Notre Dame Newsletter

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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)

Women are winners!

The Notre Dame Women’s Football team have had a tremendous season finishing as winners of the British Colleges Yorkshire and Humberside League. The small and dedicated squad battled their way through tough competition including local rivals Greenhead and Bradford to become the second Women’s team in Notre Dame history to lift the league trophy. ‘What has been exceptional about this group of players is their determination to get out on the pitch and play for each other with fantastic team spirit. I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved this year.’ said coach, Helen Pattison.

(posted 21 May 2014)

Right Honourable Members

Politics students were given an amazing opportunity last week to listen to and meet an array of politicians invited into the college by Government and Politics teachers Mr Warnes and Mr Clifford.

First off, Notre Dame’s Politics society hosted a star-studded ‘European Elections Question Time’

The stellar cast of seasoned political personalities included four of the top party candidates standing in the Yorkshire and Humber ballot.

Among the visitors were two senior serving MEPs: Edward McMillan-Scott for the Lib Dems and Linda McAvan for Labour who between them have forty-six years of European political experience. In addition, three aspiring MEPs joined in the lively debate: Cllr Andrew Cooper for the Greens, Jane Collins for UKIP and Ryan Stephenson for the Conservatives.

A packed college lecture theatre listened to the debate, then students asked the questions and commented on the answers. Sparks flew as the panellists traded political points, reflecting the heated nature of current debates about Europe.

Kevin Warnes, who chaired the panel, described the experience as “huge fun and a riveting exchange of political views”. Allan Clifford agreed that it was a “superb learning experience for the students as well as good knockabout political entertainment”.

Later in the week, Rachel Reeves MP, who represents Leeds West for Labour and is the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions came into Notre Dame to meet the students, again at the invitation of the Politics Society.

Ms Reeves told the students about her experiences in politics since she was first elected in 2010, and answered a variety of questions. These ranged from Marx’s assessment of capitalism to the government’s reform of welfare. She also gave an insight into the challenges of being a woman MP.

The session was again chaired by Kevin Warnes. Allan Clifford described the session as “interesting and extremely useful, especially for the A2 students studying the politics of the Welfare State”.

So don’t forget, those of you who will be eligible to vote in the European elections on May 22nd, make sure whatever your political persuasion, exercise your franchise. [Use your vote!]

MEPs pictured from left to right Cllr Andrew Cooper, Linda McAvan, Edward McMillan-Scott, Ryan Stephenson and Jane Collins.

(posted 15 May 2014)

Students score record grades for Notre Dame

Congratulations to students Ivan Semin, Hoi Toi Leung (Daisy) Sin Ka Man (Phoebe) and Aigbokhae Osarumwese (Martina) who have scored outstanding grades in the IELTS Exam held recently.

IELTS stand for International English Language Testing System and international students have to pass this in order to progress on to Higher Education.

The students had never previously taken an Academic IELTS exam before and all four scored an outstanding overall band score of 8.0, which is graded as ‘very good user’ indicating a fully operational command of the language and an ability to handle complex detailed argumentation well The college target is 6.5 overall so all of them scored well above the expected level and in fact above the level required for Oxford and Cambridge colleges who usually only specify an overall band score of 7.0.

Mr Fox who has coached the students said ‘The overall band scores by these students are outstanding and are also the highest I have known in my IELTS teaching experience. To achieve Band 8.0 overall in a new country in less than one year and score individual results like 8.5 in Speaking , 9.0 in Listening, 8.0 in Writing and 8.5 in Reading is absolutely superb and the students fully deserve to be congratulated for this wonderful achievement
Martina has since gone to apply to and be offered places at some American universities and got through to the final of a national competition in Milton Keynes on the strength of her essay writing.

