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Message From the New College Principal!

To all members of the Notre Dame community,

It gives me great pleasure and privilege to introduce myself as your new Principal of Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College.

The College has an outstanding track record for student achievement, support, pastoral care and ensuring each student realises their potential. I am committed to continuing this outstanding provision for our students, staff, governors and the community of Leeds. As a Catholic College, I believe that we offer something very special for our students and staff, this is at the heart of everything we do.

I am joining Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College as your new Principal after seven years as Vice Principal Curriculum & Quality at Cardinal Newman College, another outstanding Catholic College. I think it speaks volumes about Catholic education when the top performing sixth forms in the country are Catholic. Working together we can ensure that each student enjoys their time at the College, makes outstanding progress and leaves us with the knowledge and skills for future success. I look forward to working with you all and continuing to build upon the college’s outstanding success.

Justine Barlow.

(posted 18 May 2018)

Notre Dame buses to operate from September 2018

From September 2018, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College buses will run from Wakefield, departing from a point near students’ high schools. The route will include the Kettlethorpe area, St Thomas a Becket, Wakefield, and Rothwell, passing along the A61 direct to college.

Buses will also run from Garforth main street travelling on the A642, A63, and A64 direct to college. The route will cover Garforth, Whitkirk, Halton, Corpus Christi and York Road.

Students will pay £10 to sign up for a bus pass, then £16 per week or £510 as an annual payment (to be paid in one or three instalments).
Please see below for details of each route.

The Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College 2018 entry prospectus is available as a PDF file to download here:

(posted 18 May 2018)

Basketball Coach Ricky Fetske Secures Second Place in League for TEAM ND.

Notre Dame’s basketball coach Ricky Fetske (on the left in the photo above) has taken the college team to second place in two successive seasons and is working our students hard to help them go one better next year.

Basketball is really popular at Notre Dame as there are opportunities to play recreationally during lunch breaks as well as the chance for more able players to play competitively in the AOC Yorkshire and Humberside colleges league on a Wednesday afternoon.

American born Ricky Fetske plays professionally for the Bradford Dragons and in 2017 he was voted player of the year and players’ player of the year.

(posted 18 May 2018)

It’s All Greek to Triumphant Enhancement Students!

Six Notre Dame Students studied hard and successfully passed their EMACT (East Midlands Association of Classical Teachers) Greek Certificate exam. The students have been part of a voluntary lunch time enhancement group run by A level Classics teacher Angela Yates, and have been reading up on ancient and modern Greek, and learning about the language, country, and culture.

Students Betty McDermott, Sarah Green, Louis Hickling and Luke Conmy have been studying for the past year and passed the beginners level EMACT Greek certificate in April 2018. Students Emily Howes and Fabian Newton-Edgar took the beginners level EMACT last year, and passed the intermediate level EMACT this April.

The EMACT Greek Certificate offers students an introductory qualification in ancient Greek, and is the only one of its kind in this subject area. The enhancement has been running for nine years at Notre Dame and has seen over 40 students devote their lunch break to studying for a qualification in a classical language.

(posted 18 May 2018)

Parting Gift from His Holiness Pope Francis to our Retiring Principal.

During his last day at Notre Dame, retiring Principal Mr Coen received an extra special surprise. At the end of the Mass held in the college chapel, Fr. Sean Crawley, a former Notre Dame student taught by Mr Coen, presented him with a gift. The gift was a beautifully decorated Papal Blessing.

This was arranged by the Bishop of Leeds Secretary Fr. Matthew Habron, who took considerable care to ensure all the details were accurate, and to arrange a safe but stealthy delivery to the college. As a thank you for the blessing, the college community gladly made a donation to support the charitable works of the Holy Father.

Present at Mr Coen’s celebratory Mass were: Angela Cox OBE, Diocesan Director for Education; Notre Dame’s former principals, Mr Terry Metcalfe and Dr Tony Adlard; a number of the College Governors, including Margaret Ramsden, who later gave the first address; and members of college staff past and present. The college staff choir sang superbly during the service, setting the tone for the joyful festivities.

Thank you to all the staff who arranged the event, and to the visitors who helped celebrate this occasion.

(posted 11 May 2018)

Students Map Out their Geography Coursework on Britain’s East Coast.

35 A level Geography students spent 23 and 27 April completing essential fieldwork on the east coast of Yorkshire.

Studying sites on the North Sea coastline, students visited Bridlington, Hornsea and Mappleton, which are all in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The topic of analysis was coastal erosion and management, addressing the physical and human impact on geography. Students learnt key geographical skills such as beach profiling, field sketching, risk assessment and sediment analysis. The excursion provided a starting point for each student’s coursework, in which they are required to devise an enquiry question, plan a visit, decide on methodology, and collect the data. This coursework, known as an independent investigation, is worth 20% of a student’s final A Level mark.

Thank you to our Geography Department for organising this trip and good luck to students embarking on their investigations.

(posted 8 May 2018)

Biology Students Have the Tarn of Their Lives on Field Trip.

The annual Biology field trip took place on 25 and 26 April this year. 141 lower sixth students and their faithful staff travelled to Malham Tarn for a full day of fieldwork delivered by experienced Field Studies Council tutors in a stunning location. The masses of data collected from grazed fields and scree slopes has been brought back to college for analysis – it may take us weeks!

Our students – as ever – were impeccably behaved and a credit to the College, battling on through what turned out to be two very cold and windy days. A hot cup of tea at lunchtime in the Field Studies Centre was most welcome. Well done to all who took part.

(posted 4 May 2018)

Notre Dame Alumni are First Class Degree Students Says HESA.

Recent data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that our ex-students have gone on to excel at degree level. The data collected was for students who graduated in academic year 2016/17 from UK higher education institutions, including 405 former Notre Dame students. A grand total of 79.61% received either a first class or upper second class honours degree, a result which sits above the national average of 78.62% for sixth form colleges across the UK.

For students who went on to study at Russell Group universities, degree classifications for our alumni far exceeded the sixth form college national average of 87.78% with a whopping 90% awarded first class and upper second class honours. This percentage also exceeded the national average for independent schools in the UK!

And students whose parents didn’t have a higher education qualification did even better: 32.09% of them gained a first class degree, compared to a national average of 24.01% across UK sixth form colleges!

Congratulations to all our former students who worked so hard to achieve such an elevated level of success.

(posted 1 May 2018)

Classics Students Dig Up the Past with Bradford University’s Archaeology Department

On Wednesday 18 April, 14 Notre Dame students visited Bradford University’s cutting edge Osteology (the scientific study of bones) department to participate in an archaeology workshop.

The subject of study was Osteoarchaeology: the analysis of human skeletons excavated from archaeological sites.

Assisted by Bradford University students and staff, Notre Dame students carried out practical examinations using state of the art laboratory equipment. Using synthetic bones, the group were taught how skeletons are assessed by archaeologists to determine characteristics such as age or gender.

Students received the ultimate archaeological experience: seeing real life historical human remains! Bradford University’s staff led a group talk explaining how the bones can be analysed to understand the cause of death.

(posted 27 April 2018)

Year 11’s Encouraged to Enhance Their Excellence.

Notre Dame has run an Enhancing Excellence programme for many years, the aim of which is to encourage and support academically exceptional students with their applications to Russell Group universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and LSE. On 25 April, we held an evening event to introduce the programme to year 11 students – and their parents – who are hoping to enrol at Notre Dame in September.

The event included presentations from the Enhancing Excellence team and current students who have benefited from the programme. 200 prospective students and their parents attended, with one visitor commenting: ‘This was very helpful and very clear. My son would love to be a part of this programme.’

At Notre Dame, we are keen to help students achieve beyond their potential and the Enhancing Excellence programme plays a key part in this process. The programme includes trips to universities such as Durham, Cambridge and Oxford, as well as an annual conference at Notre Dame attended by Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Students accepted onto the programme are provided with additional support in the form of weekly discussion groups, mock interviews, and personal statement workshops, to ensure they write the strongest possible applications, and have the best possible chance of gaining a place at one of the UK’s most prestigious universities.

Our staff have an excellent track record of enabling students to gain places at Russell Group institutions. This year, 28% of our upper sixth students who applied to Oxford or Cambridge Universities have received offers to study there, compared with only 20% from state schools nationally. 17 of 31 applicants have been offered places on Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science courses, which is an outstanding success rate of 55%!

Prospective Notre Dame students can apply to be part of the Enhancing Excellence programme by visiting our website and completing the online form:

Thanks to all college staff who organised the event, and to everyone who attended it.

(posted 27 April 2018)