Meet the Staff

Mrs Kate Hodson

Head Teacher

Senior Leadership Team

Mrs Hodson is the Head Teacher at Poplar Farm Primary School. She has 23 years experience in education with 14 of those years as a Headteacher. Mrs Hodson is also a Local Leader of Education (LLE) and uses her wealth of experience to provide support to other schools.

Mrs Hodson believes all primary aged children should be taught through first hand experiences, including outdoor learning and learning about the wider world. She is passionate about opportunities and experiences for all children to enrich their learning, and enjoys planning new activities and resources for the children to enjoy.

Miss Bryony Mason

Assistant Head Teacher & SENDCO

Senior Leadership Team

Miss Mason is a Year 2 teacher and Assistant Headteacher at Poplar Farm. Miss Mason is also the SENDCO and is currently working towards her National Award for SEN Co-ordination.

Miss Mason has 7 years of teaching experience, working mostly across Key Stage 1. She initially worked at an inner-city school in Leeds before teaching and leading Key Stage 1 at an all-through school in Wolverhampton. Having experienced working with children from diverse backgrounds, she believes every child should be valued and provided with equal opportunities to prepare them for the journey ahead of them. Within her classroom, Miss Mason ensures she does this by creating a fun, safe and enriching environment that enhances learning for everyone.

You may find Miss Mason walking around the school with Lola, our school dog. Lola keeps Miss Mason on her toes, she is full of energy and enjoys running around the field!

Mrs Gayle Ellis

EYFS Leader

Senior Leadership Team

Mrs Ellis is a teacher and EYFS Leader at Poplar Farm. She is passionate about the early years and believes that it is called the ‘Foundation Stage’ because it is the very foundation of children’s learning. Mrs Ellis believes that learning should be fun, engaging and meaningful to ensure that all children are nurtured and skillfully supported to achieve their best possible outcomes.

Mrs Ellis has been teaching for over 20 years in various roles and educational settings. Alongside teaching at Poplar, Mrs Ellis is also a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) and works as an independent Early Years consultant, supporting other schools to offer the best experiences for children.

Mrs Ellis has also written books to support children with reading, writing and mathematical computation.

Ms Lucy Blow

EYFS Teacher

Ms Blow has worked with children in a wide range of settings throughout her career and is passionate about helping every child reach their full potential. She is very excited about joining the team at Poplar Farm.

Ms Blow has a degree in Law and Social Anthropology and worked with charities in the UK and overseas before continuing a career with children back in Lincolnshire.

Ms Blow enjoys the creative side of working with young children and is passionate about the outdoors and caring for the environment. Ms Blow creates a relaxed and happy classroom environment where children are encouraged to try new things and build positive relationships with their fellow pupils as well as staff.

Outside of work Ms Blow enjoys exploring new places, camping, food and reading. Ms Blow loves learning about culture and nature and enjoys sharing this with the children to encourage a love of learning about the world.

Miss Olivia Ransome

EYFS Teacher

Miss Ransome is one of the EYFS teachers at Poplar Farm. She loves her job and is proud to be a part of helping children to become confident and happy learners. Miss Ransome has worked within a range of schools and nurseries. She completed a degree in Early Childhood Studies before going on to train to teach.

Miss Ransome is passionate about ensuring that the children are at the heart of every decision she makes, in order to ensure her learners feel valued and happy. She feels this is crucial in order for children to feel excited and engage with their learning. Having grown up on a farm, Miss Ransome is also keen to use the outdoor area to nurture children’s curiosity and develop their independence.

She is excited to be a part of creating a child-centred curriculum at Poplar Farm and developing this new community!

Miss Amy Ash

Year 1 Teacher

Miss Ash is very excited to be joining Poplar Farm in Year 1! She is in her sixth year of teaching with 3 years experience in Key Stage 1. Miss Ash loves to use singing, dancing and drama as educational resources and hopes to establish this in her role at Poplar Farm.

When teaching, Miss Ash's favourite subjects are Maths and History but she also loves to use technology across the curriculum. She also loves to find engaging and exciting stories to share with the children so that reading can be celebrated from an early age.

Miss Ash is enthusiastic about getting to know her new class at Poplar Farm and can't wait to get started!

Mrs Jade Tiller

Year 1 Teacher

Miss Tiller is very excited to join Poplar Farm in Year One. She is going into her fifth year of teaching in KS1 and has also had the pleasure of being a TA in EYFS.

