Hey with Zion Alumni
Over the years Hey with Zion have seen over a thousand children pass through its doors and we thought it would be good to share some of their stories and successes. We are very proud of everything our current, future and ex pupils achieve!
Danielle Hinchcliffe (Gilroy)
I started at Hey With Zion in 1993 and left in the summer of 2000. I absolutely loved school, from the lessons to the extra-curricular clubs. I was a keen football player and represented the school on multiple occasions, in addition to being on the chess team and performing on the stage at any opportunity. I was so committed that one Christmas, on the night of the school nativity play, my dad accidentally ran over my foot and had to rush me to A&E, but I still made it back in time to perform my part while sat on a chair!
School is such a core experience that really shapes you as a person. The teachers are fundamental in this and there are a number of teachers that years later I have not forgotten, and to whom I remain thankful. Mrs Colley always gave me a hug when I needed it, Mr Brookes always challenged me on the chessboard, and Mr Clowes went above and beyond in my final year to make sure I could aim for the highest grades.
After Hey With Zion, I went to Counthill School and was Head Girl in 2004/5, in addition to winning the Oldham High School’s Trophy for Music. I went to BlueCoat Sixth Form, then four years at the University of Sheffield to gain a Masters Honours Degree in Biology. I went on to do a PhD in Molecular Ecology at the University of East Anglia, which involved using science research to save a bird species from extinction. Since my PhD, I worked as Head Scientist for an international NGO doing conservation research projects all around the world with all sorts of animals, before settling down to teach at the University of Salford (2019). I have now joined Liverpool John Moores University (2022) where I can do both things I love – teaching AND research – and I still like to sing in the shower and play chess when I can. I am always keen to do science outreach and engage with our next generation of scientists.
I left Hey With Zion primary school in 2003 before studying at Saddleworth School, Oldham Sixth Form College and finished my education studying Law at The University of Manchester. I am now a qualified Solicitor specialising in Family and Private Client matters working at Lancashire Law Solicitors in Shaw.
I have always had a very close connection with the school as every member of my family (starting with my Uncle who is now 51 years of age) have been fortunate enough to be taught at the school. My cousin, who is the youngest member of our family, is currently a pupil in Year 5, she absolutely loves it! I only have very fond memories of my time at Hey With Zion school. I recall all of the teachers, in particular Mr Clowes, always going above and beyond for us to ensure we were all given the best opportunities to experience new things, broaden our knowledge and be the best we could be from a young age. I firmly believe that my love for sport stemmed from the vast amount of extracurricular activities that Hey With Zion offered- I don’t think I ever went home at 3:30pm due to having some form of activity on after school! This positive and active lifestyle from a young age definitely contributed to my determination and confidence to play high level netball. Since being aged 12, I have played Netball for Oldham Netball Club and continue to do so now. In 2009, I represented England Netball U17 Squad in Gibraltar taking home a gold medal. From 2010- 2015, I played for Manchester Thunder Netball Superleague Team, winning the competition in 2011 and 2013. I am forever grateful to Hey With Zion school for the high standard of learning I received and the opportunities I was given which certainly contributed to my career and netball successes.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be taken on a guided tour of the school by two year 6 pupils. Both presented themselves in a confident manner and were astute to the content of learning for each year group.
I was also extremely impressed by the informative numerous display boards situated around the school which contributed to a happy and vibrant atmosphere in the school which is exactly how I remember it to be all those years ago.
I am proud to say I was a pupil at Hey With Zion school.
1990 - 1997
I have very fond memories of Hey With Zion, in particular Mr. Clowes restoring my love for reading. As an adult this encouraged me to go on to write my own stories, which are now published world wide.
My favourite thing in nursery was the big yellow trike, it was the fastest! Although, my favourite memory was watching the schools talent show and seeing a Year 6 pupil sing ‘She’s a lassy from Lancashire’, I thought she was wonderful. Can never forget singing ‘A partridge in a pear tree’ at Christmas and racing Mrs. Charnock to finish the last 4 verses. I now do this with my own children.
I am still very good friends with several of the pupils in my class - that’s over 32 years of friendship!
I was a pupil at Hey with Zion primary school between 1989- 1996, then went on to Saadleworth Sch and then college. I have been a fully qualified Nursery nurse and now I am carer for the elderly with dementia in a care home. Both my children have attended Hey with Zion, with my youngest stil being there. I have lots of good memories at Hey with zion, one being the unforgettable Ms Charnock and also having Mr Clowes as my junior 3 teacher ( wow I feel old, now ). Overall it is and always has been a great school to attend.
My name is Matt Bland and I attended the school from 1993-1999 (and was taught by Mr Clowes in my year 6 year). Since then, I have gone on to work as a police officer and have recently achieved the role of Sergeant within the force.
I have very good memories of the school and as such both my son's have attended there (my eldest left last year and my youngest is currently in year 3).
I was at the school from nursery until year 6 (2005-2012). From leaving Hey With Zion, I went on to study at Saddleworth School (2012-2017), and left with a 9 in GCSE English (which Mrs Light would have been so proud of)!
I then went on to study Level 3 Extended BTEC Diploma in Health and Social Care at Oldham Sixth Form College (2017-2019). I achieved a triple distinction star, with no marks lost. The only student to achieve this at this point.
I then left OSFC, and began my Paediatric Nursing Degree at the University of Manchester in 2019. I’ve completed nursing placements within Tameside (Children’s Unit, A&E, Community Nursing, Health Visiting and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (Ward 76).
I currently have 9 weeks left of my course until I am a qualified nurse, and will be embarking on my final placement next Monday. I have accepted a job in Paediatric A&E at Tameside, having secured a golden ticket in my second year from the director of nursing, who felt that the feedback from senior nursing staff and consultants warranted a golden ticket for any paediatric services within Tameside that I wished to work at - which meant I didn’t need to interview. This is a scheme that has been newly introduced, and I am the first student to hold such a ticket. I also achieved Student of the Year in 2020, and have received job offers from each placement experience.
Memories of Hey With Zion : there are so many fond memories to look back on - it really was an amazing time of my life, and I still feel sad that I ever had to leave!! It’s mainly the teachers that stand out for me:
Mr Clowes, Mrs Light, Mr Atkin, Mrs Patterson; Mrs Dawson (nee Heptonstall); Mrs Hibbs; Mrs Machin; and Mrs Morton (who was nicknamed Moose). I absolutely adored my time at the school, and definitely feel that the career I have pursued stemmed from being hospitalised during year 5 and being diagnosed with lymphoedema. I also recently saw Mrs Hibbs at my 21st birthday party (which was a lovely surprise), and can’t believe that it’s been 10 years since I left you guys!
My name is Bethany Halliwell (was Roberts)
I attended between 1998 - 2005
I now work as an Information Governance Compliance Officer for a social landlord, the key purpose of my role is to support the business by processing information requests and security incidents under the UK General Data Protection Regulation.
I remember all of my teachers and that’s because I had nothing but fun and the teachers always had an interactive approach to learning at the school, that’s why it was so easy for me to choose this school for my daughter - who’s a third generation Hey With Zion pupil!
I left Hey With Zion in 1992 and went onto Saddleworth Secondary School until 1997. I am now 41 years old. My memories of Hey With Zion school are all very positive. My Year 5 teacher was Mr Clowes, he was in his first year of teaching and he was an NQT (newly qualified teacher.)
I always loved Sport and PE at primary and secondary school and I always enjoyed and looked forward to representing Hey With Zion in all kinds of sports including, rounders and cricket.
I went onto Oldham Sixth form College to study A-level PE and Dance in 1997, which then led me onto completing a Sport and PE degree at Liverpool John Moores University.
In 2003 became a qualified Secondary School PE Teacher and got my first teaching job at The Radclyffe School in Chadderton, Oldham. I have taught there now for 19 years, and still love and feel very passionate about teaching PE and Dance to young people.
My two children also attended Hey With Zion School, both having very positive experiences there.
Leanne Standring (nee Barrow)
I left Hey with Zion in 2012 and am now working as a youth offender officer and doing my masters in criminology . I got my 1st class BSC Honours in integrated health and social care last summer .
I left left Hey with Zion in 2011 and went on to study nursing at the University of Manchester.
I am now a adult nurseat the Royal Oldham Hospital where I have been working since 2020.
Hi, my name is Toni Griffiths
I attended Hey with Zion from year 3 to year 6 when I left in 2003 to go on to Saddleworth School, I am now working at Manchester Airport as an Aircraft dispatcher, this is a very responsible job in which I am in charge of the turnaround of an aircraft and all the documentation involved for loading of bags and the weight and balance.
Danielle Jones (was Newton)
1995 - 2002
I am now a primary school teacher in another Oldham school. I had the best experience of primary school at Hey With Zion, Mr Clowes was my Year 6 teacher. So much of what I do now in my career is a reflection of my time at Hey With Zion. The staff, assemblies, playtimes, school trips, nativities, sports days and our classroom learning.
