East Lothian teacher builds castle out of 500 pupils names during Scotland's Covid lockdown

A creative schoolteacher spent lockdown building a detailed castle out of wood, with each ‘brick’ named after a pupil he has taught over his 26-year career.

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Jack Jackman works as teacher at Loretto School in Musselburgh and presented the massive structure to his delighted primary six class this term.

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The 48-year-old said the project had helped remind him of his value during his ‘negative days’ through lockdown.

The castle features more than 500 pupil's names.

“The castle is quite metaphorical for me,” said Mr Jackman. “I was in a negative place last year because of lockdown and seeing all the lives I have impacted over the last 26 years in the castle helped remind me of my impact.”

Mr Jackman added that the project had “stopped me going crazy during lockdown” and has inspired him to start teaching woodwork to his P6 class.

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The dedicated teacher has taught at Loretto School for 12 years and has previously worked in Italy, Poland and Argentina.

More than 500 pupils are represented in the structure and Mr Jackman hopes to continue adding names to the building each year a new class leaves him.

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Jack Jackman with his impressive creation

He said: “I started teaching abroad in 1995, so there are names from Poland, Italy and Argentina mixed in with names from Dumfries, Midlothian and from here in Loretto (on the castle)."

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The use of mixed materials, which create a patchwork colour design, was intentional as it reflects the diverse students taught by Mr Jackman.

"The castle is made deliberately multi-coloured to reflect the variety of children I’ve taught," he said. “And there are empty bricks round the back which I expect to fill over the rest of my career.”

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The complex build is modular, meaning it can be assembled in many different ways and has been keeping the children at Loretto School entertained.

The breathtaking castle now sits in P6’s classroom and delighted pupils play with the structure regularly.
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"It’s modular so can be assembled in 400,000 different combinations,” explained Mr Jackman.

The teacher said the project has been a “a real trip down memory lane” as he recalls the numerous pupils he has taught since 1995.

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The breathtaking castle now sits in the Primary 6 classroom and delighted pupils play with the structure regularly as they learn new skills in class.

“I don’t know why I decided to do this or why I decided to make a castle,” said Mr Jackman. “It just seemed like a good idea and the class loves it.”

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The castle can be assembled 400,000 different ways

Mr Jackman build the impressive castle with wood taken from the Tranent based timber merchants Cut Price Timber who offer free ‘Help Yourself” boxes to anyone interested in woodwork.

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Speaking to the Evening News a spokesperson from Cut Price Timber said they were delighted with the use Mr Jackman had made of their timber.

The spokesperson said: ““Our free timber boxes have been a great success not only for our customer but for the members of our local community which has helped many individuals and especially families spend quality time together.

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“Cut Price Timber is a family run business and not only will we continue with our free help yourself boxes but we plan to expand on these in the future because we know that in times like this anything that can bring families together is very important.”

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