Miss Tiller uses her Physical Education degree to make sure her lessons are as fun and as practical as possible! She teaches by the motto: “when we learn with pleasure, we never forget”. Miss Tiller is keen to equip children with lifelong skills and allow them to explore what makes their creativity and imagination come to life.

Mrs Claire Buckley

Year 2 Teacher

Mrs Buckley is one of the Year 2 teachers and an SLE at Poplar Farm. She has been teaching for over fifteen years and has taught all years from Reception to Year 6 in schools in Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire.

Mrs Buckley believes passionately in the power of education and aims to bring as many real-life experiences as possible into the teaching and learning for the pupils in her care. She also enjoys taking children out of school on school visits and has taken part in many residential visits with pupils in previous schools.

Mrs Buckley really enjoys getting to know the pupils she works with and understanding what motivates them as learners and is excited to be working as part of the Year 2 team this year.

Miss Paige Rimell

Year 2 Teacher

Miss Rimell will be teaching Year 2 at Poplar Farm and entering her 5th year as a teacher. She has previously taught KS1 in London, Hampshire and Bristol. She is very excited to be in Lincolnshire and especially pleased to join Poplar Farm!

Miss Rimell ensures that inclusion, diversity and the Rights of the Child are at the heart of everything she does. She believes that knowledge is power and every child’s talents and interests should be nurtured during their time at school.

Miss Rimell particularly enjoys finding new and exciting books to share with her class. She loves books and in her spare time she is often found reading with her pet cat, Ned.

Mrs Faye Anderson

Year 3 Teacher

Mrs Anderson is an enthusiastic and passionate teacher. Having qualified as a primary physical education specialist, she has worked at an inner-city school in Derby before moving back to Lincolnshire. After working in KS1 for three years, she is looking forward to teaching in Year 3. Her educational philosophy is rooted in fostering positive relationships with all pupils, as well as creating a fun and engaging environment for learning.

Mrs Anderson strongly values the ways that education allows children to develop resilience and other life-long skills. In addition, she supports pupils to achieve their best by providing opportunities that embrace creativity and innovation. Mrs Anderson is keen to share her love for learning with the children.

Mrs Anderson always has one extra pupil at home, her energetic cocker spaniel, Brodie, who likes to challenge her calming and caring nature!

Miss Robyn Wilding

Year 3 Teacher

Miss Wilding is a Year 3 teacher at Poplar Farm School. She thoroughly enjoys working with the children and is a keen team member in helping to create the foundations of this new community.

Miss Wilding has spent many years working in both Nurseries and Primary Schools. She has a degree in Education Studies and Early Years, and this led her to pursue a career in teaching, in which she gained both Early Years Teacher Status and Qualified Teacher Status.

Mrs Jo Hiley


Mrs Hiley works in classes across the school. She has been a teacher for 10 years, working mainly in Key stage one and EYFS. Mrs Hiley previously worked at Caythorpe Primary School where she was also the English subject leader. She now works in 3 different schools across CIT, including Caythorpe, Isaac Newton School and Poplar Farm. Her roles include delivering interventions and teaching different classes across Key stage one and two.

Mrs Hiley enjoys developing good relationships with the children she works with. She promotes a calm, safe environment where children feel happy to learn. Mrs Hiley enjoys opportunities to be creative and particularly enjoys teaching art and music.

Mrs Hiley is looking forward to working with the children and staff at Poplar Farm for another year.

Mrs Rebecca Barber

Student Teacher

Mrs Barber is looking forward to doing her teacher training within Poplar Farm School.

Over the past 20 years, she has worked in a range of early years settings specialising in pre-school aged children whilst building her family. Her children and her early years' experience have enabled Mrs Barber to develop her passion for promoting positive mental well-being in children.

Mrs Barber values building positive relationships and believes children's mental well-being is vital to promoting resilience, as well as enabling children in learning lifelong skills in the learning environment through engaging activities.

Mrs Barber has two children and a supportive husband. Her daughter is at secondary school and her son is going into year 6 in primary school. Both children keep her on her toes, especially her daughter having cheerleading. Mrs Barber enjoys cheering the local cheerleading team on at competitions and volunteers her spare time when it's competition season. In her spare time, Mrs Barber enjoys family time with walks and catching up with friends.

Mrs Lucinda Thorpe


Senior Leadership Team

Mrs Thorpe works in the school office at Poplar Farm School.

Mrs Thorpe loves being part of the Poplar Farm team, she is friendly and approachable, so please feel free to speak to her if you have any questions. She has worked in Early Years for many years including as a Nursery Manager.

