Covid-19 Updates

10th July 2020

This week I have been working very hard to interpret the latest Government guidelines that will be in place for our planned opening next term. I am pleased to tell you that we intend to open for all students on Tuesday 8th September. We will also be asking parents and students to come in for a Student Led Conference on Monday 7th September to help us to re-establish individual goals for the coming term. This will done with a strict appointment system to observe the guidelines for movement around the campus. We will inform all parents on the process for booking an appointment shortly.


Our new Year 7 will be welcomed into the Academy on Monday 7th September at 08:30 for their induction. This year will be a very different experience for them and we want to help them get to know their new routines whilst the Academy is still relatively quiet. As you will be aware we have very specific remote learning systems that are very effective as long as parents are able to support their use. So to ensure that parents understand the way that they can support young people both in a fully open school, and in the instance of a whole or partial lockdown, we hope to invite Year 7 parents into school in the evening. If circumstances preclude this, we will make the event available online.


There will be many changes to the way we do things with the school day altering in September whatever the situation. Currently, in line with the guidance to avoid busy periods of travel we are hoping to begin the school day at 08:30 and end it at 14:45. We are working with County Transport to ensure that students can get to and from school. You will have seen in the media that this is logistically extremely difficult, but we are doing our best to create solutions to problems as they arise. It will mean that we will have to adhere to strict timings, behaviour and uniform rules to enable us to ensure everyone’s safety.


The school will be zoned, as recommended in the Government Guidance, and students will have minimal movement around the school and strict hygiene measures will be in place. Some lessons will be streamed into classrooms so that students are not cross contaminating classrooms. This will ensure that we can provide the broadest curriculum possible.


To maximise student learning, supervision and safety we will compress the lunch-break. We are working with our catering supplier, Aspen Services, on the possibility of implementing an online app based ordering system for the canteen food. To minimise contamination it may be necessary for food to be delivered to students in supervised classrooms.


These are just some of the measures that will be in place. Once we have finalised our procedures we will publish our guidance for opening on our website in time for September. In the meantime please take the time to view the Government Guidance for Parents and Carers in relation to school opening online here: early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what- parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the- autumn-term


Les Hall | Principal


3rd July 2020

After so many weeks of lockdown I think it is safe to say that we are all missing the hustle and bustle of school life. Whilst it has been great to be able to meet using the online communication systems we are all looking forward to the time when everyone is able to return to the Academy.

It has been nice to see more students on campus with our reset days and this week’s opening to Year 10 was a great success. I know that some of you are concerned that you have missed this face to face learning so I hope even more of you will avail yourselves of this opportunity before we break up for the summer.

As you are no doubt aware the government has now announced its expectation that all year groups in all schools will be able to return to school when the new term begins in September. They recognise that this will place different challenges on different schools and have published a wealth of guidance on how they would like this to take place. We are working through this guidance and on first glance it is very similar to one of the scenarios we have planned for. With this in mind I am confident that alongside our established remote learning systems we will be able to offer our broad range of curriculum in a safe environment for us all. It will still not be school as we remember it but it will allow our students to see their friends and take part in classroom learning once again.


Les Hall | Principal


26th June 2020

Firstly, and most importantly, I hope you are safe and well. In these difficult and uncertain times, staff at Mounts Bay Academy are working tirelessly not only to provide the excellent remote learning package of which your child is in receipt, but also following the many different sets of advice and guidance from the government concerning the safe re-opening of schools – although it is important to point out that we have never actually been closed and have offered a childcare provision for key workers and vulnerable students right from the beginning of the lockdown period

This week has seen a big change in the government advice for the way we live our lives and the implementation of a new 1 metre plus social distancing guide. Whilst we have not yet received any specific additional information for how this is to be incorporated into the existing educational guidance, we have been planning for this in our scenario’s for a return in September.

As such on Wednesday 1st July we will be one of a handful of schools who will be welcoming back our Year 10 students for the day, using our 2m protocol. As the safety of everyone is our main concern it has been carefully risk assessed and we are confident that if followed it will be successful. It does mean that the the Academy is a very different place from when many of you last saw it. Essentially we have split the year group into their crews of 10 students who will arrive at different times, use different entrances and exits. They will share the same classroom, toilets and break-times as a socially distanced group away from students in other crews. As more guidance emerges we have additional protocols in place to increase the numbers of students in each crew group and It is likely that we will be using similar protocols for the 1m plus guideline when we all return after the summer break.

In doing this we will have to take staff away from our on line learning package so the setting, marking and feeding back on work will have to be paused on this day whilst staff supervise students on site. If the day is a success, then we plan to repeat this on Wednesday 8th July and this can inform our planning for September as the situation evolves.


Les Hall | Principal


19th June 2020

The debate still rages in the national press and across the government about how and when schools will be able to accept students back into their facilities in a safe and responsible way. Last week we asked parents of our own Year 10 students to give us their opinion and the majority of survey responses continued to outline their concerns about a mass return to school.

You may have seen the reports that suspected infections in schools have increased by 70% last week, and cases in pupils have increased by 30%. This is with the current safety guidance including the 2m rule which only allows for 8-10 students in one room where they must stay. This is compounded by the logistical complications of supporting them, for example with toilets only being able to be used exclusively by each class and the additional cleaning required between uses. Under these constraints, “normal lessons” simply cannot happen. I am however pleased that over 95% of the responses said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of support we were providing in these difficult times

This week we have seen an increase in the number of students attending school as a result of both our “Reset Days” where we bring in students who are struggling to access the online content and also as a result of the increasing number of Key Worker staff requiring childcare.

We have, therefore, doubled the amount of staff in school at any time. This does mean that they cannot set and respond to work on line in the same way, and should this continue we will need to manage the expectations of both staff and students regarding the quality of our remote learning. This affects all students as we use more staff out of the “online teacher pool” to provide provision for the students attending, so we have to be careful not to cause a detrimental effect on the remote provision for the school as a whole. I would ask that you think carefully about whether your child needs to attend the Key Worker provision, or whether they will be able to continue their learning from home as effectively, so that we can continue to provide the high quality remote provision that is currently happening in all subjects. .

That said this is a very important time for our Year 10s. We have worked hard to create new Covid-19 Secure systems and are aiming to welcome even more of them back the week after next with a view to bringing back all year groups before the Summer break in the same way. It will not be school as you remember it but it will be safe.


Les Hall | Principal


12th June 2020

There has been much speculation and rhetoric about schools in the news this week about when or if secondary schools will re-open to students. As such I would like to keep you up to date with the situation at the Academy in relation to current guidance as it currently stands.

The government has expressed the following advice:

From 15 June, secondary schools are able to offer face-to-face support for a quarter of the year 10 and 12 cohort at any one time. Alongside this the government is asking secondary schools to:

As you can see, this is not a return to school as we knew it and has many hurdles that we will need to overcome if we are to continue to provide such a high quality learning provision for our students. The guidance appreciates the individual circumstances of schools and, as such, we have developed an approach to the return that is both safe and flexible whilst maintaining the high quality remote provision.

The Academy has remained open to all year groups for  children  of  key  workers  throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so and staff have been working harder than ever  to balance a number   of “rota” days to support the children of key workers in school whilst setting  work, marking  work and feeding back to students and parents to ensure their progress. These rota days increase as we see the number of Key Worker students increasing as Primary colleagues open for  one  or  more extra  year groups as their capacity allows.

It is reassuring, that unlike some other schools across the country who are seeing an engagement level of below 50% of students, we have a daily “attendance” of 92%. I am extremely proud of this and it demonstrates the way that our students had already developed as independent learners prior to the lockdown. It shows that Mounts Bay has not closed its doors to students, we have just moved learning into the home for the safety of our learning community.

