On October 4th, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College hosted its third annual science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) fair. The event was arranged by the Careers Department with the intention of building awareness of the range of degree courses and jobs available in the STEM sectors, and to aid our students in making informed decisions when planning their future careers.
Interactive table top activities were provided by a number of top universities, including Huddersfield, Sheffield, Leeds, and Leeds Beckett. The subjects promoted ranged from pharmacy and music technology to construction and electrical engineering. Also in attendance were PwC, a professional services firm whose representatives included an ex-Notre Dame student, and ISG, a local construction company, as well as Leeds College of Building.
With 72% of all UK businesses relying on staff with STEM skills, this was truly a key event for students searching for a suitable career path. The event gave students the opportunity to discuss prospective career options, gain invaluable first-hand advice from professionals and graduates in the STEM sector, and get a clear overall view of what a career in the STEM industry can offer them.
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College has been awarded an amazing ALPS 1, which is the top result nationally for pupils completing their EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). Staff and students have been working extremely hard and with 20 A* grades and 8 A grades out of a total of 33 entries, it appears as though their hard work has definitely paid off!
To gain an EPQ qualification students put many hours into completing a self-directed project in which they plan, research and develop their personalised idea, working towards a 5000-word dissertation, or an artefact with a 1000-word supporting essay. Due to its high level of academic content, as well as the sheer amount of effort and planning that is put into it, the qualification is highly valued by universities (and it is also worth valuable UCAS points.).
Topics can cover a wide variety of areas and allows learners to research into a subject specialist to their own desires. Some previous entries have included; measuring distances in outer space, treatments for Parkinson’s disease and theatre production stage management.
A massive well done to all those involved.
Fresh from London’s West End theatres, actor David Ahmad visited Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College to speak with students about his lead part of Amir in the play The Kite Runner. Currently showing at the West Yorkshire Play House, the stage adaption of the book is described as a ‘haunting tale of friendship’, that ‘follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption’.
David inspired students with his tales of acting and presented them with an insight into his approach to the role as Amir. He offered students a truly sterling experience as the play itself was rated a grand 5 stars from well-regarded British theatre arts newspaper The Stage.
Representing the China 2017 trip are students Luke Procter and Emily Gilpin with staff Chary Gonzalez-Latham
Last week Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College held their annual ‘Enhancement Fair’ promoting an array of extra-curricular pursuits for pupils to get involved with. There was certainly an exciting atmosphere with basketball demonstrations, meet and greet chatter and bright banners advertising activities for students to enrich their college life experience.
For students with the desire to boost their team spirit and burn off some energy, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College offered a great variety of sports teams to join including basketball, netball, rugby (with Leeds Rhinos!), football and women’s football. Budding explorers could sign up to jet set to cultural hot-spots like China and Berlin, whilst those wanting something closer to home could enrol with groups helping to build skills such as sign language, crafts, crochet and foreign languages.
Alongside groups organised by our own team of staff, external companies also held stalls recruiting volunteers: St. Anne’s Community Services, a city-wide support and care organisation; The Weekenders Club, supporting disabled children and their families; National Citizen Services, a not-for-profit social enterprise offering exhilarating challenges for students to help build skills for work and life; West Yorkshire Police, recruiting for Volunteer Police Cadets, Police Support Volunteers, Special Constables and for the Community Volunteer Scheme; Riding for the Disabled, providing equestrian activities for children and adults; ‘Voice, Influence, Change’, a citizenship project in Leeds; and Leeds City Council Venues Team; offering volunteering opportunities in Theatre, Arts and Events management.
Chemistry students with Principal Mr Coen and guest Miss Namrah Shahid
Earlier this year 34 determined and keen science students from Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College voluntarily sat the 90 minute Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, organised by the Science Department. With an outcome of an amazing 15 students receiving an award, the chemistry team praised all who took part and commented that everyone who attempted the paper is a superstar!
The awards are broken down into Gold, with students demonstrating an ability to tackle a range of different chemical topics under time pressure; Silver, representing a very good achievement in this paper with students showing they could think their way through unfamiliar material; and Copper, awarded to 36% of entrants nationally and reflecting a reasonable grasp of A level material with the ability to apply this knowledge to novel problems.
Our Principal Mr Coen presented the awards of 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 12 Copper (as bronze does not appear on the periodic table!) to the group. Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College student Hannah Watson-Hill wowed us with her glittering Gold award for the Challenge and said she was both pleased and surprised with her result describing the exam as hard work. Hannah hopes to use her superb science skills and study towards a career in civil engineering.
Invited to the awards exhibition was guest Miss Namrah Shahid, a postgraduate student from Leeds University’s Chemistry Department who attended Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College between 2011-2013 and studied A level Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French. Miss Shahid has graduated with a 1st in a Masters in Chemistry this summer. In addition she is also: the founder of the prayer space in the Leeds University Laidlaw library, on the shortlist for the Academic Representative of the Year, a Leeds Partnership Equality and Diversity Award Winner, NUS Women’s Inspirational Higher Education Woman of the Year 2017 (runner up) and over-all a wonderful role-model for our students.
On July 18th 2017, two of our inspirational students presented an informative and motivating talk to pupils from Catholic High Schools: Corpus Christi, St Mary’s (Menston), Holy Family (Carlton) and St Wilfrid’s (Featherstone); about the amazing work they do with Community Kitchen; an outreach charity described as ‘people helping people’ which provides meals for the homeless of Leeds.
Teigan Davis and Freya Parnham both in upper sixth creatively twinned their informative talk about the work they do with a hands-on activity for the school group, assisting them to create their own cardboard city (a living space created simply from waste cardboard boxes). This not only illustrated some of the issues with living on the street but also allowed/enabled the pupils to show solidarity with the homeless.
For around a year and a half, Teigan and Freya have been spending time outside of their studies volunteering with Community Kitchen, either preparing and serving meals on the streets for the homeless, or offering them advice and contacts that could benefit their housing situation.
The students care greatly about this issue and have been doing sterling work. Their actions provide a shining example for their peer group and wider society. We are proud to have students like these as part of our community here at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College.
In the photo above, Mr Coen, Notre Dame’s Principal, is handing Freya and Teigan a gift in recognition of their outstanding voluntary work. Both students selflessly donated this gift to Community Kitchen, to aid with the service the charity provides.
2017 has been a very successful year for the PE department at Notre Dame, with ‘Team ND’ sports teams playing (and winning!) a huge number of matches. Students at Notre Dame have the opportunity to play basketball, football, volleyball, netball and rugby throughout the year. ‘Team ND’ also has a unique partnership with Leeds Beckett University, which means that specialist coaches from their highly successful sports department come to Notre Dame to train our students in the available sports.
To celebrate an extremely successful year, an awards ceremony was held last week in order to commemorate some brilliant performances by our students. Here are the awards presented to our fabulous students:
- Basketball player of the year – Precious-Patrick Onyia
- Football Academy player of the year – Bailey Collington
- Football player of the year – Billy Dawson
- Outstanding Sportspersons of the year – Mikolaj Oledski and Vassilissa Zukova
- Netball player of the year – Elizabeth Smith
- Rugby player of the year – Jo Denver Gamayon
- Team ND Activators Awards – Jackson Bradley, Myles Smith and Nathan Wyspianski
- Coach of the Year – Nathan Wyspianski
- Academic Award for PE– Alex Plenderleith
A very special well done to all of our award winners!
Pictured is Nathan Wyspianski after receiving his Coach of the Year Award.
Notre Dame welcomed over 200 guests on the 3rd of May, in order to introduce them to the ‘Enhancing Excellence’ programme. The visitors were made up of prospective Notre Dame students, who are currently coming toward the end of year 11, and their parents.
The ‘Enhancing Excellence’ programme aims to assist academically able students to achieve their potential, provides practical support to students with regards to making an informed choice of course and helps students to put their application together. It also encourages students to be aspirational with their choice of university and benefit from the experience of Notre Dame staff who have an excellent record of enabling students to gain places at Oxford, Cambridge and other many top Higher Education providers.
The programme offers a wealth of activities, including discussion groups, personal statement workshops, mock interviews and invaluable trips to Oxford, Cambridge and Durham, with whom Notre Dame has developed close links over several years.
Many visitors commented on the usefulness of the evening. “The student feedback in the presentation was invaluable,” said one visiting student.
Any prospective Notre Dame student who wishes to apply for the programme can do so using the application form on our website. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and to the Enhancing Excellence team for their hard work in organising it.
Once upon a time, in a land not so faraway, a group of students gathered together every Monday lunchtime to create word magic, inspired by the reading of literary greats like Marlowe, Wharton, Orwell, Salinger and Plath.
As part of the ‘Creative Writing’ group, the students have embarked upon weeks of debating, collaborating, drafting and editing during which time they gained a valuable insight into the processes undertaken by professional writers. Eventually, final versions of poems, short stories and essays emerged, all of which were of outstanding quality. The students’ work has been entered into national competitions including the Tower Poetry Prize, the National Literacy Short Story Writer of the Year and Cambridge University Essay Competition in the hope of securing one of the prestigious titles.
Over the years, all three competitions have attracted innovative and passionate young writers who thrive on the opportunity to take learning beyond the classroom in their quest to establish their own literary voice. Entrants are held in high regard by the country’s leading universities and their extra-curricular writing is always a key point for discussion when being interviewed for a place on an English course. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed for the results and hoping for an award.
The writers were a joy to work with and we wish them every success with their ambitions to become successful English graduates and perhaps even published authors. Thank you to Kathryn Owen from the English department for organising the enhancement and inspiring the students!
Congratulations to our Head of English Ms Geddes who completed the recent London Marathon in 3 hours and 57 minutes!
Ms Geddes was running in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, whose nurses make such a difference to those suffering from this terrible disease. She has so far raised £750 for this excellent cause.
In a thank you message to staff, Ms Geddes said: ‘Many, many thanks to all those of you who have supported me; it made a huge difference on the day, especially in those last 5 miles. The most humbling experience was to see a blind runner on his own with only his stick running at the same pace as me all the way round. He was amazing and makes my effort seem very small in comparison. There are some amazing people out there.’