Notre Dame Newsletter

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An Experience to Remember

One of the most memorable parts of this academic year for some of our students was the week of work experience undertaken by our brave Modern Foreign Languages students. Back in February, sixteen Notre Dame students headed to either Spain or France to become an ‘employee’ in that country and submerge themselves in the life and culture.

One of the students, Lydia Austin, headed to Spain to work for a charity called “Fundacion Amigos de Galicia”. Lydia became a fundraiser, working door to door to try and raise much needed donations. “Despite being extremely nervous, everyone was extremely friendly and helpful,” she said. “Having a host family was one of my favourite parts of the trip and helped me the most. The experience of living with a stranger and being involved in their family life gave me a huge amount of confidence.”

Alisha Henderson headed to Rouen in France to work in a crèche, caring for French children aged between six months and three years. “I got lots of opportunities to speak French and really improved my listening and reading skills too,” said Alisha. “I even taught the French children some English nursery rhymes, which they really enjoyed!”

Well done to all of our students who completed work experience this year, especially those who were brave enough to take on a position in another country, and thank you to all the staff who have made the experience possible.

Pictured are four of our students heading to Spain

Pictured are four of our students heading to Spain


(posted 15 July 2016)

An Italian Adventure

Enhancement week is always a very exciting time in the Notre Dame calendar, and 2016 was no exception! One of the highlights this year was a trip to Italy, to take in the sights, sounds and smells of this wonderful country.

The visit was jointly organised by the Geography and Classics departments so the itinerary reflected the topics studied in both of these subjects. The visitors managed to pack in trips to a number of places: the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, the Neapolitan city of Sorrento, the ruins of Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius and the Amalfi coastline.

Forty lower sixth students went on the trip and it was so successful that plans are already underway to repeat it in 2017. Thank you to all the staff members who arranged the visit and accompanied the students.

Italy trip 2016 1

(posted 14 July 2016)

Historical Trip to a Historical City!

Forty Notre Dame students partook in a fabulous and educational few days in Berlin last week, as part of the college’s enhancement week programme. The visit was organised by the History department, who arranged a packed itinerary for the students to enjoy.

The theme of the trip was the Cold War, one of the topics studied as part of the History syllabus. In order to gain an appreciation of the topic, the students visited the Bundestag Dome, the Stasi Prison, the DDR Museum and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. They also spent some time enjoying the sites of the city, relaxing on a river cruise and taking trips on the S-Bahn and U-Bahn.

Leah Barker, a student on the trip said, “It was an amazing experience, in a beautiful city with great people. So many activities were packed into four days and it is a trip that I will never forget.”

It is hoped that a similar trip will be organised for next year. Thank you to all of the teachers who accompanied the students and organised the visit.

Berlin trip 2016

(posted 14 July 2016)

Notre Dame Students Benefit from Partnership with Leeds Theatres

Notre Dame Theatre Studies students visited Leeds Grand Theatre on the 20th of June, as part of a new partnership between the college and two of Leeds’ major theatres – The Grand and City Varieties. The visiting students spent the day with staff members, learning invaluable skills and working with every department at the theatre, including marketing, lighting and costume. They were also given the opportunity to ask questions about possible careers available in the arts.

The visitors and the team also spent time developing ideas and strategies for the collaboration taking place for Leeds Light Night 2016, which will see the teams come together to produce an installation for the annual celebration that takes place across the city every October.

From September 2016, two exciting new courses (BTEC Performing Arts and BTEC Production Arts) will be delivered by Notre Dame, in association with both The Grand and City Varieties. Sessions will be run at both venues by theatre staff, giving our students invaluable experience of real-life theatre work.

Thanks are due to the Theatre Studies staff at Notre Dame, and the teams at City Varieties and The Grand for developing the partnership.

The visiting students are pictured at The Grand Theatre

The visiting students are pictured at The Grand Theatre


(posted 7 July 2016)

Spanish Visitors Experience Life at Notre Dame

Twenty-five 17 year olds from Vigo in Northern Spain arrived at Notre Dame last week, in order to immerse themselves in English culture and get a feel for how their UK counterparts live and learn. The visit is funded by the Spanish government and offers the students a unique opportunity to live and study abroad.

As part of the experience, the visiting teenagers (accompanied by two trip counsellors and key Notre Dame staff, including Principal Terry Coen) visited Leeds Civic Hall on Friday 17th June to meet the Lord Mayor Cllr Gerry Harper. They were given a comprehensive tour of the chamber rooms and the opportunity to ask questions of Cllr Harper. One of the visitors later described him as ‘really nice and friendly’!

They also met Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, who spent time chatting to the students and told them about his own children who are previous Notre Dame students. After this, they had traditional tea and biscuits, were invited to sign the visitor’s book and were given an owl lapel badge as a souvenir.

The visitors have also been to a number of different Leeds and Yorkshire tourist attractions including Kirkstall Abbey and Roundhay Park, as well as spent time within college ‘shadowing’ a Notre Dame student. Bethany Anderson, a lower sixth student who was shadowed by one of the Spanish students said, “It’s been a real privilege to spend time with the Spanish visitors. My Spanish skills have improved enormously and it’s been an honour to help them get better at English.”

Thanks are due to International Students co-ordinator Rose Lou who has arranged the visit and the programme the students have followed.

The visiting students outside Leeds Civic Hall

The visiting students outside Leeds Civic Hall

(posted 28 June 2016)

Success for Notre Dame Student in Spanish Essay Competition

Congratulations are in order for second year student Caitlin O’Hara, who has received third prize in the Santander Essay competition, awarded by Queen’s University in Belfast. The competition is open to all A2 students who have applied to study either French or Spanish at Queen’s from September 2016 and is sponsored by the Banco de Santander.

