This week I continue my theme of focusing on the different aspects of the Marple Hall Spirit. As I have explained in the previous few blogs we’re making a concerted effort to reinvigorate the Marple Hall Spirit, making it relevant again to both adults and students alike. Last week I wrote about Determination, and so this week I move on to my personal favourite quality – Honesty.
Honesty matters to me a great deal in all my dealings with people, no matter their age or role. I’m sure there are limits, but I’d like to think that if people are honest then there is nothing that cannot be fixed.
People make mistakes, and teenagers make more mistakes than most people. I’m pretty sure that’s a fact, and that it’s supported by emerging science about what happens inside the teenage brain. Risk taking behaviours are more likely to prevail as what we adults might call ‘common sense’ takes a breather for a few years, before (hopefully) reasserting control at some point when a person reaches their early to mid-twenties. Growing up and education in general is all part of the process of enabling young people to learn from their mistakes without judging them too harshly, but at the same time instilling a proper sense of right and wrong and compassion for others.
What matters therefore isn’t always what a young person ‘did wrong’, but how they respond afterwards. Can they own up to their mistakes or do they make excuses? Can they acknowledge the harm they may have done and put it right, or hide away from this and avoid the awkward truth? These are the key questions that matter to me, and if I’m honest it’s how I gauge the extent to which a young person has matured. A student who ‘owns’ their errors, takes responsibility, puts right what has gone wrong and tries to do better in the future will always have my respect, almost irrespective of what the original problem was.
But Honesty is not just about telling the truth or owning up to ones mistakes. In our Marple Hall Spirit, I’d argue that Honesty is more about being truthful with yourself. It’s about knowing your strengths and weaknesses and doing what you need to do to improve. It’s about being brave enough to face up to what needs to be done to be better, and then having the drive to ask for help. It’s about trusting that people around you will help and not being too proud or scared to ask for that help.
I’ll illustrate this point with the current Year 11 cohort. In pre-covid times part of our run up to the main summer exams was always a series of ‘Pomodoro’ revision sessions, a weekly opportunity for students to stay behind after school for 2.5 hours and get some decent revision done. I won’t go into the details here but it’s a great idea and helps students learn good revision habits to continue at home. In most years we’ve had 60, 70 or even 80 students signing up. This year, with the first session taking place on Wednesday, a staggering 142 of the current year 11s signed up. Every single one of them was honest with themselves, thought about what they needed to do, chose ‘what’s right over what’s easy’ and got the job done. Picture below of a full hall and work getting done – good for them!
Our Community - Our Future
Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB
Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker