Notre Dame Newsletter

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Ambleside and Grasmere: a Romantic Poetry Visit

Nineteen English Literature students from Notre Dame visited the Lake District earlier in October, in order to enhance their study of romantic poetry. They arrived in Ambleside on 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 romantic poetry held in the reading room of the trust’s accommodation. The students (and staff!) were thrilled to be given the opportunity to handle first editions of Frankenstein and Paradise Lost; this was a real highlight of the trip. After lunch, the students visited Rydal Mount where Wordsworth spent the last 37 years of his life. The visitors enjoyed a walk into Grasmere (luckily the rain held off) before heading back to Leeds

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 are some of the visiting students in the gardens of Dove Cottage.



(posted 18 October 2016)

Macmillan Coffee Morning raises over £400

The Notre Dame community did itself proud last week by raising money for two very important charities. A group of students organised a Macmillan Coffee morning; staff and students contributed to the event by making and donating cakes, as well as buying sweet treats on the day.

A ‘bake off’ style competition was held and the standard of entries was simply outstanding! Well done to the two winning students who received the award for best looking and best tasting cake.

Overall, £451 was raised and this was split between two charities. £283 was donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, who provide medical, practical and financial support to those affected by cancer and push for better cancer care. £168 will be going to VHL UK/Ireland, a charity which supports those who have Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes tumour growth in those who suffer from it. Thank you to upper sixth student Jack Ward for nominating this charity.

A huge thank you and well done to every student and member of staff who contributed to the cause.



(posted 18 October 2016)

Notre Dame joins in Light Night Celebration

Notre Dame’s Btec Performing Arts and Production Arts students collaborated this month to create an installation called ‘Fire Aura’ as part of Leeds’ ‘Light Night.

This year was the 12th anniversary of Light Night, one of Leeds’ biggest free multi-arts events. It took place on the 6th and 7th of October and explored the elements of earth, wind and fire. There were over 50 pieces of artwork at this year’s event, with a combination of light projections, dance, theatre and street performances.

The Notre Dame students’ contribution, ‘Fire Aura’, was in the Emerald Grand Hall at Leeds Grand Theatre and it explored the communal draw of firelight. Over 600 members of the public were dazzled by the lighting and sound effects, and captivated by the story-telling performances which were delivered around the fire. The students also recreated their work at Notre Dame’s Open Morning on the 15th of October.

Well done to all the students and staff involved.


(posted 18 October 2016)

Congratulations to our New Student President

Congratulations are in order for upper sixth student Catherine Warr, who has been elected Student President for this academic year. Five candidates were in the running for the position, which was elected by a student vote after each candidate’s campaign video was screened in assembly.

Catherine was formally offered the role by Principal Terry Coen and everyone at Notre Dame was delighted that she accepted the position. Mr Coen also offered Vice President positions to Sian Carry and Kerry White; Zakiya Whyles and Panashe Jasi were asked to be part of the Student Executive Body.

Pastoral Area Manager Sarah Dumont said, “A huge congratulations to all the candidates. We feel the college in in safe hands for this year and we look forward to the future events under their stewardship.”

Catherine Warr, Student President 2016-2017

Catherine Warr, Student President 2016-2017

(posted 10 October 2016)

Celebrating Media and Film Studies Achievements

On the 21st of September, the Notre Dame Film and Media department held its annual ‘Oscars Night’ to celebrate the achievements of media and film students’ production pieces. The night was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended, with two upper sixth students, Riley Henderson and Kaya Mitchell, acting as very entertaining hosts for the awards ceremony. They later both expressed how it was “great to witness everyone’s reactions to the awards.”

The evening was made even more spectacular as we were joined by special guests Kenneth Barker and Vicki Psarias, who are both very successful in different areas of the media and so were able to share their own experiences and advice for the future. Kenneth Barker shared his tips for a successful production piece and urged the students to “learn to find your own voice.”

The awards for the first year media production piece included Best Cinematography, Narrative, Genre, Editing, 2nd runner up, 1st runner up and Best Music Video. The latter was awarded to Gabby Balmond, Hannah Saxton and Lauren Moore for their production of ‘I Know Places’. Of the second year Media and Film production pieces, Jack Donohoe, Rachel Whitby and Daniel Williams won the Media Studies award for ‘Where Snow Won’t Fall’ and the Film Studies prize was awarded to Niamh Clarkson-Sheahan for ‘Perfection’. “It was exciting to watch the production pieces with the students and see their reactions,” said visiting speaker Vicky Psarias who also said that ‘Where Snow won’t Fall’ was her favourite piece of the evening.

Head of Media and Film, Liz Slee, said, “Every year I am more and more impressed by the amazing standard students set.”

Overall, the Oscars Night was undoubtedly enjoyable for all students, parents and teachers who attended. The night was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the fantastic successes of Notre Dame’s Media and Film students who have created such amazing productions.

Thank you to Gabby Balmond and Hannah Saxton for their write-up of the evening.



(posted 29 September 2016)

Team ND ‘Kicks off” the Year with Strong Performances

Our Notre Dame sports teams, all playing under the ‘Team ND’ banner, have performed very well over the first few weeks of the opening half term.

Our 2nd X1 football team came away from their match against Sheffield with an astounding 14-0 victory. Two players (Usman Mohammed and Matty Komas) scored hat tricks and Tom Hey was named man of the match. The same team also returned with a well-earned 2-2 draw against Huddersfield New College earlier in the term, and Fungai Mandeya receiving the man of the match accolade this time around.

Our basketball team, captained by Daniel West, were narrowly defeated by three points in their match against Thomas Rotherham College, which saw an impressive team performance, despite the slightly disappointing result. Nuno Lopes was named man of the match and Patrick Onyla was voted player’s player.

The Notre Dame netball team have played two matches so far. They achieved a very convincing victory over Thomas Rotherham College and were, unfortunately, defeated by a very strong New College Pontefract team in their second game of the season.

Finally, ND Rugby took part in the College Festival and performed very well, with a win against Elliot Hudson College and a draw against New College Pontefract. In the final match, the Notre Dame team joined forces with the Pontefract team and played a full 15 a-side game against a combined Greenhead and Elliot Hudson team, which also resulted in a draw. This means that ND Rugby continue to remain undefeated in all college festivals.

Well done to all of our teams!


(posted 29 September 2016)

Superb Performance by Notre Dame Students in Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

Fifteen A Level Chemistry students from Notre Dame were able to celebrate receiving an award in the 2016 University of Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. The competition, launched in 2011, aims to stretch and challenge first year A Level Chemistry students interested in pursuing science courses at university. Set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists, it is designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus. All participating students take part in a monthly online quiz and sit an exam paper in June.

2016 was a record-breaking year for our students, who performed brilliantly. Eleven students achieved the ‘copper’ award, two students were awarded ‘silver’ and, for the first time ever, two students achieved the prestigious gold award. Such is the challenging nature of the exam that only 60% of candidates receive an award, and only 7% of entrants manage to achieve the gold standard.

The “copper” award winners were Nada Abdulaziz, Mohammed Albayyat, Rebecca Allinson, Ruth Fawthrop, Rachel Lam, Xuan Li, Sophie McKay, Shuhaan Miah, Lugano Mwakila, Maysha Norwin and Christopher Rooney.

The ‘silver’ award winning students were Hajji Samia and Katherine Ka Wan.

‘Gold’ awards were presented to Joe Marsden and Jake Still.

An awards ceremony was held on Wednesday for the successful students, with certificates presented by our principal, Terry Coen.

Pictured are all the award winners win Terry Coen and Chemistry teacher Mary Legg.


(posted 20 September 2016)

Superb Exam Results at Notre Dame!

A huge “well done” is in order for the class of 2016 who can celebrate another great year of examination success.

Notre Dame has maintained its excellent pass rate at A level and, at AS level, has improved its performance by 4 percentage points.  Our BTEC courses have maintained their unbroken record of 100% success and the numbers achieving Distinction or Distinction * was our highest ever.  A record 19 subjects achieved 100% pass rate at A level.

There were some outstanding individual performances as well, including:

  • At A level, 23 students gained 3 or more grade A/A* and 6 gained 4 A/A*
  • At AS level 45 students gained 3 or more grade As, 24 gained 4 or more and 5 students gained 5 straight As
  • At BTEC, 57 students gained the highest grade of Distinction*

Early indications are that these excellent results have enabled almost every student to move on to their desired next step, be it University, an apprenticeship or the workplace.

Principal Terry Coen said, “Our students deserve enormous credit for the performance they have achieved.  Our teachers have worked tremendously hard to prepare students for their exams and, bearing in mind that many of the A levels had new specifications this year, this is a very encouraging picture – and one which will encourage us to even greater success in the future.”

Pictured are some of the successful students of the class of 2016.








(posted 19 August 2016)

Athletics Success for our Students!

Congratulations are in order for Jemma Ibbetson and Reynold Banigo, who, following their selection for the Leeds Schools Athletics Team, represented West Yorkshire at the English Schools Track and Field Championships. The competition was held at Gateshead Stadium in July.

Jemma performed very well, throwing 32.03m in the senior girls’ discus final and finishing in 9th place. Reynold had a fantastic championship, jumping 7.19m in the long jump to secure the gold medal! He is definitely an athlete to watch out for in the future.

Very well done to both Reynold and Jemma – everyone at Notre Dame wishes you the best of luck for your future athletics careers.

Jemma Ibbetson

Jemma Ibbetson

Reynold Banigo

Reynold Banigo

(posted 17 August 2016)

Students Embark on First Steps to Oxbridge

Several lower sixth students began their journey to hopefully secure a place at either Oxford or Cambridge University in June, when they visited colleges at both universities.

Twenty of our students visited Selwyn at Cambridge, a college with which we have had a partnership for several years. The visitors enjoyed an informative talk by admissions tutor Sophia Connell, followed by a tour of the beautiful grounds, the accommodation on offer and the chapel. Following a delicious lunch, a tour of Cambridge enabled the visitors to get a feel for the city, including a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Some of our students also attended a free lecture on the life of the Galapagos Islands.

A similar number of students also visited the University of Oxford and were given the opportunity to take part in a ‘mock’ interview to give them experience of the selection procedure. They were also given lunch, which was eaten on the lawn of the spectacular Worcester College, followed by a tour of the city led by current Oxford University students.

Both visits were blessed with wonderfully sunny weather and all students arrived back in Leeds more determined than ever to apply to Oxbridge. Thank you to the staff from OCRE (Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group Experience) at Notre Dame and all the staff involved at both Oxford and Cambridge, who made the trips possible.

Pictured are current lower sixth students Joe Marsden and Maysha Nowrin, who visited Cambridge.

oxbridge trip June rotated

(posted 17 August 2016)