Our Community - Our Future

MHS Update 2-7-2021

Welcoming the incoming Year 7s

As usual I’m writing this blog on a Thursday evening before it goes out on Friday morning. Sometimes I start the blog earlier in the week, adding to it as I go along. Not this time though, as the content of the blog was entirely dependent on whether today’s Year 6 into 7 transition day went ahead.

I know that this question will have passed many of you by, and so I won’t bore you all with the full story, but suffice to say it’s been a rollercoaster ride to get to this point. We have been clear all along that we wanted to run the taster day and we have had great support from the Local Authority. They have supported our planning with helpful risk assessment tools and advice, but most importantly they offered unwavering support whether we decided to press on with taster day or not.

It has been reassuring to know that the LA trusts school leaders to make the right call for their own organisation having weighed up the pros and cons, the precautions and risks. Personally I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all model for decisions of this nature, and I think the LA showed real leadership in setting out clear parameters and then letting schools make their own mind up. After all, I get paid to make decisions for my school! It would have been too easy for the LA to just cancel transition completely. Based on a balance of risk and reward many secondary schools chose not to go ahead and a small number of primary schools chose not to take part for completely understandable reasons, and I don’t for a minute criticise them for this. We’ve been blessed at MHS with a very low rate of Covid cases up to now, and so based on that we decided to go ahead and I have no regrets at all.

The day itself was a joy. Of the 220 students who were eligible to attend (ie not isolating or not from a primary school not taking part), 210 spent the day with us. That’s an attendance rate of over 95%, showing I think that the demand for transition day was high. It wasn’t a normal day by any means – the Year 6 students stayed purely in their class bubble all day including break and lunch, they didn’t access the canteens and they didn’t really see many other students except from a distance. They did though get to visit the site, have five full lessons across the curriculum and get to know a few key people. Our Year 10 student leaders were brilliant and I saw many examples of older students being friendly and welcoming. As a group the new Year 7s looked fantastic and I can’t wait to meet them properly in September.

Days like transition day take a long time to organise, especially during a pandemic with fluid staffing levels and the uncertainty about how many students/schools would attend. Therefore I’d like to publicly praise all my colleagues for taking part and especially Miss Cook, Miss Kirkbright and Miss Deere. These colleagues are the Pastoral director for KS3, the Head of the new Year 7s for 2021 and the Pastoral Manager respectively. They, along with the wider pastoral team, pulled together a great event in the hardest of circumstances and I thank them for their work.

Finally from me two quick messages

1) For the first time all year we are currently suffering a rise in staff absences due to covid. 10 teachers were not in school yesterday, the majority isolating as close contacts of friends, family or random people as society gets back to normal. This means an increase in cover lessons, although many teachers are teaching their groups from home which still blows my mind! Please bear with us if the quality of lessons on offer isn’t quite the same as usual at the moment or if it takes a little longer for colleagues to reply to emails. 

2) Please ask your children for paperwork going out today/Monday regarding Parent Governor election taking place over the next two weeks.

Take care everyone,

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