Happy Holidays

A very quick blog to wish all members of our school community a happy holiday, whether celebrating a religious festival such as Easter or Eid, spending time with friends and family or just looking forward to eating more chocolate than is sensible! Year 11 students in particular, please make sure you do some work but also have a rest too, balance is important.

Thanks to everyone for all your support since the new term started back on January 8th. Here’s looking forward to doing it all again from Monday 15th April onwards.

Best wishes

Joe Barker

Proposal to change term dates 2024-2025

I am using this week’s blog to highlight a consultation that has opened today regarding the school term dates for next academic year. Information about the proposal has been sent home to parents and carers today electronically, as well as being posted on the school website here.

The proposal is for a limited but (we think!) beneficial change to the published terms dates, specifically around the Christmas break of Dec 2024 to Jan 2025. As a maintained school we are obliged to follow the Stockport holiday pattern, available here: School term dates – Stockport Council

However, we believe that the following changes would benefit our students and staff:

  1. Extend the Autumn term by one day, meaning school is open up to and including Friday 20th December (rather than Thursday 19th as currently planned)
  2. Delay the official start of the Spring 2025 term to Friday 3rd January (rather than the 2nd as currently planned).

We would then use an INSET day to mean that the actual start date of the Spring term would be Monday 6th January.

These relatively minor changes, which will mean the weeks either side of the holiday will be full weeks, will help is to maximise student attendance as we know that ‘split’ or ‘part’ weeks often lead to lower attendance overall. The changes will also provide the whole school community a prolonged break after New Year, which in recent years has proven popular and beneficial.

As a maintained school we are not able to make this change. However, as an academy we are able to do so, and as we will be an academy by the Autumn term we plan to make the changes outlined above. The reason for a consultation now is to give all members of the community as much notice as possible. Local Authority colleagues are aware of our plans and the rationale for consulting well in advance of the dates. The proposal is relevant to Marple Hall School only.

All comments are welcome via this email address: MHStermdates2425@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk

The consultation period is open now and closes on Friday 26th April 2024. The MHS Governing body will then review all responses and make a final decision.

Best wishes

Joe Barker

An important fortnight for the class of 2025

My phone does that thing where each morning it shows me a picture from ‘this day x years ago’. Recently it’s been showing me images from four years ago that are very much reminding me of the covid pandemic. Aside from being amazed that it’s been four years (really???), the images remind me of those weeks leading up to what then became the first lockdown. A friend showing off that he’s bought 9 toilet rolls…that kind of thing.

This fortnight our Year 10s, the class of 2025, are sitting their first full set of trial exams. This cohort, along with the class of 2020 who were in year 11 when the lockdowns started, will always remind me of covid. Our year tens were the cohort who didn’t get to complete Year 6 properly, didn’t get all the usual transition activities to get ready for high school, and then had the most challenging start to life at MHS that you could possibly imagine. Therefore I’ll confess that I have been more than a little proud to note how well the students have coped with the demands of Key Stage 4. Attendance is up and rising, teachers report that Year 10 are working really hard in the vast majority of classes, and the exams team have been full of praise for their attitude during this first week of formal trial examinations. Young people are a lot more resilient and adaptable than some elements of the media would have you know.

So, well done Year 10. Keep up the good work and together we’ll help you realise your goals.

Have a great weekend,

Joe Barker

World Book Day

I can’t let yesterday’s World Book Day go by without using it as a way to once again promote the benefits of reading. Research shows that reading – and in particular reading fiction – has a positive effect on a person’s educational outcomes. Not only do literacy skills improve, but so does a person’s knowledge of the wider world, helping them to make connections and better understand the whole curriculum delivered in school. Students don’t just benefit in English either…the research shows that students who read often also achieve more highly in science and maths. Given that reading is fun, relaxing and beneficial…what’s not to love?

At MHS we do World Book Day a little differently. Not a fan of getting staff to dress up as fictional characters, instead we want to dedicate the time to exposing students to actual stories. That’s why for the past couple of years we have instead chosen to read a short story to every class throughout the day, each teacher pitching in with a different part until the story comes to an end in the afternoons. Alongside quizzes and competitions, we hope that this makes WBD at MHS a more intereactive and reading focussed experience. The stories chosen for this year were gripping and surprisingly brutal…you should ask your sons/daughters/wards what story they heard and what they thought of it.

We know that reading makes a difference, and we hope that by working together with families we can encourage all our students to develop a love of reading that will stay with them for life.

Have a great weekend

Joe Barker

Dance Show!

This week saw the 2024 instalment of the now well-established MHS Dance Show. Deputy Headteacher Claire Gregory has kindly sent me the following to share on the blog:

The third Marple Hall annual Dance show 2024 was a roaring success! From the aptly named opening number ‘Superstar’, to the poignant “Social Media Storm’  and  the energetic finale ‘I Believe’, there was a wealth of talent on show; the culmination of much hard work and dedication from all concerned.

It was wonderful to see so many new dancers in the Year 7 and 8  ‘Collision Dance Club’ being so encouraged and supported by their peers and families.  Likewise, it was fantastic to see the Year 9 students who had graduated this year to join the talented Year 10 and 11 students in the ‘Motion Dance Club.’

A number of students also danced solo or in pairs, exuding confidence, creativity and commitment that belied their years, as well as that Marple Hall spark that we talk about so often in school.

Participation in extracurricular activities helps students to feel a strong sense of belonging and pride in their school. We encourage all students to attend at least one activity in school where possible and have recently established our ‘Digital Discoveries’ activities for students who are unable to stay after school but want to be part of something extracurricular. We would love it if you could encourage your child to join in with any activity. Dancing may not be for everyone but I am confident there is an activity to suit every student in school!

I’ll end by saying a big well done to all the students who made last night such a successful and enjoyable evening; a big thank you to all parents and carers who supported the event and of course to all the staff team, especially Miss Griffies who made the event possible.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Barker

Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker
Tel: 0161 427 7966
Fax: 0161 426 0931
Email: info@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk
Safeguarding: safeguarding@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk