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Notre Dame Students take part in Wordsworth residential

Twenty English Literature students from Notre Dame visited the Lake District last week in order to enhance their study of pastoral poetry. They arrived in Ambleside on a sunny Thursday evening, before taking part in a literature themed quiz.

The next day, they visited the Wordsworth Trust and enjoyed a guided tour of Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home when he was a young man, followed by a workshop on pastoral poetry. All students agreed that this helped their understanding of the poems they had been studying at college. After lunch, the students visited Rydal Mount where Wordsworth spent the last 37 years of his life.

The annual residential is one of the many enhancement opportunities offered by the English department in order to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of the subject.

Pictured (l-r): Vanessa Buckley, Arianne Thomas, Kritika Khalia and Catherine Cable in the living room at Rydal Mount

(posted 24 October 2014)

Notre Dame Student receives Sonia McMahon Memorial Award 2014

Eleanor Taylor, a second year student at Notre Dame last year, has been awarded the Sonia McMahon Memorial Award for 2014. The award, now in its third year, continues to assist talented students aiming for a career in law who meet certain social mobility criteria. The award was set up in memory of Sonia McMahon, a partner at law firm Addleshaw Goddard which is partnered with Notre Dame as part of the firm’s diversity and community outreach programme.

Eleanor’s application impressed the three judges, Monica Burch, Ged Barnes and Mary Gallagher, all of whom hold senior positions at Addleshaw Goddard. They agreed that Eleanor demonstrated clear ambition and the determination to pursue a legal career, which was evidenced through her hard work and commitment to her studies.

The award means that Eleanor will receive a bursary of £2000 towards the cost of studying for a degree in Law at the University of Leeds, access to a mentor at Addleshaw Goddard and a period of work experience during her time as a student.

(posted 9 October 2014)

Notre Dame Students Honour WW1 fallen in Belgium

Notre Dame Students Joseph Doyle and Jazmine Bourke, along with 70 other students from the Leeds area, travelled to Belgium and France to commemorate the World War 1 centenary last weekend. The trip was organised by The Centenary Battlefield Tours and forms part of the Government’s commemoration of the start of the war’s centenary. The students experienced a four day tour of the battlefields in Belgium and France as well as several related activities.

Joseph was able to lay a commemorative cross at the foot of a panel marking the sacrifice of Private Stirk, a soldier from Meanwood, at Tyne Cot Cemetery, where more than 45,000 Commonwealth soldiers are buried or remembered. “It’s quite strange to think that somebody who certainly lived most of his life in Meanwood, and probably never left Meanwood before he signed up for the conflict, has wound up at this memorial,” Joseph said.

English teacher Christine Cox, who accompanied the students on the trip, added, “I don’t think I will be able to walk past there, nor will the students, without thinking that man probably played cricket on that field or walked down there. I think for us, Sam Stirk has come alive.”

The students will now have the opportunity to utilise the experience in their studies, by completing an Extended Project Qualification based on the centenary of World War 1.

(posted 9 October 2014)

Notre Dame Students “Sleep Out” for Charity

On Friday 19th September, Notre Dame created its own ‘cardboard city’ as 29 students and 3 staff set themselves the challenge of sleeping under the stars for the night in order to better understand the problems faced by homeless people, and to raise funds for homeless charity “Shelter”.

Prior to setting up camp outside, Anna Case, a Sociology teacher, led a discussion about the problems associated with being homeless, such as bad health and addiction. The students then watched a fly-on-the-wall documentary entitled “Famous, Rich and Homeless” to further develop their understanding of how homelessness affects people. At 11pm, they finally made their way outside and set up their sleeping quarters under the canopies.

Some students managed to fall asleep in no time, whereas others found it a little more difficult to drop off and spent the night tossing and turning. At 5am it began to get light and everyone involved began to pack away their cardboard and headed for home – probably to try and get a little more sleep!

The students found the experience enjoyable but eye opening. Lewis, a lower sixth student said, “It was a really fun night and I was glad to do something for a good cause.” Jess, an upper sixth student agreed, but said she would bring a bigger box to sleep in if she were to do it again!

