Our Staff

Here at Poppets we pride ourselves on having hugely dedicated, caring and highly qualified staff. We are confident that they are amongst the best in their field and would encourage you to visit the setting so that you can see them in action. As well as those fully qualified to Level 3 in childcare, we have degree qualified and current students with us and trainees of the highest calibre. Please take the time to have a look at their profiles below. They all bring so many different qualities to Poppets and we are proud of each and every one of them for making our children so happy.

David and Jude Bessell - Owners

David and Jude took over the existing nursery in November 2014. They have been sleeping partners in a successful chain of nurseries for 5 years but with David retiring from the Royal Navy after 23 years service, decided that the time was right to strike out on their own. After searching 3 counties to find a setting good enough, they were delighted to find ‘Poppets’ a mere half mile from their door. They are extremely excited about giving their friends and neighbours the very best childcare they can.

Debbie Greig - Poppet's Finance/HR Manager

Debbie has a background in small business operations, finance and marketing. She is also Jude and David’s sister-in-law making ‘Poppets’ a family concern. Debbie is enjoying turning the business round and making it a flourishing nursery. She is looking forward to opening the next one!!!

Little Know Fact: Debbie enjoys singing in her spare time. She belongs to Shenfield Operatic and sung with the Melvin Beddow Big Band, (a 24 piece swing band) as their lead vocalist for 4 years.. Debbie has also auditioned for the X-Factor.. but never got to meet Simon!!!


Michelle Pateman - Poppets 'Nursery Manager'

Michelle has a Level 3 in childcare and is Poppets Nursery Manager. Michelle is also the setting’s Equality Named Coordinator (ENCO). She has worked in childcare since 2010 and has been part of the setting’s team since then. Working for three different nurseries, Michelle is pleased that Poppets Nursery is here to stay. Michelle has worked her way through the ranks from nursery practitioner, room leader, co-manager and finally manager. There isn’t much Michelle doesn’t know about looking after your ‘Poppets’.

Michelle loves seeing how happy and settled the children are at Poppets and has had the pleasure of watching the children build their foundations and develop into wonderful little people, before heading off to school.  Michelle is thrilled with the team of staff who are helping her to build and shape the nursery into a thriving and happy part of the local community.

Little known fact:  Shell would rather walk up a hundred flights of stairs then get in a lift.. but then she is super fit..


Tracey Poulter - Poppets 'Deputy Manager'

Tracey has worked in the childcare industry for over 20 years and is a Qualified Level 3 Practitioner. Tracey has worked as a nanny, as well as various nurseries, from small family owned business’s to larger ‘chain’ nurseries around Essex. As a previous practitioner with Poppets, Tracey has now returned to our lovely setting, with a wealth of knowledge and experience and is thoroughly enjoying her role as Poppets Deputy Manager, working along side Michelle.

One of Tracey’s main roles is to ensure ‘good practice’ throughout the rooms and guide the Poppet’s team by the EYFS. This involves offering the children stimulating activities and experiences encouraging their individuality, social skills and educational progress. With Tracey’s professional guidance all our staff are working hard to gain an ‘Outstanding’ on our next OFSTED visit.

Little Known Fact: Tracey won a women’s bike race on Boxing Day.. Tour de France next!!!!

Teresa Maslin - Nursery Cook

Teresa has been a chef for over 35 years, and loves cooking for our little ‘Poppets’.

With Level 3 Food Safety & Hygiene and Level 3 Allergy Awareness certificates, Teresa is fully qualified to produce some fabulous culinary delights for all the children (and staff!!) to enjoy.

Teresa also has amazing green fingers and likes to grow vegetables in the Poppets allotment and encourages the children to join in and help her. Teresa enjoys choosing and setting up the displays in the front of the reception area. From bee-keeping to space exploration, Teresa has some really creative ideas to interest the children.

Dislikes: Worms….. Good, we won’t be getting those for tea then!!!



Hannah Walker - 'The Babes in the Woods' Level 2 Practitioner - Term-Time

Hannah has completed a Level 2 in Childcare and after being a nanny for a while, decided to start a family of her own. Now her son is at school Hannah has recently changed her hours to term-time only so she can spend quality time with Hayden, her son, and have that great work/home life balance…

Little Known Fact: Hannah has a fear of spiders…. Won’t be seeing her on ‘ I’m a celebrity’ anytime soon then!!!

Faye Hinkley - 'Rainbow Room' Room Leader

Faye joined us as the ‘Rainbow Room Leader’. Although this was her first position as a room leader, Faye is a great asset to the nursery and has stepped into the role well. Faye is a Level 3 Practitioner and has worked in other nursery settings for around six years. Faye likes being such an integral part of the children’s learning and development and likes giving them lots of fun and stimulating activities to do.

Interesting Fact: Faye wears a different colour bandana each day to Poppets.  It encourages the children to learn their colours!!!




Sarah Bleakley - 'Rainbow Room' Level 3 Practitioner - Term-Time

Sarah became a member of the ‘Poppets’ team following a three month agency placement. Sarah did a great job and was so well liked by staff and children that we couldn’t let her go. Sarah has been a qualified level 3 practitioner for six years and brings an abundance of experience to the room helping the children to develop and grow. Sarah works term-time only so she can spend time with her own daughter, Sophia.


Interesting Fact: On Sarah’s wedding day (to her hubby who she met on a blind date), Sarah was still in her PJ’s when the photographer turned up.. as he had got the wrong time!!!