Caitlin, a former Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School student is also studying for A Levels in History and ICT.

The award means that she will receive a £250 scholarship towards her undergraduate studies and will be presented at a special ceremony at Queen’s, to be held at the end of June. Everyone at Notre Dame is impressed by Caitlin’s achievement and offers her their warmest congratulations.

Caitlin is pictured on a trip to Spain earlier this year

Caitlin is pictured on a trip to Spain earlier this year

(posted 21 June 2016)

PE Department Celebrates Team ND with First Awards Ceremony

2016 has been a very exciting year for the PE department at Notre Dame, with the launch of ‘Team ND’. The aim was to provide an even bigger range of sports for our students than has been available in previous years – all under the same ‘Team ND’ banner. Students have had the opportunity to play basketball, football, volleyball, cricket, boxing, badminton, netball and rugby throughout the year. ‘Team ND’ also has a unique partnership with Leeds Beckett University, which means that specialist coaches from their highly successful sports department come to Notre Dame to train our students in the available sports.

To celebrate an extremely successful first year, an awards ceremony was held last week in order to commemorate some brilliant performances by our students. Here are the awards presented to our fabulous students:

  • Badminton player of the year – Matt Jones
  • Basketball player of the year – Kamal Gamir Shahin
  • Boxer of the year – Obrey Zulu
  • Football Academy player of the year – Brett Hinchliffe
  • Football 1st XI players of the year – David Morley, Fungai Madeya
  • Cross Country Runner of the year – Will Collumb
  • Outstanding Sports Performer of the year – Matty Lee
  • Netball player of the year – Kate Gledhill
  • BTEC Sport Diploma Outstanding Academic Performance – Katie Richardson
  • Rugby player of the year – Callum Richardson
  • Activators Award 2016 – Emma Haslam, Matty Mayne
  • Unsung Hero Award – Lesley Stead
  • Volleyball player of the year – Zoe Malone

A very special well done to all of our award winners!

Pictured is Brett Hinchliffe after receiving his Football Academy award.

Brett Hinchliffe

(posted 17 May 2016)

Students Head to Durham to Experience University Life

Thirty Six lower sixth students headed to Durham in April to take part in the widening participation day offered by the university. The University of Durham has worked closely with Notre Dame over the last few years, culminating in our students participating in a forum discussion last October. This year, we were offered ten places on the widening participation conference – but Durham were happy to send a free coach when it turned out that thirty-six of our students wanted to attend!

All of the students on the visit are part of Notre Dame’s OCRE (Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group Experience) group, an enhancement group which is co-ordinated and delivered by English teachers Kitty Graham and Mark Anderson and Classics teacher Penny Beaumont. Students in the group are offered guidance on application and interview and assistance in developing the research and presentation skills required to obtain a place at a university such as Durham. Visits take place throughout the year; OCRE students will be visiting both Oxford and Cambridge in July.

Activities throughout the day included a presentation by a Durham liaison officer, which covered academic and social concerns as well as what made Durham such a unique place to study, subject-specific mini lectures and an excellent lunch. Two current Durham undergraduates accompanied the group for the entire day and were very helpful in addressing questions and concerns.

The day was a huge success, with all students commenting on how useful they found it. “I thought it was a very informative trip, which enabled me to find out about aspects of the campus which I would have struggled to find out otherwise,” said Notre Dame student Jack Burnett.

The visitors are pictured enjoying their day in Durham.

Durham trip


(posted 17 May 2016)

Upper Sixth Student looks forward to National Evangelisation Team Challenge

Lucy Crispin, a student in her final year at Notre Dame, is about to embark on the ‘adventure of a lifetime’ by taking part in the ‘NET ministries’. NET stands for National Evangelisation Teams, a scheme that originated in America and has since spread all over the globe, to places as diverse as Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Uganda. It is a specifically Catholic organisation whose aims are to bring young people back to the Church through other young people. Lucy will be joining NET in either Ireland or Scotland.

For the next nine months, the former Corpus Christi Catholic College student will be serving with her team by delivering retreats, in the parish, high schools or in primary schools, on topics such as self-worth and how to deal with life’s pressures. “To me, these topics are so important in today’s society,” said Lucy.  

As yet, Lucy is unsure whether she will be travelling around, living in host homes (where people give up some rooms in their house for NET people) or whether she will be working in just one place. “I do know that I will be living out of my suitcase for the next nine months!” she said, “and that I will be working with around 7 or 8 other Catholics from different areas of the world.”

Every year over 250 people worldwide are trained in youth ministry and, as a team, will reach out to over 10,000 young people. “It’s going to be an adventure of a lifetime and I’m so blessed and excited to be a part of it,” said Lucy.

We all wish her the best of luck with this fantastic opportunity.

Lucy Crispin

Lucy Crispin


(posted 10 May 2016)

Brave Josie Shaves Head for Charity!

Lower sixth student, Josie Lee, took the very brave step to shave her head a few weeks ago, in order to raise money for Sport Relief.

“I chose Sport Relief because I think the work it does with the elderly and with domestic abuse victims is brilliant,” said Josie. Asked how she felt beforehand she replied, “I was terrified!” A huge number of Notre Dame students attended the big shave, which was carried out in the common room. Josie felt very touched by the huge amount of support she received from the Notre Dame community.

Afterwards, the new ‘do’ took some getting used to! “At first it was very cold! I kept going to push it out of my eyes and then realising there was nothing to push!” she said. “Everyone loves how it feels though and everyone strokes it. Now, with the warmer weather, I’m just trying not to burn my head!”

Everyone at Notre Dame is very impressed by Josie’s courage and generosity and looks forward to seeing the total amount raised.

Before and after the big shave!

Before and after the big shave!

(posted 10 May 2016)