News‎ > ‎Principals Blog‎ > ‎

From The Principal…

posted 1 Mar 2016, 01:30 by James Dorey   [ updated 2 Mar 2016, 02:21 ]

As we enter the month of March, we have been reflecting on all the things we have been working on over the course of the last four weeks. I thought it would be lovely this time around to share some beautiful photographs of the children with you all so you can see the sorts of things they have been getting up to over the course of this term.

I was very proud to see the excellent home and work-related tasks that our FE students have been undertaking recently, either working in our independent living flat or during their placements at Writtle College. This “Homeskills” project will enable our young people to transfer their skills into work-related learning sessions based at Chelmsford’s County Hotel, the Charles Dickens Care Home and the Hilton Hotel, Stansted.


I am always thrilled to see our youngsters included in real life events that enable them to experience true life and true work experiences. Thank you in advance to our dedicated FE team and their Head of Learning, Tracey Plane for planning such aspirational and inclusive learning opportunities! Learning Support Assistant, Emma O’Riordan has offered to lead this project which she will share more of in due course and I know she will make it a real success.

Our youngest children based in the Nursery have also been working hard and displaying some impressive new skills this term! They have been learning about Chinese New Year and experiencing this through food, artefacts and themed art work. It is wonderful to see them beginning to accept new experiences and trying new foods too! Not always easy as I am sure many of our parents will agree. Congratulations to the children and the staff on such super successes!


Key Stage 2 students have also been very busy in their Music lessons recently. They have been learning about tempo and rhythm with specialist music tutor Toni Williams this term. They are looking forward to the arrival of some Djembe drums next week, to add to their musical composition. We can't wait to hear them!Music communication, interaction and teaching approaches have been high on our agenda this term with each Key Stage being represented at specialist music training events during the course of the last month. We find that music has an almost magical effect on so many of our young people – helping them to develop a sense of wellbeing as well as motivating them to interact, engage in their learning and communicate more readily. We are looking forward to meeting as a teaching team to share what we have learnt and planning how this can best impact on the support and learning experiences we offer our children and young people across the Academy.

We are all very excited to be included in the Country Life Magazine and Keep Britain Tidy initiative ‘Clean for the Queen Day' this week. The event has been promoted and planned since the autumn of 2015 in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. Children on the School Campus will be taking part in this national event by tidying playground areas and litter picking at the local park to help us to raise awareness of the importance of being eco-friendly and looking after our local communities. I am hoping that we can extend this work into our literacy sessions by compiling a video and also writing a letter to the Queen, to share with her the great work the staff and children have been doing in aid of her birthday – we’ll let you know if she writes back!

The Senior Leadership Team and I have been working hard over the course of the last few weeks to develop further training opportunities for our staff in the area of PMLD teaching. Nationally renowned Flo Longhorn, will be attending Columbus to deliver training on Wednesday 24th March to Heads of Learning and PMLD project leaders. We will be learning about outstanding practice in the field and how we can improve our current practices. Flo will then be returning to train all PMLD teachers early in the Autumn Term, with further training events to follow throughout the academic year 2016-2017.

We were delighted to host a Transition event on the 23rd February where parents of young people aged 14 upwards, could come along and speak to key community groups who offer Post-16 and Post-19 provisions once their young person leaves Columbus. 13 groups attended and represented a range of local colleges, community groups and charities, work-based settings and youth clubs. The event was attended by 24 Columbus families who found the event helpful and informative as they begin to think, plan and discuss with their social workers, where they think the next appropriate placement for their young person will be. We plan to hold future events in the future. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and the Columbus staff who gave up their time to support.

Many of you will be aware of the placement that has been secured on this year’s London Marathon. Mr Stephen Clements will be running the Marathon in aid of Columbus Therapies this year and we will be holding a number of supporting events to raise money for the cause in the weeks ahead. We are hoping families and friends of the school will be able to join us on our Easter Fun Day which we are planning to hold on Monday 21st March in aid of Stephen’s fundraising for Columbus. All Key Stages will be taking part in a sponsored walk which we would like to invite families along to. The walks will then be followed by the opportunity for families to stay for lunch at school with their son or daughter, and enjoy an Easter Mask and Easter Bonnet Competition for the School Campus children and a cake sale for College and School Campuses too.

Letters will be sent out with further details in due course.

More from me in April!

Ginny Bellard