About Us

SAfE is Committed to a Strong School-led System

The whole SAfE team is here to support the school community: whether that is through provision of expert guidance and advice provided by key team members, learning support partners or advisors, or the high quality programme support provided by the office team.

Please take a look below to meet the key SAfE team members.

Maria Dawes – CEO

Maria is passionate about education and how the collective power of partnership working in education can be the catalyst to deliver educational excellence and great outcomes for all children and young people.

Her career in education started as a maths teacher in East Sussex and she has held a wide range of senior educational leadership positions in schools, university and other organisations including as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors for Schools and as Deputy Regional Schools Commissioner in the South-East. She is also a trustee in a local Multi-academy Trust.

Louise Yarnell – Director of School Improvement

Louise has worked in primary schools for over 20 years holding various senior leadership posts including 10 years as Headteacher. Louise joined the SAfE team in September 2020.

She is an experienced school improvement professional. Improving the standards and life chances of the children and young people is of absolute importance to her and she is delighted to be working with schools and headteachers who have deep understanding, care and ambition for their school communities. She thrives on developing those around her and being authentically engaged within all aspects of the school improvement.

Michele Miller – Learning and Leadership Consultant

Michele has been with SAfE since it was established and is the Learning and Leadership consultant. Michele works closely with a diverse range of schools as they pursue being ‘even better’. Michele oversees the SAfE programmes for school leaders which range from professional learning networks to New Headteacher induction and Headsup; part of SAfE’s professional learning offer for the community of Surrey Heads. Additionally, Michele leads on key initiatives such as the SAfE programme for Educational Equity in our Secondary schools.

David Hargreaves

“Education should be ‘everyone’s business’ where everyone contributes and everyone benefits from working together.”