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From The Principal 14/02/2013

posted 28 Aug 2013, 06:33 by Web Admin   [ updated 28 Aug 2013, 06:33 ]

Amidst this snow and chilly weather, I write my second blog to update you all on all things Columbus this month. It is amazing how much we have achieved and continue to achieve in such a short space of time.

This half term we have been re-accredited with our International School Award in recognition of all we do with our partner schools across the globe as well as the way we enhance the learning experience of our children and young people in terms of multiculturalism. Those of you who know Columbus well will be aware of the partnership working that we do with SEN colleagues in China and Hong Kong and this will indeed continue into the coming year so we may share and indeed learn more about good practice in the field of SEN.

A particular special “thank you” goes to Karen Clark, Head of Key Stage 3, who worked very hard to secure this re-accreditation.

This week is Poetry Week at Columbus and all our pupils will be learning more about poetry. The week kicks off with two poets visiting us to share their work and we will be sharing a series of poetry focussed lessons and shared reading experiences over the next five days.

Thank you to all parents and carers who have found time in their busy lives to complete the online Ofsted Parent View questionnaire on our website or the paper copy of our questionnaire we sent out a couple of weeks ago. It is wonderful to see how many of you are pleased with what we offer your child and your family. However, we always strive to do more. Please don’t forget to share any concerns or gripes you have too as we are keen to offer the best education service and support we can.

New partnerships we have established with the outside world this month include links with the Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB), the Royal Opera House Bridge Group and the Southend Mencap Music Man.

Our future work with the CAB will enable us to provide further support mechanisms for families as well as offer guidance and support in the field of SEN with members of the local community. The Royal Opera House Bridge group are working closely with Columbus to enhance the music curriculum and, in time, will help us to provide wider experiences in the field of Dance, Drama and Art. This work is being further supported by “The Music Man” – a qualified music practitioner expert in the field of SEN who will be helping us to provide up-to-date training for our teachers and indeed help us with the development of our Music rooms on both School Campus and College Campus. We hope that this partnership working will culminate in a community musical performance involving our friends and colleagues from other SEN settings  – more news to follow soon I hope!

Please note that our Twitter link has been re-established and we hope to continue to keep you informed of “all things Columbus” via up to date tweets on events and achievements across Columbus as the weeks go by. We have also been working hard to improve the look and the content of our website. Please let us know if you have any thoughts or suggestions on useful information you think we ought to include.

We are also currently working very hard to get our Columbus Community Café open. Mrs Stephanie Scott, mother of Katie who attended the school during our “Hayward Days” is lending us her support and expertise in the field of marketing and we hope that this will enable us to plan a grand opening event of the Café in April. Our most grateful thanks go to Stephanie for all the time and effort she is spending on supporting us in this project.  In the meantime, we aim to open for a student breakfast club while also offering breakfast for staff, parents and our colleagues from Taxibus to purchase.  More news to follow soon!

A senior colleague from the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) visited Columbus earlier this half term to focus upon the quality of English and Literacy and was very impressed by the learning experiences she witnessed – particularly when visiting the Key Stage 4 department where some great inclusion and indeed challenge of our students was seen. Our AET colleague intends on sharing our work as best practice and so we should expect to see more visitors soon to learn about how to support pupils with additional needs who attend school in a mainstream setting.

Finally, I conclude on a round of “Thank yous”!

The Essex Fire Museum in Grays made our Nursery and Class 1 children very welcome when they visited as part of their topic “People Who Help Us”. This was a very enjoyable and, I am informed, a very realistic visit which the children loved!

Children from Class 2 will also be visiting the Great Baddow Fire Station as part of their topic too.

Thank you to Mrs Jo Rawling who has spent many, many hours kindly making a range of greetings cards which can be purchased via the reception desk of both campuses. Jo is going to kindly donate some of the proceeds to Columbus. Thank you for your kindness, Jo.

A sincere thank you also goes to our friends at Wilkinson’s, The Meadows, Chelmsford who have kindly donated Christmas decorations to Columbus. As I am sure you can imagine, decorating such huge buildings can be a real challenge and it is through such kindness that we are able to give quality Christmas experiences to our children and young people.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, restful half term break.

Ginny Bellard