Finally I would like to thank you for all your messages of support and thanks. It is great to be a part of a learning community that realises the massive challenges we are undertaking. Please be reassured that will always do our best for student learning, and more importantly, their safety.

Les Hall | Principal


1st June 2020

Welcome back from the half-term break. I hope that you are staying healthy and safe in these strange and different circumstances.

I am writing with an update regarding the current situation at Mounts Bay Academy for our learners. As you are aware, the safety of all members of the Mounts Bay Community is paramount to any decision that we take regarding opening our doors to students, and it was with this in mind that I stated that Years 7-9 would continue to be supported online most likely until September. This has not changed, and I would like to outline the next series of support measures that we are putting in place for all our students, including the Year 10 students.

These are all available via the number 2 button on their iPad. The Face2Face Learning button will take them through to the menu for each day’s support.

1. Subject Surgeries. These are subject based sessions where answers will be given to any issues or misconceptions that a student may have at a Subject level. They use Microsoft Teams and are moderated and delivered by our staff.

2. Wellbeing Drop in Clinics. These are sessions that are available to students who may be facing difficulties, and will help to reduce any anxieties or deal with any issues. They will be followed up individually where this is necessary.

3. Social Circles.  These sessions will begin with trials from next week. They will form a social connection between groups of up to 10 students within a wider tutor group to enable social connections to continue in a remote setting. These will become available to all students over the forthcoming weeks.

We will be looking closely at the engagement in learning, particularly for our Year 10 students, and will be inviting students to come into school for appointments if there is an issue that cannot be addressed remotely. This will be in cases where engagement is particularly low and we have not been able to address the issue. Tutors will be following this up with you over the forthcoming weeks to ensure that we are supporting everyone’s needs.

If you are invited into the Academy there will be safety measures put in place to protect everyone, including Social Distancing, hand washing and cleaning. This will mean that any meeting may take place in a room that is not your tutor room and the entrance and exit will be different to normal. You will receive detailed instructions should you be invited in.

As you can see, we are taking every precaution to limit the number of students and staff in the Academy and reduce the number of contacts to the minimum possible.

Finally please can I say a thank you back to all the parents and students that have sent thank you messages to staff at the Academy, it is really appreciated by all of us and reassures me that we are providing a level of education for our students that is, although not ideal, an excellent model under the current circumstances.

Les Hall | Principal


22nd May 2020

The Academy has now been closed to most students for nine weeks and I would like to take this opportunity to update you all on some of the things we are doing to ensure that our students are being cared for as well as we can in these unprecedented times.

We are fortunate that as one of the first schools in the country to adopt the use of iPads into our learning that the switch from classroom learning to learning at home has meant that we were in a much better place than some places to continue our learning. There are a wealth of resources on our Firefly platform and work can be submitted in a variety of ways for marking and feedback. As such I can tell you that we are regularly receiving over five thousand pieces of work from students each week, all of which is read and marked by subject teachers. This is an incredible amount of effort from everyone and gives me the confidence that however long we are not in school, Mounts bay students will not fall behind as a result of home learning.

Of course to most of the people that are part of our learning community, Mounts bay is more than just a school. It is a place that fosters a sense of identity and belonging thanks to the incredible relationships that we foster between staff, students and parents.


During normal times we can do this “face to face” during tutor time, with our student led conferences and of course during lesson time. It is inevitable that when the academy is not open that our community will change. We have been working hard to bring back as much of our community spirit as we can, with everything from online assemblies to virtual tutor rooms and our subject surgeries. Yesterday we took that one step further when I hosted a whole school staff meeting of almost 100 people via a video conference. The system allows for everyone to be seen, view presentations and take part. As a result of this we will be looking to roll this out to everyone in the near future so that we can return to “face to face” group learning.


At the end of this half term we effectively say goodbye to our marvellous Year 11 students who instead of sitting their GCSE’s have been working towards their Centre Assessed Grades. It has been our privilege to guide them through perhaps the most important time in their lives to date and whilst we cannot say farewell in the traditional way, we wish them every success in the future.


