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Physical Development Update

The Physical Development team is working hard to provide the students with a broad physical curriculum here at Columbus. They offer a variety of different sports and opportunities changing topics every half term, both at school and out in the community. We are currently working with Little Channels Golf Club, Chelmsford Gymnastics Club, England Badminton, Spingfield Cricket and Trailnex Cycling Group in Brentwood. 

The pupils and students are continually building confidence, working together and learning new skills.

Columbus works very closely with other partnerships such as Panathlon, Essex School Games and Chelmsford School Sports Partnerships and St John Payne School. We have hosted a variety of events such as Basketball and Hockey tournaments, indoor games such as Pollybat, Table Cricket, Curling and Boccia. We have just become Essex School Games Boccia Champions for 2014. You can follow the great achievements on the Columbus Twitter page: @ColumbusSchool.



It has been an exciting term in the swimming pool, with lots of achievements and new skills learnt.

All pupils at Columbus School and College take part in a weekly swimming lesson in one of our two hydrotherapy pools. In addition to this, students are offered after-school Swimming Clubs to extend their learning.

Swimming lessons are always fun and engaging, challenging pupils to achieve water confidence and stroke techniques at their own level. Pupils are taught to develop safety and confidence when in the water and build on existing skills such as changing independently.

For some of our more profound students,  hydrotherapy is offered where they will work on their individual programmes in the pool on a one-to-one basis. Pupils will experience floating as independently as possible, using a range of movement through the water in different body positions and these sessions are more multi-sensory and interactive in order to make learning more meaningful and enhance achievement.



Our students from Columbus School and College continue to enjoy their riding sessions at two Riding Schools in Essex: Brook Farm in Stock, and Barrow Farm in Highwood, which is between Chelmsford and Brentwood. 

Sessions include meeting the pony, following instructions according to ability (using obstacles and hand-held props such as hoops) and taking a walk in the woods - on a dry day! The older students are completing an ASDAN Stable Management course.

Specially selected ponies and committed staff and volunteers provide lovely experiences and exercise; give opportunities to learn new skills; encourage team work; build confidence and create a fun learning environment.  

You can see more photos on our flickr photostream.



From The Principal…

Pursuing and Celebrating Achievement

It is always with great delight that staff share with me the achievements of the young people they work with on a day to day basis and in my Blog this month, I would like to share with you all some of the wonderful experiences and achievements our students have had in recent weeks.

Sammy Brock, a student in the FE Department has been granted the Young Ambassadors Award in recognition of his work within the Physical Development Department. Sammy is a talented sportsman and pursues a number of sports outside of school to a high level. He can regularly be seen supporting children and young people with their physical development and is an excellent role model for our learners as well as an asset to our learning support team. Sammy aspires to go on to learn more about supporting the subject of PE as he begins to enter the world of work and I am sure that this award will enable him to demonstrate the skills and capabilities he has in this area.

Sammy will receive his award at the end of March at a ceremony to be held at Wembley and his award will be presented to him by former Olympic Champion and Triple Jump World Record holder, Jonathan Edwards.   Congratulations to you Sammy!

Ryan Scott, also a student within the FE Department, has been offered the opportunity to follow the Entry Level City & Guilds work experience course in Working Life at Writtle College later this year.  The partnerships we have outside of Columbus so often lead to greater life outcomes for our young people and I am sure that Ryan will go on to develop even higher capabilities once he embarks on his course. Many congratulations to you, Ryan! We will watch with great interest, your future achievements.

March features “World Book Day” at Columbus and particular highlights of the event have been story sessions provided by Essex County Council’s ‘School Library Service’. Early Years and Key Stage 2 have enjoyed sensory storytelling and Key Stage 3, 4 and the FE Department have been working to develop their drama skills via a series of workshops. The main theme for this day was ‘favourite fictional characters’ and many staff as well as pupils dressed up as favourite book characters. See the photos of the day from next week as they gradually get placed on the school website as well as around school and on the Good News Boards.  

A book token entitling our children and young people to One Free £1 World Book Day book or £1 off a book or audio book worth £2.99 or more in all participating bookshops has been sent out to all families in order that parents and carers can share in the enjoyment of story engagement with their young person at home.

Further awards and achievement celebrations taking place this term are the introduction of ‘The Brock Sporting Award’ which will be awarded by the Physical Development Team later this term for achievements in sport and physical development (including Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Programme achievement). ‘The Richardson Award’ for the Creative Arts is also to be awarded this term in recognition of achievement and development in the area of Art, Dance, Drama and Music. Special assemblies will be taking place throughout the week beginning 31st March to award these accolades with parents and families of those receiving the award being invited to join us in the celebrations – more news to follow via our website and displays around school.  

Development of the arts remains a key area for focus and development at Columbus and we are in the process of arranging Art Festival Days throughout the school whereby all youngsters will have the opportunity to engage with local mainstream schools to explore a range of creative art activities relating to their international schools links or their termly topics. Schools we are hoping to link with include Boreham Primary School, St. John Payne Secondary School, Chelmer Valley High School and Melbourne Park Primary School.  If successful, we hope to make these Art-based links, a termly feature of the learning and social inclusion timetable.

