We’re pleased to announce that Notre Dame is now a Cambridge HE+ hub for Leeds!
The University of Cambridge HE+ project is designed to academically challenge the brightest young people, to raise their aspirations and to encourage applications to selective universities. The project is collaborative, enabling the University to work with its choice of state schools and colleges. HE+ is a year-long programme for lower sixth students, which includes masterclasses, guidance sessions and a visit to the University.
We launched the HE+ project at college on Tuesday 26 November. The 40 lower sixth students who were selected to be part of it spent the day attending lectures and a seminar. Over the year they will have four days of events in Leeds and a residential in Cambridge.
Competition amongst students at the Leeds and Wakefield schools and colleges who are part of the project has been very intense. HE+ will offer those selected from Notre Dame the support and guidance to give them the very best chance of attending a world-class university.
Enhancing Excellence Coordinator Ms Kitty Graham said, ‘This is a great opportunity, which will help our students to get into top universities, whether or not they decide to apply for Cambridge. I’m looking forward to finding out more as the year progresses.’
CTEC Business students were glad they got out of bed on the day Harrison Spinks came to Notre Dame.
Mr Ruairi Giles, Commercial Director at Harrison Spinks, visited college on 19 November to talk about the company, which operates from a site on Westland Road, Leeds. They have been bed makers for 178 years, and currently have more than 600 employees, including some of Notre Dame’s ex-students!
Mr Giles explained the work of different departments within the company, allowing our students to understand how their theoretical learning in lessons could be put into practise. Students found his description of the Research and Development Department particularly interesting, learning about the development of spring technology and recyclable mattress fillings. For those considering a career in digital marketing, the information that Mr Giles provided about the company’s use of social media was particularly insightful.
Students were surprised to discover that Harrison Spinks have a 300-acre farm in North Yorkshire where their farmers rear sheep for wool to be used in their mattresses. They also fell their own woodland, and have staff who work on their mattresses by hand. More information about the company can be found here: https://www.harrisonspinks.co.uk/
On behalf of Notre Dame’s Business Department, we’d like to thank Mr Giles for taking time out of his busy schedule to further develop our students’ understanding of how a business operates.
Notre Dame’s annual STEM Fair took place on November 12 this year, with a wide variety of businesses, organisations and universities attending.
This event aimed to promote higher education courses and careers relating to subjects such as maths, the sciences, engineering, IT and computing, geography, psychology, design, sports science, construction, and allied health professions to our student community. The majority of those who attended were studying STEM subjects, but the fair was open to anyone with an interest in the information and activities on offer. The 17 employers and higher education providers who staffed stands represented the full spectrum of STEM opportunities available for our students.
They included Leeds Trinity and Manchester Metropolitan Universities, University Centre Leeds, and the Universities of Bradford, Salford and Sheffield, all of whom provided detailed course information for our students. The bounty of employers and apprenticeship providers present came from sectors such as IT, civil and aircraft engineering, the pharmaceutical industry, the armed forces, sports science and the NHS. So thank you to Babington, BT, Covance Clinical Research Ltd., John Sisk and Son, Leeds Galleries and Museums, LSS online, PWC, Royal Air Force Careers and The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust for giving up their time.
Leeds College of Building also attended to showcase the construction industry, and YIPIYAP talked to our students about a golden gap year opportunity.
Head of Careers Mrs Anna Dickinson said, ‘The STEM fair was another great success at Notre Dame. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to find out more about STEM progression routes including apprenticeships, HE options, employment and beyond. It was lovely for some of our Notre Dame alumni to be present at the event and for new employers to come on board. We look forward to seeing you all our 2020 STEM event!‘
Notre Dame made a song and dance of the Children in Need Appeal this year.
At our weekly staff briefing, early on the morning of Friday 15 November, staff were treated to a special performance. A group of onesie-clad students (not to mention our Lay Chaplain, and Head of Biology) danced to Tony Christie’s (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, raising smiles and much needed funds for this worthy cause. They were rewarded with resounding applause and a grand total of £288 to donate.
Many of our staff and students dressed up for the occasion, posing for the camera in their Pudsey onesies, as you can see below. To find out more about the work done by Children in Need, please click here.
Our students were encouraged to consider the age-old philosophical question: ‘does the end justify the means?’ in PTE classes on Friday 8 November.
Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (PTE) is a core part of our curriculum for all students, and encourages them to share and evaluate their opinions and beliefs, as well as listening to those of others. The aims of PTE are to enable our students to engage in healthy debate, and develop them as a whole person.
Guest speakers have a key part to play in our PTE programme, and on November 8, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Scullion, who serves in the British Army, visited classes to discuss his experiences. He talked to students about helping to sustain peace, and the ethics of warfare. He explained the differences between consequentialism and utilitarianism and how they might apply in the arena of war. Students then had the chance to ask him any questions and offer their own opinions on the topics at hand.
Margaret Stapylton, Head of PTE, said, ‘It is fantastic when people like Sean are willing to share their experiences and the wisdom they have gleaned from life. Students and staff appreciated his insight, honesty and integrity.’
Catherine Herring, Head of A Level Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies, added, ‘’The students responded to Sean’s experiences with a mixture of awe and respect’.
