strategy. Karen had a tremendous track record of work both in her own subject, and across the school as a member of SLT. 

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