(posted 15 May 2014)

Notre Dame Law students called to the Bar

For the third year running, Students from Notre Dame had the opportunity to become lawyers and barristers for the day when they participated in a mock trial run by Walker Morris, a prominent Law firm in Leeds, and Barristers Chambers, 11 South Square.
The mock trial was part of a week’s work experience programme designed to offer the students a realistic insight into careers in law. The 10 students spent 5 days at Walker Morris culminating in a mock trial. Students were given just over a day to study the evidence and prepare and the trial was kept as true to life as possible complete with wigs, gowns and witnesses. Students had to present their legal arguments to barrister Chris Hall from 11 South Square who was presiding over the case as the trial Judge.
Samantha Lucas, intellectual property associate at Walker Morris said:
“This the third year we have run the scheme and we are always impressed by how well and enthusiastically the students engage with the opportunity. The mock trial is always the highlight and whilst it’s designed to be enjoyable, we do challenge the students and provide them with a real insight into a career in law.”
Chris Hall from 11 South Square said:
“The students had to get to grips with some very tricky points of intellectual property law in a very short time, and also had to learn how to present a case in court. It was an extremely challenging task, and the students were under immense pressure. They rose to the challenge, presented their cases with clarity and enthusiasm, and carried out some skilful (and at times fierce!) cross-examination. They did a fantastic job, and the day was a tremendous success. I’m not sure whether the students or the judge enjoyed it more!”
Our Principal Mr Coen commented:
“Law is one of the most popular career choices for our students and events such as this are of tremendous benefit in giving students a realistic understanding of what a career in law involves. The strong links we have firms such as Walker Morris help us to ensure that our students not only gain top academic qualifications, but are also well prepared for the world of work.”
Those involved were; mentored students Abigail Alexander, Liam Ellis, Morsalle Rahman,i Winta Alem and Weronika Orlowska, and Law Academy students, Qamar Usman Hanna Gentry Lee Rushby George Walker and Darac Keane
“It was an amazing experience of which every aspiring lawyer should try to be a part of.” Said Qamar.

(posted 15 May 2014)

Fair Enough

Since returning from their Christmas break both L6 and U6 students have been planning the events of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight. This year’s events were just as exciting and well attended as last years and did a great job of raising awareness of Fairtrade issues and the rapidly expanding range of goods available.

Things kicked off with assemblies led by students and dedicated to Fairtrade and these were followed up by a tutorial quiz with a fabulous prize won in the end by U6A HP.

This was followed by the college Banana Hunt, where Students had to find the hidden letters around the college and unscramble them to make the phrase ‘stick with Foncho’. [Foncho is a Colombian banana farmer and the face of Fairtrade] All entries received a bar of Fairtrade chocolate.

The main event of the fortnight though, was the Fairtrade carnival. This was a magnificent affair held in the main hall.

Attractions included: Face painting, Tin alley and other games, a bake sale, a Fairtrade chocolate fountain with fresh fruit and marshmallows, a Fairtrade candy floss stall, a raffle for an amazing cake made by the catering department, [see photo] and free Fairtrade goodies such as stickers and teabags.

A big draw was a smoothie maker bike where students could select their own fresh fruit and blend it in to a smoothie through pedal power and College principal Mr Coen was particularly keen to have a go.

Representatives from Cadbury’s came in and students had the opportunity to give them reasons why Fairtrade was important, in exchange for a chocolate bar.

Even the canteen joined in selling Fairtrade toffee apples and popcorn, all homemade.

Miss Case and her team were very grateful to Liam Parkinson and his team at the Co-operative food store on New York Street, Leeds for providing the food for the carnival.

All the events were hugely successful and once again Notre Dame Students have proved that having a social conscience can also be fun.

Leeds is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade City and, as an added extra, on Friday 7th March students were invited to Leeds Civic Hall to share in the celebrations. Students joined other schools and colleges from Leeds to share ideas and listen to Aimeth Angulo, a banana farmer from Columbia talk about the importance of Fairtrade.

Congratulations to everyone on the Fairtrade team and to everyone who supported the events.

(posted 20 March 2014)