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Core Curriculum

Missing Attachment

Notre Dame is not just about gaining qualifications and passing exams. We also believe in the importance of encouraging spiritual and moral growth, and developing important core skills and knowledge which add to the breadth of your education. This is done through the various elements of our core curriculum.


PTE stands for Philosophy, Theology and Ethics. It is an exploration of faith programme that aims to give post-16 students an opportunity to reflect on the deeper questions of life, such as who we are, why we are here, and how we want to live our lives and conduct our relationships. The emphasis in the lessons is on active participation and learning from each other, and, on occasion, visiting speakers. In our Catholic college, PTE is a key part of the core curriculum and all students, in both lower sixth (L6) and upper sixth (U6), are expected to attend a one hour weekly session.

The importance of PTE lies in two main areas. The first is that it augments and supports the distinctive ethos of the College; that we are a community which puts the human being at the centre of all we do, helping to develop values, attitudes and character separately from the main examination subjects. The second is that PTE is the only lesson where the students can meet people outside their chosen subjects, thus allowing them to develop wider relationships and encouraging inclusivity and understanding among our diverse student population.

Through the PTE programme, students will be presented with further opportunities to explore and live out their faith. For those who wish to participate, there is an annual residential retreat to Ampleforth, as well as the opportunity to travel as part of the Leeds Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, where students care for and befriend sick and vulnerable pilgrims from our area.

Students who study A level Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies (RS) do not attend PTE, although they are welcome to participate in many of the supplementary activities. The values and attitudes taught in PTE are reflected in the A level RS programme. As the majority of the A level RS staff also teach PTE we work as a faculty, sharing resources and ideas across the two areas.