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 is designed 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.

As a teaching school we have a number of SLEs who work with us to support other schools. Particular specialisms include Teaching and Learning, Assessment, School Business Management, SEND and Closing the Gap. Pen portraits of each of our SLEs can be found below.


Name of SLE : Tim Connole

Current Role : Deputy Headteacher – seconded full time to Gloucestershire Association of Secondary Headteachers to lead on CPD and ITT for Gloucestershire secondary schools

Current School : Cirencester Deer Park

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : 11 – 18; Leadership of CPD, NQT and ITT

Pen Portrait

Tim is currently seconded to act as Managing Director of Adfecto.  Within this role Tim coordinates secondary professional development across Gloucestershire including the NQT programme for the county and programmes aimed at improving teaching and leadership.  As Deputy Head at Cirencester Deer Park Tim led on all aspects of CPD.  This included developing Master’s programmes with the University of Gloucestershire for NQTs and for educational leadership and working with a group of universities to develop the Master’s in Teaching and Learning. 

Tim has worked with several schools in special measures to improve teaching and leadership, including working on action plans, participating in learning reviews and joint lesson observations.  Currently training as an Ofsted inspector which is bringing a new dimension to potential support.

Tim also leads on initial teacher training with GITEP.  This includes working with schools to develop the School Direct route into teaching.  Tim was previously Internal Assessor for the University of Bath Geography PGCE programme and has worked with schools across the SW to develop their ITT provision.

Tim is also a chair of governors at a primary school and has run a number of training sessions for governors on performance management and governors’ role in school improvement.

Availability : Full time secondment means no timetable and potential flexibility on availability.



Name of SLE : Katherine Fey

Current Role : Head of Additional Studies, Co-ordinator of Teaching & Learning

Current School : Pates Grammar School

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : KS3-5 / Economics, Business

Pen Portrait

Katherine’s previous roles have been as a Head of Department in both school and Sixth Form College settings, a co-ordinator of Teaching and Learning and a member of the extended SLT at Pate’s Grammar School.

Katherine has an MSc in Educational leadership with a focus on leadership for innovation. Her work with Google in California enables her to bring experience of leadership in the best of industry together with over 20 years in education to inform her work.

She has recent experience in driving sustained improvements in Assessment for Learning techniques to raise pupil achievement, resilience and independence. In addition, she has had significant impact in working collaboratively to develop the Teaching and Learning strand of the School Development plan. Ensuring a strong vision of excellence and a range of practical strategies to support new and experienced colleagues to develop their own practice through training, advice and support.

She has been instrumental in leading improvements in differentiation amongst pupils in a high achieving Grammar School.

Training designed and led in the last 2 years includes that on questioning, differentiation, creating the right classroom environment, metacognition, formative assessment, and enhancing skills for learning.

Katherine organises regular TeachMeets locally.

As an SLE she specialises in improving Teaching and Learning. More specifically: Assessment, Provision for the Gifted and Talented and Post-16 Education.



Name of SLE : Liam Hinkley

Current Role : Deputy Headteacher, Olevi Facilitator and Coach, School-to-School leadership support partner 

Current School : Rowanfield Junior School and Springbank Primary Academy

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : EYFS, KS1, KS2 4 -11 years old

Pen Portraits

Liam has works across the Gloucestershire Learning Alliance, comprising of three large primary schools. He is also the launch headteacher of a new school being built in Longford, Gloucester. Prior to this, he worked within the local authority to develop online learning in Gloucestershire, successfully developing and embedding this as a key tool for learning and home engagement in infant, junior and primary schools.

As the core of his work is a keen understanding of quality first teaching, frequently called upon for deployment on National Support School projects, including an acting headteacher position in a school in special measures. This school is now out of category and graded ‘good’ in the subsequent OFSTED. He continues to support a number of schools in the region, plans and delivers training and is a facilitator and coach. Liam is particularly passionate about developing other leaders through coaching and mentoring. He frequently supports leaders within the alliance as well as in other settings. This includes support with the Recently Qualified Teaching (RQT) programme and NPQML. Liam holds NPQH, is part of the senior leadership team of the Gloucestershire Learning Alliance and continues to work within the Odyssey Teaching School Alliance.

Availability: Liam is available to discuss any development needs for the school, to support middle leaders or to broker support on behalf of our highly skilled SLE team. He is also able to offer more information on the wider spectrum of school-to-school support and CPD available.



