Marple Hall School Update: We're back!
170 days since we last had a full school and we have finally made it – we’re back open to all students, full time and studying the full curriculum.
Attendance has been over 98% this week which is fantastic news indeed. It says a great deal about both the attitude of our students and the faith that families have put in us, for which we are very grateful. Of course we take our responsibility seriously as we try to create a meaningful educational experience whilst keeping the whole school community as safe as possible. We've chosen a model of operation that means that every class gets access to every subject in the correct specialist teaching facilities, whilst at the same time applying a wide range of covid precautions. This means that at MHS students are moving around more than they might in a very restricted model, but the pay off is that we can also prioritise effective education alongside virus control. This week I have spoken to all students in assembly (split into year-halves to avoid busy halls) and have outlined the key precautions of
- Reduced mixing between year groups though zoning of the site, split breaks and split lunches
- The use of hand sanitiser 8 times a day, supervised by staff
- The wearing of masks when moving anywhere inside the building
- A one way system that ensures a common direction of travel in almost all cases around the site – although it’s not always physically possible given the layout of the buildings.
Alongside these there are a range of other measures in traditional classrooms and practical subjects too, as well as a clear focus on preventing adult to adult transmission. It’s a learning curve for us all but as always students are so adaptable and are already getting into good habits. I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive as to how it would all go, but I need not have worried as our MHS students have risen to the challenge wonderfully well.
As of yet we have not had to contact any external agency with even suspected cases of Covid-19, but I am sure that that day will come. After months of restrictions there is of course a risk when 1800 people spend seven+ hours a day in one place. Therefore as well as focussing on the daily routines, planning good lessons and welcoming students back to school we are also focussed on ensuring any remote learning will be as good as it can be should it be needed. Last weekend the Government shared plans for what would happen if classes, year groups or even whole schools have to close again and we intend to be fully prepared come what may. I sincerely hope we don’t end up in that situation – I have enjoyed this week too much – but some things are out of our control.
Thank you to all my colleagues for their hard work in planning for and delivering this week, thanks to the students who have put a smile back on the faces of all the staff and thanks to the families for their much appreciated, ongoing support.