News‎ > ‎Principals Blog‎ > ‎

From The Principal…

posted 4 Jun 2015, 07:20 by James Dorey

I can hardly believe that we are now in the final weeks of the academic year! How the time has flown and how marvelous it has been to see so many achievements and fantastic experiences for staff and students alike!

This past week has seen the Columbus staff update their training in medical and care practices and to update their knowledge and approaches to positive interventions with our young people. We were delighted to welcome colleagues from ‘Essex Steps’ who delivered our annual “refresher training” in positive interventions to enable our young people to work through times they find hard or challenging. The training was met positively and will be extended further for staff at our INSET training in September. I am thrilled to see that our team welcome opportunities to refresh their understanding and also learn new techniques to ensure we support our young people in the best way they can.

We will soon be welcoming Mrs Fiona Shanahan and her son Brett  to the academy to talk to us about “Living with Autism”. The staff have taken part in a number of Autism training and refresher events in recent months to ensure the education and support we give to those with Autism is of the highest standard. I am delighted that Fiona and Brett will be joining us to share with us all a real life insight into Autism, the experience of living with Autism as a parent and also as a young person beginning to find their way in the world. I am looking forward to the Columbus team gaining an insight that will help them to understand more about the importance of what they do day to day as well as having further opportunity to support families and our young people in an ever increasingly efficient and effective way.

My thanks go to the members of the Parent Consultation Committee who continue to work with our Family Support Advocates to identify areas of good and helpful Columbus  practice for families as well as, more importantly, ways that we can improve the work that we do. At a recent meeting, parents told us that we can improve the way in which we communicate with parents day to day in the Home School Book and so I delivered a session for all staff at our INSET Day on Tuesday to ensure that the information we give you day to day on learning, your young person’s wellbeing and social experiences while they are with us each day, is full, accurate and helpful. I look forward to hearing your feedback as to how this is impacting on the messages you receive.

On the 20th May, we were visited by our Regional Director for Education and an OFSTED Inspector, to tour the school, observe teaching and learning, to talk to pupils, staff and parents and to observe the academy data to ensure that standards continue to be as high as they should be. I am delighted to report to you all that the OFSTED Inspector judged us to be “Outstanding” in every area once again. It is important to me that despite our positive full, official OFSTED inspection last year, that we continue to strive for excellence in every area of our work. A huge thank you and many congratulations to the wonderful Columbus Team for making this quality assurance process such a success.

“And finally…”

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tracey Plane, Head of Learning - Physical Development throughout Columbus School and College, for winning the Silver medal in the recent European Masters Judo Championships in Hungary. Clearly she is a high achiever in school as well as in her own time! Well done, Tracey!

Many congratulations also go to our trainee teacher, Amy Hayes and her team of Learning Support Assistants, Sarah Turner, Catherine Spencer and Sharon Wright who together, presented an outstanding Physical Development lesson which was observed by Amy’s university assessor and Vice Principal, Tom Jackson -Owens this week. To be achieving such high quality standards in teaching and learning delivery so early on in her career is remarkable! Well done Amy! We are delighted that Amy will be joining the Columbus Team in September as a fully-fledged teacher!

Ginny Bellard