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Golden Lunch Ticket for Outstanding Students

Outstanding students. Pictured from left to right are: Aaron Sangha, Laureen Missidimbazi, Aimee Denton, Lydia Earl, Louis Hickling, Matthew Gerrard, Jakub Krajewski, Abbey Calvert, Rhys McLean, Charlotte Ward.

13 Notre Dame students received a golden ticket for lunch with our principal on Friday 10 May. The students were chosen from across lower and upper sixth due to the outstanding contribution they have made to the Notre Dame community. Our principal Mrs Justine Barlow felt that their hard work, resilience, and commitment to extra-curricular activities deserved recognition.

10 of the students were able to attend, enjoying a buffet lunch and the opportunity to speak to the principal. Mrs Barlow was interested in their plans for after college and also sought their opinions about our enrichment programme and whether any additional activities could be offered in future years. The students found out more about her too, asking about her previous roles in education.

Congratulations to all nominated students:

Student NameReason for Nomination
Laureen MissidimbaziCharity work
Aaron SanghaCharity work
Louis HicklingVolunteering at college events
Matthew GerrardOrganised and delivered a week of assemblies
Lydia EarlUnderstanding the true nature of friendship
Aimee DentonUnderstanding the true nature of friendship
Emma WatsonShowing resilience
Rene RoweShowing resilience
Charlotte WardCaptain of the netball team
Jakub KrajewskiCaptain of the basketball academy team
Rhys McLeanCaptain of the 2nd XI football team
Joe FitzpatrickCaptain of the football academy team
Abbey CalvertMember of the U19 Great Britain Underwater Hockey World Championships team
(posted 17 May 2019)

Sports Awards a Winner with Students

Kickoff at the TeamND Sports Awards.

The Sports Department celebrated in style this year, holding a glitzy BAFTA-esque awards event on the evening of Wednesday 8 May.

Here at Notre Dame we are very proud of our sporting achievements. We run highly successful basketball and football academies led by professional coaches, which are designed to combine training with an academic timetable. We also have a range of sports teams that compete on Wednesday afternoons in the Association of Colleges Yorkshire and Humber League. These include basketball, netball, volleyball, and three football teams. All our sporting students are part of TeamND.

At this year’s TeamND Sports Awards, Head of PE and Sport Mr Scott Broadley and Mrs Vic Tiffany (who coordinates all our enrichment activities) ran the show. They were ably supported by the sports teaching staff and team coaches. Invited VIPs included Notre Dame alumni Paddy Miller, Nathan Wyspianski and Richard Downes. Our college principal Mrs Justine Barlow also attended, congratulating the students and presenting each one with a commemorative sports yearbook.

Each team’s coach presented awards for Players’ Player of the Year, Coach’s Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player in their team. In addition, ex-student Paddy Miller presented Victor Ludorum and Victrix Ludorum awards to overall male and female champions. A full list of winners is given below.

Light refreshments were provided for all, as well as musical entertainment and the opportunity to use a free photo booth (all photos are on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/notredamecoll). Midway through the event, students took part in a ‘plank-off’ to see who could hold the plank position the longest. The winner of this battle of wills (and abdominal muscles) was Maria Girt.

Head of PE and Sport Mr Broadley said, ‘Our awards event provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate this vital part of college life and show our students how proud we are of their endeavours. Thank you to all the staff, coaching staff, support staff and our amazing students’.

TeamND Sports Award Winners

Basketball Academy

Coach’s Player of the Year – Matthew Laird

Co-Players’ Player of the Year – Jens Nsengimana Jakub Krajewski

Most Improved Player – Daniel Armintia

Women’s football

Coach’s Player of the Year: Emma Watson

Players’ Player of the Year: Holly Staten

Most Improved Player: Becky Noble

Football Academy

Manager’s Player of the Year – Joe Fitzpatrick

Players’ Player of the Year – Jonah Smith

Most Improved Player – Jose Paulino

Netball

Manager’s Player of the Year – Charlotte Ward

Players’ Player of the Year – Melissa Metcalfe

Most Improved Player – Maria Girt

Football 2nd XI

Coach’s Player of the Year – Aaron Taki

Players’ Player of the Year – Aaron Taki

Most Improved Player – Sulaiman Rauf

Volleyball

Coach’s Player of the Year: Tailson Borges

Players’ Player of the Year: Andrew Sarai

Most Improved Player: Fatemeh Kazemi

Victor Ludorum

George Grubb

Victrix Ludorum

Emma Watson

College principal Justine Barlow congratulated every student and gave them a commemorative sports yearbook.
Students made full use of the photo booth.
The plank-off.
Victrix Ludorum Emma Watson.
Victor Ludorum George Grubb.
Our fabulous sporting students.
(posted 17 May 2019)

