Our Community - Our Future

MHS Update – Return to school and Mass Testing

MHS Update – Return to school and Mass Testing

I hope that everyone had a safe half-term week and that students managed to get back into the swing of online learning yesterday.

At the end of this blog I ask parents and carers to complete a form, available here, if they give consent for their child to have three rapid Covid tests done in school. If you just read one part of this blog then best to make it the section headed ‘Consent for Testing’.

As you’ll know, last night the Prime Minister set out the outline ‘roadmap’ for how the nation will emerge from the current lockdown. Centre stage was the announcement that all schools will re-open to all students from March 8th. It’s brilliant that we now have more than a little light at the end of the tunnel, especially where education is concerned.

We do though need to take all necessary precautions to ensure that we keep everyone as safe as possible, as well as follow the details of the plan that Mr Johnson didn’t have time to go into last night. It’s essential that we get this right, both to keep everyone safe and to minimise the chance of further disruption to education through positive cases causing the isolation of close contacts.

The main point of this blog is therefore about MASS TESTING. The PM mentioned that the return of secondary school pupils will be supported by twice weekly testing. The details of this appears to be as follows:

1) Testing is optional on a student by student basis, and can only take place with parental consent

2) The first three tests for each student will be administered in school

3) Lessons in school cannot start until the first tests have been done per year group, and we must start with years 11 and 10.

4) Schools can stagger the start days of year groups in order to administer the tests

5) Following the first 3 tests, students should be tested at home twice weekly supported by an adult

At MHS our test site has been operational since early January and up to now we have tested a maximum of around 50 people per day. However, to try and speed up the return of all students to school we are making plans to increase our capacity. If the plan works as we currently intend* then the timeline for return to full time lessons would be as follows:

Monday 8th March

Tuesday 9th March

Wednesday 10th March

Thursday 11th March to Thursday 18th March

Friday 19th March onwards

‘Day 1’** testing in school for Years 11 and 10

Lessons in school for Years 11 and 10

Lessons in school for Years 11, 10, 9 and 7

Tests in school for year groups on rotation, eg Yr11/10 on the 11th, Yr9/7 on the 12th, then Year 8 etc

No more mass testing in school

Online lessons for Years 7, 8 and 9

‘Day 1’ testing in school for Years 9 and 7

‘Day 1’ testing in school for Year 8



Online lessons for Year 8


Lessons in school for all years

* We’re yet to confirm we can test this many students in a day

** Day 1 testing means students come in to school at a specified time for their test and then go home. Work will be set online for them to complete during the rest of the day. No live lessons will take place for year groups on ‘Day 1 testing’.

Consent for Testing

Organising the mass testing is a major operation and I therefore need to ask parents and carers to indicate if they give consent for the tests ASAP. Please follow the link below if you wish to give consent for your child to be tested. The deadline for forms to be submitted is Friday 26th February at 3pm. No forms will be processed after this and students without consent forms will be unable to participate in the school based testing.

If you do not wish your child to participate in the school based testing, you do not need to do anything as a nil return means that your child will not be tested. Please do not respond to say you do not give permission for your child to participate. Students also have the right to change their minds about testing once the consent form has been returned. Staff will respect the wishes of a student who changes their mind at any point and no longer wants to be tested in school. If you do not give permission for your child to be tested, they should attend school as normal on their first day of lessons. More information about this will follow next week.

For ‘Day 1 testing’ only, students should only arrive for testing at the time they will be allocated and must leave site immediately after taking the test. No adult will be allowed on site to accompany them. The second and third tests will be carried out within a normal school day, with students missing a portion of a lesson to be tested.

Students who test positive will have to self-isolate for 10 days as per usual.

The form to fill in to give consent is here. Please complete one form per child. The consent form only needs to be completed once for each child to cover all school based mass testing, A reminder that the deadline is Friday 26th February at 3pm.

So, as Mr Johnson said, the ‘Crocus of Hope’ is pushing its way through the frost…I guess that just like the crocus, we have a few challenges to overcome in the next month or so before we get to the Spring, by which of course I mean having the whole school safely back together.

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