Our Staff

Who are the staff at SAFE?

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Our Teachers

The SAFE family

Here you can learn more about SAFE’s wonderful team of staff

Annabel Leaver

Annabel Leaver

Head of Centre

Annabel first set up SAFE soon after gaining a teaching degree, specialising in special educational needs. She now manages and co-ordinates SAFE and also teaches various subjects. Her expertise lies in the teaching of children and adults with autism and associated learning and social differences. Annabel also trains staff on implementing the SPELL framework, which allows students to learn in centre that instils Structure, Positive approaches and expectations, Empathy, Low arousal and Links. Alongside running SAFE since it opened in 2012, Annabel worked hard at registering SAFE as an examination centre. She plays a crucial part of the exam team at SAFE, making sure the centre maintains its integrity of the examinations procedure.
Annabel has been instrumental in leading SAFE through the process of registration, and is now looking forward to taking us into the future as a registered special school.

Ruth McWeeney

Ruth McWeeney

Deputy Head

Ruth is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and plays several instruments. She holds a teaching diploma and home educated her own children for several years, becoming skilful at tailoring lessons to suit each individual within a group.
She studied maths to A level as it is a subject she is passionate and enthusiastic about. Her goal is to transmit this enthusiasm to her students. Ruth has experience of teaching children with autism and has a sound understanding of the condition. Ruth’s caring and sensitive nature makes her the ideal tutor to support students who come to us with very real fears of mathematics. Her knowledge and understanding of the subject also makes her the perfect coach to challenge those who are extraordinarily gifted in the subject. Ruth is also a professional artist and designer. Mainly working with pencil, watercolour, acrylic and graphic design, Ruth has made a successful career out of not only selling her work, but also allowing others to follow their creative paths.
Ruth is the exams officer at SAFE and is integral to the day-to-day running of assessments, data sharing and organisation of exams administration.

Lisa King

Lisa King

Office Manager

Lisa has worked in schools as an administrator and also as learning support for a number of years and is now SAFE’s admissions facilitator after sending her own child to the centre three years ago. Lisa understands the fears and concerns families may feel when making the transition from school to home education and does her uttermost to help families come to an informed and supported decision. Lisa is a friendly ear for those who feel lost and confused in the world of SEND education.
Lisa is a valuable asset to the team, ensuring centre records are up to scratch, reward schemes are followed through and makes sure students who may feel too anxious to enter a class have someone to chat to. Lisa helps families with everything from impartial DLA form advice to signposting to local workshops and training sessions.

Mick Hunter

Mick Hunter

Teacher

Mick graduated at the University of York with a 2:1 in Television and Film Production, specialising in screenwriting. He has experience writing screenplays for shorts and feature film, and currently is writing for a graphic novel in pre-production. He seeks to bring his enthusiasm for story and style to GCSE English Language students. Although fascinated by all science, Mick specialises in Biology, which he studied at A level. His Science lessons focus on recent advancements and how they might impact the world, bringing the lessons away from apples falling from trees, and towards re-usable rockets, augmented reality, and genetically engineered astronauts.
Mick’s classes are fun, engaging and are packed with discussion and enthusiasm. Students often work from a shared drive allowing Mick to assess and feedback instantly during written task time. Mick uses his knowledge of technology to ensure students access the curriculum with ease and efficiency and also accessible from home, should they not be able to make it into class.

Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes

Teacher

After acquiring four A-Levels (English, Drama, Sociology and Statistics), Steve studied welding and associated engineering and went to work making theatre scenery. He lived and worked in London for 25 years and managed projects for shows such as X-Factor, MTV and Dancing on Ice, working for the last ten years at the Royal Opera House where he put together their scenic metalwork department. He completed a degree in Mathematics and its Learning in 2013 and is now beginning his transition into education. Steve has two children with SEND and is committed to helping young people gain confidence and qualifications and develop their own strategies to enable them to have successful and fulfilling lives beyond education.

Hannah McCann
Hannah McCann

Teaching Assistant

Hannah is a fabulous Teaching Assistant with a kind, nurturing approach.

