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posted 18 Jul 2018, 06:17 by Web Admin   [ updated 18 Jul 2018, 06:20 ]


We have come to the end of another academic year and what an amazing one it has been for everyone!

Working with children who have special educational needs presents its challenges but these are always outweighed by the constant pleasure at seeing the progress being made both academically and socially. The learning targets for each pupil are personalised to them. This might be learning a new literacy or mathematical concept or the development of an important life skill. For many it is learning to communicate or a strategy for managing change.  

Some children have begun walking for the first time, taking those first vital steps. These achievements must be a sheer delight for parents who have waited patiently in hope for so long.  Congratulations and thank you to all those who have worked tirelessly to achieve these amazing things for the children and their families.  

The quality of teaching and learning is always at the top of the agenda when thinking about the quality of service offered at Columbus. Senior and middle leaders completed cycles of observations and learning walks of all teaching and I am pleased to report that standards remain strong. Thank you to everyone for their continued efforts and focus in delivering their very best to the children and young people. In the months ahead, we will be looking to offer opportunities for paired team teaching and training in specific learning needs and interventions to ensure pupils are fully engaged and effectively supported in their learning.

Columbus’s success in the area of fundraising continues. You will be aware that The Friends of Columbus Fundraising Committee was nominated as one of the Mayor’s chosen charities this year, along with Chelmsford City Mencap and Age Concern. The Mayor along with his Deputy worked tirelessly to maximise the fundraising opportunities over the course of his time in Office. Last week ex Mayor, Councillor Duncan Lumley and ex Deputy, Councillor DeVries visited Columbus to present a cheque for over £15,000 to provide much needed resources for the pupils. This is an amazing achievement and we are so very grateful to everyone who contributed to organising and supporting the numerous events. I am delighted to inform you that both Councillor DeVries and Councillor Lumley are keen to continue to support the school and will be meeting with me in the Autumn Term to explore opportunities to do so.

During the Summer Term we were pleased to receive separate visits from both Jack Boyer, Chair of AET Board of Trustees and Julian Drinkall, CEO at AET, who have expressed a keen interest in the incredible work we do at Columbus School and College. They are both committed to supporting the Academy to achieve more for the pupils and young people and keen to hear more about all the exciting achievements that the children experience.

 Parent and Community Advisory Board

The PCAB met again this term following a meeting of the parent group. The main topics discussed were transitions across the School and College, horse riding and curriculum. We were pleased to be joined by two new parents who expressed an interest in joining the PCAB. Next year’s meetings will be held to coincide with termly reporting to the Governing Body. If you would like to raise awareness of anything that Columbus does really well, e.g. improved home/school communication, events for parents to join in with their children (such as Olympic Legacy Day), please do inform one of the members of the Advisory Board so they are able to share this more widely.  We will be producing a PCAB noticeboard for the Autumn Term to facilitate effective communication.

 Olympic Legacy (Sports) Days

We enjoyed our annual Olympic Legacy (Sports) Days in June and a great time was had by all. 



C Festival

Our fourth successful C-Festival Music event was held by the Friends and staff of Columbus on Saturday 30th June – bringing in funds nearly £3,500. The weather was glorious this year and we all enjoyed listening to local bands and watching performers throughout the afternoon.  I was pleased to see so many of you at the event.

We were, once again,  supported by a number of local businesses through sponsorship and donations to our raffle and auction. Their generosity and the time they gave to us to help to make the event such a success is hugely appreciated.  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this event such a success.

Graduation Events

We have planned a number of graduation events for children and young people transitioning to their new departments, and indeed to pastures new as some of them prepare to leave Columbus and pursue learning and support in the wider community.  You will have already received information if your child is one of those transitioning this year.  We are also looking forward to our Leavers’ Ball which takes place once again at  Pontlands Park in Gt. Baddow on 19th July.  I will be very proud to host this event for the first time. I was also delighted to receive recent confirmation that the new Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Yvonne Spence will be attending.

Residential Journey

KS4 and FE students enjoyed a residential journey to Mase-y-Lade, Wales in June.  They took part in lots of activities and gained many memories. There are several videos on our Facebook page for you to enjoy if you have not already seen them.

Fuchsia Society

This year's annual display weekend is taking place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August 10am - 5pm at St. John Payne RC Secondary School, Patching Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 4BS.  I know many of you enjoy this event.  The Fuchsia Society have been supporters of the school for many, many years and we are extremely grateful to them for their ongoing support.

One Great Thing from 2017/2018  – AET National Conference

The AET National Conference for Principals was held on 11th July.  Each academy was asked to share ‘One Great Thing’ that had happened in their academy during 2017/2018 and I was very proud to do this on behalf of Columbus. I was honoured to share one of the videos we recently created to tell the story of the holistic learning journey for children and young people at Columbus with our colleagues from the 64 AET Academies across the country.

Annual Reports

You will receive your child’s Annual Report during the last week of term and have received a letter informing you of your child’s class and class teacher for next year along with further information regarding classes and learning phases.

Discovery Club Dates

A reminder that Discovery Club will be running during the summer holidays as usual from from 23rd  July to 16th  August inclusive.  Booking forms and further information can be found on our website

New Staff

We welcome the following new staff who have joined Columbus since my last Blog:

Supply Learning Support Assistants – Rebekka Trigwell, Maisie Collins, Samantha Ewles, Kat Derlak, Suzanne Metson and Jaymee Cuthill.

Staff Leavers

The following staff have left since the last Principal’s Blog or will be leaving at the end of this term:

LSAs - Rosie Wackett, Victoria Waller, Abby Greensmith, Antonina Stocker, Jessica O’Sullivan

Support Staff  - Pat Clements, Ira Flack, Karen Hobbs, Rachel Billige

We thank all the staff for all they have done during their time at Columbus and wish them all well as they start new ventures.

 Tom Jackson-Owens - We were very sorry to say goodbye to Tom Jackson-Owens who left Columbus on 6th July.  We were delighted that many parents, friends and ex-colleagues were able to join us during his last week to wish him well.  Thanks to everyone’s generous donations Tom was delighted to be able to raise over £250 for Prostate Cancer.  We offer our most sincere thanks to Tom for all he has done for the children and young people who have attended Columbus during these many years and wish him well as he begins his Headship at The Lancaster School.

Gary Corbett – As you also know, we will be saying goodbye to Gary Corbett who has been Assistant Vice-Principal at Columbus for nearly four years on the last day of term.  I hope many of you will have been able to join us for Gary’s ‘Strawberries and Cream’ event and/or leaving assembly.   We thank Gary for all he has done during his time at Columbus and wish him every success as he begins his Headship at Langham Oaks School in Colchester in September.

Term Dates

Pupils and staff finish on Friday 20th July.  Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th September are staff training days and students should return on Thursday 6th September.  Taxis are aware.

Finally, may I wish you all a very happy and restful Summer Holiday and look forward to seeing you all again in the new academic year. 

Karen Clark