School Leadership Identification Framework

The School Leadership Identification Framework (SLIF) was developed by the School Leadership Institute to help identify and develop future school leaders.

About the SLIF

Based on extensive teacher leadership research, the School Leadership Identification Framework (SLIF) recognises the importance of teacher leaders across NSW public schools, and provides a collection of professional learning resources to support teacher leadership identification and development.

This video gives an overview of the School Leadership Identification Framework.

Teacher leaders are classroom teachers whose sphere of influence has expanded to impact positively on the learning of students within and beyond their classroom and on colleagues within their school.

They increase the leadership capacity of our school system by improving the quality of teaching and learning practices and by building positive cultures in schools.

Importantly, teacher leaders are the formal leaders of tomorrow in New South Wales public schools.

That's why the New South Wales School Leadership Institute has developed the School Leadership Identification Framework to guide and support teacher leaders in their leadership development.

The framework has been purpose built for New South Wales public schools as a result of consultation, research, review and validation by teachers and leaders across a range of different schools.

This framework recognises teacher leaders and provides them with the opportunity for development, through collaboration and professional learning and by receiving quality feedback on their leadership behaviours and capabilities.

A teacher can self-identify as a leader, or be designated as one by a supervisor.

They can then choose a mentor who will work with them to plan their leadership goals and strategies.

Together, the mentor and teacher leader have regular meetings to discuss feedback based on observations of practice and other leadership learning activities in order to progress towards their leadership goals.

The School Leadership Institute recognises that every school in New South Wales is unique and busy, so the framework is flexible and adaptable.

It can align and support existing processes, including the Performance and Development Plan and progress towards higher formal accreditation.

We want our public education system to be one of the best in the world.

The School Leadership Identification Framework will help achieve this by developing high quality teacher leaders who will lead our schools into the future.

For more information, visit the SLI website.

Using the SLIF

Using the SLIF, teacher leaders can work with their supervisor to develop a leadership profile and set development goals. The process includes a cycle of planning, classroom observation and shadowing, feedback and acting on feedback.

The SLIF is based on extensive  research, review and feedback. The SLI conducted an in-depth research project with teachers in our schools to help identify the behaviours of teacher leaders, and carried out an extensive review of the available literature on teacher leadership.

The SLIF is now available in all NSW public schools.

The videos below explain how the SLIF can be used in schools to enhance leadership skills and impact.

Teachers and mentors outline how the SLIF can benefits staff and schools across NSW.

Martina Shadwick

What I found really intriguing initially was the opportunity it offered our teacher leaders. But for me, it was a lot deeper than that. It was about a platform for leadership.

Vanessa May

It's highly researched and evidence based tool that really provides all the resources that you need to set up a system in your school to support those that are identifying as teacher leaders in a school.

Aaron Langdon

Value for me through SIF was being able to push myself beyond the boundaries that I thought I could originally have meant and be able to develop leadership skills that have applied to me just not just in the classroom, but as a teacher throughout the school community.

Jessica David

It opened up a lot of conversations that I hadn't had before. It opened up a lot of conversations that I could have, honestly, with my mentor, as well as my principal about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go.

Kari Isachsen

This gave that opportunity to get that seat at the table to say, No, I'm part of this, I'm doing this thing, give me leadership opportunities.

Alix Roberts

It allowed a platform for me to build up some influence in the school as well. So not just from my own classroom, but among staff.

Jessica David

Without that and without that targeted and explicit direction of where I wanted to go and the goals that I had negotiated. I don't think that I would be feeling as confident as I am as a leader now.

Sarah Fay

That's really helped to give me a sense of efficacy in my own capabilities and is leading me that step closer to really what I want to do, which is having positive impact on student outcomes.

This video provides a step-by-step explanation of how to use the SLIF.

Developing teacher leaders helps improve teaching and learning in our schools while supporting the school leaders of tomorrow.

The School Leadership Institute has developed a new resource to help identify and guide teacher leaders in their development.

The School Leadership Identification Framework (or the SLIF) can be used by future school leaders and their mentors to plan and implement a developmental process.

The SLIF cycle begins with the identification of potential future leaders. Future school leaders are teachers who are expanding their sphere of influence and show the capabilities and preparedness to become formal school leaders in the future.

A teacher can self-identify as a future school leader or be nominated by a supervisor. Together, they start the cycle by building a leadership profile which sets out teacher’s goals for development.

The next step is to decide on a leadership mentor who agrees on the goals, the timeline of development and the specific approaches to leadership learning.

These approaches can include classroom observations, shadowing and formal leadership learning programs.

Regular meetings contribute to an ongoing cycle of planning, activities, observations and feedback, which helps the teacher reach their development goals.

And it helps them prepare for their role as a future leader in our school system.

The School Leadership Identification Framework will be used in a pilot program in 2021. And it will then be available in all NSW public schools in 2022.

Starting the SLIF journey

Information on how to begin the SLIF journey of leadership learning as an individual, school or group can be found on the staff only School Leadership Identification Framework page.

More information

For more information, contact the School Leadership Institute at


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • School Leadership Institute
Return to top of page Back to top