Finally next week is our half-term break, you have all worked very hard over the last few weeks so enjoy the break, stay alert and we will be back on campus soon.

Les Hall | Principal


15th May 2020

In these unprecedented times it is often difficult to decipher the truth from the headlines, so I would like to give a little clarity about the latest flurry of announcements and media headlines. This week the government has announced that primary schools may open to some students after Half-Term from Monday 1st June. They have also announced that their aspiration is for secondary schools to have made some “face to face” contact with some students at some time to be determined after that. We are already planning for “face to face” contact via Microsoft Teams for all our students over the forthcoming weeks, in addition to subject surgeries. Currently there is no intention for Years 7,8 or 9 to return to the Academy until September at the earliest.

As I mentioned last week, I know that this uncertainty makes you all uneasy about the next steps. I want to reassure you all that when we do open, in whatever capacity, we will have made sure that each and every member of Mounts Bay Academy will be as safe as possible should they visit the Academy. In the meantime we continue moving forward with our roll-out of the Microsoft Teams app on student iPads. This will allow students and tutors to have some face to face contact individually or in small groups using the app as part of our scheduled subject surgeries.As we prepare for the Subject Surgeries to begin next week please could I ask that students complete the short acceptable use policy prior to attending. This will ensure that they can run as smoothly as possible.


Click here to view the Acceptable Use Policy


Finally can I also thank you for all your kind words about the provisions we are making at Mounts Bay. We have a wonderful staff, student and parent community that has risen to the challenges set for us at this time.

Les Hall | Principal


7th May 2020

This week national media continues to speculate on when schools and colleges will be able to open their doors to students. I know that this uncertainty makes parents, staff and students uneasy about the next steps. I want to reassure you all that our primary focus at Mounts Bay is the wellbeing of our students and staff. Whatever decisions are made in the forthcoming days, we will accept more students and staff onto campus, when it is safe to do so. In the meantime we remain open for the children of key workers and they are also helping us to evaluate our strategies for moving forward.

Friday 8th May sees us commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. In our planned assemblies this week we were to focus on our commemoration of this important event in our history but also how from the adversity of the Second World War many of the positive elements in modern Britain arose – most notably the establishment of the NHS. We too are experiencing challenging times however they will end and I know will bring positive outcomes for the future.

As a community we need to hold onto this optimism, however challenging it may be at the moment. The government will be making an announcement later this week about the national exit strategy from lockdown. We will update our website and communicate by ParentMail how this affects our community as soon as possible.

However, for this special Bank Holiday weekend, I wish you and your families all the very best. Keep safe and well.

Les Hall | Principal


1st May 2020

You will have seen a lot in the news this week about how parents, students and teachers across the country have been adapting to the “lockdown” measures currently in place to help in the battle against Covid-19. I am pleased that despite some of the negative comments in the media about students falling behind, we are doing everything possible at Mounts Bay to give our students the learning they deserve and their parents the best support that we can.

You will again see on this weeks “learning pages” that there is a rich and diverse range of learning on offer for every Year Group. All this is supported through our e-learning platforms, with students receiving the appropriate feedback on their work and where necessary additional communication is had to support students and their parents.

As part of this ongoing commitment, we have asked you all to undertake a survey, including questions on the amount, diversity and delivery of the work we are setting and how students are coping at home.

Whilst simple to complete, it is a massive undertaking for us and as the lockdown continues, we will be using this audit to further tailor the learning students receive until we are able to accommodate all of our students onsite once again. Please help us by completing your survey.

We of course still remain open for the children of key workers and they also helping us to evaluate our teaching as they are receiving the same curriculum as students who are off site.

The national media continues to speculate on when schools and colleges will be able to open their doors to students and we will be ready to do whatever is best for our students once more is known of the situation. Until then remember to stay at home, protect our key workers and save lives.