Ms Pwint Moe

Administration Assistant

Ms Moe is very excited to be part of Poplar Farm school and has enjoyed getting to know everyone.

Ms Moe relocated to Grantham from London 4 years ago. Ms Moe is originally from Myanmar.

Ms Moe completed her MBA and has 16 years experience in the retail sector. During her various roles in retail, she took joy in talking to people and being able to help others.

Ms Moe now looks forward to starting her new role and embracing fresh challenges!

Mrs Natalie Whotton

Finance Administrator

Mrs Whotton started working for CIT in July 2018 as a Financial Administrator based at Poplar Farm School. She also works for Caythorpe Primary School and Isaac Newton Primary School

Mrs Whotton worked in the hotel industry for over 10 years but changed her career to become a PA which she really enjoyed for the last eight years. Mrs Whotton hasn’t worked in the financial sector before so this is a completely new role for her and she looks forward to the challenge.

Mrs Whotton lives in Grantham with her husband of 19 years and her two joyful teenagers.

Miss Becky Smith


Miss Smith has worked in Primary Schools for 16 years across both Early Years and Key Stage 1, having recently achieved HLTA status.

Miss Smith is an enthusiastic member of the team and she thrives in having a positive relationship with all pupils to ensure their school life is an enjoyable place to be.

Miss Smith is passionate about music and the arts and currently enjoys leading the singing assemblies and Glee Club every week. She is excited to teach the children music across the school as she believes music encourages children to express their individualities, gives them opportunities to explore different cultures and broadens their minds. It is a fantastic way to build up their confidence!

Miss Smith is really looking forward to introducing new musical clubs as the school grows.

Miss Nicola Cooksey

Pastoral Teaching Assistant

Miss Cooksey is a Pastoral Teaching Assistant at Poplar Farm. She has worked in primary schools for the past 6 years supporting children’s social and emotional well-being.

Miss Cooksey has completed qualifications in counselling and has specialised in working with children. She has further undertaken training in creative arts and play, and values the importance of children being able to freely express themselves in ways which feel fun, safe and supportive. She trusts that children are the experts in their own journeys and the foundation of her philosophy is grounded from a child centered approach.

Miss Cooksey strives to build positive relationships built on trust and understanding so that children have the necessary conditions in place to learn, grow and flourish.

Miss Cooksey is very excited to be taking on this new role within the school and supporting the children of Poplar Farm.

Mrs Alice Rowntree

SENDCO Assistant & Intervention Teaching Assistant

Mrs Rowntree is very excited to be part of the team at Poplar Farm School as our SENDCO Assistant and Intervention Teaching Assistant.

She has spent the last 10 years working in a large inner city London school, teaching pupils across a range of phases within multicultural communities. Mrs Rowntree came into teaching from a creative background after completing an Arts degree and has also worked in the film industry. She likes to bring her creativity and innovation to the classroom, making learning engaging and fun. She believes in creating a learning experience that is inspired by children's interests, where they can be free to explore and investigate, whilst feeling safe and secure.

Mrs Rowntree places a huge importance on children’s mental health and actively incorporates regular mindfulness activities into the daily timetable to develop a culture of positivity and kindness. She believes this approach to be really beneficial in helping to improve children’s confidence and concentration by putting happiness and well being at the heart of their classroom, creating a learning environment where children feel safe to make mistakes and practice a growth mindset.

Mrs Frankie Briggs

Teaching Assistant & Midday Supervisor

Mrs Briggs is a mother of two crazy boys! Not for the faint hearted, one football crazy and one dinosaur crazy.

Mrs Briggs loves spending time and making memories as a family including adventures with their crazy spaniel!

Miss Holly Burton

Teaching Assistant

Miss Burton is very excited to join the Poplar Farm team as a Teaching Assistant.

She is looking forward to developing relationships with the children to support and encourage them with their education through a positive learning environment. Miss Burton is passionate about helping all children reach their full potential.

Outside of work Miss Burton enjoys spending time with her family, going to country parks, walking their dog and reading.

Miss Kerrieanne Calpin

Teaching Assistant

Miss Calpin is very excited to be a part of the Poplar Farm team as a Teaching Assistant.

Miss Calpin is a Mum of 2 and is excited to develop her skills and knowledge within what she is passionate about, which includes helping children develop and achieve to their best abilities. Miss Calpin loves been creative, from baking cakes to arts and crafts! She isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty!

