One year in – Alexandra Park School

It is a whole year since lockdown began in the UK on 23rd March 2020. Soon afterwards, we began Oldham’s Lockdown Museum. The project asked local people to send in pictures and tell us what they were doing in a time of monumental change. Over the coming months, photographs poured in and together they create a fascinating and sometimes moving snapshot of Oldham during lockdown. The Lockdown Museum tells amazing stories of how people came together to help one another, adapted their lives and businesses and found the strength to keep going in the most challenging of times. Today, we’re revisiting Alexandra Park Junior School.

Banner showing Welcome Back Everyone in multi-colours and the phrase To Learn, Be Happy and Achieve our best

To mark the anniversary of lockdown, we have contacted some of the contributors and asked them to reflect on the last twelve months. Here is the first in a series of revealing blog posts.

No1. Samantha Hickling, Alexandra Park Primary School

Three children sat on the ground of an assembly hall with a rainbow banner with words Alexandra Park Junior School, Thankyou NHS and Keyworkers.
  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and or your organisation. Who are you, what do you do? Where are you from?

We are Alexandra Park Junior School, a junior school within Oldham who have been majoritively closed during both the 1st and 3rd lockdown to all pupils except the children of key workers and the vulnerable.

  • Thinking back to 2020… What were you doing in March, when the first lockdown started?

We had just completed our mock SATs on the day the lockdown was announced. We had just had a successful Book Week and we were planning a variety of future events.

  • What suddenly changed for you when the first lockdown started? How did you adapt?

We suddenly had to adapt to teaching online with two days notice. Our classes were empty, our children at home with no idea when we wold be back. We expected maybe 12 weeks at most, we never expected not saying goodbye to the Y6 children

  • What helped you through it, personally and professionally?

Our team at Alex Park are like a family and we all got each other through it. The never ending enthusiasm for the children at home, and their happy voices when we would call to check in.

  • What has changed between the first, second and third lockdown?

We have really got a handle on remote learning. In the first lockdown we provided work, but now we provide a true learning experience via live lessons. The children are more engaged in it as well.

  • What, if any, have been the positives?

The positive attitudes from the children – they always see the positive side

Three children standing outside the school holding paintings and drawings of hearts and rainbows for the NHS.
  • What are your hopes for the rest of 2021 and beyond?

A return to some form of normal and a chance for our families to be families again. A chance for our children to sit in groups and work together again, rather than in rows. A chance to sing together and play together. No more bubbles!

Take a look at Oldham’s Lockdown Museum page and see some of the other contributions we’ve received.