Kind regards and stay safe,

Les Hall | Principal


24th April 2020

This week has been our first full week of home learning for the whole school since the Easter break and I have been pleased to see the amount of work that is being set and returned by students.

As part of our High Performance Learning strategy, we encourage students to learn independently. We also use many different sources to allow for differentiation of this learning, which means that students can learn at any level within a topic.

A number of our Year 11 students are, unsurprisingly, feeling a little unsettled at the moment due to their uncertainty over the exam grades. The government has told schools that they can’t share with students, or their parents, what grades they think the students would have achieved in the summer.  We will base grades on their work in lessons and how much we would expect them to improve on the mock grades. Students who want to improve on the grades awarded to them by the school/government in August may have the opportunity to sit exams in the Autumn.

Finally, congratulations to our Music Department who have just received the Bernice McCabe Award 2020 from the Princes Teaching Institute. This award is given to the school whose Music Department has consistently achieved the highest standards in teaching and learning practice. It is well deserved recognition for all the hard work our staff and students put into Music at Mounts Bay all year round.

Well Done!

Kind regards and stay safe,

Les Hall | Principal


17th April 2020

Welcome back after the Easter Break. This was probably the most  unusual break we have ever encountered in these unusual times and I hope everyone managed to enjoy their time whilst staying safe.

Before we broke up I was amazed at the amount of learning that was happening despite the fact that the physical campus was closed to the majority of students. This can be seen on the learning pages of this newsletter, and whilst it is not the same as being in the classroom. There is sufficient available to make sure that every year group has enough to ensure that once we are back in school, not too much will need to be caught up.

Remember this work is being assessed and feedback given in the  same way as when we  are in school, so we tutors be following up on progress and contacting parents in the normal way if we have any concerns.

We have now received confirmation from the Department of Education that the GCSE Results Day will remain as published on 20th August 2020. In place of the examinations, the boards are gathering assessments from us about what they expected students to achieve and these predictions will be moderated so the overall national results and shares of grades are in line with previous years. At this time they have also promised that for those pupils who think they would have done better in an exam, another exam can be taken in the autumn.

The school remains open for the children of Key Workers and this week we asked students to “clap for carers” that we will be assembling into a video, so keep sending in those clips and rainbows.

It was  also great to see that Mr Glenville has been busy using our 3D Printer to produce some much needed Personal Protective Equipment for local pharmacies and care organisations. This is precisely the community spirit that we foster at Mounts Bay and why I am proud to be your Academy Principal.

Kind regards and stay safe,

Les Hall | Principal


25th March 2020

Dear all,

I hope that you are staying healthy and observing the Social Distancing guidelines in the surreal landscape that we find ourselves. We have had a couple of teething troubles with our online provision over the last couple of days, and hopefully we are now settled into a routine. Just to remind you that students should be doing school based learning for between 3 and 4 hours per day. If they are at a loose end then I can also recommend the Headspace app on their iPad or the following YouTube channels – you may enjoy them yourselves! – This has live PE lessons at 09:00 each school day. – This is a yoga channel.

For those parents who wish to follow your child’s progress on Seesaw I have attached a document below to help you navigate this. Teachers will be sending out the class codes to you so that you can set this up yourselves if you choose to.

I will be sending out a newsletter as usual this Friday with these details and others that may interest you.

Kind regards and stay safe,

Les Hall | Principal

Click here to see how to join your childs Seesaw classes


24th March 2020

Dear all,

Thank you for your tolerance and patience as we get systems up and running at this strangely surreal time.

I wanted to provide a little clarity regarding the expectations of students over this period of home-schooling whilst we are closed to almost all students.

Firstly, we have had a number of outages of Firefly. These should be resolved by 1:30 today. This is a national problem with their servers. We have provided a number of ebooks for students if you need to keep them busy during an issue like this, but please do not feel obliged to do so. These should be on the iPad already but if not can be requested from staff via email.