Amy Dignum - 'Rainbow Room' Level 3 Practitioner

Amy has just finished studying for her Level 3 childcare qualification and is pleased that her first job is with Poppets. Amy is enjoying using all of the theory that she learnt  on the course and being able to share it in the Rainbow Room. She is enjoying helping to nurture the children and loves seeing them achieving little things each day. The toddlers are always such fun to be around and Amy is really enjoying the challenges they throw at her.




Katy Hallinan - 'Rainbow Room' Level 3 Practitioner

Katy has just joined the ‘Rainbow Room’ and brings her happy and cheerful personality into the room. Katy loves working with children (which always helps) and has been in the childcare industry for 10 years. Katy is a Level 3 practitioner. Another member of staff who enjoys singing and dancing, so we are sure to be in for some great Christmas shows and concerts.

Dislikes: Katy isn’t very keen on rollercoasters!!!! Hopefully she will be in for a smooth ride at Poppets.




Susie Duffy - 'Rising Stars' Level 2 Practitioner - Term-Time

Susie has joined Poppets as a Level 2 practitioner and will be working in the Rising Stars room, term-time only. Susie has two teenage daughters of her own (she doesn’t look old enough!!) and has worked with children in various setting for over 20 years. Having obtained a scholarship for the Italia Conti stage school and a degree in dance and acting, we are sure she will have some wonderful ideas to enhance the children’s days at Poppets.

Little known fact: Susie’s Aunt was a contestant on ‘I’m a Celebrity.. Get me out of Here’ .. see if you can spot the family similarity.


Anna Phipps - 'Rising Stars' Trainee Level 3 Practitioner

Anna has finally found a job she really enjoys and is proud off. Anna joined Poppets in July 2018 and has now started her Level 3 Practitioner course. Having worked in  previous nursery in Chigwell, Anna found she really loved working with children and helping with their development. Having recently moved to Ongar, Poppets is the prefect place for Anna to achieve her goals. Welcome to the team!!!

Gina Goody - 'Babes in the Woods' Room Leader

Gina has worked in the Nursery industry for nearly 10 years. A qualified Level 4 Practitioner, Gina joined Poppets last year as the Cool Cabin Kids room leader.  The children thrived with her fun loving ways and she was a great addition to the team.

Gina has now decided to focus on the baby room and has just taken on the role as the baby room leader. We are looking forward to seeing her ideas and infectious sense of fun in action with our very little ‘Poppet’s.

Little Known Fact:

Gina is a huge car enthusiast. She can often be found at the weekend, attending regular meets and shows, to exhibit her own car…

Charlie Plant - 'Cool Cabin Kids' Leader and Nursery Floater

Charlie has been in  elderly care work for the last 7 years and has a Level 2 qualification in Health and Social Care. Charlie has always wanted to work with children and is definitely a hit with both the children in the Nursery and the Cool Cabin Kids and she is really glad she transitioned to Poppets. Living locally is also a plus as she can get home at lunchtimes to take her 4 dogs out for  walk!!!

Interesting Fact:  Charlie is  a West Ham supporter and loves football. Not just a supporter, Charlie has played women’s football between the age of 10 -17 for various clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Cambridge United..




Carly Jones - School 'Drop Off and Collection' Driver

Carly has been a qualified Level 3 Practitioner for 20 years. She has worked in a number of private nurseries and also for ten years in a primary school. Carly took a break to bring up her 2 children and is now the ‘School Driver’ for Poppets and can be seen most days out and about in Ongar, in our fabulous Poppets mini-bus.

Interesting Fact: Carly likes walking.. which is a good thing, especially as she has five dogs to look after!!!

Terri Bradford - 'Babes in the Wood' Level 3 Practitioner

Terri has  worked in elderly palative care for the last 8 years, gaining Level 2 & 3 qualifications. Terri decided she wanted to work at the other end of the spectrum and what she originally trained in and after driving past Poppets Nursery nearly everyday for 2 years, Terri applied and was welcomed into the team! Terri is thoroughly enjoying seeing the ‘Babes in the Wood’ children learn and grow everyday as well as becoming part of the Poppets family.

Interesting fact: Terri has a 5yr old cat called Oscar who thinks he’s boss ( he is ) and is a bit of a snob, ( he doesn’t get it from me)

Lauren Apperley - 'Rising Stars' Room Leader

Lauren has recently joined us as the ‘Rising Stars’ room Leader. Lauren is a qualified Level 3 practitioner and has worked in childcare for 4 years. Lauren has had a lot of experience in EAL and SEN. She loves working with children and enjoys  getting to watch them grow and loves to help complete their milestones with them!


Fun Fact:  Lauren has been lucky enough to swim with dolphins… twice!!!

Sarah Fowler - Level 3 - Nursery Practitioner

Sarah has worked in the childcare industry for over 10 years and has been around a nursery environment since  she was young, as her family had a nursery for 25 years.

Sarah has always had a passion for working with children and loves to learn new things. Sarah currently works  in the ‘Babes in the Wood’ room and is also the SENCO at the setting. Sarah has a daughter who attends Poppets Nursery and loves her time spent here.

Little Known Fact: Sarah is also a qualified make up artist in her spare time and has worked on shows and photoshoots for many years.

Debbie Roberts - Cool Cabin Kids - Assistant

Debbie has worked with children, on and off, for around 30 years. Debbie has joined us in the Cool Cabin Kids room as assistant to Charlie.

Debbie has just moved to the Fyfield area and has two children of her own. Debbie is one of our mini-bus drivers, so is getting plenty of time to check out the new area.

Little Known Fact: Debbie makes curtains in her spare time.

Poppets Day Nursery

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