I will always remember going on a trip to Bradford Media Museum and our coaching getting stolen with all our coats on it! The coach was eventually found and I remember going to the office to identify the fleece that I had taken with me from a pile of other children's coats and jackets! The care and compassion of the teachers was wonderful, reflecting back now I recognise their support more than ever. When 9/11 happened I was in Year 6 and I remember Mr Clowes inviting us to stay in at play to discuss what had happened, to put our minds at ease, a beautiful acknowledgement of our young minds trying to process the scary events of the real world.
I remember painting the wall in the outside area next to the hall with an underwater theme, the teachers cutting up fruit to share with our classmates, cartons of milk, story time, listening to Burglar Bill on the huge black cassette player with the massive headphones, learning how to play three blind mice of the recorder. The old mezzanine floor that we got to go up to once (I think to help pull Christmas decorations down?). When we got the big Apple computers and were all amazed that we had these modern looking contraptions to use in school! It's funny what you remember from your time at primary school, but all of these things just make me proud to be an ex-pupil of Hey With Zion, brilliant memories from a brilliant childhood.
I was at Hey with Zion from 1987 to 1994; my name then was Vicky (Victoria) Warren. I think most of the teachers from that time are no longer there, but I understand Mr Clowes still is. I remember him joining the school and the white Mini he had!
I now work as a freelance linguist, mainly translating medical research from French and German into English. My brother Oliver was also a Hey with Zion pupil; he now lives in Dublin and works in accounting.
I am still very much in touch with Becky Harding and Steph Heap, and to a lesser extent Elizabeth Eley and Mai Jones. Becky, Steph and I will actually be walking the length of Hadrian's Wall together next week to raise money for Dr Kershaw's hospice.
Even after all this time, we often still talk about Hey with Zion and all have such fond memories of our time there.
I attended Hey with Zion 1985-1996 and my nephew is currently in Reception/Y1)
I have attached a photo of me and my son, zip lining in Wales.
I am now Area Patch Manager Fibre Network Delivery, East Manchester, Openreach.
Hi, I’m Lauren Mills used to be Lauren Williams. I went to Hey With Zion school between the years of 1990-2001. I met my husband when I was 18 and we have two beautiful girls between us who are called Bettie and Maggie. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 8 years, what an experience that was, and one I’ll never forget. I have my own house, I drive and I currently support adults with autism and disabilities. I am still friends with a lot of the people who I met at Hey with Zion school, some of my friends have known each other since we were babies! And they have had children the same age as my children too. Mrs Charnock was the headteacher when I went to school. Some of the teachers I remember are, Mr Clowes, Mrs Gartside, Ms Cook. I have many fond memories at this school. Ones I’ll never forget.
Both my sisters went to Hey with Zion, Vicky Williams and Rebecca Williams.
Hi my name is Emma Wareing I left Hey With Zion in 2003. I have a lot of fond memories from primary school, including the Wizard of Oz panto we did in our last year of school and also the football tournament we did which resulted in us ending up in the Oldham Chronicle. I am currently a mum to two beautiful girls, I am a dental nurse but also in the process of implant nursing.
My name is Charlotte Jones. I attended Hey with Zion primary school from 1990-1998. I'm now 34 years old.
I have wonderful memories from being in Primary school, from Assembly with Mrs Charnock who was the headteacher at the time. School trips, playing sports at lunch time on the field, I remember handwriting classes in what will be Year 1 now with Mrs Gartside and I remember playing a Math game in what will now be Year 5 when Mr Clowes was my teacher. I was never very good at Maths. Found it really difficult, still do!
After my time at Hey with Zion. I attended Saddleworth School where I recieved my GCSE'S.
After High-school I attended Oldham college where i achieved a National Diploma in Childcare and Education. During this time I came back to Hey with Zion to do a placement. I worked alongside staff in Nursery and Reception. To this day. It was my favourite placement. I also hold certification in Family Support Worker, Safeguarding adults and young people, First Aid, a diploma in understanding Autism and ADHD.
After I qualified I became a Room Leader, SENCO and Equalties Ambassador working at a Children's Centre based in Hollinwood for a charity called Barnardos. In 2011 I gave birth to my only child, Joshua who is now ten years of age.
He is in Year 5 and attends Hodge Clough Primary School. I now work as a Level 3 Teaching Assistant in a Primary in Ashton Under Lyne called Holy Trinity C of E Primary School. I have worked there since 2012.
My son, Joshua races BMX both Nationally and Regionally for Bruntwood Park BMX club based in Cheadle Stockport. In my spare time I act as the Clubs Child Welfare and Safeguarding officer, working alongside British Cycling to meet ensure the club runs within the Guidance set by the Department of Sports and Media.