Miss Calpin has always been around children and enjoys helping others. Additional needs is something she is very passionate about as her daughter has Cerebral Palsy.

Mrs Karen Cook

Teaching Assistant

Mrs Cook is very excited to be part of the Poplar Farm team as a 1:1 TA. She has 17 years of experience within education and feels passionately about communication, inclusion and children with additional needs. She is a strong believer that there is no such thing as a stupid question. If we do not ask the question we will not learn the answer.

Mrs Cook's favourite part of the day is story time. She absolutely loves reading aloud and hearing stories being told, and believes stories are one of the best forms of communication.

At home, Mrs Cook has two teenage daughters (whom she adores and has been trying for many years to teach how to change a toilet roll, without success) and a mad old rescue dog named Duke. They all keep Mrs Cook on her toes but when she does have spare time, she loves walking, running, cooking, watching movies and eating chocolate ice-cream.

Mrs Emma Fleet

Teaching Assistant

Mrs Fleet has been volunteering as a teaching assistant at Poplar Farm for the last 9 months and is very excited to join the team.

She loves to help and encourage children in their learning and supporting them to be the best that they can be. She finds it very rewarding seeing them achieve their goals.

She lives with her husband, two children aged 7 & 4, her crazy puppy Ozzy and 2 old lady cats Molly & Lil.
In her spare time, Mrs Fleet loves reading all different kinds of books and she also likes to go running.

Miss Bethany Gilliatt

Teaching Assistant

Miss Gilliatt has worked in education for the last six years across Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. She has loved working as a 1:1 and a Teaching Assistant within different classrooms.

Miss Gilliatt enjoys singing and her favourite subject when she was at school was Maths, which she still loves to do now!

Miss Katie Hunt

Teaching Assistant

Miss Hunt is an EYFS TA and is committed to providing a supportive and fun environment for children to flourish in.

Miss Hunt believes school days are some of the happiest / best days of our lives and is dedicated and passionate about working with the team at Poplar Farm to ensure all children experience this sentiment.

During her free time, Miss Hunt loves to visit and explore new places in this beautiful country as well as abroad.

She also loves being creative and making things and puts these skills into use, whilst working with the children in the classroom!

Miss Jodie King

Teaching Assistant

Miss King loves her job working as an EYFS Teaching Assistant. She has 5 years experience within the education sector and enjoys her work very much at Poplar Farm.

Miss King strives to make a positive impact with all children she works with and wants to create an amazing school experience that the pupils can take with them into the future. She ensures that all pupils feel comfortable and happy to come into school every day and by doing this she always has a smiley and calm approach.

Outside of work, Miss King loves to shop, read books and take her dog for walks in the countryside!

Miss Charlotte Middleton

Teaching Assistant

Miss Middleton is one of our teaching assistants at Poplar Farm. She has been working in Education for 4 years and completed her teaching assistant qualification within CIT. Miss Middleton currently works as a 1:1 with pupils in EYFS and Year 1.

Miss Middleton believes that a child’s experience at school should be remembered as a fun and safe space and aims to help the children get the best out of their learning. Due to this, she has a bubbly approach to help the children feel positive, secure and ready to learn.

Miss Middleton loves working at Poplar Farm and has strong, positive relationships with both the children and staff members.

Outside of school, Miss Middleton enjoys singing, spending time with her family and friends, taking her dogs for a walk and reading lots of books.

Miss Ebony Smith

Teaching Assistant

Miss Smith is so excited to be joining Poplar Farm as a TA.

After working in pharmacy for 6 years she has decided to do what she is passionate about and that is working closely with children in school to support their learning, to make sure they are achieving their full potential. Miss Smith finds it very rewarding seeing the children learn and grow!

In her free time, Miss Smith loves spending time with her three children and enjoys visiting and exploring new places with them.

Mrs Laura Wright

Teaching Assistant

Mrs Wright is one of the teaching assistants at Poplar Farm School. This will be her second year of working within education after previously working in banking for14 years. Mrs Wright has two children who are six and four and has spent time volunteering in her son’s school in the local area.

Mrs Wright really enjoys helping the children and families get the most out of their time at Poplar.

Mrs Amanda Frankish

Poplar Pioneers Assistant

Mr Steve Whotton

Site Manager

In his most recent role Mr Whotton worked as a personal trainer and nutritional advisor for 7 years. Prior to that he worked within the building trade as well as fabrication and HGV driving.

