MHS Update 12/5/2023
I have three very different things to update the community on today – exams, cycling and school day timings.
1) Exams: The formal exams season begins on Monday for all students taking GCSE and other examinations. I know I speak for every single member of staff when I wish all students the very best of luck.
2) Cycling: Yesterday we sent home a letter (here) that is particularly relevant to the families of students in Years 7-10 who choose to cycle to school. We have quite a large community of students who come to school on their bikes, and this is something that we encourage as part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. However, over the past few months we have been concerned over the growing number of students who cycle to and from school without a wearing a helmet. Whilst wearing a helmet for cycling is not compulsory by UK law, it is of course highly recommended. Part of our job as a school is to help keep children safe, and also to help them develop safe habits for the future. Therefore from the half term holiday in June onwards we will only allow students to bring bikes onto site if they are wearing a helmet, and will only allow them to take their bikes home at the end of the day if they are wearing a helmet. As a keen cyclist myself I think that this is a very sensible move, and I am sure many parents and carers will agree.
3) Timings of the school day: Also yesterday we sent home a letter confirming that the timings of the school day will be lengthened from September 2023. Last year, as part of the Covid response, the Department for Education set a minimum expected school week of 32.5 hours and gave schools until September 2023 to be compliant. There are some good reasons for this decision by the DfE, but also some flaws in the detail – for example the total time calculated includes break and lunchtimes, and so schools like MHS with only one hour of break and lunch combined are currently under the 32.5 hour limit, but may actually offer the same or more lesson time than ‘compliant’ schools who have longer lunches. Whilst this expectation is not statutory, and so in theory MHS could carry on with our current shorter week, we made the decision like many other schools to change our school day in order to benefit students. Rather than just extend break or lunch, which would seem like a ‘cheat’, we have taken the opportunity to mainly increase learning time in the school by 105 minutes per week (15 minutes more in form time, 90 minutes more in lessons). I know that the new timings will take some getting used to, and whilst the decision has been made parents and carers are welcome to send in any comments or concerns to SchoolDay@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk. Details of the change can be found here.
Have a great weekend,