Notre Dame Newsletter

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Spanish Department Visits Salamanca

Spanish trip better

Twenty AS level Spanish students visited Spain over the Easter holidays, in order to give them the opportunity to use and practise their Spanish in a real environment.

The group, led by Spanish teacher Chary Gonzales-Latham, visited Salamanca in north-western Spain and stayed with host families. They were able to practise their Spanish in a number of different contexts and also had Spanish lessons whilst they were there.

The visitors were also provided with many opportunities to immerse themselves in Spanish culture, and enjoy themselves at the same time. They attended flamenco classes, visited the local Cathedral and learned how to cook tapas.

David Morley, one of the students on the trip, said, “I thought it was an amazing experience. I enjoyed giving everything a go and really tried to push myself. I know that this trip has helped my Spanish skills enormously.”


(posted 21 April 2016)

Shakespeare Celebrations!

William Shakespeare died exactly 400 years ago on the 23rd April. The English department at Notre Dame commemorated this occasion today by organising a Shakespeare themed day for all students and staff to enjoy.

English staff arrived to work dressed in period costume – we even had our very own ‘bard’ thanks to Mr Anderson who donned an outfit that Shakespeare himself might have worn. “Cakes and (ginger) Ale” were served at “The English Tavern” and sheets of Shakespearean insults were provided for students to have fun with.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the day was the Romeo and Juliet ‘flash mob’ which took place at break and lunchtime. Four brave A2 English Literature students surprised onlookers by performing Act 1, Scene 1 in the common room and outside in the sunshine, complete with plastic swords.

Thank you to all staff and students who helped to organise the day.

The English Department in period costume

The English Department in period costume

(posted 21 April 2016)

English Department Hosts Prominent Literary Critic

The English Department was very privileged last month to host a conference led by Pastoral Literature expert Terry Gifford. Mr Gifford, currently a visiting scholar at Bath Spa University, has written many successful books and articles about literature, including “Pastoral; The New Critical Idiom”, which is a recommended reading text for A Level English Literature students at Notre Dame.

He addressed over 100 A2 students, giving them advice about how they could link his ideas into their examination answers and more generally about pastoral literature.

Students found the lectures given by the visitor very helpful. “It was really useful to be able to ask Terry Gifford questions about what I had read in his book,” said one English Literature student.

Thanks are due to Julia Geddes, Head of English at Notre Dame, who organised the visit.

Terry Gifford addressing English Literature students

Terry Gifford addressing English Literature students

(posted 21 April 2016)

Talented Notre Dame Student Receives Gymnastics Award

Upper Sixth Notre Dame student Sophie Richardson deserves special recognition this week, for being awarded a place on the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS). TASS is a Government funded programme which aims to provide the opportunity for young athletes to balance academic life with training and competition as a talented athlete without having to make the hard decision between the two.

Each year, athletes who are recognised as being at the top of their respective sports are nominated by their national governing body. Sophie is a talented gymnastic tumbler and her achievements in the sport have been recognised by the governing body and by the award of the scholarship.

The award means that Sophie will have access to essential support services, such as physiotherapy, sports psychology and nutrition, which should make balancing sport and study a little easier for her.

Everyone at Notre Dame is very proud of her achievements and wish her the best of luck with both her sporting and academic endeavours. Well done Sophie!

Sophie Richardson


(posted 20 April 2016)

Upper Sixth Student Succeeds at Science Competition

Congratulations are due to Ashleigh Ruane, an upper sixth Notre Dame student, who recently returned from a very successful trip to Birmingham to take part in the finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition.

The National Science and Engineering Competition is open to all 11-18 year olds living in the UK and in full-time education and aims to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Ashleigh did remarkably well to reach the finals, which meant she was invited to showcase her work at the “Big Bang” Fair, held at Birmingham NEC. The field was very strong; Ashleigh did extremely well and made the final 40, which meant she was presented with a medal and a certificate.

Ashleigh’s stall proved very popular and caught the attention of a member of the Society of Radiological Protection, who took pictures of her work to display at the Society’s annual conference. “He had never seen an application of Physics like it,” said Ashleigh. “He was impressed by high SAR (Scientific Absorption Rate), which is usually controlled in radiotherapy, being actually used as a ‘weapon’ in itself to kill cancer.” She was also interviewed about her research by the venue’s camera crew.

