Seven and a bit weeks done already, time flies when you’re having fun!
I’d like to mark the end of the first half term with a few thank you messages:
1) Thank you to every parent, carer and family member for supporting us through this half term. Every part of this pandemic has brought different challenges to schools. This term has been the challenge to make school ‘normal’ whilst managing the highest rates of cases we’ve ever had. This term, our case rate has been twenty times higher than the same period last year – over 240 compared to 12 last year. This is of course linked to the fact that in the past few weeks this part of Stockport has had some of the highest rates of infection anywhere in the UK. We’re in a different state as a country compared to last year and it’s brilliant that we’re able to keep school running every day. I wouldn’t change that for anything, but I am conscious of the disruption caused to families when students have to isolate and very aware of the learning experiences that these students are missing.
So, thank you for your patience, thank you for supporting our increased covid measures and thank you for your overall support. The tentative good news is that case rates in school are falling and attendance is picking up again, so hopefully this local wave if passing.
2) Thank you to all my colleagues for going the extra mile every day. We set ourselves the challenge of running as ‘normal’ as school as possible and have stuck to the task, whilst having to manage much higher levels of staff absence than would usually be the case. The return of extra-curricular life has added an extra layer of complexity, as has the almost constant need for hybrid lessons. Remember, there are still schools out there who are not offering live lessons to students isolating with Covid – remarkable really and not in a good way. I often think how lucky I am to work with such a dedicated team of professionals; you put your heart and soul into this school, the community and the students I am always grateful for it.
3) Thank you to the students. As a student body you have done everything that we have asked of you this last 18 months and more. The past 7 weeks have been the most like normal we’ve had since January 2020, and that in a very large part has been down to you. Your energy, laughter, opinions and occasional stupid decisions are what makes a school tick and I thank you for being you. I have a great deal of faith in the MHS student body and I know you will face whatever challenges the rest of the year brings with the same Marple Hall Spirit you show every day. Most importantly, your compassion for those less fortunate than yourself is well known. Recently we welcomed six young people who had been evacuated from Afghanistan. MHS was chosen to host these students as we have a reputation for looking after those who need it, and collectively our student body has more than risen to the challenge. Seeing these six young people arrive, be welcomed and now thrive at our school has been a joy. As one of the young people recently said ‘I didn’t know people would be this kind’. It has been truly lovely to see. Thank you.
Finally, a reminder that we have two days next half term where students will not be in school. Friday 3rd December is a staff INSET day, and Monday 6th December is the additional day off that schools have been directed to take in return for missing the extra day for the Queen’s jubilee next summer. We hope that by making a long weekend of it for the students we can keep disruption to a minimum and perhaps even prevent covid transmission at the same time.