Our Community - Our Future

Seeking out normality

Despite all the changes, most things stay the same

My intention for this blog is to make it as Covid-free as possible, and to help with that I’ll direct readers to Wednesday’s update which covers what may happen if year groups are asked to isolate for a fortnight. You can access it here. When/if this happens at MHS I obviously can’t tell and therefore the way I’m seeing it is that every day the school is fully open is a real bonus for students, families and staff. The Manchester Evening News has been keeping a track of schools that have had partial closures and as of Wednesday the list was topping 40, with presumably more yesterday and today. So – we take each day as it comes and keep our fingers crossed.

Instead today I’d like to focus on the things that stay the same, the good and the bad, although there is far more of the former than the latter. I said last week how great it was to see students back in school I’ll repeat that sentiment now. A friend asked me over the weekend how the first week back had gone and I simply couldn’t help smiling all the way through the conversation. I explained that from a managerial perspective the situation is challenging, but those concerns are far outweighed every day by the sheer joy of seeing the school thriving again. At the moment I’m not visiting classrooms in the same way as before but I am trying to circulate the school as much as possible, as well as seeing the students every day at the many breaks and lunches. It’s wonderful to see children learning again, being supported by pastoral teams and learning support assistants, and to see teachers teaching again. I know my teaching colleagues are enjoying it and I understand why. I’ve got a new Year 11 History class this year and being back in the classroom is a brilliant. A chance to do what I’ve always loved doing and for those 50 minutes or so to forget about other issues and to simply teach. None of this would be possible without the incredible work of the staff team, the support of parents and carers and of course the students themselves – who have been almost entirely fantastic.

I say almost as sadly one thing that is not so good has been the behaviour of a few students on the 844 bus this week. Over the years we have made great strides in stopping such antisocial behaviour and the instances have dropped, which is why is was so disappointing to hear about what happened earlier this week. We are determined to stamp out any kind of anti-social behaviour and would really appreciate parents and carers reminding students about the need to think of others at all times and to give a good account of themselves and their school. I know families do this already and so I thank you. To be clear, we will have no hesitation in banning students from both school and (working with transport companies) public buses for as long as it takes, should they behave in an unacceptable manner. As far as I am concerned if they want to have no choice but to walk to school and back through the winter months then fine by me, and all the better for the vast majority of students who know how to behave on a bus!

I don’t want to dwell on a negative and we must put this issue in perspective – perhaps 5 or so students have let us down on the bus, which is less than 0.5% of the student population – and instead I’d rather focus on the fabulous attitude and behaviour of pretty much every student in school every day. Everyone always says that kids are adaptable and resilient but never have I seen it more so than these last eight or so school days. They have accepted the changes en masse and are doing all we could ask of them, and thanks to them we’re able to start resuming some of the other elements that make our school what it is. I met with the new team of Head Students Anya, Saul, Maia and Dan yesterday and it was great to be able to talk about what we can do to keep improving our school and to continue to support charities – focussing on things outside of Covid for the benefit of us all.

Two weeks in. The routines are becoming habit and learning is taking place. Long may it continue and if we have to take a pause, we’re ready!

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