My name is Holly Hardy (nee Dyson) and I attended Hey with Zion between 1990-1996 before attending Counthill and Oldham Sixth Form college. I started a job in accounts before working my way up through various roles. I currently work as a Customs and International Trade Tax Specialist. This involves ensuring large businesses are compliant with customs legislation and are paying the correct taxes and duties when importing and exporting goods around the world. It is a lot more exciting than it sounds.
I am married and I have two children who both attended Hey with Zion, prior to moving to secondary school. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Hey with Zion and I have far too many memories to mention namely centred around Mrs Charnock.
I’m Sarah Hilton. I attended Hey with Zion from nursery 1992 to year 6 1999. I left and attended Saddleworth High School. From there I went on to do my level 3 diploma in child care at Oldham College. Since I have had 2 children who have both attended Hey with Zion and gone on to Crompton House. I have worked in different child care and customer service roles but I am now the Manager at a private day nursery, Georgie Porgies, in Rochdale. I have been there for 5 years now.
I’m Rachael Pilkington (nee Barratt) and I attended HWZ from 1991 to 1997. All I have is positive memories of the school! I was a kid who loved to learn and HWZ was the perfect place for me to do that while still getting a well-rounded education and having tons of fun. I have a constant drive to do more and learn more, and I know I can chalk most of that up to the continuous encouragement and support I got at primary school level.
Since HWZ, I haven’t lost my love for learning. I studied English Language and Linguistics at University level (while working as a veterinary nurse- the coolest job in the world!). Then I decided I missed my science (and student life!) too much and went back to Uni to study medicine. I graduated and started work as a doctor just before coronavirus hit. I worked through the pandemic, which was chaotic, amazing and a very steep learning curve, and now I’m spending my time on mat leave with our newest addition. I now have two boys- a four-year old and a four-month old. I’ve had a lot of jobs through the years, but being a mum is definitely my favourite!
My time at HWZ was so much fun and I don’t think I ever really noticed just how much I was learning and being moulded into a girl ready to tackle the big world of secondary school- but I definitely reaped the benefits of my primary schooling long into my adolescence and adulthood.
I guess I would like to say a long overdue thank you for my time at HWZ and all the opportunities I was given. I wouldn’t be who I am today with it!
My name is Sarah Hill and I attended Hey With Zion until 2003. Since leaving, I have moved to Australia, completed my primary and secondary schooling and have since studied at RMIT University to become a teacher. I still live in Australia and I’m currently in my eighth year of teaching at a local primary school, Glen Katherine Primary School. I teach year three and four students and lead the Middle School team.
I still visit the UK when I can to visit family and of course take the opportunity to explore Europe. In my time in Australia I’ve also done a little bit of travelling, recently to Ayers Rock.
In my time since leaving Hey With Zion I have done some performing, local gigs and musical theatre performances. I have also done some Spartan races- obstacle courses, and attend the local F45 training studio daily.
My fond memories at Hey With Zion include the delivery of Christmas cards through the red post box (you could post your own and these were delivered by monitors). So exciting- I remember just being so thrilled by the idea of getting cards delivered to you. I also loved the Wizard of Oz theatre performance. I remember also doing a talent show of some description. When it was sunny, I remember rolling down the hill during breaks and making daisy chains.
I hope you’re all well and that Hey with Zion is providing the kids of today with plenty of happy memories as it did for me!
Zoe Eckersley (formerly Brierley)
I attended Hey with Zion Primary 1990-1998 and have fond memories particularly of Mrs Charnock and her office, assemblies and star cards, summer fairs, trips and not forgetting Mr Clowes as my year 5 teacher.
I went on to study at Mossley Hollins High School and gained my GCSEs and completing further study at Oldham College gaining NVQs 2,3 and 4 in childcare based qualifications. After working in various private nurseries in different roles I went on to working as a charity run pre-school manager. Later in life and following my love of learning, I completed a degree in Children and Young People at University campus Oldham and have become the first Oldham Childminder to gain The Curiosity Approach Accreditation.
I have transferred my skills and I am currently a Registered Childminder who provides before and after school care from Hey with Zion, working closely with the teachers, parents and Mr Clowes. My own daughter currently attends the school as I choose this due to all the happy memorable times I had from Nursery through to year 6. I often see classmates and we talk of the fond memories at school.
As part of my drive to give children the best start in life my husband, daughter and I also run a jujitsu club teaching children of all ages (we like to be active and busy). I also work as part of the Oldham Play Action Group, which is a Charity providing play schemes across the borough.