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Leeds Diocese Celebrate 80th Pilgrimage to Lourdes

This year was the 80th Leeds pilgrimage to Lourdes. Our students worked alongside the hospitality team of doctors, nurses and carers, befriending and spending quality time with our pilgrims. They provided a prayerful atmosphere, saying the rosary as our pilgrims waited to go in the baths.

There were diocese celebrations to mark the 80th Leeds pilgrimage and a picnic and celebration with entertainment at the Lac du Lourdes. They went on a spiritual journey in catechist sessions with the youth team.

College photo including former student Alex Noad who is a seminarian

Day 2

On shift with hospitality. Spending time with our pilgrims at the cafe, playing games, chatting and nail painting.

Day 3

Party time. Happy 80th Anniversary of Lourdes pilgrimages Leeds Diocese.

Day 4

Saying the rosary providing a prayerful atmosphere for our pilgrims going in the baths. The most emotional mass of the week. Mass including the sacrament of the blessing of the sick.

Day 5

The morning started with following the life of Bernadette with a visit to the parish church that has her baptismal font and the Cachot where her family lived.
The afternoon included a Reconciliation service where saying prayers and singing songs aided our time of reflection. Daniel Toher was singing with our pilgrim Anthony.
Catechisist session for the youth and private prayer time for ND students with sr. Katherine and sr. Terese. How God loves us and speaks to us.

Day 6

Mass at the grotto

Diocese Celebration at the Lac du Lourdes. Wilgrace Gerona and Ingrid Bolton-Gabrielsen helped provide entertainment singing Cohen’s Hallelujah and Macy Loftus sang a solo.
Torchlight procession with Yen Cortez carrying the banner which accompanied our pilgrims in procession. Torchlight moments in rosary square and ice creams to say thank you to our students for their fantastic hard work and dedication drawing a wonderfully enriching week to a close.

Sheila- our pilgrim with our girls

Daniel Toher received a certificate for loving the banner and carrying it with pride.





(posted 20 July 2018)

Notre Dame hosts Trinity Cup

Students taking part in the Trinity Cup.

Why would God allow suffering? Should animals have rights? Is there a Heaven? Would we be happier without social media? These were some of the questions facing 40 year 10 students from schools across Yorkshire including; four teams from Cardinal Heenan, Catholic High School, two from Corpus Christi Catholic College, one from St John Fisher, Dewsbury and one from St Thomas a Becket, Wakefield; at an event organized and led by Notre Dame Sixth Form College in collaboration with Leeds Trinity University who not only sponsored the event but also provided an expert judge, Dr. Ann Marie Mealey. The beautifully engraved cup and book vouchers where awarded to a team from GSAL, and a special commendation award was given to a student from Corpus Christi Catholic College for her thoughtful contributions. All students who took part were presented with a certificate of participation by Notre Dame Principal Justine Barlow, and a smaller trophy, designed and made in our Head of Design and Technology, Ian Granger to recognize their contributions. The students and staff who attended were overwhelmingly positive about the day especially our Sixth Formers who helped run the event who were called ‘super friendly by the Year 10 students.

Vince Gibbons Deputy Head of Cardinal Heenan receiving the trophy of participation.

(posted 19 July 2018)

Creative writing masterclass with internationally renowned novelist

On Thursday, 12th July, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College invited students from our partner Catholic schools and A level NCOP (National Collaborative Outreach Programme) students to take part in a creative writing masterclass. The session was led by Martyn Bedford, senior lecturer in creative writing at Leeds Trinity University and author of eight novels

Martyn introduced the session  by talking about some of his students who have gone on to enjoy successful careers linked to an English degree and as we looked through the college library we even stumbled across a book by Liz Mistry who recently studied creative writing at Leeds Trinity.
Martyn used a range of techniques to inspire students to work collaboratively to bring their ideas to life in a fun, relaxed setting. The work they produced was of outstanding quality and one of our partner schools commented that ‘Martyn was so engaging and made everybody feel at ease. It was a really productive afternoon and the students were buzzing when they returned to school.’
(posted 18 July 2018)

Notre Dame Celebrates Ethos Day

Canon Luiz Ruscillo of Lancaster Diocese gave a very well received talk about how we meet Jesus in the Bible and how to live our vocation as a Catholic College. He talked movingly of the vocation of teachers and how we and our students seek and encounter healing and that we are loved by God, in whatever state he finds us and how challenging this can be.

Staff then broke into groups to ponder on the Beatitudes and respond to questions

Why is a Catholic Sixth Form College distinctive?

How have you seen Gospel Values/Virtues in Notre Dame?

Staff enthusiastically shared their experiences and views producing feedback that can be developed further at a later time.

After a Mass celebrating the work of staff who are leaving, Peter Smith, head of General RE was presented, on behalf of the Bishop, with the Diocesan Silver Medal for his long service.

A shared lunch brought by the staff was followed by opportunities to experience different activities including meditation, Pilates, football and hypnotherapy. The day was finished off by a tightly fought quiz with a tie for first place, settled on a bonus question.  All these events focus on the college mission statement its virtues; that what makes us a distinctive Catholic College is based in our relationships, not simply an association of co-workers, but as a community based in the teachings of Jesus.


(posted 16 July 2018)

Students Soak Up Italian Culture in the Historical City of Pompeii

During Notre Dame’s annual Enrichment Week 14 students took the opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naples, Italy.

