More information

We believe you will find answers to the majority of questions you may have about us from this website and the Frequently Asked Questions listed here.

However we are here to help and if you cannot find what you are looking for please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Contact page

Frequently Asked Questions


SAfE? What does this acronym represent?

Schools Alliance for Excellence is an alliance belonging to all schools.  

Can you explain how the commissioned support service works?

The school improvement team have been supporting schools in each category since the beginning of the term. We are in the process of allocating support partners to each maintained primary school.

Please contact if you have specific questions arising regarding the commissioned support work.  

How will SAfE support schools to address the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils?

We are currently working with a number of headteacher colleagues from all four quadrants, the EEF and local research school and curriculum experts to develop our approach to supporting schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils. This work will lead to a number of local and Surrey-wide projects developed by schools and supported by SAfE and greater awareness of effective provision and support.

We will share our plans and outcomes with Phase Councils and via direct cascades to all schools. In addition, our risk-assessment process of schools takes into account provision for vulnerable groups and subsequent support. 

SAfE?What is the difference between being a member and subscribing?

Each Surrey school and academy is eligible to become a Member of Schools Alliance for Excellence. (Please note that there is no cost to join SAfE and that there is no requirement for the £10 to be paid on joining) 

Membership is a formal process which offers ‘legal’ recognition of the school’s commitment and support for SAfE and the services SAfE delivers. Membership offers the opportunity to attend AGM and shape the strategic direction of SAfE. Subscription is open to all Surrey schools and academies. This is distinct from Membership. Subscription for 2020/2021 is an 89p per pupil financial contribution which provides funding to support the cohesive development of the system for all schools including the development of the Directories.  Any school that subscribes will also get discounted rates for any SAfE provided provision. Schools are not obliged to join as Members in order to subscribe.

A school can choose to be a Member and/or a Subscriber. A school does not have to join formally to subscribe, neither does it have to subscribe if it joins as a Member. Maintained nursery schools and academy nursery schools will not be charged 89p.  The statutory commissioned school improvement work for the LA is funded through ring fenced contracted funding grants and will fund support to maintained primary schools only. N.B. The school/academy trust members of SAfE will not be considered to be related parties of SAfE for accounting purposes, simply by virtue of their involvement at membership level (being one of a large number of members), and there would need to be far greater influence and involvement for the related party provisions to kick in.

The question of whether a party is related or not, is one of influence and control. As one of many members, the school’s/academy trust’s influence and control over the management and activities of SAfE is extremely limited and it would not be considered a related party on the basis of its membership. The privacy policy and data sharing protocol are available online. Please see the Join Us page for more information.

SAfE? How does SAfE know what school improvement provision is being offered and by whom?

We are engaging with all schools through the self-evaluation process and invite schools to identify their areas of strength and their opportunities for development. In addition, we are asking to schools to identify where they have specific expertise and in what ways they can support other schools. This will inform our plans to build and resource services with the support of local delivery networks  

What is the quality assurance process that SAfE will define, promote and adhere to?

We are developing a QA framework for all services offered through SAfE. This framework will establish clear criteria for assessing quality of provision and will be consulted on with all schools via Phase Councils.  

How will SAfE work with Diocesan and MAT organisations?

SAFE is not replicating the work of the Dioceses or of MATs and it is for schools to make autonomous choices when wishing to secure support. SAfE will work to deliver support to all Surrey schools in partnership with all other organisations that offer schools and academies access to SI services.  

What do I do if I get an inspection?

As a maintained school, SAfE will be informed when you receive your Ofsted Inspection notification. You will be contacted by a member of the SAfE Team to ask whether you require pre inspection support from a SAfE Advisor. You will then be called by the Advisor before 6pm that day.

If your school has been identified as a Challenge and Support School, the allocated SAfE Advisor will contact you directly to discuss any support you may require. They will also be available to attend your post inspection feedback. Please also contact the team directly if necessary.

If you are either an academy or a maintained school and need any additional pre Ofsted support; Headteacher induction and/or appraisal support please contact

If the Ofsted Inspector asks for a conversation with the LA/SAfE, please ring 01483 749954 and a member of the SAfE Team will arrange for a SAfE Advisor to be available. If you are a Support and Challenge school, your allocated SAfE Advisor will be available to either meet or speak to the Inspector and to attend feedback where possible.

What is the governance of SAfE and how is the organisation held to account?

SAfE is the umbrella organisation which brings together the stakeholders engaged in school-led school improvement. The SAfE Board comprises representatives of the four Phase Councils, STSN, the Diocese and SCC. The Board is accountable for the strategic direction and development of SAfE in addition to holding the leadership of SAfE to account for the quality of provision and financial sustainability.

The Local Authority holds the SAfE senior leaders to account for the delivery of the statutory SI commission through regular contract management meetings measured against a series of KPIs. Whilst Phase Councils and Dioceses will continue to operate to deliver their remit to their members and coordinate meetings accordingly, all organisations will work together to ensure cohesion and coordination of message.  

In previous years an 'external consultant' has supported me with HT Appointment, Appraisal, Review and Development. 

If you would like support with HT Review and Development please get in touch on 01483 749954

How is SAfE engaging SEND schools?

Special Schools and PRUs are represented on the SAfE board. SAfE is also working with Special schools to ensure that there is a bespoke approach to the statutory school improvement commission. In addition we are working to develop and deliver SEND support which is accessible to all Surrey schools, across all phases.


How do I join?

Membership packs and information about how to join the Schools Alliance for Excellence is available via the Join Us page.

When will I know who my Support Partner is?

We will be in touch with schools over the course of this term to let them know who their Support Partner is. For those maintained schools that need support immediately we have either been in touch or will be very shortly.

If you require assistance or have any questions relating to support please contact 01483 749954 or email

"System leadership arises when political leaders and school leaders openly debate and agree on the moral purpose of education and then work in partnership to agree and to implement the means by which such purposes can be realised."

David Hargreaves


01483 749954

Connect with us and regularly follow all the news and
lots of other interesting things.
Don’t hesitate and get in touch, we’re expecting you!



View all our tweets

Contact us

Get in contact today.

Mission Statement

"To create an inclusive partnership where all children and young people have the opportunities to flourish, enjoy learning and achieve the best possible outcomes through excellent education"

Copyright 2022 Schools Alliance for Excellence

Back To Top