Teams from schools across the Leeds Diocese took part in the second annual Trinity Cup on Monday 1 July 2019.
The Trinity Cup is a philosophical debating competition held here at Notre Dame. Year 10 students took part from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, St Thomas à Becket Catholic Secondary School in Wakefield, Holy Family Catholic School in Keighley, St. John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy in Dewsbury and St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate. They discussed questions such as ‘Should we all be vegan?’, ‘Is there any evidence that God exists’ and ‘Is Christmas no longer a religious festival’, finishing off with ‘Should footballers be paid more than doctors?’
Notre Dame alumna Holly Kirk, who studied A level Religious Studies with us, helped to judge the debates. Dr Ann Marie Mealey, representing our sponsor Leeds Trinity University, then awarded the winning trophy to a team from St Thomas à Becket. Our Principal Mrs Justine Barlow gave certificates of participation to all students and a trophy to each school.
In addition, we gave a special commendation and the Stella Maris Award to one year 10 student who made an outstanding contribution and best exemplified the Catholic virtues during the course of the day.
The feedback from students and staff alike was overwhelmingly positive so we look forward to running the Trinity Cup again in 2020.
Each year Notre Dame’s lay chaplain and teaching staff accompany students on a visit to Ampleforth Abbey. The purpose of this annual trip is to provide the opportunity to enjoy a period of quiet reflection, and come into the presence of God.
On 17 and 18 October 2019, eleven students travelled to the Abbey, accompanied by alumnus Alex Noad, who has experience of working with young people in religious settings. While at the Abbey, the group explored the history of its monastic community and spoke to one of the Benedictine monks about his daily life. As the Abbey’s website explains, ‘Ampleforth Abbey is home to a community of more than 55 monks who seek God according to the Gospel and the Rule of St Benedict. (Find out more here.)
Our students also visited the chocolate factory at Ampleforth Plus; a social enterprise that trains ‘people with autism and learning disabilities in vocational and administration placements.’ The land, premises, and much of the equipment used by Ampleforth Plus is provided by the Ampleforth Abbey Trust.
No visit to Ampleforth would be complete without spending time in the beautiful 2,000 acre estate, enjoying the tranquil surroundings and visiting the Abbey’s lakes. Our students certainly benefited from this peaceful retreat, one stating that it ‘had been enlightening.’
What did our Head of Theatre Arts, Mr Graham Hamlyn, describe to his colleagues as ‘great fun, exciting, mind numbing, euphoric and physically the toughest thing I’ve ever done in equal measure’? Running the Yorkshire Marathon of course!
Mr Hamlyn decided to make this a marathon year, finishing a hat-trick of half marathons (in Sheffield, Leeds and Hull), before running the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday 20 October 2019.
Mr Hamlyn (and two friends, who also ran at each event) hoped to raise £1000 for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. So far they have raised a whopping £1, 260!
As Mr Hamlyn stated on his Just Giving page, ‘The only running I used to do was chasing the ice cream van. Over the last two years, I’ve got a real enjoyment out of doing half marathons. I’m not fast but I’m determined to tick this one off and be proud to finish it, and hopefully raise a bit of money too for what is a great cause.’
After the race, Mr Hamlyn said, ‘I’m so glad I did it, but I need to forget the pain of this one before considering anything like this again. Many thanks to everyone who donated.’
The Jane Tomlinson Appeal is the legacy of the late inspirational Jane Tomlinson CBE and exists to support children’s health and wellbeing and to improve the lives of people with cancer. You can read more about the Jane Tomlinson Appeal here.
If you’d like to contribute, there’s still time to donate to Mr Hamlyn’s Just Giving page.
Congratulations to upper sixth student Niyah Stanislawski-Doyle, who took part in a charity skydive on Saturday 5 October.
Niyah decided to take the brave step of jumping out of a plane to raise money for St Gemma’s Hospice. So far she’s raised an impressive £142.50! If you can support this fantastic cause, and help Niyah reach her fundraising target of £400, please visit her fundraising page.
Thursday 10 October was World Mental Health Day, and here at Notre Dame we organised a range of supportive activities for everyone in our community.
Our College Counsellor Miss Charlotte Anderton arranged a Positive Mental Health Fair for students and staff. It ran during lunchtime in the lower study area and helped attendees to:
- Find out what support is on offer
- Get advice on how to help others
- Try fun activities
- Take away goodies
- Sign up for courses and support
- Learn about working in the support sector
- Join Tea and Talk with the Student Exec
One of our Achievement Tutors, Miss Charlotte Duckitt, set up a Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair in the staffroom. Representatives of adult mental health support services were invited to staff stands, as were businesses and services promoting ways for staff to look after themselves and practice wellbeing. Highlights included:
- Massages from Neil’s Yard Remedies
- Facials from The Body Shop
- Information from Andy’s Man Club
- Stress management courses offered by Leeds Mindfulness Co-operative
- Information from Brunsmeer Awareness FC
- Free biscuits, cake, tea and coffee
Both events were extremely successful and very busy. Here at Notre Dame, we appreciate the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing for all our staff and students, so we’d like to thank Miss Anderton and Miss Duckitt for their efforts. More information about World Mental Health Day and sources of support can be found here.