Dre Edwards

Dre Edwards

Sports coach

Dre brings his unique perspective as an autistic individual to further support the pupils of SAFE. He is a prolific gamer, and provides companionship and guidance to the students when supporting and mentoring them.
Dre uses his knowledge of games to interact with students who find formal learning difficult, sharing different platforms of gaming to access a range of skills and understanding; including creativity and imagination in his creative development sessions; social and life skills in role play and narrative gaming sessions and problem solving and tactical skills in board and card gaming sessions.
Dre also works in and outside of SAFE as a trainee boxing coach, training children and young adults of all capabilities. Dre will be teaching a number of boxing sessions for the GCSE Physical Education course.
Dre’ s hobbies include art, gaming and fitness. He has an extensive anime, manga and computer game collection of all genres and also enjoys making music.

Maggie Casey

Maggie Casey

Outreach Teacher

After completing a degree in English and Sociology, Maggie trained as a Secondary English and Drama teacher. She cut her teeth in a large all-boys comprehensive in South London then moved on to learning about the challenges to learning that many children with disabilities encounter daily by working in an all- age special school.
Ten years of working in an alternative educational unit teaching all subjects and supporting teenagers who had dropped out of full-time education was underpinned by studying for an MA in Emotional Factors in Teaching and Learning.
Working on the wards and in pupils’ homes as part of the educational provision in a large London hospital taught Maggie that learning and teaching is valuable no matter what the medical and psychological circumstances may be. She still loves English and Drama but has a sneaking interest in most things to do with the world about us.
Maggie also works as a part-time exam invigilator and plays lots of traditional music in Folk Clubs and Irish music sessions on whistle and fiddle.

Nicola Morrell

Nicola Morrell

Teacher

Nicola has a Masters in Education from the University of Greenwich. After many years teaching in SE London secondary schools, Nicola went to work for the University of Greenwich running their Teacher Training programmes in IT. Over the years, Nicola has had experience of teaching Design Technology, IT and Art. She has worked in a unit supporting a range of SEN and as a private tutor for students with SEN. Nicola has personal knowledge of Autism and worked as a volunteer for the National Autistic Society during 2018/9. Nicola has a special interest in SAFE school and has been watching it grow over the years. She believes that SAFE is a local lifeline that is doing some fantastic work by helping young people to regain their confidence, develop and achieve in a supportive environment. Nicola is looking forward to helping SAFE progress as an Independent Special School by supporting staff and students.

Hannah Payne

Hannah Payne

Sensory Integration

Alison Allison

Alison Allison

Science Teacher

Tia Smith

Tia Smith

Teaching Assistant

Ant Francis

Ant Francis

Intervention Teacher

Ant started at SAFE teaching ICT and has since gone on to join Royal Park Academy where he is now the ICT specialist. He has substantial experience of working in the IT sector and has a degree in Animation practice. Ant has found that working at SAFE has allowed him to really hone his skills in many fields of technology and allowed him the autonomy to develop in conjunction with the other staff new and interesting methods for education, including using role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons to help teach important life skills.

Andy Hoang

Andy Hoang

Tech Advisor

After graduating with a Physics degree from Warwick University, Andy chose to pursue a career in Education. He trained at Roehampton University as a science teacher and then travelled the world teaching Physics and English as a foreign language for 5 years, developing an interest in learning and teaching technologies along the way.

On his return to the UK, he worked at Roehampton University for 5 years as an e-learning advisor. These days he freelances as a coding teacher and web designer from his home in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he works on projects related to the use of learning technologies.

An integral part of launching SAFE from a concept to a reality, Andy coordinates the website and manages all inter-communications behind the scenes at SAFE. He also visits the centre to deliver one-off workshops from everything from LEGO to Human Relations!

Sue Garland

Sue Garland

Teacher

Sue is a retired secondary school teacher with a wide range of experience in both subject and pastoral areas. Her specialism is geography and humanities and she has taught other subjects such as leisure and tourism, PHSE and religious education, history and physical education. Along with supporting children with special educational needs, Sue has acted as Head of Year, Head of Geography, Humanities and Literacy Co-ordinator. She has also worked as an examination scribe and invigilator.
Sue visits individual students in their homes to tutor humanities at KS3 and GCSE level.

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff