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Notre Dame Careers Fair a Resounding Success

The main hall became a hive of activity on the 11th March, when the college hosted its annual careers fair. Over 40 organisations set up stalls at the event, where students were able to find out about a range of full and part time job opportunities, as well as training and apprenticeships.
Companies from a range of different sectors were in attendance, including Addleshaw Goddard Solicitors, British Gas and Office Angels recruitment consultants. Marks and Spencer were present for the first time and have since teamed up with Notre Dame to provide a structured work experience programme for our students who may be interested in working for them in the future.
The event, organised by Careers Co-ordinator Anna Geldart and now in its third year, attracted a huge number of students throughout the morning. Dean Coleman-Walker, a Business Development Advisor at engineering company Appris Management Limited said, “We’ve had some fantastic students come to see us today and it’s been inspiring to see the number of female students here who are interested in going into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries.”
The careers department are now looking forward to a successful fair in 2016!

Careers fair final

(posted 19 March 2015)

Notre Dame hosts Oxbridge University Conference

200 students from Notre Dame and other Leeds high schools attended a conference this week, led by admissions tutors from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. The visiting tutors were from our partner colleges, Selwyn College at Cambridge and Worcester College at Oxford, and came to Notre Dame to discuss what studying at Oxbridge is like, as well as to offer advice to potential students about making applications and attending interviews. 120 pupils attended from high schools across Leeds, in addition to about 80 Notre Dame students.
The first session was led by Dr James Keeler and Dr Richard Earl, who gave a presentation about Oxbridge life including information about teaching styles, what type of person they were looking for and extracurricular opportunities. This was followed by more subject specific workshops, covering arts and humanities, biomedical sciences and physics, maths and engineering. Students attended lectures in small groups and were given the opportunity to ask questions at the end.
Ashley Pickering, a Notre Dame student who attended the event said, “The small group discussions relating to the degree area of your choice was the most helpful part for me because it gave me invaluable information about what universities are looking for in an applicant, not only Oxford and Cambridge, but competitive Russell Group universities in general.”

Oxbridge visit March

(posted 19 March 2015)

Notre Dame student wins Young Sportsman of the Year Accolade

Matty Lee, a lower sixth student at Notre Dame, had cause to celebrate this week after winning the Young Sportsman of the Year title at the 2015 Leeds Sports Awards. The awards, now in their 12th year, are organised by Sports Leeds, a city wide network that exists to bring together all the agencies that are responsible for providing and developing opportunities in sport.
Matty was one of a field of three nominees for the “Young Sportsman” trophy. He trains at the City of Leeds Diving Club and 2014 was his most successful year to date. His achievements included two junior golds, a junior silver and a senior bronze medal at the GB National Cup. He was subsequently chosen for the GB senior team in the FINA Diving World Series. However, later in the year he had to pull out of the Commonwealth Games due to an elbow injury, from which he has now made a full recovery. A lower sixth student, he is currently studying for a BTEC Qualification in Sport.
“It can be hard to balance the amount of training I do with my schoolwork,” said Matty, who trains six days a week for up to six hours at a time. “But I have received a lot of help from my Sports teacher at college.” His plans for the future include taking part in the 2016 Rio Olympics and he hopes to challenge for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. His next competition, however, takes place during the Easter holidays when he will travel to Canada to take part in the FINA grand prix.
Former Notre Dame student Alicia Blagg, also did well, scooping the Young Sportswoman of the Year title.

Matty Leesmall

(posted 19 March 2015)

Youth 2000 weekend retreat held at Notre Dame

150 young people from across the country visited Notre Dame on the 13th of February to spend a weekend of reflection, liturgy and prayer with likeminded individuals. The event was organised by Youth 2000, an organisation who provide opportunities for young people aged between 16 and 35 to come together to experience the love of God.
The college has hosted the annual gathering in the first week of February half term for the last few years and this year, in addition to the young people, over 30 priests, monks and nuns were also in attendance. The main hall became spiritually charged, especially with the addition of the “burning bush” (pictured) in the centre.
Notre Dame chaplain Andrew Sullivan said, “Notre Dame offered young people for that weekend a chance to be the youth of the Church, to be a living symbol of hope and rejoice in the many treasures handed to us by Christ and his Church. It was a truly wonderful occasion.”

Youth 2000 burning bush

(posted 19 March 2015)

Bon Voyage and Buen Viaje!

21 AS Level French and Spanish students are departing this weekend to spend half term completing work experience in either Lille or Salamanca. The week is organised by Halsbury Work Experience Abroad, and will provide the students with invaluable experience of using the language in a work environment. It will also improve their language skills in preparation for their future examinations, as well as help them to stand out in future job or university applications.

In addition to working hard, the students will be able to socialise with other sixth form students and take part in organised activities during the evenings. They will also spend some time getting to know the town in which they are working. We wish them all an exciting week!

(posted 16 February 2015)

Product Design students visit Allied Glass

Several students of Product Design at Notre Dame enjoyed a trip to Leeds firm Allied Glass Containers on the 5th of February. The visit marks the twentieth successive year that the department have visited the firm in order for the students to observe the production of clear glass bottles for the drinks industry.

The visitors enjoyed a welcome presentation by the Assistant Design Centre Manager, who explained how the company are evolving to meet the changing demands of the global market by producing high quality clear glass bottles for brands such as Johnnie Walker and Bloom. The students were then given a tour of the production line, including a visit to the furnace and forehearth area where the molten glass is prepared for forming.

This year’s visit was particularly relevant as a former Notre Dame Product Design student, Liam Appleyard, is currently employed as an Allied Glass New Product Designer.

Alex Brooke, one of the visiting students said, “It was incredible to see the forming process up close, and feel the heat – something you don’t get from a video! That furnace was intense and it will stick in my mind for a long time.”


