MHS update 19-3-2021
First ‘full’ week back – done!
Just as in all walks of life not everything is perfect at MHS. There are always things we can do better, systems that could improve, individuals who could make wiser choices…but weighing up all the evidence I’ve been over the moon with the way in which the school has come back together these last nine days.
1) The students have been fantastic. In many ways it’s like they had never been away, settling back into routines instantly and going about their business without fuss. Most teenagers are way too ‘cool’ (is that even a word now?) to admit it in public, but it’s clear that the vast majority of them have missed school and are glad to be back. This says a great deal about them, the support from their families/carers and the school itself.
2) Attendance has been really good. Remembering that ‘normal’ illness is still out there, and some students are having to isolate, attendance on Tuesday was over 96%. That would be a good figure any day and a great one when we factor in the pandemic and all the barriers to attendance that this has brought.
3) The in-school testing programme has been a great success. Testing officially ended yesterday with a grand total of 3427 tests completed in nine days, with 3427 negative results. More importantly, we believe we managed to complete this job with the minimum disruption to lessons. If you were to visit the testing site in operation you would be struck by how simple and easy the whole process looks, but that of course masks the enormous task that went into setting up and running the testing programme. A team of 40 of colleagues made this happen I am hugely grateful for their creativity, energy and ‘can-do’ attitude. Having said that I am very glad that this is now over! Students are encouraged to keep testing twice a week at home, and please remember that any positive lateral flow test done at home means that the student must self-isolate, inform school and get a PCR test asap to confirm whether positive or negative. It is the PCR result that will then determine if the student can return straight away or not.
4) Like the students, I have been equally impressed with my colleagues’ hard work and positivity as school re-opens. We have asked a lot of them recently in many ways, not least asking for their support in giving time over to the testing site, doing extra duties before school, break and lunchtime, being visible on corridors between lessons – basically making sure that school is calm and running smoothly every day. The response from colleagues was fantastic and went a long way to ensuring we hit the ground running.
However like I say, not everything is perfect, and one thing that took the gloss off the week was of course the news of a positive covid case in Year 11 on Wednesday. As you’ll probably have seen in the local news we’re not alone, and it’s inevitable that the virus will keep spreading amongst the unvaccinated youth and younger adults. I had though hoped for a longer period of grace, but never mind! As with before Christmas we will ensure that students at home have access to good quality education, and we are thankful that the students currently isolating are not out for too long.
Looking ahead have a week to go until the Easter break. In many ways the break is coming at the wrong time as a big part of me would like us to keep building the momentum we’ve built up over the past two weeks. But, that can’t be helped and we’ll come back stronger on April 12th!