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ACTING PRINCIPAL’S BLOG – December 2017

posted 19 Dec 2017, 02:04 by Web Admin

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!   

The young people and staff have been busily preparing for their Christmas performances, parties and events over the last few weeks and we hope you enjoyed all the Christmas festivities in the run up to the end of term.

SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

Once again our Key Stage 3 pupils took part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival on 14th November, at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford.  This year they performed ‘Romeo and Juliet’

FRIENDS OF COLUMBUS

Peige Aarons, an LSA on College Campus and also a member of the Friends of Columbus Committee organised a Fire Walk on 11th November at Broomfield Football Club in Chelmsford.  The evening was fairly well supported and a profit of approximately £4,350 was made.  Thanks to Peige for organising this event and to everyone who took part or supported in some way

We are delighted to let you know that the total amount raised so far from the Friends Christmas Fair held on 1st December is £2,399. Thank you very much to everyone who helped and supported with this event and thanks to our sponsors Beresfords in Chelmsford.

Friends are always looking for new members or offers of help so, if you feel you can help them in any way, please let us know.

CHRISTMAS PRODUCTIONS

By the time you read this Blog you may have seen your child’s Christmas performance on School Campus or attended the Christmas Market on College Campus. We hope everyone enjoyed these very special events.

CHRISTMAS LUNCHES

This year we are very grateful to Gepp & Sons, Solicitors, who have paid for all pupils and staff to enjoy a Christmas dinner prepared by the school catering staff.  Our grateful thanks to them for making this Columbus tradition possible once again this year.

CHELMSFORD CITY COUNCIL FOOD STANDARDS

The kitchens and Catering Team were inspected recently and received a 5 Star Award with a quote from the inspector of ‘Excellent Standards’.  Well done to them!

VISIT OF SIR TREVOR AND LADY NEKKA BROOKING, LORD’S TAVERNERS AND LASER ELECTRICAL

We were very honoured to be visited by Sir Trevor Brooking, Lady Hikka Brooking, representatives from the Lady and Lord’s Taverners and Laser Electrical to carry out the official opening of the upgraded sensory rooms on College Campus recently.  The Lord’s Taverners awarded the school a £15,000 grant for new sensory equipment with a significant part of the grant (£8,000) being provided by Laser Electrical, a local business.  Guests were given the opportunity to see how the new sensory equipment is used to support children with severe learning difficulties in their learning.  Guests saw two sessions and also had the opportunity to see some classrooms.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT (PD) DEPARTMENT

I am very sorry if parents/carers have not been completely updated about the PD arrangements this term. In case you were not notified then this can be summarised as follows.  Cherie Lashmar is now Head of Learning for Key Stage 2 as Allison Dutaut left last summer, and each Key Stage has one PD teacher who teaches all the PD to the children in that Key Stage.

There has been a fair amount of disruption to the swimming timetable this term and this has been down to staffing levels and safety. We have managed to address this issue now, although it should be noted that swimming is a high risk activity and therefore it is cancelled if there are any health and safety concerns, such as staffing levels. 

24X7 LTD.

I’m very glad that many of the issues with 24X7 Ltd. are now sorted out. Parents/carers will be aware that the relationship between parents and 24X7 Ltd. is overseen by Essex County Council Passenger Transport Team and issues with any route need to go to 24X7 Ltd. in the first instance and then to the Passenger Transport Team. We can give advice to parents and 24X7 Ltd.  but it is not in our remit to oversee or manage 24X7 Ltd.

OTHER SPECIAL SCHOOL TIMING

Some parents/carers have suggested that we look at how other special schools organise their INSET days. Some parents shared that some schools group all their INSET days together, so that pupils have one week extra attached to one school holiday a year. Many schools organise INSET days in the way that we currently do it. I will share all this with Karen Clark when she arrives and when we start planning next year’s INSET dates.

CELEBRATION OF PUPILS MOVING UP TO COLLEGE CAMPUS

Some parents/carers have shared that they feel that Graduation Assemblies should be done in classes, rather than in hall, which is often distressing and loud for their children. Some parents would prefer a smaller event and I will share this with Karen and Louise Doe.

 FUCHSIA SOCIETY

A longstanding partnership that Columbus has with the Fuchsia Society continues to benefit the children and young people at the academy. I was invited to speak at their Annual Awards Evening on Wednesday 29th November to share a little more about the work we do with our very special children and young people. The group were very interested to hear about the remarkable work of the staff and indeed the achievements of the young people.  The evening culminated in me being presented with a cheque for £3,000 for the academy.

In the past, the funds have been used to develop inclusive learning and social events with our friends and colleagues from St. John Payne Secondary School. The Fuchsia Society have also supported in the funding of the end of year ‘Leavers’ Ball’ for young people in Year 11 and Year 14 to have a party and experience a celebration event that marks their achievements throughout their school life, in a similar way that their mainstream friends would experience.  Our sincere thanks go to the group for their extended interest in and support of our academy.

AET CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION

Congratulations to Wyatt Morgan, a pupil in Early Years, whose design was entered into the AET Christmas Card Competition 2017.  This competition is open to all special academies within AET.  An entry from another special academy, Wishmore Cross, won this year but we have posted Wyatt’s entry onto our social media for everyone to see.  Well done Wyatt!

THANK YOU’S

As the year draws to a close I always like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our ongoing fundraising efforts in any way.  The support that we receive is truly amazing and there are just too many people to mention individually.  Please be assured that every single donation we receive is appreciated so much and really does make a difference.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year.

TERM DATES

A reminder that the last day of term is Wednesday 20th December and pupils return on Thursday 4th January.  Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd January are INSET days. Taxis have been informed.

These two training days will be used to ensure that all staff have the very latest mandatory Safeguarding Children in Education training and refresher training in Moving and Positioning, Dysphagia, Epilepsy awareness and Gastronomy and EHCP updates for all staff.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mr. Tom Jackson-Owens

Acting Principal 
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