Completed work can be sent via email, and some classes are now using Seesaw -if you want to get up to speed on Seesaw then here is a link:

We are hoping that students will complete around 3-4 hours of study a day whether this is reading, online work or exercise during PE time. If it is not possible, please do not worry. These are testing times for all.

Once again, thank you for your patience.

Les Hall | Principal


20th March 2020

Thank you for your ongoing support. To follow from my update yesterday, a reminder that we have been instructed to close for nearly all pupils as of today.

We now have guidance from the Government – full information can be found here:

The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

So that we can arrange suitable provision for this, please complete this form:

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. If you have a child who is considered vulnerable then you will be contacted directly via the telephone by either ourselves or your Social Worker.

Learning will continue as normal for all students, as per the Remote Learning Strategy yesterday. Students will be asked to work during the normal school day i.e. 70-75 minutes of subject based learning. There will be NO additional homework, and there is no pressure on students to complete the work if they are not able to. We need to be as flexible as possible and I thank you for your help with this.

It is possible that our wonderful Year 11 students have had their learning cut short, however, we are planning to have a celebration of their amazing learning in July and have started the planning process for this already.

There will most likely be new information that is released today by the Government, and if this is the case then I will send out an update.
Thank you once again for the support in these unprecedented times.

Les Hall | Principal


19th March 2020

Thank you for your patience regarding sharing of information following the Government’s announcement about school closures yesterday evening.

As you will see, our planning has been timely for this and we are well prepared to continue schooling on a mobile basis via our online channels.

Schools have been instructed to provide, where necessary, supervision for children of key workers from Monday 23rd March, if either both parents at home are key workers, or, if they are within a single parent family, and their sole parent/carer is a key worker. The government’s definition of key workers is people who, in these unprecedented times, are needed on the frontline. This includes those working in the NHS, in care homes, in the police and fire service, and teachers. It also includes people who are involved in essential retail delivery and those suddenly manufacturing equipment such as ventilators. We should receive a more specific definition soon, and if this definition changes, we will inform you.

So that we can arrange suitable provision for this, please complete this form:

if your child will require such supervision from Monday. It is really important that the information is complete and accurate for our safeguarding procedures. Please also indicate whether or not your child is entitled to free school meals.

If your child is not in school but would you like to pick up a free school meal then please email the following address each morning before 08:30.

It will then be available for collection between 12:30 and 1:00.

If you do not qualify for the key worker provision, please ensure that your child completes the tasks set each day as if they were following their normal timetable. Work will be set each day according to the attached graphic. If you are not sure of what subject areas to focus on and when, please use your child’s timetable as a guide. A newsletter will be emailed to you each Friday outlining many of the tasks that have been set for each year group during the week.

It is important that learning continues, as this situation will be resolved and schools will again open as soon as they can. There is a planned Government announcement at the end of Friday, and I will communicate with you about any new information when we receive it.

Once again I thank you for your support during this unprecedented time.

Les Hall | Academy Principal


Click here to view our Remote Learning Strategy


18th March 2020

Firstly may I thank you for your kindness and support during this difficult time. The Nation often pulls together in times of crisis, but I feel that the parents of students at Mounts Bay Academy support each other and the school in every way possible.

This situation is entirely new to all of us.

We have maintained classes until today, but staffing levels have now become a concern. We have taken the decision, therefore to close for students in years 8 and 9 for the rest of the week.

On Thursday 19th March and Friday 20th March – school will be open for students in years 7, 10 and 11 only so we can prioritise their GCSE studies with directed staffing levels. Further announcements will be made regarding other year groups if necessary.

Lessons will continue be set at the appropriate time for all students whether they are in school or not. That means that students will need a work space at home between 08:40 and 3:15. Lessons will be set through Firefly or via the ebooks they have been sent and collected through a variety of ways that their class teachers will identify.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support at this difficult time.

Les Hall | Academy Principal