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posted 25 May 2018, 06:54 by Web Admin

In order to be able to give you a flavour of each half term, I have decided that my blog for parents/carers will be sent out half-termly and I hope you find this informative. During the next half term I will also be inviting you in to School or College for a ‘get to know the Principal’ coffee morning. Please look out for the dates as I look forward to getting to know you if we have not already met.

Erasmus Project

On 19th and 20th March we welcomed four teachers from Finland who were part of the Erasmus Project.  The aim of their trip was to specifically explore the methods of teaching children with Autism. The visiting teachers work  in a school in Finland catering for children with severe disabilities and behaviour problems.

They were also interested in seeing our school environments and how they are adapted for special education. Their school buildings are fairly new, like Columbus, and they were, therefore, interested to find out new ways of using teaching spaces. 


I am pleased to say that the first meetings have taken place with the PCAB (Parent and Community Advisory Board) and the EAB (Education Advisory Board) since my last newsletter.  Actions from these meetings will be taken to the next Governors’ meeting. As the Boards begin to embed we will be mindful of ways to share information with you all.

If anyone is still interested in becoming a member of the PCAB please do let me know via my PA, Pauline Miller ( asap.

Parents’ Evenings

Just a reminder that the next Parents’ Evenings are on School Campus on 14th June and on College Campus on 28th June.  You will receive a letter inviting you to make an appointment to see your child’s teacher(s) very soon.

Mayor’s Charities

Our term as one of the Mayor’s Charities comes to an end at the end of this month.  We believe we have raised over £15,000 for Columbus.  Our thanks go to all involved for their commitment and hard work to achieve this fantastic total.  Our grateful thanks go to The Mayor and Lady Mayoress for their support for Columbus during this time.

London Marathon

As I am sure you will know, Claire Eades completed the London Marathon last month on a very hot and challenging day.  Well done Claire!  To date she has raised the amazing sum of £2,666.70 (including Gift Aid).  There’s still time to sponsor her if you would like to.  Thank you to everyone who supported Claire; it is very much appreciated.


Our final INSET Day of the year is Monday 4th June.  Staff will be receiving their Essex Steps Refresher training, Moving & Positioning Training (new staff) and Speech & Language Training, all delivered by our inhouse trainers.

Parent Questionnaire – May 2018

You will recently have received our Parent Questionnaire either electronically (if you are registered for ParentMail) or as a paper copy.  Please do complete and return your questionnaire so that we can consider your comments.

World Book Day

We finally held World Book Day on the 3rd May after having to postpone it due to the ‘Beast from the East’!!  Thanks to everyone who helped their child to support this event.

Vicky Ford, MP Visit

We were delighted to welcome Vicky Ford, Conservative MP for Chelmsford, to Columbus on Friday 4th May. Vicky enthusiastically joined in with a class warm up dance and joined a group for a sensory story before being whisked off to enjoy coffee and cookies made by pupils in FE! She was joined by a group of staff and pupils from School and College who taught her some Makaton signs to use. Before leaving to practice her signing she invited the School Council to meet with her at the House of Commons.

Vicky will be supporting us in our work with Health and Social Care professionals as well as advocating on Equality issues.

Advertising Boards

We are grateful to Beresfords, Estate Agents in Chelmsford, who are once again sponsoring our ‘C Festival’.  You will have received a letter inviting you to display an advertising board at your property.  For each board displayed Columbus will receive £5.  I do hope you can support us.  To proceed with the advertising boards, you need to live in the CM1, CM2, CM3 postcode areas.  The board will be advertising the Friends of Columbus School and College ‘C Festival’ at College Campus on Saturday 30th June and will be put up by Beresfords prior to the event and taken down a few days after.  Please contact either reception if you would like to take part.  Thank you.

 ‘C Festival’ – Date for your diary

This year’s popular ‘C Festival’ run by Friends of Columbus School and College is taking place on Saturday 30th June from 12pm– 4pm on College Campus.  We look forward to seeing you there.  Let’s hope for a warm, sunny day!

 Tenerife Trip

A group of students from College Campus have just returned from a very successful educational journey to Tenerife, funded by the Tenerife Sur Lions.  Our grateful thanks to the Sur Lions for making this trip possible.

Healthy Schools

I am very proud that Columbus received revalidation of its Healthy School Status at a recent Quality Assurance Group meeting of the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service.  It was agreed that Columbus has continued to meet the criteria required to revalidate as a foundation healthy school.  Well done to all concerned!

New Staff and Staff Leavers

It has been brought to my attention that parents/carers are not always aware when staff leave or we employ new staff.  I will, therefore, be including this information in all future blogs. 

Staff Leavers

Gary Corbett who joined Columbus in October 2014 will be leaving us on 31st August to take up Headship at Langham Oaks SEMH school in Colchester. Whilst Gary very much enjoys working at Columbus he could not pass up an opportunity to further his career. We thank Gary for his dedication and leadership during the past three and a half years and wish him every success in his substantive role.

Tom Jackson-Owens who re-joined Columbus in 2014, will be leaving us this term. Tom expressed interest in a new challenge last academic year and has recently been offered a Headship at Lancaster School in Southend-on-Sea. Tom will take up his new post on 1st September 2018 and we wish him the same successes he achieved and enjoyed at Columbus. We offer our sincere thanks to Tom for his commitment to the children and young people over the years as both Vice-Principal and Acting Principal.

Jamie Newstead who has worked at Columbus for nearly four years both as a PD Teacher and, more recently a Class Teacher in our Early Years Department, will be leaving us at the end of this half term to pursue a new career in the Fire Service.  We have granted Jamie an early release from her contract to commence her training. We thank Jamie for all she has done for the children during her time at Columbus and wish her every success in her new job.

Rachel Chandler has worked at Columbus as a Learning Support Assistant since January and has taken the decision to spend more time with her family.  We wish her well for the future.

Rosie Wackett has worked at Columbus as a Learning Support Assistant in Reception class since May 2016 and has now gained a position as a Health Care Assistant. We wish her every success for the future.

Vicky Waller has worked at Columbus as a Learning Support Assistant since September 2014 and is moving to Norfolk to begin a new chapter in her life. We wish her the very best of luck for the future.

New Staff

We currently have a number of Supply Learning Support Assistants ‘in the pipeline’ and they will begin their duties as soon as all appropriate safeguarding checks have been carried out.

 Half Term Dates

Monday 28th May to Friday 1st June (Monday 4th June is an INSET Day).  Pupils return on Tuesday 5th June.  Taxis are aware.

 Last Day of Term

A reminder that the last day of term is Friday 20th July.

Social Media

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.


Our Amazon Wishlist is constantly updated.  If you would like to browse please visit   Thank you.   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 nearly £3,000 to date!

Karen Clark