The total amount of money raised is yet to be finalised, but the group hope to better the £592 that was raised from the same event the previous year.

(posted 26 September 2014)

Notre Dame Student Selected to Officiate Top Level Rugby League Game

Notre Dame Student, Ryan Calder, was selected to officiate at the Rugby League National Champion Schools Final, which took place in London on 22nd August. His selection followed a number of successful performances within the Rugby League Community Game and the Champion Schools competition, which has a long tradition of identifying officials who have gone on to officiate at the highest level in the game in the Super League competition.

Ryan, who has been playing Rugby League since he was six years old, said he very much enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to officiating more games in the future. “I would love to be a full time Super League referee, but there are only a few referees who make this level. There are lots of opportunities to referee part time in the semi-professional leagues however.”

Currently a second year student, Ryan is studying English Language, History and PE. He referees regularly at his club, Drighlington, and has been a reserve official for several Super League games, including a recent match between Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC. He is looking forward to going to University next year and getting involved in the games there.

(posted 23 September 2014)

Students Celebrate Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Award

Seven students from Notre Dame achieved an award in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge 2014. The competition, launched in 2011, aims to stretch and challenge AS Level Chemistry students interested in pursuing science courses at university. All participating students take part in a monthly online quiz and sit an exam paper in June.

Sixteen students from Notre Dame sat the written paper in 2014, with seven achieving an award; five students received the ‘copper’ award and two received ‘silver’. Such is the challenging nature of the exam that only 60% of candidates receive an award and, in 2014, a mark of 20 or above represented a very good achievement and secured a silver award.

The successful students were Sakar Salar, Joseph Fraser, Adam Ward, John Dunsmuir, Haseeb Sarwar, Matthieu Ehret and Thanh Tung Nguyen.

Pictured (left to right) are Sakar Salar, Joseph Fraser, Mary Legg (Chemistry Teacher), Adam Ward, John Dunsmuir and Haseeb Sarwar.

(posted 9 September 2014)

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College Celebrates another Year of Great Results

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College Celebrates another Year of Great Results

Students and staff enjoyed a day of celebration on the 14th of August 2012, when AS and A2 results were released. There was an early start as the doors opened at 7.30am so eager students could collect their results. There was much jubilation as the envelopes were opened.

Overall college results were once again excellent with some outstanding performances from individual students and departments. The overall pass rate at A level was 98% and 21 subjects achieved 100% success. BTEC courses all achieved 100% pass rates, with the majority at Merit or Distinction.

Fifty-four students gained an A or A* in 3 subjects; eleven students gained these top grades in four subjects and three students gained four straight A*s. Seven students won places at Oxford or Cambridge.

College Principal Mr Coen said, “These excellent results are a credit to our students and their teachers. They have ensured that our outstanding record of preparing young people of all abilities for University and employment is maintained and it confirms Notre Dame as the major player in building success at level 3 for the young people of Leeds and surrounding areas.”

He continued, “We congratulate all our students and wish them every success for next year whether off to university, moving into the world of employment or staying with us and progressing to higher level courses.”

(posted 9 September 2014)

Notre Dame Students gain more Legal Apprenticeships.

For the third year in a row Notre Dame Students have been successful in gaining legal apprenticeships at Plexus Law. This year 4 students have been offered places bringing the total to 14 over three years.

The scheme reflects the changing face of the legal profession with more routes available to train as a lawyer than in the past.

As the new students prepare to take up their places in late August the first crop of Apprentices were showing off their certificates early this year.

Student Sophie Fotherby said “I have found the apprenticeship to be the best route for me to take to gain work experience in the office whilst learning. I found that working together that you can use the knowledge you have learnt and understand how this is applied within the work place”.

Fellow apprentice Ailish Kearns said “I’ve found the apprenticeship a great experience. Going from college to a full time job was challenging, however, once I adjusted I found the work interesting and I felt that I got a feel for the business. Throughout my apprenticeship I have noticed what my strengths and weaknesses are which has helped me to adapt in the way different departments work.This has been a good experience, despite the risk that I took at the beginning with not knowing how things would pan out, however this may be one of the best risks I have ever taken.

