Becky Cranham | Director
I set up PlanBee in 2009 after five years in the classroom. Despite loving teaching, I found the workload unsustainable and began to look for other ways to make a living. That was when the idea for PlanBee was born: what if I could help ease the planning burden by creating ready-to-teach schemes of work that wouldn't require teachers to spend much of their own time lesson prepping? We were all teaching to the same National Curriculum objectives so it made no sense to me that we all had to spend so much of our evenings and weekends planning the same things. Why not create lessons that all teachers could use, saving them invaluable time? Maybe, just maybe, that would help good teachers stay in the profession.
So, I left the classroom and spent 9 months creating schemes of work whilst supply teaching to keep afloat. PlanBee finally launched in September 2009 and from then on has gone from strength to strength. I'm incredibly proud of the business our team of bees has created and can't wait to see what the future holds for us.
What's your favourite subject to plan for? I love History schemes of work, even though they usually take the longest to make. I really love helping bring the past to life for the children.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? I'd say The Hero's Journey, which is a Year 6 English scheme of work. I'm a keen creative writer and this scheme teaches children how to create a really easy-to-follow structure for their own story writing.
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I'm a bit obsessed with musical theatre and go and see as many West End shows as I can (and then torture the team by listening to the soundtracks in the office!).
Catherine Lynch | Senior Manager
I was one of the first people to join Becky to help grow PlanBee back in 2014 after teaching for six years in Reception and KS1. My role within the company has changed a lot since then and I now not only create resources but also help out with the business side of things too. I am also a qualified play therapist and have a particular interest in mental health and wellbeing in schools.
What's your favourite subject to plan for? I really enjoy planning Science lessons, particularly if there are some fun experiments to include.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? I think Sparks and Flames, a KS1 Art scheme, was my favourite. I loved looking through paintings of the Great Fire of London and working out different ways to bring the topic to life for KS1 children. I wanted to give the children the opportunity to use a variety of materials to portray fire and I had a lot of fun getting stuck in with chalks, tissue paper, paint and recyclable materials working out the focus for each lesson.
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I love reading and sewing in my spare time.
Laura Steele | Resource Creator
My teaching colleagues used to joke that a job at PlanBee would be perfect for me because I've always loved the planning side of teaching, and then in 2016 it became a reality! I taught in KS2 for 11 years before joining the bees and, although I loved teaching, I felt ready for a change of pace. I now really enjoy creating schemes of work from scratch and being able to take my time ensuring that the lessons are all of a really high quality. It's so rewarding when you receive feedback that the lessons are being appreciated by busy teachers.
What's your favourite subject to plan for? English is my favourite subject to plan for, particularly reading comprehension lessons.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? Japanese Art for Year 5/6. I love all things Japanese (except maybe sushi!) so I really enjoyed every aspect of creating this scheme. As well as covering popular themes like Manga, I focussed on less well-known areas of Japanese art, too. I found the Daruma dolls in the Folk Art lesson particularly interesting - when bought or made, the doll's eyes are blank. The owner thinks of a goal they want to achieve and paints in one eye. When they have achieved that goal, they paint in the other eye as a symbol of their achievement. I thought these might be appealing to children and teachers alike!
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I love doing crafty stuff in my free time, such as knitting and crochet. I also love reading.
Abby Milnes | Resource Creator
I joined PlanBee back in 2017 after having used PlanBee's resources a lot in my own classroom. I love spending time researching lots of different topics and finding out about so many different things for the lessons I create (and it helps my general knowledge for pub quizzes too!). When you're teaching, you don't have the time to get stuck into the planning as much I can now, and I really enjoy that aspect of my job.
What's your favourite subject to plan for? I'd say Maths and Science are my favourites.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? What do Scientists do? for Year 3/4 was fascinating to put together and is perfect for a Science Day/Week at school. It has a different focus for each lesson and looks at the practical aspects that scientific learning can have and how people choose different areas of science to study in their career. It's lovely to hear feedback that this scheme has inspired children to aspire to be scientists when they grow up.
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I've recently taken up sewing and now love making clothes for myself, and my family and friends. I also have a Labrador and enjoy taking him out for long country walks.
Emma Shingleton | Resource Creator
I began my teaching career as a teaching assistant before becoming a qualified teacher and teaching across KS1 and KS2. It feels great to be part of a team that helps so many teachers out and I love spreading the word about PlanBee on our social media platforms and engaging with other teachers. If you ever get in touch on our Facebook or Instagram pages, it's probably me you'll speak to!
What's your favourite subject to plan for? I really enjoy planning English lessons, particularly if they're linked to a favourite children's book.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? Animal Stories, a KS1 RE scheme, was one of the first schemes I created for PlanBee but it's still one of my favourites. I really enjoyed reading all of the different animal stories from different religions and learn how animals are respected. I also loved incorporating inquiry-based learning in this scheme and also class projects such as building a bug hotel. I would enjoy teaching this scheme which I think is a sign of a good scheme of work!
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I love anything sporty and am a qualified gymnastics coach.
Matt Watson | Resource Creator
I have worked as a primary school teacher in Northampton since qualifying in 2006 with an art-specialism. Over the years, I have taught in both KS1 and KS2 and have always really enjoyed planning and creating engaging schemes of work which will inspire the children in my class.
I came across PlanBee when, as a DT coordinator, I was looking for quality schemes of work to use in my school. I felt that working for PlanBee would be an ideal way for me to focus on the aspect of teaching I most enjoy.
What's your favourite subject to plan for? It's a toss-up for me between DT and Geography. I love the creative side of DT but I also love teaching children about different places.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? I'm such a newbee that I've only created a few schemes so far but I loved my very first one, The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch! This is a Year 2 English Instructions set of lessons and was a really fun one to make.
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? In my free time I love camping and am usually planning my next adventure in France. I also have a love for musical theatre and cinema, and am an artist (I mainly create pen and ink architectural illustrations).
Marie Thornby | Resource Creator
I qualified as a primary school teacher and mathematics specialist back in 2015. Since then, I’ve taught all year groups in KS2 and also took on the role of Curriculum Co-ordinator. I feel passionately that children should enjoy a thoughtfully-planned diverse, inclusive and progressive curriculum which meets both their emotional and educational needs. So, when I saw that PlanBee were recruiting, I thought this would be the perfect way for me to make a positive impact beyond my own classroom and I’m so glad they thought so too!
What's your favourite subject to plan for? I love cross-curricular topics and embracing anything that can get a bit messy. As a neurodivergent educator, I’m keen to create accessible lessons which empower children to solve problems, exercise choice or express themselves creatively like Art, Science or DT.
What's your favourite PlanBee scheme you've created? It’s still early days for me in terms of scheme creation, but One Thousand and One Arabian Nights holds a special place in my heart.
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I love to read, paint and chill out with yoga.
Josephine Hollister | Admin Assistant
I spend my days supporting customers, processing invoices and generally making sure that all the admin is ship-shape. Even though I'm not a teacher myself, I really enjoy sorting out customer queries and pointing a teacher in the direction of a lesson, scheme of work or FreeBee, knowing that I'm helping to make their lives just that little bit easier. I'm also responsible for uploading all the new resources that the team make onto the website.
What do you like doing when you're not PlanBee-ing? I'm a keen runner but also have a passion for interior design. I love helping my friends and family redecorate to make their living spaces feel new and fresh.