Our Community - Our Future

MHS update 10-9-2021

We’re a week into the new term and it’s been a great start – lateral flow testing went well and was completed before the start of term, the new year seven students have made a strong impression and the student body as a whole has come back in determined and impressive mood. It was absolutely fantastic to be able to hold proper assemblies in the hall on the students’ first days back…I haven’t done that for 18 months and it felt lovely to bring that part of school life back properly.

In this blog I’m going to say a bit about Covid, forever hoping that unlike last year Covid does not dominate my communication home. My headline message I guess is ‘so far, so good’. As you know there are fewer measures in place this year to prevent the spread of the virus, but as it stands we have not seen the uncontrolled spread of cases that might have been predicted. We do have a number of children isolating with positive cases, and one is too many, but the numbers are not huge. Similarly we have a couple of members of staff in the same boat. Of course I hope that no-one gets serious symptoms and that we can keep cases down as much as possible.

To that end, please can I remind families of the following key points:

  1. If a child has any of the standard covid symptoms then they must not come to school but should instead go for a PCR test and isolate while waiting for the result. These symptoms are of course a new cough, a fever or a loss/change of the senses of smell and/or taste.
  2. People with these symptoms should not rely on the lateral flow tests but must go for a PCR test to confirm if they have the virus or not.
  3. People who are the close contacts of those with a positive lateral flow or PCR result can come to school, but it is strongly recommended that those living in the same house as someone with a positive PCR test book their own PCR test asap, and back this up with regular lateral flow tests if the PCR is negative.
  4. If in doubt please feel free to give us a ring!
  5. Please keep school informed if any student has a positive test of either kind.
  6. Live hybrid lessons will be in place for all students who are isolating with positive tests.

I know that you may think these reminders are unnecessary but I hope you’ll forgive me for sharing them. Bigger covid measures such as compulsory mask wearing, a ban on extra-curricular activities and stringent one way systems are all lined up in case infections start to rise quickly, and of course we want to avoid as much disruption to school as we can.

A word on vaccines for 12-15 year olds

This is not an announcement about imminent vaccines. Headteachers are yet to be informed of any plans to vaccinate young people, and so please can I request that parents and carers try to avoid asking us about this just at the moment. If/when we hear anything then I’ll make sure we communicate as soon as we can.

Open Evening

School is back to normal in so many ways, but one decision that we have made from a Covid point of view is to keep Open Evening as a ‘virtual event’ this year. We had planned to welcome Year 6 students and their parents into school as normal this year, but having reviewed the situation regarding covid cases in Stockport, the pros and cons of Open Evening and the risk to the effective operation of the school afterwards, we decided that the risk is too great. Open evening attracts around 1500 people each year (which is amazing, by the way) with classrooms and halls crammed full of people keen to see MHS in action. I love it. But…if that meant that one teacher caught covid, and even if not unwell their classes missed out on proper learning for 10 days, then I’d kick myself. I think at this time we have to pull out all the stops to make sure students miss as little learning time as possible, hence the decision to prioritise current learners and go online with Open Evening again this year. We’ll be sharing our online offer in early October, students with SEN or other vulnerabilities are welcome to come for a visit, and we’ll make sure next year’s transition process is top quality as usual.

Best wishes

Joe Barker


Our Community - Our Future
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