MHS Update – end of half term

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.

Best wishes,

Joe Barker

MHS Update – Covid vaccination consent process begins tomorrow

Dear all

Last week I blogged about the process by which we will seek responses from parents/carers on the issue of consent for the Covid vaccine for 12-16 year olds. The first section of this blog explains the key information, with further details offered in the remainder of the blog.

Tomorrow, Friday 15th October, we will send the following out to parents/carers and upload copies on the school website:

1) A letter from the Local Authority explaining the vaccine programme

2) An email containing instructions on how to respond to the consent request

We will also upload an online response form located within the EduLink App/website

We request that families respond to the consent gathering process as soon as possible, and by an absolute deadline of Wednesday 3rd November at midday. The deadline is important to help NHS colleagues plan the amount of vaccine needed.

Further details on the above can be found here:

1) A letter from the Local Authority explaining the vaccine programme

The letter explains the vaccine programme and provides a link to further information. The link refers to parents/carers handing a copy of the consent form back to staff in school. In most cases this will not be necessary as consent can be given electronically via Edulink. In addition the letter mentions catch up sessions that will have passed by the time the MHS vaccinations take place. The school nursing team will be arranging further catch up opportunities in November. Details of these will be communicated through the school, and advertised on the CCG website at

2) Instructions on how to respond to the consent request

  • Where parents or carers have an Edulink account, please complete the consent form electronically. This will enable us to quickly and accurately report numbers to the NHS vaccination team. Where parents are in agreement with each other on how to respond to the consent form, only one parent needs to respond.
  • If you do not have an Edulink account but would like one then please email with your and your child’s/children’s names and we will send out details to you.
  • If you wish to complete the consent form on paper then please ask your son/daughter/ward to collect a copy from the Exams and Data office on Isherwood Admin Corridor asap. Please return the form via the student to any member of staff in school.

Finding the online consent form

When the form is live a notification will appear on the Edulink web bowser version or mobile app, shown as a small number to the side of the ‘forms’ section. Here is an example from both versions of Edulink:

What if my child is not yet 12 years old and won’t be by mid November?

11 year olds are not eligible for the vaccine.

Please complete the consent form as if your child was 12 years old. It may be possible for some students in this position to be vaccinated in school once they turn 12, depending on the capacity of vaccination teams. If not then vaccines will be available away from school.

Many thanks

Joe Barker

MHS Update and Covid vaccination planning

Dear all,

I usually post a blog on a Friday but I am doing so a day early this week to coincide with important steps towards organising the Covid vaccination programme in school.

Key information regarding Covid vaccinations in school

Accepting the vaccine or not is a matter for families and students. We are acting as neutral partners in the process and will facilitate the gathering of consent and the logistics of getting the right students to the right place on the days of the vaccinations.

1) Our designated vaccination window is mid-November, specific dates to be confirmed later.

2) On Friday 15th October we will be contacting parents and carers regarding gathering consent for the vaccine. On that day we will share:

  • a) A letter from the Local Authority which contains more information on the vaccine programme,
  • b) An email explaining how to respond to the consent request,
  • c) An online consent form located within the Edulink app/website. This will not be live until Friday 15th October.

3) Our preferred method of gathering consent from those who wish to give it is via an online form on Edulink. We know that over 80% of students have at least one parent or carer with an Edulink account set up with us.

4) We aim to increase the number of parents/carers signed up to Edulink this week.

Where we believe that parents/carers don’t yet have an Edulink account, we will be sending out account details to all of those who haven’t registered with Edulink on Friday 8th October.  If you haven’t already registered, and don’t receive an email with your account details, please email with your and your child’s/children’s names and we will send out details to you.

If you have registered for Edulink and have forgotten your password, then please email with your and your child’s/children’s names and we will send out a password reset link.

5) There will be the option to complete a paper vaccine consent form if needed, details of this will be shared on Friday 15th October.

6) Only those students for whom we have consent will be vaccinated in school. Students themselves will not be able to give consent no matter what age they are. In the event that a student wants the vaccine against the wishes of the parent, the student will not be given the vaccine in school.

We will note any cases where one parent gives consent but another states that they do not consent. These cases will be handed to the NHS vaccination team who will take steps to resolve the matter.

Finally, if you are fully up to speed with plans for the Covid vaccine and you have an Edulink account set up then you don’t need to do anything at all until Friday 15th.

If you do not have an Edulink account then look out for an email on Friday 8th giving the option of setting one up, or contact the email address above.

Many thanks,

Joe Barker

Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker
Tel: 0161 427 7966
Fax: 0161 426 0931