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PRINCIPAL’S BLOG – February 2018

posted 5 Mar 2018, 05:36 by Web Admin   [ updated 19 Mar 2018, 01:16 ]

Having spent the last 40 days getting to know the children and their families, staff and our community partners, I believe that Columbus School and College is supported extremely well by its families and friends. Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss the new Parent and Community Advisory Board (PCAB) with parents during the Parent Consultation Committee meeting and am delighted that we now have a small group of members for the Board. The new PCAB is an opportunity to create exciting initiatives to further enhance the provision at the Academy. There is a commitment to attend termly meetings and the board will report to the Governing Body. If you are still interested in becoming a member but have not let us know yet then please do so via my PA, Pauline Miller ( by the end of next week (Friday 16th March). We will be sending out further information to the members in due course. 

Along with the formation of the PCAB there is also a new Employee Advisory Board (EAB) which will be meeting regularly to explore new initiatives and report to the Governing Body. I am delighted that we have representation across the whole academy for the EAB and I am looking forward to working with the two boards over the coming months.

I have almost finished meeting every member of staff individually since I started in January and am looking forward to meeting many more parents/carers at future events such as Parents’ Evenings and Friends’ events. Last month I had the honour of meeting the Mayor of Chelmsford during one of the Mayor’s charity events raising funds for Columbus, and am looking forward to seeing many of you at the next events.

We continue to see some great achievements for our children and young people. If you follow us on Facebook ( or Twitter (@ColumbusSchool), I am sure you will have read the articles and seen the photos of the children and young people hard at work and indeed enjoying themselves in a range of learning activities.

We are currently planning our next INSET day, Thursday the 29th March. There will be a training focus for staff on teaching & learning as well as essential medical and care. Columbus teachers will be joining Pioneer School teachers in Basildon to further develop their skills and knowledge in teaching Mathematics. Learning Support Assistants are training with therapists to enhance their skillset in Communication and Music.

Chinese Visitors

On 23rd January I was very pleased to host a delegation of 12 visitors from China who were in Chelmsford for a very short time en route to the BETT Show in London. They were very interested in our assistive technologies and toured College Campus to see our sensory rooms as well as observing the school in action.

SEND Music Project

On 5th February I met with Hassina Khan to introduce herself and the project that Essex Music Service is working on for special schools through a grant from Youth Music. I was interested to learn how successful this project has been following the conference launch which I organised with Charly Richardson, Head of Essex Music Services at Columbus five years ago! The project is almost at completion with Columbus having one of the last project sessions, focussing on inclusive singing, in the Summer Term. This project has enabled an increasing number of music specialists to develop their skills to meet the needs of pupils in special schools as well as those of their mainstream peers.

World Book Day – 1st March

Unfortunately, due to the adverse weather conditions resulting in the school being closed, World Book Day had to be postponed. We will be rearranging this and a new date and this will be confirmed in due course.

Visit of Local MP, Vicky Ford

We were contacted by one of our local MPs, Vicky Ford (Conservative MP for Chelmsford), recently regarding a visit to Columbus and I was looking forward to welcoming her on the 2nd March. Unfortunately this was cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Parents’ Evenings

A reminder that the next Parents’ Evenings are 8th March for School Campus and 15th March for College Campus. You will receive a letter regarding booking appointments in due course. This letter will be sent slightly later than usual, again due to the school being closed for three days. I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can.

Parents’ Social Events

Please do come along to our Parents’ Social Events if you are able to do so. We will send out more information about each event nearer the date but here is a reminder of the remaining dates for this academic year: 6th March, 15th May, 3rd July. We look forward to seeing you.


As parents/carers will be aware, these continue to be very difficult times for schools from a financial point of view and we are continually trying to find new ways to fundraise. As always, a huge thank you for your ongoing support for our efforts. Here is a quick update of donations and support we have received recently and a reminder of the ways in which people can support us should they wish to. We extend very grateful thanks to all of our supporters for their ongoing commitment to Columbus.

Commsoft have recently made a donation of £550. This donation is being used to purchase Bee-Bots for KS3. Over the half term holidays, a new shelter was installed in the Early Years/KS1 playground which has been donated by the Moody Fund, via The Essex Community Foundation. This will enable our PMLD students to enjoy their outside space whatever the weather. 

Gepp and Sons, Solicitors in Chelmsford, recently made a donation to us of £1,050 following their fundraising over the Christmas period. This included festive activities at their offices and a Carol Concert in High Chelmer Shopping Centre in Chelmsford. The concert was also supported by our FE students. This donation from Gepps is being used to purchase giant bean bags (two for each campus), Play-Doh and kinetic sand for Early Years/KS1, trampettes for KS3, a talking microwave for FE and some sensory resources for KS4 from our Amazon Wishlist.

We are very lucky to have someone running in the London Marathon in April to raise funds for Columbus once again this year. Claire Eades, one of our Administration Assistants, obtained a place personally has very kindly agreed to nominate Columbus as her chosen charity. We are very grateful to her for doing this. If you would like to donate or if you have any business links who might be interested in supporting Claire in this immense endeavour you can do so via:

If you are able to, please remember to support Columbus via Easyfundraising. If you have not already done so, you can register at Thank you to everyone who has helped us raise an amazing £2,728.17 to date!

Karen Clark