Notre Dame Newsletter

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Notre Dame Students Attend Religious Studies Conference


29 Notre Dame students visited The Grammar School at Leeds last week, in order to enhance their first year Religious Studies curriculum. They were taking part in a conference, attended by a number of different schools and colleges, focussing on Augustine, his life and ideas, as well as different approaches to ethics.

The conference, organised by the Grammar School, was led by renowned philosopher Dr Peter Vardy, a retired Vice Principal of Hethrop College, part of the University of London. Dr Vardy is also a lecturer for Candle Conferences and engaged all the students present by illustrating his points using extracts from Harry Potter and interviews with various scholars.

“The best thing was listening to Dr Vardy speak about the ethics we had learnt in class. The questions he asked us to discuss really made me think,” said one of our students. Head of RS, Catherine Herring, said, “Our students found the experience very positive. They came away with a realisation that they were able to take part in an academic conference with ease.”

Thank you to Catherine Herring, the RS department and the Grammar School at Leeds for organising the visit.

(posted 24 April 2017)

Staff and Students Pay Tribute to Arnie

Appleyard, A_1

The Notre Dame community were extremely saddened to learn about the passing of a well-loved member of staff over the Easter holidays. Arnie Appleyard, a Technician in the Design Technology department for the last 17 years, died in hospital on the 4th April, aged 79.

Arnie has helped hundreds of students with their Design Technology projects throughout the years, as well as making a huge contribution to the life of the College as a whole. A keen musician, everyone appreciated his talents when he performed in assemblies and at other events; many will fondly remember his version of ‘There’s a Hole in my Bucket’ which he performed on the mandolin.

A memorial service for Arnie, led by Principal Terry Coen, was held in the College chapel on the 20th April. It was attended by a very large number of staff and students, as well as his wife Sue and his son Sam, who delivered a reading of ‘Sweet River Aire’ by John Gunning, reflecting Arnie’s pride in his home city. Arnie’s daughter Emma and son Andrew were also in attendance.

Ian Granger, Head of the Design Technology department, provided a moving eulogy describing the way in which Arnie always had a kind word for everyone and was incredibly humble, refusing to accept any form of recognition for his skills and talents. He also recalled how Arnie held extremely high standards, only ever awarding one student 10 out of 10 for their work! The service was concluded with a hymn, after which many attendees reflected quietly and paid their own personal tributes.

Thank you Arnie for your service, friendship and dedication to Notre Dame and its community of staff and students; you will be greatly missed.

May he rest in peace.

(posted 21 April 2017)

Notre Dame students talk politics on Look North!

A group of well-informed Notre Dame students appeared on Look North on April 19th, giving their opinion on the recently announced general election, which will take place in June this year.

The seven students, most of whom are studying politics at Notre Dame, were asked about Theresa May’s decision to hold a snap election, and how they felt as first time voters. Their opinions varied greatly, as did their feelings about which party to vote for. The students expressed concerns about continuing austerity and Brexit, but all wanted to encourage their peers to get out to polling stations on June 8th.

Look North reporter Heidi Tomlinson was extremely impressed with the coherent and intelligent comments the students made. All seven students appeared on the programme; Sumaira Ud-Din, Louisa Barlow-Simson, Grace Franklin, Emna Tesfamariam, Matthew R Caton, Arthur O’Connor, and Richard Blinston. All are currently in the upper sixth, and all hold very firm views on the upcoming election.

Notre Dame was pleased to be approached by Look North, and glad of the opportunity this news item gave our students to get their points of view across, especially in such exciting and uncertain times.


All students Look North

One student being interviewed Look North Two female students Look North Four students Look North

(posted 21 April 2017)

Public Speaking Competition Winner!

Eve is pictured with judge Tony Deighton and Notre Dame Principal, Terry Coen.

Eve is pictured with judge Tony Deighton and Notre Dame Principal, Terry Coen.

Huge congratulations are in order for lower sixth student Eve Rooney, who recently won a regional Public Speaking competition. The contest, organised by the Catenian Association, was held at Holy Trinity Catholic and Church of England School in Barnsley.

Eve was up against ten other speakers, all of whom were required to speak for four minutes on a topic chosen from a list of fifteen options. Eve chose the topic of lowering the voting age to 16 and delivered an extremely engaging talk to an audience of about seventy people. She had been preparing for the competition since January and her hard work clearly paid off when she was awarded first place!

She was presented with a trophy for Notre Dame to display, a smaller trophy for her to keep and prize money of £100. “Eve’s personality and confidence, as well as the content of her speech, really came across. Her body language was extremely positive,” said Tony Deighton, one of the judges.

Eve said, “I found this a great learning experience. The feedback I received form the panel has given me something to work on for the final.” Asked to provide a tip for others interested in public speaking she said, “Prepare well and enjoy it!”

Eve will now compete in the national final, to be held in Manchester on September 10th. Everyone at Notre Dame offers their congratulations for her achievement so far and wishes her the best of luck for the final.


(posted 28 March 2017)

Long Jump Sporting Superstar!

Reynold Banigo long jump

Congratulations are in order for upper sixth student Reynold Banigo, who came 2nd in the long jump at the British National Championships.