Ashleigh has also been informed that she will be able to continue her research alongside a Master’s degree at The University of York, if she decides to study there in September. She also plans to enter her work into the Google science fair, a worldwide competition with a more diverse range of entrants.

Everyone at Notre Dame is extremely impressed by Ashleigh’s dedication to science and wishes her the very best of luck with her future studies and career. Well done Ashleigh!

Ashleigh is pictured being interviewed on film about her project

Ashleigh is pictured being interviewed on film about her project

(posted 15 April 2016)

New Building Taking Shape – 2016 Applications Re-opened!

We are creating even more space here at Notre Dame, with our new building being completed ready for September 2016. The extra space means that we are able to accept more students for the next academic year and this means the application window for prospective students has been re-opened.

If you haven’t yet applied for a place therefore, there is still time. You can access our online application form here:

We look forward to hearing from you!

New build


(posted 24 March 2016)

Careers Fair 2016 – Bigger and Better than Ever!

The 9th of March saw the annual Notre Dame Careers Event and this year’s was our most successful yet. It provided a fantastic opportunity for all students to find out more about a range of different organisations, and gave them invaluable information about what they are looking for in future employees or apprentices. Around fifty different companies attended the event, including big names like Yorkshire Bank, Addleshaw Goddard Solicitors and Marks and Spencer.

Most of the companies in attendance offer full time apprenticeships which lead to a career. Many of the employers commented on the conduct of all the students who attended and said that the event provided them with the opportunity to have access to a large number of potential future employees.

Several attending students said they managed to find out about many different opportunities that could await them either after A Levels or University.

Thank you to our wonderful Careers Department for organising such a successful event!

A representative from Yorkshire Bank talking to a Notre Dame student

A representative from Yorkshire Bank talking to a Notre Dame student

(posted 17 March 2016)

Notre Dame pays tribute to ex-student with Prize in her Name

Ex Notre Dame student Sara Djoudi tragically passed away at the age of just 20 last month, following a five-year battle against a brain tumour. In order to pay tribute to Sara, the Law department at Notre Dame have introduced an annual prize in her name that will recognise outstanding law scholars.

Sara, who received treatment at Leeds General Infirmary and in the USA, was a straight-A student – even taking one of her A-levels from hospital. She went on from Notre Dame to study law at Newcastle University before her declining health forced her to abandon her course at the end of her first year.

Explaining why Notre Dame had taken the decision to introduce the prize, head of law Nigel Briggs said: “It’s not easy to put into words the sense of loss we feel as a college community at Sara’s passing.

“She embodied the qualities that we value and want to encourage in others, so a prize in her name seemed an appropriate way of doing that.”

Sara Djoudi

Sara Djoudi


(posted 10 March 2016)

Extra-Curricular Visit for Classics Students

Notre Dame Classics students visited Bradford University’s new, state of the art Archaeology laboratories for a People in the Past workshop on 24th February 2016.

The University of Bradford has an international reputation for teaching and research in human skeletal remains and the Human Osteology (bone) workshop gave the students the opportunity to gain hands on experience, examining both real and synthetic skeletons.

This workshop focused on the analysis of human bones, showing how we can construct the human profiles of people who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Staff in the department showed students how to determine such things as how tall the person was in life by examining the femur and tibia bones.  Students also got to observe the effects of injuries and illnesses on the human body.

All students said they very much enjoyed the experience and, for some, it confirmed their choice to work in this field in the future.

Classics Student James King, taking part in the workshop

Classics Student James King, taking part in the workshop

(posted 4 March 2016)

Spanish A-Level Student Appears on Spanish News Website!

Michael Snelling, a second year student who is studying A Level Spanish, appeared on the “Spanish News” website last week after visiting Spain for a week of work experience.
Michael, a former Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School student, spent a week working at “Gimnasio Kata” in Salamanca. His duties involved communicating with the customers, translating for non-spanish speaking clients and generally helping out around the gym.
He organised the experience himself through a company called Halsbury Travel, whose details were passed on to all Spanish students through the Modern Languages Department. He undertook the period of work experience in order to improve his Spanish skills in preparation for his examinations in the summer.
Micheal said, “I found it a really valuable experience. I am already reaping the benefits and it will give me an enormous boost when I take my examinations later this year.”

Michael Snelling

Michael Snelling

(posted 2 March 2016)