Decision details

Proposal to enter into a local education partnership with Schools Alliance for Excellence

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Cabinet are asked to approve:

A local education partnership with Surrey’s Schools to discharge its statutory duties in respect of school standards. 

The council’s enters into a schools company, which will be a private company limited by guarantee, as a partner with a 19 per cent share, to discharge this responsibility.

Delegation of the authority to enter into the relevant  contractual agreement to the Lead Cabinet Member and Executive Director for Children, Families, Learning and Culture.





1. That the establishment of the new school-led partnership for improvement in Surrey known as the Schools Alliance for Excellence (SAfE) be approved.


2. That the Council’s participation as a member of SAfE with two officers of the Council to be appointed to the board of directors of the company be endorsed.


3. That the commission SAfE lead and manage Surrey’s school improvement strategy for an initial three years, from September 2019 to 2022 was agreed.


4. That delegated authority be given to the Executive Director for Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning, to agree, as appropriate, to SAfE being contracted for further council commissions over the next three years was agreed.


5. That the Council act as the ‘supervising authority’ for SAfE was agreed.


Reason for Decision:


Surrey County Council outsourced its school improvement services over 15 years ago. Through the contract, Babcock 4S was engaged to undertake all 11 council duties relating to school standards and the quality assurance of all maintained schools, 14 compliance checking duties and five relating to the curriculum. This contract came to an end in March 2019, and these duties are currently being undertaken by council officers on a short-term basis.  However, this is not consistent with the developing schools-led system and partnership approach underpinning our work with children and families.


Over recent years, Surrey schools have built a system of improvement using local practitioners and teaching schools.  The recommendations in this report would extend the breadth and depth of that schools-led system so it can accelerate improvement in the outcomes for children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable, in Surrey schools.


[The decisions on this item can be called in by the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning & Culture Select Committee]


Report author: Liz Mills

Publication date: 17/07/2019

Date of decision: 16/07/2019

Decided at meeting: 16/07/2019 - Cabinet

Effective from: 25/07/2019

Accompanying Documents: