Our Community - Our Future

Summer 2024

I know that the term hasn’t ended yet, far from it. There is Spark Evening tonight followed by Spark day tomorrow, both celebrations of the creative spirit that lives at MHS. After that, we have the small matter of 300 students on work experience, about 450 away on trips and another 450 taking part in a range of activities during enrichment week…all before we come back together as a school for the final morning on Friday 19th July. There is definitely lots still to do!

However, as this is my last blog of the year I will run through a few highlights of the year for me:

This year, MHS student have bucked the national trend are attending school significantly more regularly than is the average. This is massive. School attendance, coupled with reading, is the biggest indicator of how successful a student will be. Attendance at MHS is high and improving, and that is a very good sign indeed.

Linked to that, our work on promoting reading is really starting to bear fruit. Reading is the most essential of all skills when it comes to learning, and reading fiction in particular enables students to boost their learning power. We’re two years in to our determined effort to increase the amount that students read, and that is without doubt having a positive impact on many.

Our current Year 11 students, those who finished their exams last month, are on track to be the most successful cohort of students ever at MHS. Their attitude, determination and resilience shone through in the exam window and I have everything crossed for them that they get the grades in the summer that they absolutely deserve.

We have greatly enhanced our extra curricular offer, from sports to creative arts to clubs…and especially this year the advent of new online ‘digital discoveries’. Hundreds of students have taken part in them, enriching their experience of school,

Our school has a yearly admission limit of 300 and remains heavily over subscribed with 731 first, second and third choice preferences for the incoming class of Year 7 students in 2024. This did not always used to the be case, and is perhaps the one of the strongest signs that we’re getting plenty of things right.

We’re blessed with a fantastically hard working, dedicated and professional staff body, and this year like all others I remain grateful and astonished at the way that colleagues go above and beyond on a regular basis. Sometimes working in a school is a thankless task, and I know how lucky we are to have such a talented and selfless staff team working here. We have also made some excellent appointments for the new school year and I look forward to working with all our new colleagues.

And let’s not forget, in September Ofsted came to visit MHS for the first inspection in five years. The team were thorough, rigorous and exacting – inspections are never easy – and they concluded that we deserved the very best outcome that our school could achieve with the type of inspection we had: ‘the inspection grade might be outstanding if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now’

And finally, we do all of that on the bare minimum of funding. MHS is one of the worst funded secondary schools in the country, attracting the minimum level of funding per student of around £6,050 compared to a ‘Department for Education’ average for the country of around £7,500. That’s a lot of money when multiplied by 1556 students….somewhere in the region of £2.25 Million per year. I’m very proud of what we do with our poor funding, but I’d rather be able to invest the same in our young people as other school leaders can do, and I will be renewing my campaign for fairer funding in the new year. As we have a new MP in the area, perhaps parents and carers might want to do the same?

Have a great summer when it comes,

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