Name of SLE : Liz White

Current Role : Assistant Head, Middle Phase Lead (Year 1-4) and Director of Teaching and Learningh

Current School : Springbank Primary Academy

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : KS1 or 2 Teaching and Learning/Closing the gap

Pen Portrait

Liz is the current Assistant Head and Lead for Years 1-4 at Springbank Primary Academy with a responsibility for planning, assessment and intervention across the year groups. She has returned to the school after a years secondment post as Deputy Head (Head of Teaching and Learning)  supporting another primary school with the development of their curriculum, monitoring strategies and skills based teaching. This also involved meetings with the LA and quality assuring judgements made.

In a previous position, Liz was Mathematics lead and developed the subject on a whole school level from EYFS to Year 6 as well as liaising with Year 7 colleagues on transition mathematics and closing the gap strategies.  Liz has supported teachers in a range of settings with planning and teaching strategies used to target all children and to close the gap for slow/stuck learners. As part of the National College NPQML Liz has also undertaken action research into closing the gap for children and advised staff on practical resources and strategies.

Liz has also delivered training in closing the gap for reading and writing, growth mindset, working memory and effective feedback. Currently, she supports NQTs and new staff as well as facilitating development for more established teachers.  As Director of Teaching and Learning, Liz mentors both individuals and groups in all areas of their development in order to strive for Outstanding teaching and learning.

Availability : Details on request


Name of SLE : Sue Gifkins

Current Role : AHT and SENco

Current School :Rowanfield Junior, Springbank Primary and seconded to Rowanfield Infants 2014/15

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : Primary/SEN (middle school trained)

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Sue has many years’ experience as a SENco, holds a Masters in SEN and the National Accreditation for SENco. She has supported schools with a variety of SEN concerns over short and long term, including a year working in a primary School in Special Measures. Following a successful OFSTED, the school was graded good. Effective SEN provision and support staff management was a clear strength. Sue continues to support a number of schools, some of which are aiming to move from good to outstanding, both as long term secondment s and short term targeted intervention.

Recently, she has supported a Secondary School in Special Measures, providing advice and guidance to the SENCo around support staff deployment and management. With expertise in the New Code, she has worked with aspiring SENcos, whilst providing a number of training events for schools. She manages and leads a large team of HLTAs and TAs, including developing a performance management handbook and systems linked to a cohesive CPD programme.

As well as providing training to outside agencies on relevant SEN issues and planning in-house training,. She is an associate member of the British Dyslexia Association and previously spent three years in Shire Hall as an SEN Casework Officer.

Availability : Details on request


Name of SLE : Martin Doidge

Current Role : Director of Finance & Administration

Current School :Cirencester Deer Park School

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : School Business Management, Academy Conversion, Assessment Data

Pen Portrait

Martin is a qualified accountant with 12 years experience working in secondary education after a previous career working at senior level in business and is currently Chair of the Gloucester Association of School Business Managers. As well as being a very experienced school business manager Martin is also the lead timetabler and assessment data analyst for his school. Martin has experience of working with Governors, senior leadership teams and middle managers to improve financial control and performance, improve understanding and analysis of assessment data, provide innovative ways of presenting information, and converting to academy status. For the last three years Martin has also been a trainer for Adfecto (the training and development arm of Gloucestershire Association of Secondary Heads) providing training for Governors and senior leaders on academy conversion, assessment data, performance related pay and financial efficiencies.

Availability : Details on request


Name of SLE : Cariad Lewis

Current Role : Acting Headteacher

Current School : Bishops Cleeve Primary Academy

Key Stage / Age Range / Subject Specialism : Non-Teaching Specialism – Performance Management, ITT, Teaching & Learning, EYFS, KS1 & 2, Assessment

Cariad is currently the Deputy Headteacher at Bishops Cleeve Primary Academy. She has a responsibility for assessment and data as well as performance management and ITT. She has taught in both KS1 and KS2 and has a passion for creativity in teaching & learning.

Cariad is a Gloucestershire Local Authority Moderator for KS1 assessment and used to run CPD sessions for staff in schools at their request as a GlosEd Leader. She has facilitated and delivered training for all staff at all levels in many areas such as phonics, AfL, using Talk for Writing and assessment led teaching. She continues to support the planning and delivery of the Gloucestershire NQT training program.

Cariad is a qualified coach and facilitates the OLEVI OTP and ITP programmes. Her passion for Initial Teacher Training and quality cpd for all allows her to manage effective induction programmes for training teachers, students and NQTs in her setting and others. As part of this she is an active coach and mentor to both individuals and groups in all areas of their development in order to strive for Outstanding teaching and learning.

Availability : Cariad is available to discuss any areas and support needed as detailed above upon request.


Please do contact us at info@odysseyts.org if you would be interested to know more about how one of our SLEs could support your school.