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Fair-ly Brilliant Enrichment Opportunities for Students

This year’s annual Notre Dame Enrichment Fair took place on Wednesday 12 September in our Sports Hall. It was our biggest event yet, with stands promoting 25 different enrichment activities, and ambassadors from local universities, church groups, and charitable organisations in attendance.

Students were able to pick from a plethora of cultural delights, signing up to learn Greek, Korean or German, and learning about planned visits to Italy, Berlin, China, Lourdes – and even Peru – during Enrichment Week in July 2019.

For those with an interest in sport and outdoor activities, options included netball, basketball, volleyball, and a mountaineering trip. Students keen on performance could join dance and drama groups. For the more politically minded, the Model United Nations or Social Justice Group could be chosen.

Notre Dame’s Lay Chaplain Mr Andrew Sullivan was on hand to promote an upcoming event which the Social Justice Group have organised: a one-night outdoor ‘sleepover’ on Notre Dame’s premises to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in our society, particularly involving young people. Students who didn’t express an interest in this at the fair can still pick up a letter from Andrew.

One of the external organisations there on the day was Camps International, who took some of our students to Kenya in the summer of 2018, and hope to take more to Cambodia for a four-week project in the summer of 2020. This trip would involve excursions and wildlife conservation. More information about this opportunity will be circulated to students in the coming months.

Activities represented at other stands included Ukulele Club, knitting and crochet, chess, sign language, and work experience. With such a diverse range of clubs and trips available, our community really will be enriched!

(posted 17 September 2018)

Cold Head, Warm Heart: Double Donation Planned by Student

Upper sixth student Abbie Weaver is hoping to make valuable contributions to two charities when she shaves her head on Friday 5 October. Not only will Abbie be donating her hair to The Little Princess Trust (a charity that provides free, real hair wigs to children and young people who’ve lost their own through illness) but she will also be raising funds for St Gemma’s Hospice in memory of her grandmother, who was looked after there before – sadly – passing away in June 2018.

St Gemma’s Hospice cares for terminally ill people towards the end of their life. ‘They looked after my Grandma in a loving, caring environment and I want to give something back to them.’ Abbie said.
A former student of Corpus Christi Catholic College, she’s keen to raise as much as she can and has set up a Just Giving page here.

Abbie has received a lot of support from students and staff, and will be taking a friend with her on the day. ‘My mum’s still coming round to the idea of me shaving my head! My hair will grow back though and I’m lucky I can choose whether I lose it – many people with cancer don’t get that choice.’

Abbie is pictured above and has kindly agreed to share photos of herself after the event.

(posted 14 September 2018)

Mountainous Charity Challenge for Trekking Teacher

At the start of the autumn term, law teacher Ms Jayne Fry visited Vietnam, trekking from Sapa through the surrounding area to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Once she arrived in Vietnam, Ms Fry took the overnight train from Hanoi, travelling around 350 kilometres to the small mountain town of Sapa. The trek took place in the surrounding mountains, starting in Ta Van, a village bordered by striking terraced fields. The entire journey took four days and covered 52 kilometres, mainly following picturesque but challenging bamboo trails up the mountainside.

The most difficult aspect of the trek was the incredible heat and humidity but Ms Fry was motivated by the wish to raise as much money as possible and also by the incredible support of the local women who guided the team. So far, Ms Fry has raised £700.

Notre Dame’s Principal, Mrs Justine Barlow, was keen to encourage Ms Fry’s charitable adventure as it fits so completely with our college ethos, which is inspired by the Christian tradition. Our staff and students are always encouraged to carry the values at the centre of our teaching out into the wider community and beyond.

Ms Fry is pictured above, on the right wearing a pink cap. Pictured below are the terraced fields of Ta Van.

(posted 14 September 2018)

Students Make History as Part of 80th Lourdes Pilgrimage

This summer, Notre Dame’s charitable ethos reached as far as France, when thirteen students and two staff took part in the 80th Leeds Diocese pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Once they’d arrived in this small market town, our students supported elderly, infirm, and disabled pilgrims, working in shifts alongside a group of nurses and carers known as the Leeds Hospitality Team. The duties of students included accompanying pilgrims to services, assisting them during meals, playing board games with them, and taking them to see the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Grotto of Massabielle. Students also attended celebrations for the 80th Leeds Diocese pilgrimage, a historic anniversary that we are extremely proud to have been part of.

Our students travel to Lourdes every summer, a small number of the five million Catholics who visit each year. They make up a valued part of the Leeds Youth Group, instantly recognisable in their yellow T-shirts, which have earnt them the nickname ‘little canaries’ from locals. For our students, the trip to Lourdes provides a chance to develop their spirituality and reflect on the Catholic values of Faith, Hope, and Love. Miss Ashburn, a Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (PTE) tutor who accompanied our students, said: ‘I am very proud of how hard they worked throughout their week in Lourdes, and of the support they gave to pilgrims.’

If you’d like to find out more about this year’s pilgrimage, it was featured on Inside Out on Monday 3 September. You can view this programme here and try to spot our students.

(posted 6 September 2018)

Evacuee student visits Notre Dame after 74 years

On the 9th August, Notre Dame welcomed former student Mary Corr to the College after 74 years. Mary, who was evacuated to Leeds from London in January 1944 and enrolled for a term, was the niece of Sister Frances, one of the founding Sisters of Notre Dame.

Mary visited the College with her nieces, Ruth and Suzanne (pictured) whose mothers Kathleen & Monica also attended Notre Dame in the 1920s-30s.

Mary, a retired headteacher, said ‘Notre Dame was a memorable place that has stayed with me all my life- I remember the long Sunday walks and I was told the cherubs in the Chapel were based on my older sister’

Mary has kindly donated original College tuition invoices that were sent out to Mary’s parents by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1929 and 1930, which will now be displayed in College.

Thank you to Mary, Suzanne and Ruth for visiting Notre Dame and we hope it was a memorable visit.

(posted 4 September 2018)

Historical Tour of Berlin Brings A level to Life

Thanks to student Megan Hickes for this post.

It was midnight on 29 June at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College when the unforgettable Berlin trip began for lower sixth students. The accompanying staff had planned the trip in detail, and students had high expectations for this long-awaited excursion, which was finally becoming a reality.
They were certainly not disappointed.

Travelling around Berlin on the U-Bahn allowed students to develop an insight into the city’s lifestyle. A visit to the dome of the Reichstag building was followed by a tour of the Stasi Prison, revealing the activities of the East German secret police during the period of the division of Germany.

Other experiences included the harrowing starkness of Sachsenhausen concentration camp, museum visits, and a tour of Berlin’s nuclear bomb shelter. Places such as this, resonant with intimations of past human tragedy, brought the students very close to understanding the unimaginable fear and desperation inflicted by the menacing presence of the Berlin Wall.

One student commented that ‘the main reason the Berlin trip was great was because it brought the A level History course to life… it made me appreciate the significance of historical landmarks’. Seeing the physical remnants of a time period studied in class has made the words of an A-level textbook seem much more tangible. Without a doubt, the trip was one that the 2018 lower sixth students of Notre Dame will never forget.


(posted 30 August 2018)

Notre in the News

Last week Notre Dame’s Results Day has been the talk of the town with a news feature on Look North, a publication in the Yorkshire Post and over 100 likes across our Twitter.

Last Thursday, Look North documented our students’ success as they opened their envelopes to reveal fantastic results including Amy Kitchingman who gained four A*s and a place at University of Cambridge studying English. Jessica Tibbs, who restarted College after a close family bereavement and lives independently, was the main focus after gaining three As and a place at the University of Leeds to study Law.

Notre Dame was also featured in Saturday’s edition of the Yorkshire Post, which advertised our fantastic results and students’ success whilst encouraging prospective students to attend our Open Day on Saturday 13th October.

Our Twitter has also received a huge amount of attention with over 120 likes and 25 retweets with Diane Nettey’s results day tweet gaining 66 likes and 17 retweets. Diane gained three Bs and an A despite being diagnosed with aplastic anaemia causing her to take exams at home. Diane is now looking forward to studying medicine with a foundation year at the University of Southampton.

Congratulations to all our students and we look forward to meeting our new students in the coming weeks.

(posted 21 August 2018)

Notre Dame Results Day Success!

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College are proud to announce our students have once again achieved exceptional results. We are celebrating exceeding the national pass rate benchmark for A level; 100% achievement at BTEC and a phenomenal 2 out of 3 students achieving a high grade at A Level.

Some students gained exceptional results, including 3 students achieving four A*s, 7 students gaining four A*s and As,  14 students achieving three A*s, 28 students achieving three A*s and As and 18 students achieving three As, totalling at 70 students achieving three or four A’s or above in the A Levels.

Eliza Kate Duckworth A*A*A*A – University of East Anglia, English Literature
Hoi Hei Tam A*A*A*A – University of Cambridge, Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences
Rosie Barnes A*A*A*A*  – University of Manchester, Physics
Molly Brereton A*A*AA – Newcastle University, Biochemistry
Cheuk Ying Crystal Ling A*A*AA – UCL, Psychology
Eve Maria Rooney A*A*AA – University of Oxford, Spanish and Linguistics
Acacia To A*A*AA – Durham University, PPE
Bradley Watson A*AAA – Durham University, Mathematics
Alexander Williams A*AAA – University of Manchester, Mathematics
Kyra Clarke A*A*A – University of Manchester, Economics and Politics
Joely Hopwood A*A*A – University of Oxford, Law
Aaron Horsley A*A*A – University of Hull, Law with Politics
Euan McFadden A*A*A – UCL, Economics
Sam Moffitt A*A*A – University of Nottingham, Criminology and Sociology
Lara Thornton-Berry A*A*A- University of Bristol, Physics
Hannah Watson-Hill A*A*A – Imperial College London, Civil Engineering
Nathan Allinson A*A*A* – University of Edinburgh, Medicine
Frances Aylward A*A*A* – Imperial College London (Biochemistry)
Nadia Begum A*A*A* – University of Leeds, Actuarial Maths
Mary Coldicott A*A*A* – University of Birmingham, Computer Science with Digital Technology Partnership
Amy Kitchingman A*A*A* – University of Cambridge, English
Mae Rose Milburn A*A*A* – University of East Anglia, English Lit with Creative Writing
Cameron Stanislawski-Doyle A*A*A* – Imperial College London, Aeronautical Engineering


Raja Armughan Ahmed A*AA
Taha Almasri A*AA
Michael Baker A*AA
Emily Beal A*AA
Charlotte Bilton A*AA
John Isaac Copeland A*AA
Alim Demirbag A*AA
Sayed Hashim Fadhul A*AA
Tia Fenton A*AA
Nina Friis A*AA
Marc Connor Greenway A*AA
Matthew Hardcastle A*AA
Grace Hogan A*AA
Alice Horlock A*AA
Francesca Hunt A*AA
Amy Kingdon A*AA
Harrison William Kane Kirk A*AA
Kit Freddie Lawless Coombes A*AA
Giorgio Paci A*AA
Joshua Payapulli A*AA
Alan Potts A*AA
Kaitlin Priestley A*AA
Oliver James Robert Raistrick A*AA
Benjamin Robinson A*AA
Pouria Tayebi A*AA
Elena Lucy Trowsdale A*AA
Emma Whittles A*AA
Sin Yu Wong A*AA
Callum Bascombe-Milton AAA
Rachel Stella Elizabeth Cantlow AAA
Siobhan Corbridge AAA
Oliver Dodsworth AAA
Amy Victoria Harte AAA
Sophie Hawley AAA
Joseph Higgins AAA
Poppy-Jo Howard AAA
Lucas Ingleson AAA
Asif Latif AAA
Freya Parnham AAA
Dapika Rall AAA
Suresh Kumar Rattu AAA
Brianna Reynolds AAA
Ellie Stainforth-Mallison AAA
Georgia Thompson AAA
Jessica Rose Tibbs AAA
Wenwen Yang AAA

(Amy Kitchingman)

(Bradley Watson)

The success keeps on coming! Each year a number of the College’s students go on to secure places at the most highly sought after and competitive universities in the country, including Oxford and Cambridge. Seven students have successfully gained places at Oxbridge universities and more than 12 students will study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science. This can be put down, in part, to the College’s Enhancing Excellence programme. Notre Dame students are at the front of the queue when it comes to receiving the best advice, guidance, support and preparation when applying to Oxbridge and also to other Russell Group universities. Amy Kitchingman gained her place studying English at the University of Cambridge after achieving four A* in A level English Language, English Literature, History and EPQ. Bradley Watson is also celebrating gaining a place at University of Durham to study Mathematics after achieving four grade A’s and a B.

(Jessica Tibbs – left and Joely Hopwood – right)

(Diane Nettey)

The College is incredibly proud of all our students, especially those who have achieved fantastic results in the face of adversity. Jessica Tibbs, who restarted her studies due to a close family bereavement and lives independently, gained a place at the University of Leeds studying Law after achieving three grade A’s. Diane Nettey, despite being diagnosed with aplastic anaemia causing her to even take exams at home, is celebrating gaining a place at the University of Southampton to study medicine with a foundation year after achieving three Bs and an A.

(Rosie Barnes)

Notre Dame Principal, Justine Barlow said: “I am absolutely delighted by the results students achieved this year. This is clearly a result of hard work, determination and high aspirations from not only our students, but from parents and our dedicated staff who always go above and beyond to support our students. Congratulations to all and we wish you all the best in your bright futures”.

(posted 16 August 2018)

Ex-Notre Dame students talk about life journey

During our yearly ‘Mission’ week, run by our PTE department, one of our ex-students Malvern Magwanjere came in to speak to current students about his academic and life journey. Malvern first came to Notre Dame from Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, as a charming and initially, a somewhat laid back student.  However on his journey through Notre Dame and beyond, Malvern came to believe that it is high expectations, constant support and encouragement, along with his own inner drive to succeed, that was instrumental in him finding the right path.
Now studying undergraduate philosophy at Durham University in Van Mildert College. Malvern has the ambition to work as a mentor for young people and is working hard to put together a network, where each mentee will have a mentor from a similar background. The network will target students from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds, tackling any common misconceptions of higher education for example, that certain universities are for white people. However the issue is not only about young BME students going on to higher education, but also helping them aim for one of the top 10 universities.  Therefore, potential students are matched with people that have “fought the same battles” to help these capable, if tentative students, see themselves in these institutions
We wish Malvern the best of luck in his future and we will continue to support and help him where we can.
(posted 30 July 2018)

A Tale of Three Cities: China 2018

In July 2018, ten students and two staff had the experience of a lifetime when they travelled to China for a seven-day tour. The trip was offered as part of our annual Enrichment Week, when all lower sixth are invited to take part in a wide variety of activities and trips to complement their studies, enhance their employability skills, and provide them with fantastic new experiences.

After flying to Beijing, our students were excited to visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace. On their second day, they walked a section of the Great Wall and then tobogganed down part of it, which they thoroughly enjoyed as you can see from the photo below. Day three included a picturesque walking tour, before our students travelled on to Xi’an.

There, they spent a day exploring the city and were stunned by a visit to the Terracotta Army, which includes an estimated 8000 soldiers, not to mention chariots and horses. On their fifth day, they visited the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, then took the overnight sleeper train to Shanghai.

Highlights of their two jam-packed days in Shanghai included Yu Garden, the Jade Buddha Temple, and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which – at 468 meters high – was the tallest building in China until 2007, and has an upper observation platform with a glass floor. Not for the faint hearted!

Having gained a real insight into Chinese culture, and explored such a variety of historical sites, our students had to bid farewell to Shanghai and head home. Their return journey was spent reflecting on the trip, and discussing what a fantastic time was had by all.

(posted 27 July 2018)