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From The Principal 13/06/2013

posted 28 Aug 2013, 06:41 by Web Admin   [ updated 28 Aug 2013, 06:42 ]

Welcome to June and what is hopefully going to be the start of Summer and some warmer weather!  

The sunnier days are enabling the young people on the College Campus to enjoy their new outdoor gym and also invite members of the public to join them in their community café service which has attracted a great deal of media interest locally.  Local radio station, BBC Essex and the Weekly News have both covered the story of the work our young people are engaging in on a day to day basis, and even Mr Simon Burns, MP, has written about the Columbus Community Café in his weekly newspaper column.

Our most grateful thanks go to the parents who continue to support the café. It means so much to the students when they are able to welcome and serve their customers!

Columbus has made a new international link with a school in Jaipur, India this month. Miss Sarita Nathawat from the Neerja Modi School visited us on the 4th of June to find out a little more about us and the work we do with our very special children and young people. She is keen to learn about how best to support pupils on the autistic spectrum and we hope that, in the future, some of her teachers may come to visit and work with us at Columbus.

In the meantime, we will be writing to the children at her school, learning more about life in India and talking to them directly via Skype!

We strive to continually improve what we offer at Columbus and in the coming weeks will focus upon the ongoing improvement of teaching and learning at Columbus School and College. Although teaching and learning remains good and often outstanding throughout the school, we do not rest on our laurels! The staff are always keen to improve and be the very best they can be for our students. Training for our Heads of Learning and their assistants to learn more about the use of "Classwatch", a video tool which enables teachers to record and watch their teaching in order to learn more how they can become better practitioners, will also take place very soon.

Our Heads of Learning have also applied to become Senior Leaders in Education which will enable them to share their skills and expertise with other schools as well as awarding them with the recognition they deserve for being such effective and inspiring practitioners. We eagerly await this new achievement.

We have welcomed Anna Simmons, School Nurse, to the team in the past month. She is beginning to settle in and learn more about our pupils. This week Anna has delivered her first training session to ensure that our more complex children and young people are safely supported via gastrostomy feeding.   We look forward to future support sessions we receive from Anna to ensure we continue to provide the best possible care practices.

Colleagues from Mencap have joined us this month to meet with parents/carers during their social support events as well as to begin to help me to move forward with possible funding and development opportunities for our Post-19 students.  I will, of course, keep you all informed of how this is progressing.

Our partnership with the North Chelmsford Local Delivery Group continues to go from strength to strength. Columbus supports many of the primary and secondary schools in Chelmsford to care for and support their young people with additional needs and it is wonderful that the counsellors from within the group will be basing themselves at our school and offering their services to the school.

Southampton will be welcoming a group of our FE students to participate in a range of outward bounds and social activities. I look forward to reporting on their achievements in a few weeks’ time - follow their achievements and antics on Twitter (@ColumbusSchool).

Further events to look forwardto later this half term include our Olympic Legacy Day (Sports Day), departmental graduation assemblies, the FE Department's first performance of their dramatisation of The Wizard of Oz, the College Campus Leaver’s Ball, parents’ consultation evenings and ‘meet your new teachers’ events. Dates of these events can be found of our website.

We will also be eagerly inviting a number of friends, colleagues, staff and, of course, students to meet HRH The Duchess of Wessex (Sophie Windsor) to officially open our new buildings on the 10th July. In the weeks ahead we will be busily preparing a range of presentations, activities and displays to show to her the very best of Columbus and to celebrate the achievements of our children and young people.

In the meantime, enjoy the sun while it lasts - more next month!  

Ginny Bellard
Principal