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From The Principal…

posted 17 Oct 2016, 02:07 by James Dorey
Welcome to the October blog!

The young people and staff continue to settle well into the new academic year and many of our students are already making pleasing progress against new learning targets and developments to the curriculum.

A reminder that after half term (Monday 24th – Friday 28th October) there is a staff training day on Monday 31st October Pupils to return to school on Tuesday 1st November.

Parents have now been notified of their child’s Annnual Review/EHCP meeting date for this academic year in order that they can note the date well in advance and make appropriate arrangements to attend as the dates of these meetings are very difficult to change.

Louise Doe, Head of Learning for Key Stage 3, is working very hard once again this year to pull together the performers from both campuses who will be taking part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival on the 1st November at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford. We are hoping that you will be able to join us at this exciting event which will see our young people performing in and supporting an authentic dramatic event involving a number of local mainstream schools. For us this is true inclusion and equality of opportunity and I am very proud that Columbus students have a chance to be involved and share with our local community what we are all truly capable of! Tickets are available at both Columbus Reception desks.

‘Bag Books’ - a learning disability literacy charity – will be visiting School Campus on 20th October and College Campus on 24th November. They write and make multi-sensory stories for children and young people with severe or profound learning difficulties and are also appropriate for young children on the autistic spectrum. Stories are told through the emotion in the storyteller's voice and a sensory object.

The first Parents’ Social Event of this academic year was held on 11th October. It was a very relaxed friendly morning where parents had the opportunity to share their experiences of life with a child who has additional needs. We look forward to seeing more parents/carers at future meetings.

Following receipt of their donation to Columbus of £500, Adventure Island in Southend requested a visit to see Columbus ‘in action’ and we are in the process of arranging this at the moment.

Friends of Columbus are still very active and their next events are the Christmas Fayre on Friday 2nd December from 6.00pm – 9.00pm on School Campus and a Quiz Night on 11th March. More details about both events to follow in due course. 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.

Finally, I would like to share with you all the wonderful fundraising efforts that continue to happen on behalf of Columbus. I am so amazed by the support we receive from so many different places – parents, friends of the school, businesses. Here is a flavour of the support we have received over the past couple of months:

Huge thanks go to the parent of one of our Columbus students who is taking part in the Atlantic Coastal Challenge for Columbus this weekend. The route starts near Padstow and finishes at Lands End. The three day event will see him completing the equivalent to a Marathon per day!! If you feel you would like to encourage him you can do so via

Congratulations, well done and huge thanks to Alan and Andy Rayner who successfully completed Swim Serpentine recently.

We were very pleased to welcome The Bartella family to our School Campus recently, to present our new wheelchair swing kindly donated to us from The Bartella Charitable Fund.

Another bag packing session took place in-store at Sainsburys, Springfield on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their support.  A team of about 12 Sainsbury’s staff visited College recently.  They had a tour of the campus followed by a planning meeting to discuss fundraising for Columbus. 

It was a beautiful sunny day for our group of Ford volunteers who came for the third year running on 22nd September to work on School Campus and College Campus. They tidied borders, cut back shrubs and generally improved the look of the outside areas. They also mended all the bikes and trikes and got them into working order.  Our thanks go to them once again. 

Tesco generously donated plants and materials for their team of volunteers who came to work on School Campus recently. The volunteers worked really hard to tidy up the sensory garden. They cut back the trees and shrubs, repaired and varnished the circular seating, re-planted the boat and well and added new compost to the planters. 


Last week, a team of volunteers from Santander cycled 265 miles in 2 days, followed by a 35 mile run on day 3 starting in Cardiff and finishing in Redhill to raise money for Columbus!


We are so grateful to each and every one for their support.  Their fundraising efforts really do make such a difference to our children and young people.  Thank you!

Tom Jackson-Owens, Acting Principal