Don’t forget to check the website and the plasma screens around school to develop your own achievements in the areas of Makaton signing! Signs we are learning this month are as follows:

Cow                        week beginning                   3rd March

Pig                           week beginning                    10th March

Sheep                     week beginning                    17th March

Horse                     week beginning                    24th March

Chicken                  week beginning                    31st March

Two final developments to draw your attention to are the creation of a Student Newsletter and The Columbus Store – both initiatives being developed by our young people on the College Campus. Although many of our young people participate in work experience in the local community, for some it is not appropriate but we remain keen to explore opportunities whereby they can have equal opportunity to develop and experience a range of life-experiences. A small group of youngsters are beginning to learn how to create a School Newsletter which will be circulated to families, staff and local groups and businesses we work in partnership with. I am hoping that we will be able to engage a journalist to work with the youngsters and bring authenticity to the learning experience as well as quality to the finished articles themselves.

The Columbus Store is a new initiative that will enable our youngsters to run an adapted shop-type facility and where staff and students from College and the School Campus can come and practice communication, reading and maths-based skills. Watch this space for future reports of progress and establishment of these facilities!

Accomplishments of our young people also often fall into the area of charity and championing the needs of others less fortunate than ourselves. Jono Bone, a young man in our FE Department contacted the Chair of the Columbus Fundraising Committee recently to request the opportunity to arrange a Sponsored Bowling Match. He and the Chair of the Committee, Mr Alan Rayner, arranged the event and raised in excess of £500 which Jono is donating to the Acheeva Learning Station Fund – a piece of equipment which enables non ambulant young people to have full physical support and to protect their individual body shape and respiratory function whilst accessing learning at a range of heights in a range of settings throughout the school. I include a picture below for your information.

Jono, we thank you for your kindness and your generosity. You are a credit to the school.

As I sign off for another month, Jono’s actions once more bring to mind our Community Code – Show Respect, Take Responsibility, Consider Others and Believe in Yourself – a mantra which reminds us all to strive for more, to support and think of others in our endeavours and to never give up!

Regards to you all.

Mrs. G. Bellard


KS2 dress up for World Book Day


KS2 enjoyed dressing up for World Book Day. Reece looked great in his Robin Hood costume, Daniel and James, a duo of Woody and a Smurf and Lauren the perfect Princess!

We also enjoyed storytime with Alison from the Library Service.


From The Principal…

Strength in Partnership

Already we find ourselves entering February and, although those New Year’s resolutions may seem a dim and distant memory for some of us, the Columbus team continues to strive forward on all fronts to ensure the very best for our young people.

Interesting and exciting events and developments to update you all on this month include the Essex Coalition for Disabled People’s (ECDP) Engagement and Motivation Day held at Columbus on the 22nd January. This exciting new partnership which is gradually emerging between us and ECDP saw a number of our students (both past and present) as well as young people with a disability, come together to discuss issues that are current for them in their personal life and when engaging with their local community. Paralympic Tennis Champion, Louise Hunt, joined the group to share life experiences as well as her sporting achievements. We hope to be able to facilitate the meeting of this forum into the future in order to inform local policy and champion the voice of those with SEND.

Social experiences, especially those that enable us to interact with friends and colleagues from mainstream schools, remain highly valued here at Columbus. This term will see our students entering their artwork into the “Year of the Bear” competition with Colchester Zoo and hopefully reaffirming links with local schools to join in partnership art and craft projects.

Social interaction and enabling us all to communicate with our young people continues to be highly valued – don’t forget to check our website for the “Sign of the week”! February’s signs are biscuit, toast and duck!

We hope to begin to develop our Columbus YouTube Channel soon and enable all these signs to be illustrated and demonstrated by skilled practitioners from Columbus.

We continue to believe that sharing our experiences and knowledge of our very special setting, helps and guides future teachers and we are looking forward to receiving trainee teachers from Billericay SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) later this month. Not only does this partnership help inform trainee teachers and raise the profile of SEND provision locally, it also enables us to learn more about what takes place in the mainstream setting, build links with other mainstream schools and develop social inclusion links for the future.

Each department at Columbus, with their ongoing links with countries throughout the world, will this month be learning a little more about China. To mark Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival with our learners this term, we are once again joining the celebrations by sharing opportunities to learn a little about Chinese culture and language. The British Council (The UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations) shares resources and enables us to forge international links to help us to educate our young people about the people we share our world with – keep an eye out for new displays, photos on our website and information in your child’s home-school book about the new things they have explored or experienced for Chinese New Year.

The Half Term Holiday is fast approaching – please do make contact with the Discovery Club here at Columbus if you wish to receive support during the holiday.

Regards to you all.

Mrs. G. Bellard


KS2 explore Electricity


KS2 have been exploring Electricity in Science lessons this term.

We have been working on cause and effect and learning how to hook up our own circuits.

Pupils made their own switches to control their circuits, using light bulbs, fans and buzzers.

James, Rosie, Finley, Elliot and Mia showed some fantastic concentration!



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