The Bristol Early Years Teaching School and Consortium is responsible for the recruitment, designation and deployment of Specialist Leaders in Education (SLES).

SLEs are experienced leaders and practitioners who have expertise in improving the quality of provision and standards in there are of specialism.

The work undertaken by an SLE is focused on building expertise, skill and capacity. It includes:

  • Targeted and intensive support in school and settings
  • Development and delivery of professional learning and development (CPD)
  • Leading in Research
  • Partnership development
  • Representation and leadership

Our SLEs have had great impact on the quality of EYs provision in Bristol, as evidenced by feedback from those who have accessed the support and also external evaluation such as Ofsted and Quality Improvement Visits.

Our SLEs are supported through a leadership development programme designed by the Teaching School. All are Specialist leaders work in settings/schools, they are connected to current practice, are learners themselves and will have faced similar challenges to you!


Introducing our SLEs

Birth to Threes
Rachel Pirie: St Pauls Nursery School
Carole Keane: Redcliffe Nursery School
Matt Caldwell: Knowle West Nursery School & Children’s Centre
Rosie McCallum: Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre

Communication, Language and Literacy
Jet Davis: St Pauls Nursery School
Ali Carrington: St Pauls Nursery School
Kate Irvine: Upper Horfield Children’s Centre and Primary School

Emma Butcher: Redcliffe Nursery School
Jo Morgan: Rosemary Early Years
Michelle McCarthy

Transition and Assessment
Cate Peel: St Pauls Nursery School
Becky Harris: St Johns Primary School
Melissa Watkins

Family Support
Michaela Willcox: St Pauls Nursery School & Children’s Centre
Sharyn Ayres: Redcliffe Nursery School & Children’s Centre
Jackie Ireland: Knowle West Nursery School & Childrens’ Centre
Lucy Hudd: Little Hays Nursery Schools and Children’s Centre

Gaby Simons
Lauren Hicks: St Werburgh’s Park Nursery School

Nuzhat Malik: St Pauls Nursery School


Accessing SLE Support

There are 2 routes to enable you to access this support

  • If you are Bristol setting/school identified as needing support in consultation with the LA a request for support will be actioned in partnership with yourself and the LA, you will then be allocated a limited number of funded SLE support sessions which will be closely monitored
  • If you want support which does not fall into this category you can request it directly from the EYs Teaching School using a Request for Support Form (see below). If there is SLE capacity you will be allocated support. This support is a charged at £350 per day, which is the average charge across all National Teaching School.

What settings have said about the support they have received from the SLEs:

“Sometimes its not clear where you should start when there is so much to improve, the SLE support helped me to identify which changes would have the greatest impact on children and supported me into really effective action planning”
– Leader of Private Nursery

“The training that the SLEs delivered was really inclusive and motivating, they have great expertise at working with wider teams and understanding how to engage everyone they work with”
– Nursery Teacher

“The SLE support I had was invaluable – she completed an audit with me and unpicked the things that I had over complicated. She helped me to get great systems in place which will enable our setting to weather any storm”
– Children’s Centre Leader

“The SLE modelled exemplary practice – her interactions and level of challenge with the children enabled my team to actually see how it should be done. The reflective conversations that followed produced many light bulb moments”
– Private Nursery Leader

“The SLE has restored my self-confidence and passion for teaching again, I wouldn’t have survived the year without her support, let alone be ready for Ofsted! Our EYs provision did great – I credit that to the coaching and guidance I got from the SLE. I know what outstanding looks like now.”
– Reception Teacher in a Primary School

“The knowledge the SLE has about working with babies and under 3s was fantastic– she got me to consider things that hadn’t even occurred to me, starting everything with the needs of the child and family”
– Team Leader in Private Nursery