(posted 2 July 2014)

Amazing Grace

Grace Field, a L6 student has been selected to represent the England Women’s Student Rugby League team for 2014. This is an excellent achievement and represents the first step on the ladder to gaining full representative honours with the England Women’s Team.

Grace started going to rugby league training at the tender age of 6 when her Dad’s friend asked her to go to keep his son company. She quickly became addicted to the sport and has been playing ever since, starting with Oulton Raiders then moving to Castleford Panthers where she played through junior girls and open age. Grace now plays centre with Featherstone Rovers.

She got her chance with the England team by pestering her coach to organise a trial and, following two tough and very competitive trials in March she received the good news from Peter Brooke the RFL Education Officer.

All the players in the team will now receive advanced training starting this week end at Crompton College Widness, and then compete in the Associations Cup against England Lionesses, GB Teachers and the Combined Services.

Ms Pattison head of the PE department in college said “Grace is a hardworking student in the PE department with her determination and self-discipline from the rugby pitch also shining through in her studies – we are incredibly proud of her for being acknowledged at national level and wish her every success in the England students’ team.”

When Grace first started playing, girls’ rugby was a less popular sport but it has now been taken up by Sports England a government initiative, as one of the sports they are investing in and developing.

Congratulation Grace for this magnificent achievement and good luck with the training.

(posted 21 May 2014)

Spanish Trips

As in past years, students from the Languages department had the opportunity to do their work experience placements in Rouen in France and Salamanca in Spain during February half term. The placements included working in restaurants, nurseries, schools, a gym, and for the charity Oxfam.

This experience proved invaluable in improving their self-confidence as well as their command of a foreign language. Students had to communicate for the majority of the time in the language of the country and this ‘total immersion’ is a wonderful way of preparing for AS and A2 language exams.

As well as learning a lot, students were also able to match their placement to their own interests. For example one student interested in music was offered a place in a small CD shop in the very centre of Salamanca.

The responses from all the students were glowing. One of the students who visited Rouen said;

“It was exciting to meet new people who were also passionate about learning French. I was working in a nursery with toddlers. It was a fantastic experience and talking to my new colleagues was a brilliant way to practise my French. I feel much more confidence about speaking French especially as I was able to appreciate the culture and cuisine of France at the same time.”

Another welcomed the opportunities to socialise saying, “After work we would often go to restaurants or attend activities we had planned by our coordinator. Whilst being there, you truly felt like an adult, and part of the city.”

The opportunities for improving language skills and learning about other cultures didn’t end there though, as over the Easter break, Mrs Gonzales Latham accompanied by Mr Javed and Miss Case took 21 students on a 10 day study trip to Granada in Spain.

They enjoyed an astonishing range of activities throughout the week including watching a Flamenco Show, Salsa Dancing, Tapas tasting, a treasure hunt, a tour of Granada and the Alhambra palace, a visit to the Cathedral and Royal chapel and trips to the Science Park and Costa Tropical. They also enjoyed a tour of Malaga and watched the Easter processions. One of the most exciting events was watching Granada beat Barcelona in a football league match – the first time for 47 years.

Incredibly, as well as all these activities, they also attended Spanish lessons every morning and spent a day in a Spanish High school in order to meet their Spanish e-pals. By playing sports in P.E. and attending other lessons such as Greek and Biology, students also learned about the main differences between education systems in both countries.

Living with host families allowed the students to develop a better understanding of Spanish culture as well as building relationships with Spanish citizens.

Once again the students voted the trip a resounding success with comments such as;

“It was a remarkable and unforgettable trip”

“We didn’t stop but it was worth it. The monuments and places we visited were astonishing, particularly the Alhambra Palace”

The teachers also enjoyed themselves saying: “A lot of hard work and enthusiasm went into the organisation of the trip, which led to an authentic experience for everyone lucky enough to be on it.”

(posted 21 May 2014)