Mr Whotton has been married for 19 years and has 2 children, a daughter of 15 and a son of 18.

In his down time Mr Whotton enjoys the gym, fishing, cooking and meeting up with friends.

He is looking forward to this new challenge.

Mr GianCarlo Velasco


Mr Velasco has worked in the catering industry for 21 years, both here in the UK and abroad.

Mr Velasco is glad to be part of children’s growth in school. He believes in a little way he is helping to educate the children by exploring their senses by introducing them to different ingredients and textures.

Mr Velasco thrives to produce freshly prepared nutritious food every day.

Mrs Hannah Clayson

Kitchen Assistant & Senior Midday Supervisor

Mrs Clayson grew up on a farm in the middle of rural Lincolnshire, but now lives in Grantham with her husband, 2 boys & her beagle.

Outside of work, she loves sunny days in the garden, walking the dog, spending time with her family & going on holiday! Mrs Clayson aims to cycle to work as much as she can and get all the way up the hill without wishing she had brought the car instead!!

Mrs Ann Cox

Kitchen Assistant & Cleaner

Mrs Cox originally comes from Ware, Hertfordshire and she moved to Grantham in 2011 with her husband. Mrs Cox has four grown up Sons and four grandchildren. She loves to spend time with her family and going on long walks and cycle rides.

Her favourite hobby is card making and she has her own studio. Mrs Cox also enjoy knitting, crocheting and baking.

Miss Julia Green


Mrs Estera Whiting


Mrs Whiting is polish and came to England in 2004. She married her husband in 2015.

Mrs Whiting loves animals! Her biggest passion in life is animals. She has one black and white cat as well as a house rabbit! Mrs Whiting has had animals all of her life.

Mrs Whiting has previously been a teaching assistant, but started up her own cleaning business 3 years ago and has been doing it ever since. Mrs Whiting finds cleaning very rewarding, even though it’s hard work! She believes the end result always pays off and it gives her a sense of pride.

Mrs Whiting is new to Poplar Farm School, but already she feels everyone is so friendly and inviting. Mrs Whiting is excited to start this new chapter!

Mrs Julia Birch

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Birch began working at Poplar Farm in November 2018. She enjoys her job as a Midday Supervisor and also helps out as a classroom assistant when needed. She really enjoys being with the children and is always ready to greet them with a welcoming smile and listening ear.

Prior to working at Poplar Farm she spent many years in the embroidery and logistics industries, working mainly in accounting but also with some time in sales and manufacturing.

Mrs Birch grew up close to Grantham and lives here with her husband and three children, along with her dog and cat.

In her spare time she loves to walk the dog, listen to audiobooks and podcasts and spend time with her family. She is very interested in gardening although admits she knows very little about it and needs to learn how to not kill her plants!

Mrs Lynne Hirst

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Hirst is delighted to be part of the Poplar Farm team, and is in her first year with us. She is an experienced midday supervisor, and enjoys making lunchtimes a positive time for the children.

Mrs Hirst grew up in Grantham and lives with her husband, one child and lovely white cat.

In her spare time, Mrs Hirst likes spending time with family and knitting.

Mrs Nivedita Jena

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Jena is a mother of two children settled in Grantham. She has a Computer Science Engineering degree and some teaching experience.

Mrs Jena loves to help people out whenever she can. She is a creative and energetic person.

Mrs Jena loves being with children in school and is amazed with what they can do or achieve with a little bit of love and care. Mrs Jena also volunteers in school time to time, especially the school trips!

Mrs Jena loves singing and dancing.

Mrs Stacey Ross

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Agnieszka Waniek-Mijal

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Waniek-Mijal moved to the UK in 2005 with her husband and son. She spent her time raising her younger son and daughter, who are now 14 and 5 years old. Her eldest son is 20 years old and studies away at university.

Mrs Waniek-Mijal is dedicated to help young minds grow and achieve. She is a warm and caring individual who wants to create an encouraging atmosphere for children. She loves spending time with her family and enjoys building positive relationships with children.

Mrs Waniek-Mijal has a Marketing Degree and works day-to-day as an admin in the construction industry. She is looking forward to be a part of the Poplar Farm team and can’t wait to contribute positively to the community.

Mrs Anna Wielgus

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Wielgus came to England with her family in 2007. She lived in London for 2 years later in Gravesend and in 2011 she moved to Grantham.

Mrs Wielgus has a husband, 2 daughters aged 23 and 15 years. She has been running her business for 4 years, cleaning private houses.

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