Meet the Staff
Mrs Kate Hodson
Mrs Hodson is the Head Teacher at Poplar Farm Primary School. She has 20 years experience in education with 12 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 activities with international schools. She is passionate about opportunities and experiences for all children to enrich their learning.
Miss Lucy Bowden
EYFS Teacher, EYFS Leader and SENDCO
Miss Bowden is a teacher in EYFS and SENDCO at Poplar Farm School. She loves her role at Poplar, working with not only Reception but the whole school to inspire, excite and nurture children through this crucial stage of their development. Her aim is to motivate children within this amazing environment and create a range of teaching methods, allowing children to develop their creative and problem-solving skills to become all round learners.
Miss Bowden has taught both Key Stage 1 and Reception and has been SENDCO after completing her National Award for Special Educational Needs Award MA. This award for SEND Co-ordination was more than just a qualification, it has empowered her to be the drive to ensure that all children are seen as individual. Miss Bowden achieves this by encouraging staff to think about their practice and instill the question of ‘How is this benefitting the children?’ to ensure the best possible practice for our children.
Mrs Gayle Ellis
Mrs Ellis is a teacher in EYFS 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.
Miss Olivia Ransome
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!
Mr Reece Murphy
Year 1 Teacher
Mr Murphy is very excited to be teaching Year 1 at Poplar Farm. He is now entering his sixth year of teaching and has taught Key Stage 1 in two different settings, both an Infant School and a Primary School. More recently, he has been a Key Stage 1 moderator at North Lincolnshire Council.
He has experience working with children from a range of cultural and social backgrounds and aims to ensure every child gets the education that they deserve. He has always wanted to be a Primary School teacher and thrives on being able to have a positive impact on children’s lives. Mr Murphy believes that the classroom should be a place where children feel safe and valued, allowing them to become confident and resilient learners. He is particularly passionate about mathematics and wants children to become inquisitive problem solvers through an engaging mastery approach.
Mr Murphy is extremely excited and motivated to help develop a curriculum at Poplar Farm that has the child at heart!
Miss Robyn Wilding
Year 1 Teacher
Miss Wilding is a Year 1 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.
Miss Faye Honeybun
Year 2 Teacher
Miss Honeybun is an enthusiastic and passionate Key Stage One teacher. Having qualified as a primary physical education specialist, she has worked at an inner-city school in Derby for the past two years. Her educational philosophy is rooted in fostering positive relationships with all pupils, as well as creating a fun and engaging environment for learning.
Miss Honeybun 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. Miss Honeybun is keen to share her love for learning with the children.
Miss Honeybun always has one extra pupil at home, her energetic cocker spaniel, Brodie, who likes to challenge her calming and caring nature!
Miss Bryony Mason
Year 2 Teacher & KS1 Leader
Miss Mason is a Year 2 teacher and Key Stage 1 Leader at Poplar Farm.
Since qualifying as a primary teacher, Miss Mason 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.
Miss Mason has a background in sport science and she really enjoys taking the classroom outdoors. Her favourite hobbies include sailing and running!
She is really excited to be a part of the team at Poplar Farm and looks forward to helping support children with their transition into Key Stage 2, as the school continues to grow.
Miss Natasha Botham
Miss Botham is an approachable member of the Poplar team who loves to share her energetic personality with everyone. She enjoys getting involved and keeping busy. Miss Botham loves getting crafty with the children.
She has been working in schools for 4 years. She has been a 1:1 and a general teaching assistant. Miss Botham also spent one year training to be a PE coach whilst gaining qualifications in Gymnastics and Swimming. On top of that, she spent another year training to be a Teaching Assistant. She really enjoys working with children and feels very passionate about children’s education and ensuring they reach their potential.
Miss Botham is also taking time to extend her knowledge further and started a foundation degree to begin her journey at becoming a teacher herself.
Miss Bethany Gilliatt
Miss Gilliatt has worked in education for the last five 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!
Miss Katie Hunt
Having previously worked in retail management during the last 8 years, Miss Hunt is embracing this exciting opportunity within the EYFS classroom at Poplar Farm.
She is eager to put her previous studies, qualifications and school placement knowledge, into providing a supportive and fun environment for children to flourish in.
Miss Hunt believes school days are some of the happiest 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 which she is sure she will be able to put these skills into use, whilst working with the children in the classroom!
Miss Jodie King
Miss King has 4 years experience within the education sector and enjoys her work very much. She is excited to have joined the Poplar Farm team and to be working within EYFS and KS1.
Miss King strives to make a positive impact on all pupils 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.
Miss King loves getting involved with the team and being able to take part in sporting activities that happen at Poplar Farm. Outside of work, Miss King loves to shop, read books and take her dog for walks in the countryside!
Miss Charlotte Middleton
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.
Mrs Alice Rowntree
Mrs Rowntree is very excited to join the team at Poplar Farm School as a 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.
Miss Becky Smith
Miss Smith is one of the Teaching Assistants at Poplar Farm School. For 12 years, Miss Smith worked in Foundation Stage and Year One as a Teaching Assistant within an Outstanding school in Sleaford. Whilst there, she took the children on many residential trips to Malham Cove and York. She also ran the School Infant Choir where they attended many events which the staff and children thoroughly enjoyed!
Mrs Laura Wright
Mrs Wright is one of the teaching assistants at Poplar Farm School. This will be her first year of working within education after working in banking for the last 14 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 is really looking forward to helping the children and families get the most out of their time at Poplar.
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.
Miss Naomi Ashby
Miss Ashby is a Sports Apprentice here at Poplar Farm. She studied BTEC level 3 in sport at sixth form and really enjoys all aspects of being active.
Miss Ashby has a level one qualification in Trampoline coaching and a proficiency coaching award in gymnastics too. Her favourite sports are trampolining and netball, but she isn’t too fussy what sport she is playing! Miss Ashby hopes to be able to encourage all the children at Poplar Farm to have fun and thrive during PE lessons.
Miss Ashby is so excited to be starting her journey at Poplar.
Mrs Lucinda Thorpe
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
Ms Moe is very excited to be part of Poplar Farm school and is looking forward to getting to know everyone.
Ms Moe relocated to Grantham from London 3 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
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.
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.
Miss Frankie Guilfoyle
Miss Guilfoyle is a mother of two crazy boys! Not for the faint hearted, one football crazy and one dinosaur crazy.
Miss Guilfoyle loves spending time and making memories as a family including adventures with their crazy spaniel!
Mrs Hannah Clayson
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 Julia Birch
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 & Cleaner
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
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 Anna Wielgus
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.
Mr Steve Whotton
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.
Mrs Ann Cox
Cleaner & Midday Supervisor
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.