Determination legends

Determination legends

Ever since we were able to restart assemblies in March we have been promoting the Marple Hall Spirit with all students in years 7-10. I’ve mentioned it a lot in my blogs as the Marple Hall Spirit is the ethos of our school. It’s why we do what we do and it explains what we hope to see in every member of the community.

This week, Senior Assistant Headteacher Lyn Lawton has been delivering assemblies on Determination. Often in assemblies the presenter brings out the same old examples…like how there’s no such thing as an overnight success, how successful famous people often had to overcome setbacks and how one of the world’s best Basketball players, Michael Jordan, was famously not picked for his high school basketball team. I reckon I’ve heard the Michael Jordan example over 100 times. These are common stories for a good reason, and they certainly do describe determination in action.

Mrs Lawton though took a different angle. Her assembly focused on Marple Hall Determination Legends – real life examples of students showing determination in action such as:

1) The charismatic young man who knew that his friendship group was holding him back in his studies, and so over time he achieved the almost impossible and changed friendship group in order to give him a better chance of success.

2) The female student who played a leading role in a school performance. She messed up massively in the dress rehearsal for primary students the day before the opening night, but then got back on stage and smashed it.

3) The student with autism who struggled with Mrs Lawton’s subject, English. The student recognised their difficulty, asked for extra support and ended up with a spectacular grade.

and (my favourite)

4) The young male student who at break time recently challenged his much bigger and more confident friend for using the word ‘gay’ in a negative way. He boldly announced ‘I don’t think you should use the word gay as an insult’, and was then supported by others around him. He was determined to stand up for what he believed in, and hopefully taught his friend a lesson at the same time.

I loved Mrs Lawton’s assembly. These are real life examples of real life Marple Hall students showing their determination, giving us all great examples to look up to.

Speaking of which, Year 11 continue to impress me with their determination during their exams. Keep it up and do some work over the break!!

Best wishes,

Joe Barker

MHS Update 20-5-2022

Over the previous few weeks I’m referenced our Year 11 cohort fairly regularly, as of course this group of students are coming towards the end of their time at MHS. This week the long awaited exams finally arrived and it was absolutely no surprise at all to see them settle down to the task in hand. Over the past 18 month this group of young people have gone from strength to strength, and regardless of the final outcomes in August we couldn’t be more proud of them. With several exams already under their belts, it’s heads down for the next four school weeks and then the future awaits.

This week we have been able to share news that many parents will be pleased to hear; we have secured a deal to change our PE kit supplier and will be moving to both Warrens and Monkhouses from July 1st. The new kit is smart, good quality and will hopefully be readily available! All students will need to have a full PE kit ready for September, but this can be the new design, old design or a mixture of the two until replacement items are needed.

Finally this week a comment from me on anti-social behaviour in the community. The overwhelming majority of young people are positive, proactive, generous members of the community who do the school and their families proud. It is important not to dismiss all teenagers as being an issue. However, where things do not go right, as a school we have a shared responsibility to help students grow up to be kind and considerate members of the community. I take this responsibility very seriously, which is why we spend so long in school promoting our school ethos of the Marple Hall Spirit, and our pastoral team spend a good portion of their time dealing with issues in the community. We also have good partnerships with the police and other agencies, working together to educate and guide young people into the right choices. Of course, this is a shared responsibility – not one that is the school’s alone – and it is only by working with parents and members of the public that we can really make a difference. So, if anyone has a concern then do please report it to us and we will always try to make a difference.

Have a great weekend,

Joe Barker

Smashing the exam season

The main exam season begins on Monday and continues for five school weeks.

Both last year and the year before, the part of the media that focusses on education was right now highlighting the cancellation of all exams and the alternative arrangements that were put in place. This year we are very much back to normal. There have been some alterations to the content that students will be tested on in some subjects, but the exams themselves are taking place in their usual rigorous way. My personal professional opinion is that it’s fantastic to see the exams back again. They are the best way for each student to show what they can do, and despite their flaws they are the fairest way too. I also believe that the exam season brings out the best in our Year 11s and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do this year.

However, the exam season can be a stressful time for students and their families. Therefore my colleague Lyn Lawton has pulled together some useful advice that you may want to read. If even a small part of it is helpful then it’s worth doing. If your child isn’t doing exams at the moment, unlike the Year 11s and almost all Year 9s, then there are still some helpful things here both for now and for the future.

Finally, if parents of younger students could support us by reminding their children to follow the ‘quiet please’ signs wherever they see them, that would be great. As the signs tell them, ‘One day it will be your turn’.


Joe Barker

Helping your child maintain a positive mindset during the [extended] exam period:

  1. Studies have proven that a person’s mood can affect their performance. For example, one study showed that by simply asking participants in an experiment to think ‘happy thoughts’ it doubled their accuracy in a word association test. On the morning of exams, try reminding your child of a happy future event [a summer holiday/day out/prom] or happy times in the past. Or simply give them some positive vibes: ‘I know you can do this’ or ‘You are doing great.’
  2. Ego-depleted students are more likely to quit. ‘Ego-depletion’ is when  self-confidence plummets and students lose faith in their own ability. Protecting your child’s confidence during exam periods is tricky, but one way is to be on the look-out for it. For example, [despite our advice] students often chat to their peers after exams and compare themselves to others. If they find out they answered questions wrongly, they can feel less confident about themselves moving forward to the next exam. As well as advising them not to have these chats after exams, give them reassuring messages such as ‘Don’t worry, everyone drops a few marks here and there – you will be able to make up it in the next exam’ or ‘There will be plenty of questions you got right, so don’t focus on the wrong ones.’
  3. When students are actively involved in difficult cognitive reasoning [engaged in difficult exam tasks], their blood-glucose level can drop which can impact on their concentration. Encourage your child to eat breakfast on the day of exams and ensure they have enough snacks/money on their school accounts to replenish their energy during the day.
  4. Keeping a closer eye on your child during this period can be beneficial: ensuring there are not any major family events/too much socialising at the weekend; the half-term break is quiet; bedtimes aren’t too late; and their alarm is set for the morning of exams can all help avoid stress.
  5. Finally, try not to feel too worried yourself. It can be a stressful time for the whole family, especially if this is your first child to take GCSEs. Remember to contact your child’s form tutor if you have any particular concerns.
Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker
Tel: 0161 427 7966
Fax: 0161 426 0931