Pupils at Abbey Hey Primary Academy have been turning back time this week as part of the school’s 80th birthday celebrations. The week of celebrations coincides with United Learning’s IDeas Festival – a national event in which all of the Group’s schools are exploring their local, regional and national identities.
All week the primary pupils have been celebrating their local heritage by looking back over the past 80 years. With each year group given a decade to explore – starting with the year 2000 for Nursery tracking back to the 1930s for Year 6 – the children have been learning about the key events and trends of the last 80 years.
The school was transformed into a time machine which transported children back in time so that they could listen to the music, eat the food and learn the dances of their particular decade. There was a special focus on learning about Gorton and the surrounding area and, as such, the children learnt about lead singer of the Monkees, Davy Jones, Manchester City footballer Peter Barnes and the work of LS Lowry.
As a lasting memory of this special week, the pupils put together a full corridor scene of the Manchester skyline. The children chose themselves which Manchester buildings to feature and the result is a visual spectacular. The skyline features Manchester Cathedral, Old Trafford and Manchester Town Hall. The school also created a whole school mosaic using photos of all the children and staff currently attending the school. The photos were arranged in the shape of the United Learning logo.
The week culminated in a whole school garden party on Friday afternoon. All 630 children enjoyed a picnic lunch together on the school field along with birthday cake whilst being entertained by a range of street artists.
Catherine Horton-Hale, Senior Vice Principal at Abbey Hey Primary Academy, who organised the week of activities, said:
“This week has been simply incredible. The pupils have really embraced all the activities and have fully immersed themselves in their particular decade. There has been such a variety of activities going on with Year 6 learning to jive, Reception listening to Oasis and Year 3 producing tie-dye art. And with the Year 4 classroom transformed in a corner shop, I really thought I had been transported back to the 1980s!”
“When we started planning this week, we wanted to place a special emphasis on learning about the local area. The children have been really interested in learning about where they live and are so proud that their local area has such a strong local heritage.
“The corridor mural and photo mosaic look absolutely fantastic. They are the perfect memento of such a special week.”
Paul Graham, Principal of Abbey Hey Primary Academy, said:
“This has been the ideal way to celebrate the school’s 80th birthday. Looking back over the history of the school has made us all realise how much the school has achieved and what a strong, thriving and welcoming community we have become. It was wonderful to welcome so many past pupils and staff to our garden party and to hear what they are all up to now.
“We are lucky to enjoy the support of our local community. Gorton has a rich and vibrant heritage and we are very proud to be a part of it.”
Year 5 pupils Ellie said:
"I have enjoyed learning about World War Two and writing a letter as an evacuee from Abbey Hey. It made me really think about what I would miss in Gorton. I also enjoyed making evacuee boxes."
Reception pupil Amira said:
"I liked learning about the Oasis songs and the Blossoms songs. I love to dance and sing to the music."
Year 2 pupil Natalie said:
“This week I have been learning about the 1970s. We got to hear some of the music people listened to in the 1970s and danced to Night Fever which was brilliant!”