Students left Leeds bright and early on Saturday 30 June to begin their journey to the ancient city. On the itinerary for their first excursion was a visit to the beautiful island of Capri, famed for its rugged landscape and stunning ‘Blue Grotto’, a dark cavern in which the sea glows electric blue due to rays of light passing through an underwater cave!

The group visited the historical sights of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, and Herculaneum. Vesuvius is one of a number of volcanoes that makes up the Campanian volcanic arc, and is well-known for its volcanic eruption during the Roman period that buried the surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Emily Howes, one of the students on the trip, said, ‘I would strongly recommend the Italy trip to any A level Geography or Classics student, or anyone who simply wants to experience Italian culture and history. The Isle of Capri is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen, and provides many photo opportunities too. All in all, I relished my time in Sorrento and will definitely be returning in future!’

(posted 12 July 2018)

Placements, progress and positivity

Students have been participating in work experience placements all over Leeds and beyond during the final week of June and first week of July. Placements have been incredibly varied; from care homes to nurseries, vets to dentists, accountants to retailers, students have been given an introduction the world of work in all its many forms. It has been a real pleasure for all the members of staff making visits to students to see them so fully integrated into their work places- on a few occasions, it was hard to spot the student in and amongst the other colleagues, they looked so at home!

Employers have fed back to us with glowingly positive feedback, citing hard work, intelligence, the ability to work independently and genuine enthusiasm amongst our students’ many outstanding qualities. Confidence has grown, communication skills have developed and horizons have expanded as students dedicated themselves whole-heartedly to their placements. We would like to thank students for their professional and mature manner, and for representing both themselves and the college so well to employers across our region. Congratulations!

(posted 12 July 2018)

English Literature Students Widen their Horizons with Visit to the Globe Theatre

Over four hundred years ago Shakespeare embarked on a journey from Stratford to London. He wanted to showcase his writing in a liberal, vibrant theatre on the south side of the River Thames: the Globe. He worked there for fifteen years, during which time he wrote some of his most famous plays including Hamlet, Othello and King Lear.

On Wednesday 4 July the English Department took 16 students to the Globe to watch a live performance of As You Like It and to learn more about our dear Uncle Bill. Students heard how the first Globe theatre burnt down when a spark from a cannon that was used during a performance of Henry VIII ignited the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving accounts of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale. Students also heard what it was like to be a ‘penny stinker’ (the name given to the poorest audience members who paid a penny to stand in the stalls) and the ingenious devices that were used to create dramatic spectacle on stage during Shakespeare’s time.

Students thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching a hilarious Shakespearean romp in a traditional open-air Tudor theatre. The performance was followed by a sunlit stroll down the South Bank and across the Millennium Bridge where students took in the view of Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard before a cosy encounter with rush-hour commuters during a journey on the tube. The trip was an inspirational once-in-a-lifetime experience that gave students a valuable insight into what it was like to write and produce a Renaissance play.

‘I loved the exhibition and, of course, the production itself. Also, having so many chances to explore the area around the Globe was exciting as I hadn’t been there before. What impressed me the most was how well organized the event was and how smoothly the travelling went.’ Maria McLeish

‘I enjoyed the amount of things we managed to include, i.e. the tour, exhibition, play, a nice meal out, and time to ourselves to explore and be independent. Thank you for the chance to go. I thoroughly enjoyed it!’ Hannah Branston

‘It was a well-structured day and we had plenty of time to look around some of the amazing places that were nearby. I loved the tour of the Globe as it gave deeper insights into Shakespeare’s world and helped us understand the play we are studying for our A level exam.’ Aaminah Ahmed

(posted 10 July 2018)

Workplace Visit Builds a Case for a Legal Career

On Tuesday 3 July, eight Notre Dame students attended a workplace visit at Plexus Law in Leeds as part of Notre Dame’s Enrichment Week.

The aim of the visit was to encourage students to consider a career in law and explore the wide variety of job roles available in the sector. They were able to take a tour of the building, meet different teams within the company, attend a presentation from a legal assistant in the Disease Department, and get an overview of the routes into law including new degree apprenticeships.

Head of Careers Mrs Anna Dickinson said: ‘The event was extremely well organised by Samantha Dymock, Early Years Talent Development Advisor at Plexus Law. We have developed an excellent relationship with Plexus Law over the last few year years, and they have supported a range of employer engagement events and activities at Notre Dame.’

(posted 5 July 2018)

Chemistry Students have Positive Reaction to University Taster Day

On Wednesday 27 June, a group of 26 A level Chemistry students visited the University of Leeds for a taster day in the undergraduate laboratories. They had to prepare a sample of paracetamol and then analyse its purity using thin layer chromatography, infra-red spectroscopy and by determination of melting point.

Mrs Rachel Hodgetts, Head of Chemistry, said: ‘The students had a brilliant day. They were so enthusiastic, professional and polite: a credit to Notre Dame!’

(posted 5 July 2018)

Planning their Own Festival is Music to Business Students’ Ears

On 14 June a group of eight CTEC Level 3 Business and A level Business students took part in an enterprise challenge, funded by an EU project called Future Jobs. They were presented with a brief to work in groups and plan a music festival for an audience of 100,000 people at Roundhay Park. Team 1 presented a ‘Flame’ themed festival and Team 2 a ‘Pirate’ themed festival. The judges were particularly impressed with how the team members used their negotiating skills to try and reduce the price of hiring stages and technicians. Both teams created fantastic presentations, demonstrating effective team working. However, in the end Team 1 triumphed due to their effective financial planning.


(posted 4 July 2018)