(posted 16 February 2015)

Students take part in Bank of England challenge

Five Notre Dame Economics students recently took part in the “Target Two Point Zero Challenge”, an event organised by The Bank of England and held at Weetwood Hall in Leeds. The event gave the students the opportunity to experience life as a member of the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee; their task was to assess economic conditions and the outlook for inflation and then present their findings to a panel of judges, made up of representatives from the Bank of England. The aim was to convince the panel that their monetary policy would result in helping the government achieve their 2% target for inflation.

Schools and colleges from all over Yorkshire took part. Notre Dame were represented on the day by Niamh Murray, Joseph Fraser, Anjola Babalola, Max Forshaw and Endrit Gashi. A support team of students had previously helped to research the data and produce a very detailed report, consisting of Ahmed Azahari, Andrew Kyles, Jake Griggs, Stephanie Hatib, Kenzie McCabe, Rebecca Gamble and Timothy Mobbs.

After they had delivered the presentation, the team were faced with rigorous questions from the panel and performed exceptionally well under immense pressure. Unfortunately, on this occasion the team narrowly missed out on progressing to the next round and were pipped at the post by a very impressive team from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Wakefield.

Team member Anjola Babalola said, “Although it took a lot of time and effort, I am proud of myself and the team for taking part and am grateful for the opportunity. The experience broadened our understanding of Economics, gave us a really good insight into how the Bank of England operates and showed us how the Monetary Policy Committee arrives at its decision regarding interest rates.”

Pictured l-r are Endrit Gashi, Anjola Babalola, Joseph Fraser, Max Forshaw and Niamh Murray.

Pictured l-r are Endrit Gashi, Anjola Babalola, Joseph Fraser, Max Forshaw and Niamh Murray.

(posted 11 February 2015)

Notre Dame student success in IELTS exam

Nandana Syam, a first year student at Notre Dame, was able to celebrate recently when she was awarded the highest score for her IELTS exam in the college’s history. IELTS (International English Testing System) is accepted as evidence of English language proficiency by over 9,000 organisations worldwide. It is recognised as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true-to-life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation.

All international students at Notre Dame follow an IELTS programme and take the test when they are ready to do so. Nandana scored 8.5 across the four skills tested, with a score of 9.0 in listening and reading and 8.0 in both speaking and writing. The highest score awarded for any skill is 9.0, meaning that Nandana achieved full marks in both listening and reading.

Well done Nandana!


(posted 6 February 2015)

Students Celebrate Oxbridge Success

Six Notre Dame students were able to celebrate last week, after being offered places to study at either Oxford or Cambridge University. This year’s high number of offers marks a continuation of the success of our students being offered places – last year’s performance was the best the college has ever had when eight students were successful.

Five students have been offered places at Oxford: Dominic Leonard has received an offer to study English at Christ Church College, Adam Higgins has been offered a place on a Maths degree at St Catherine’s College, Zac Leather has received an offer for PPE at Balliol, Sarah Rouse a place to study Biology at St Anne’s, and Katie Wood a place to study Classics at St Hugh’s. The University of Cambridge have offered Simon Lo a place to study Mathematics at Trinity College.

Any student at Notre Dame who is interested in studying at Oxford, Cambridge or a Russell Group University has the opportunity to join OCRE (Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group Experience), an enhancement group which is co-ordinated and delivered by English teacher Kitty Graham and Classics teacher Penny Beaumont. Students in the group are offered guidance on application and interview, assistance in developing research and presentation skills and the opportunity to attend a conference with a visiting admissions tutor from Cambridge.

“Admission to Oxford and Cambridge universities is still a massive step for the average student from a state school,” says Kitty Graham, “especially as we have broadened our programme to make it more open access in the past two years. The students who have been successful are among the highest achievers in college but, more significantly, they have focused very hard on their goals. In particular, each of them has demonstrated a passion for their subjects which is genuine and obvious and which has been evidenced by the considerable amount of extra reading they have been prepared to do. They all deserve their places and we are very proud of them!”


(posted 2 February 2015)

College Celebrates 25 year Anniversary

Past and present staff, students and governors from Notre Dame celebrated its 25th anniversary on December the 8th, with a Mass at Leeds Cathedral followed by a celebration dinner at the college itself.

The Sixth Form College site has been providing Catholic education in Leeds since 1898, when the Sisters of Notre Dame came to Leeds and to the parish school of St Anne’s, which is situated across the road from the current site. In 1904, the main building of what is now the Sixth Form College was built and opened as Notre Dame Collegiate School for Girls. The school became the Notre Dame High School in 1978, a catholic comprehensive school for pupils aged 13 to 18, with around 650 girls.

In 1989, Catholic education in Leeds was restructured. The site became the sixth form college for the Leeds Catholic high schools, and also became co-educational for the first time. It now educates almost 1,900 16 to 19 year olds from a wide variety of schools across Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford and beyond, making it ten times larger than the average Leeds sixth form, and provides qualifications in over 30 subjects. Previous notable students include BBC sports presenter Gabby Logan, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University Monica Grady and Alicia Blagg, diving bronze medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Over 300 staff, governors and students celebrated the occasion, including three past Principals of the college, and several students also provided entertainment at the event. Terry Coen, Principal of Notre Dame since 2012 said, “December the 8th was a special day for a special college. It was wonderful that so many current and past students, staff and governors could join us to give thanks for the last twenty-five years and to celebrate our community – a community which we hope will continue to provide excellent education for the young people of Leeds and surrounding areas for many years to come.”

Pictured are some of the current students who celebrated the event.

Pictured are some of the current students who celebrated the event.

(posted 19 January 2015)