The Business and ICT student jumped a huge 7.42 metres. Head of PE at Notre Dame, Scott Broadley said, “It looks like he is never going to come back down!”

Very well done Reynold from everyone at Notre Dame. We all look forward to following your sporting career in the future!

(posted 16 March 2017)

Future plans made at Notre Dame annual careers fair

The college held its annual ‘careers fair’ last week, a thriving event which sees the main hall turned into a marketplace for employers. It gives all Notre Dame students the opportunity to meet with potential employers and find out about exciting future career opportunities.

The event was a great success and there was a real  buzz amongst the 500 or so students who attended! Forty-six organisations attended this year, including the NHS, Morrison’s, BT, ITV, Jacobs, PwC, DLA Piper, Faithful & Gould, Grand Futures, West Yorkshire Fire Service and Leeds Apprenticeship Hub. The event also conveniently fell during National Apprenticeship.

Students were able to find out about apprenticeships, job vacancies, work experience, volunteering, gap years, part time work and hints and tips with CV’s and applications.

It enabled everyone to become aware of progression opportunities and, in particular, local labour marketing information and growth sectors.

A representative from Lyons Davidson Solicitors said, “It was a very well organised event with very enthusiastic students. It was extremely useful for our company and we would love to come back again”

The Careers department would like to thank all the staff involved in supporting the day and the wonderful student volunteers. Most importantly, a huge thank you goes to all the employers and organisations who attended and helped to raise aspirations and promote excellent opportunities available in Leeds to Notre Dame students.

(posted 16 March 2017)

Work Experience for Languages Students

Joely Hopwood is pictured working at a Spanish music shop

Emily Gilpin is pictured working at a Spanish music shop

Seven modern languages students visited either Alicante in Spain or Lille in France to complete a work placement and stay in a Spanish or French host family, over February half term. The placements were extremely varied, including a brasserie, a cat and dog groomers and a music shop.

Fran Aylward completed her experience in a brasserie in Lille, staying with a host family just outside the city. “I was constantly using French,” she explained. “I used French in supermarkets, on buses and I had to use it to greet customers in the brasserie too. It was an amazing opportunity to basically live like a French person!”

Beth Rees visited Alicante and worked in a cafeteria for the week. “My three employers were all lovely, welcoming people, who made my trip a very enjoyable one. Although none of them could speak any English and the first two days were a little daunting, it was a great opportunity to develop my skills at speaking Spanish and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!”

Well done to all seven brave students and for the modern languages department for organising the visit.

(posted 1 March 2017)

Notre Dame goes bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight!

Fairtrade fortnight

Students and staff took part in “Fairtrade Fortnight” last week, an annual event which raises awareness of the important cause and one which Notre Dame always fully embraces!

This year, everyone was treated to an informative and thought-provoking assembly, focussing on Taylor’s of Harrogate tea and how the company aim to promote and adhere to Fairtrade ideals. Perhaps the most exciting part of the assembly was the ‘Gladiators’ style pugil-stick battle using inflatable bananas!

Thank you to all the students who presented in assembly, to the Geography department for organising the event and to Andrew Sullivan for refereeing the inflatable banana tournament!


(posted 28 February 2017)

GB Badminton Player Coaches ND Students

Jamie (far left) with ND students and staff

Jamie (far left) with ND students and staff

The Notre Dame Sport and PE department were privileged this week to welcome ex Great Britain badminton player Jamie Bonsels into college. Jamie arrived to deliver a coaching course to all Level 3 CTEC Sport students, along with anyone else who was interested in improving their badminton or coaching skills.

Jamie, a former St Aiden’s High School pupil, has been a successful badminton player for over twelve years, taking part in many national and international competitions. He currently studies at Leeds Beckett University.

Everyone who took part very much enjoyed the course, which provided practical advice, ideas and experience of badminton and coaching. As well as an increase in the participants’ skills and confidence, each student also finished the day with a certificate of attendance to add to their CV’s.

Thank you to Jamie, the PE department and all the students who enthusiastically took part in the course.


(posted 28 February 2017)

Notre Dame on national ITV news

ITV news item still 240217

Notre Dame students, their parents and teachers would have spotted some familiar faces on the national ITV evening news on Friday February 24th.

The College was approached by ITV to provide an opinion about the government proposal to introduce a new two year fast-track degree. The suggestion is that the teaching hours of a three year course will be compressed into two. The annual fees would be more expensive than for those of a three year degree, but the cost of a third year of accommodation would be saved. And, of course, students would graduate a year early.

Five of our students were interviewed on this subject; upper sixths Catherine Warr, Kerry White, Tadi Kativhu, and lower sixths Isaac Grinnell and Joe Higgins. Although only Kerry and Tadi were featured in the news item, all five students gave a variety of views and made some excellent points. The overall consensus was one of uncertainly as to the suitability of this fast-track course for the majority of university students.

In addition to the student interviews, viewers caught a glimpse of the Notre Dame site, and were treated to part of a lower sixth politics lesson taught by Head of Department Mr Clifford.

Notre Dame was glad of this opportunity to discuss a new development in higher education, and proud of the articulate responses of our students.

Click here to see the news item in full.

(posted 27 February 2017)