I don’t know if it’s just that I’m getting older or if the years are actually passing more quickly, but the fact that 2023 has nearly come to an end is pretty scary!
I think it’s fair to say that the MHS school community deserves their break. At the end of a busy, exciting and productive Autumn Term, our students have enjoyed some fun at social times this week in the form of ‘sponge the teacher’, the Year 8 ‘cardboard catwalk’, an amazing ‘Lunchtime Winter Wonderland’ and more to raise money for charity and the school prom.
Celebration assemblies have also taken place in which we gave out more badges than ever before to students whose efforts in subject areas, and their ambition to display the Marple Hall Spirit in their every day lives, were acknowledged and rewarded. At the time of writing there is still the highly anticipated staff panto (never letting a lack of talent get in our way!) to look forward to for the older year groups and the draws for the ‘Have Christmas on Us’ are just about to take place.
The highlight for me has got to be the Elements group in Year 7 and 8 who wrote and produced their version of “Peter Pan”. It was a privilege to watch them perform in front of an audience; all I can say is they were all absolutely fantastic!
This is community. This is us. Thank you to you all for being part of our community and for your support. We are looking forward to all that 2024 has in store for our school, but until then, on behalf on Marple Hall School, I wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!
Huge congratulations to everyone involved in the Christmas concert in school last night. There was a real festive spirit in the air and it was a lovely experience to be a part of. It was wonderful to see so many talented young people proudly performing in front of a packed hall. Thank you to everyone involved, and of course to everyone who bought tickets and came to support.
Speaking of Christmas, a reminder that our big new ‘have Christmas on us’ competition is running between now and the end of term. Any student who is in school every day in December (up until Thursday afternoon, 21st December) will be entered into a prize draw to win a range of family friendly Christmas themed prizes. Check out my previous blog here for details.
Finally, as we approach the final week, a pre warning that there will be a few charity and fund raising things happening across the week. Soak a teacher (including me, allegedly!), Christmas jumper day, fun performances…and more. We know that times are tough and so donations are not expected, but they are obviously gratefully received. If you have any loose change around the house and can spare to give it to your young people to bring into school, then we’d love to put it to good use.
Last night we invited our ‘Class of 2023’ back into school to collect their qualification certificates. For the vast majority of those who attended, this was the first time they have been back in school since the results day in August. It’s always great to see old faces back and to catch up on what they are doing now, as of course their time at MHS is just one part of a much longer journey. Colleagues speaking to the former students heard of college courses, plumbing courses, A Levels, university plans, sporting successes, film showings, art exhibitions – you name it, the MHS alumni are on to it! It’s a reminder of the impact that school can have and the importance of education for all. It also underlines how important it is that students currently in school ‘have a plan’ for what they want to do after Year 11, something that we work on a lot in school with our careers team taking the lead.
Also this week the vast majority of our Year 9 GCSE languages students completed a set of trial speaking tests. These can be nerve-wracking experiences for some students but the year group took to the challenge with enthusiasm. Well done!
I make no apology for repeating a key message at the start of this blog. The two biggest factors in how well a student does in school is a) how much they read and b) how often they turn up to school. As I said in assemblies over the last two weeks to years 7-10…they need to turn up and read, read and turn up, turn up and read.
However, we know that attendance to school has become a national issue since covid. Schools are trying really hard to encourage students to attend more regularly and MHS is no exception. Our overall attendance rates are well above the national average, but they are still a long way below pre-covid levels and this is harming the quality of education that our students are getting. One successful recent initiative is focussed on encouraging students to come to school on Fridays, which is the day with the lowest attendance for our school. ‘In it to win it’ sees every student in school entered into a weekly prize draw with vouchers and other tempting goodies handed out the same day. It’s early days but already working.
As we run up towards the end of term we’re launching another, bigger competition. This time we hope that the whole family can benefit from students coming to school, in an initiative called ‘Have Christmas on us‘. Thanks to some wonderful local businesses listed below, we have some great prizes to hand out to families chosen at random on Thursday 21st December. To be entered into the draw students need to attend school every day between Monday 4th December – Thursday 21st December inclusive (14 days in total). The confirmed prizes are as follows, with perhaps more to be added as well:
5 x £50 vouchers for ASDA (one per year group)
2 x £10 Littlewoods Butchers vouchers
2 x £10 Marple Bookstore vouchers
4 x £5 StationarySupplies Marple vouchers
Plus, one luxury hamper from Dutsons (see below!)
We’ll aim to get these prizes out to families immediately after the draw, and hope that they will make a small dent in the cost of a very expensive time of year.
Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB
Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker