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Net Win for High School Teams

Year sevens from Cardinal Heenan and Mount St Mary’s Catholic High Schools. 

Notre Dame’s CTEC Sport Diploma students hosted an energetic championship on Thursday 7 March. As part of their studies, they invited year seven pupils from our three Catholic partner schools to take part in a netball contest. The idea was not only to provide an opportunity for competition, but also to encourage all those involved to take part in more regular netball training at school.

The year sevens from Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, Corpus Christi Catholic College and Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School played enthusiastically against each other. At the end of an afternoon of high quality sport, Mount St Mary’s won the day. We also chose an outstanding player of the match from Cardinal Heenan and awarded her with a stylish Notre Dame hoodie.

Head of Sport Mr Scott Broadley commented, ‘The Year 7 Catholic partner school netball tournament produced an electric atmosphere in the sports hall. The event was extremely well marshalled and officiated by the CTEC Sport Diploma ‘Notre Girls Can’ team. There was some outstanding netball on display and all the players were rewarded with a positive experience.’

Well done to our fabulous students for organising the event, and thanks to the year sevens for being such good sports.

(posted 13 March 2019)

Geopolitics Mapped Out for Geography Students

A level Geography students with teachers Mrs Hotchkin and Mr Hurrell.

Our students had the chance to meet journalist and author Tim Marshall on Thursday 28 February.

Thanks to funding and support from NCOP, seven of Notre Dame’s A level Geography students attended a talk Mr Marshall gave at The Grammar School at Leeds. Mr Marshall spoke about his bestselling book, Prisoners of Geography, which is an increasingly popular course textbook. He also talked about his experience as a news reporter and presenter. Mr Marshall gave his opinions on the future, suggesting where the next conflict risk might arise. Our students were able to ask him questions such as ‘Is there a future for NATO?’

Mr Marshall, who is originally from Leeds, has more than thirty years’ experience as a journalist. He’s worked for the BBC and Sky News, covering conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia. More recently, he’s reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. As his website states: ‘Tim has been shot with bird pellet in Cairo, hit over the head with a plank of wood in London, bruised by the police in Tehran, arrested by Serbian intelligence, detained in Damascus, declared persona non grata in Croatia, bombed by the RAF in Belgrade and tear-gassed all over the world. However, he says none of this compares with the experience of going to see his beloved Leeds United away at Millwall FC in London.’ (

Prisoners of Geography is Tim’s third book. As geography teacher Mrs Hotchkin says, ‘This has proven itself an invaluable text for all A level Geography students as we’ll as anyone interested in how the world works and global connectivity.’

Our students were pleased to meet the author in person. One of our lower sixth students said, ‘I think Tim Marshall was a very funny and innovative person. Despite the jokes, he taught us fundamental lessons that I never thought would be applicable to A Level geography, in the form of understanding a country’s psychology to delve into geopolitical ideas! ‘

Mr Marshall in action.
(posted 7 March 2019)

Fairtrade Fortnight a Sweet Success

Principal Mrs Barlow is pictured signing a petition to promote fair trade. Also pictured are religious studies teachers Mrs Herring and Mrs Coyle, who organised many of the activities.

Fairtrade Fortnight took place from 25 February to 10 March. Here at Notre Dame, our students and staff organised a wide range of activities to raise awareness of this year’s campaign. This focused on the people (especially the women) who grow cocoa for the chocolate we eat.

The Fairtrade website states: ‘£1.86 is the amount a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs to earn each day in order to achieve a living income. Currently, a typical cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire lives on around 74p a day. Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa live in poverty. For the women the situation is even worse. They may plant and harvest on the farm, look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, and transport the cocoa beans to market but often with fewer rights than men. This is why we at Fairtrade are campaigning for a living income to become a reality for cocoa farmers in West Africa. If we can work together with governments, chocolate companies and retailers to make the commitments and policies necessary, then we can make it happen.’

A team of Notre Dame students encouraged their peers and teachers to sign a petition. This asked our Prime Minister to act. Staff and students created a Fairtrade collage. They displayed it in the lower common room to demonstrate how many Fairtrade products are already available to buy. As usual, the college shop sold Fairtrade chocolate. To round off the week, on Friday 1 March teachers organised a pop up café in the staff room. As this date coincided with St David’s Day, one member of staff cooked a small mountain of Welsh cakes, using as many fair trade ingredients as possible. Taylors of Harrogate kindly provided Fairtrade tea and coffee to accompany the Welsh cakes. We’d like to thank them for their generosity. Staff were encouraged to make donations in exchange for their goodies. We collected £70 for Alzheimer’s Society, a charity that raises awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and supports and cares for those with these conditions.

Head of Religious Studies Mrs Catherine Herring, who was heavily involved in arranging all the activities, said, ‘Fair trade fortnight is a key part of our ethos, living the virtue of solidarity with each other and especially those whose hard work provides us with the ingredients that we all rely on.’

To find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight, please visit the Fairtrade website:

The Fairtrade collage created by our students.
(posted 6 March 2019)

Elevate Enable Exam Excellence

An Elevate Education presenter delivering the ‘Ace Your Exams’ session.

Elevate Education boosted the study skills of Notre Dame’s students during the last week in February. This educational organisation delivered a one-hour seminar to every upper sixth tutor group. The sessions were entitled ‘Ace Your Exams’ and focused on revision and exam techniques. Elevate gave each student a booklet to complete and keep, full to the brim with step-by-step strategies to markedly improve their exam grades.

Elevate Education has been working in the UK since 2013 and has delivered sessions in more than 850 UK schools. The company bases its study skills seminars on international research into the factors that affect exam outcomes for young people. We’ve arranged for our students to access additional resources on the Elevate website, using a password provided during the sessions:

Mrs Mary Owoo, our NCOP HE Progression Officer, arranged the visits with Elevate. She said, ‘The quality of these sessions has been excellent, providing specific and practical advice for our students. The presenters have been highly complementary of the students who have engaged really well in the sessions.’

(posted 1 March 2019)

History Reformed by York Minster Trip

York Minster

York was the chosen destination for our A level History students on Tuesday 26 February. 27 of them had the chance to visit York Minster, a magnificent cathedral of worldwide renown. The Minster is still the site of daily worship and prayer after more than 1000 years. Not only is the building itself beautiful, but the Minster’s collection includes 300,000 objects, some of which are almost 2000 years old.

Our students attended a session in the Minster’s Learning Centre that focused on the significance of the English Reformation during the Tudor period. The Reformation began during the reign of Henry VIII, when he wished to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. His actions led to a rift between England and the Pope, as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

As part of the session, our students donned ecclesiastical robes. They then had a tour of the minster to look for architectural evidence of the events of the Reformation. Both students and staff very much enjoyed the visit. Lower sixth student Nathaniel Kimberley said: ‘I enjoyed the York trip and believe it was beneficial to my A Level course. It provided an opportunity to see the historical impact of the Reformation first-hand.’

(posted 28 February 2019)

Students’ Tate-a-Tate with London Galleries

Thanks to A level Art student J. Woodcock for this article.

On Monday 4 February, a sleepy cohort of 34 upper sixth A level Art students set out to London.

Although the coach trip was long and arduous, the destination made it all worthwhile. We had the opportunity to visit two wonderful galleries: the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. The Tate Britain is home to a plethora of art, primarily celebrating British creativity. Everyone found some form of inspiration from either the stunning architecture, the classical sculpture, the unnerving modern installations or the classical paintings.

As we travelled from one venue to the next we took in the moody scenery, passing The Gherkin, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Shard, and the Millennium Bridge, which was used as a location for the filming of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

The Tate Modern contained an eclectic mix of contemporary art that provided a sensory overload, from the impactful paintings to the ambiguous installations and sculptures. Overall, the trip gave everyone a chance to conduct in-depth research into this year’s exam theme (Variation and Similarity) and find a way to put their own spin on the subject.

A huge thank you to Mr Farago, Ms Meehan, and Miss Hyde, without whom this trip would not have been possible.

(posted 14 February 2019)

College Careers Convention Enthuses Employers

Notre Dame’s Careers Fair 2019

2019’s annual careers fair at Notre Dame was our most successful yet!

On Thursday 7 February, a record number of employers – 48! – staffed stands in our main hall. Their role: to offer advice and information about the careers their organisations could offer. Our students certainly kept them busy! Not only was the event open to every student at Notre Dame, but we also invited year 11 pupils from our Catholic partnership schools, and Cardinal Heenan High School attended.

The employers and apprenticeship providers present included the Army, ASDA, the Apprenticeship Hub and BT, as well as Appris, Ernst Young, the Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Nestle. We received excellent feedback on the event, both from our students and the employers who staffed stands. On the day, financial company First Intuition tweeted, ‘It’s fantastic to meet so many enthusiastic, bright young people wanting to become finance apprentices. Employers take note: this is where your future employees are!’

Careers Adviser Ms Liz Crick, who organised the careers fair, said: ‘The event was a great success and we couldn’t have done this without the support of our students. Employers were thoroughly impressed by their amazing enthusiasm, mature and professional attitude, and their very focused and engaging questions. They were a credit to the college and we are very proud of them all.’

Thanks to Ms Crick for all her hard work in setting up this inspirational event.

One of our 48 exhibitors.
(posted 14 February 2019)

Students put their Hearts into Fundraising

Members of Student Exec with their charity roses.

As Valentine’s Day approached, our Student Executive team put their heads together to plan a spot of romance-themed fundraising.

They decided to sell artificial roses to their amorous peers and, by Thursday 14 February, had raised £210. The Student Executive team is donating this money to the Children’s Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

(posted 14 February 2019)

Time to Talk about Mental Health

One of Notre Dame’s achievement support tutors, Miss Charlotte Duckitt, organised a ‘Time to Talk’ event in college. Miss Duckitt warmly invited all our teaching and support staff to the college staff room on Thursday 7 February. There, they drank tea, ate biscuits, and got the chance to talk about mental health, all as part of an external campaign to end mental health discrimination.

Around 20 people attended, sharing positive and negative stories about their own mental health, and the mental health of their family members and friends. One member of staff brought in a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamp and explained how it worked.

Miss Duckitt said, ‘The event had a calm and welcoming atmosphere, which allowed for conversations free of judgement. Most staff stayed for the full hour, appreciating the time to have a proper lunch break. They also enjoyed the chance to chat to people they don’t always get to see.’

Miss Duckitt hopes to make this a half-termly event, an idea that will certainly be welcomed by staff.

(posted 13 February 2019)

Students Commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

In every assembly during the week commencing 28 January, Notre Dame students spoke passionately about Holocaust Memorial Day. The commemorative date of January 27 allows us to remember those killed in the Holocaust, as well as those who died in subsequent genocides. We also honour the survivors of genocides, including those who have spoken out about their experiences.

Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day has a theme focusing on remembrance and learning from past events. This year’s theme was ‘Torn From Home’. One of our students spoke about her personal experience as a refugee from Eritrea. Other students talked about events in Rwanda and Myanmar, before quoting Holocaust Survivor Edith Eger.

‘To run away from the past or to fight against our present pain is to imprison ourselves. Freedom is accepting what is and forgiving ourselves, in opening our hearts to discover the miracles that exist now. You can’t change what happened, you can’t change what you did or what was done to you. But you can choose to live now. My precious, you can choose to be free.’

Every assembly began with a moving rendition of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ played and sung by students Beth McManus and Omaatla Phiri. Each one ended with a moment of reflection, followed by a prayer written in a Jewish concentration camp.

We’d like to thank the students involved for their commitment to commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, and their mature approach to this subject. They were upper sixth students Fiori Medhane, Byron Nouakolo and Lucas Sanches De Carvalho, and lower sixth students Matt Gerrard, Mollie McLean and Annwen Thurlow.

(posted 8 February 2019)