Students Inspired by Professor of Diversity

Professor Archibong explaining key skills for success to our students.

On Thursday 9 May, Notre Dame’s level two students were treated to an exclusive and inspirational talk from the University of Bradford’s Professor of Diversity, Uduak Archibong. Professor Archibong was invited to speak at college by Mary Owoo, Notre Dame’s HE Progression Officer, supported by the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP). Professor Archibong talked about her career and explained the strategies she’s used to help her succeed.

Professor Archibong was born in Nigeria, where she worked as a nurse. When she moved to the UK she studied at the University of Hull – completing a PHD – then worked at the University of Bradford. There, her hard work, determination and skill enabled her to progress from a role as a lecturer in nursing, to research coordinator and head of department, before becoming a professor in 2004.

She is now Professor of Diversity at the University of Bradford, and the strategic lead for equality and diversity in our region. She told our students that, ‘Equality and diversity is about removing barriers and challenging behaviour’. The examples she gave included Danny Baker’s recent tweet, which cost him his job at the BBC.

Professor Archibong has a particular interest in workforce equality and showed our students a clip of an inequality experiment carried out with Capuchin monkeys (you can view this here).

She then talked about the importance of self-mastery, and other strategies that could help our students succeed. These included resilience, supporting others and asking for support when you need it, expending your energy wisely, building on your strengths, regularly reviewing how your values have changed, and discovering your personal mission.

During her career as a nurse, lecturer, professor, and equality and diversity champion, Professor Archibong has received many awards, becoming a fellow of the West African College of Nursing in 2001, and a fellow of the Royal College of Nursing in 2012. In 2015 she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her contributions to higher education and equality.

Her work has been greatly influenced by her mother, who raised her alone after the death of her father, and always did her best to support people in their community. In turn, Professor Archibong has inspired our students to strive for the changes they wish to create in the world, and to remain true to their own path, working patiently to overcome any challenges they meet.

Student comments after the event included, ‘Her story was interesting because she was really open when talking about race’ and I learned from the speaker that if you want to be successful you have to go through a lot, it’s going to be hard but the end result makes it worth it’.

(posted 14 May 2019)

Parliament Trip gets Students’ Vote

Politics students debate with Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP.

Our Politics A level wouldn’t feel complete without a visit to the Houses of Parliament. So Notre Dame’s students travelled to London on Monday 29 April for a grand tour, and to meet with the Right Honourable Hilary Benn MP.

Mr Benn encouraged our students to engage in a lively discussion while they visited a committee room overlooking the Thames. Hot topics included Brexit, voting systems, air pollution and poor public transport in Leeds, as well as Extinction Rebellion and direct action generally. One of our students, Macsen Tiffany, pressed Mr Benn to take access to music lessons and tuition more seriously for children from deprived backgrounds.

In addition to touring the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Hall, our students got to see Portcullis House where MPs have their offices. They also walked around Whitehall, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden.

Politics teacher Dr Warnes said, ‘We were hoping to meet privately with both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to advise them on the Brexit deal, but sadly we didn’t get the chance.’

(posted 9 May 2019)

Parents Updated about Higher Education

A parent speaking to staff from the University of Leeds.

This year’s annual Notre Dame Higher Education Parents’ Evening took place on Thursday 25 April.

The event was attended by around 300 parents and carers of lower sixth students. Its aim was to inform parents about the UCAS application process and the range of related support provided by staff at college.

Assistant Principal Mrs Sarah Dumont welcomed those attending and explained the UCAS application schedule as well as outlining widening participation access schemes and alternatives to university. A representative of Leeds Beckett University talked about the student finance process, then parents were invited to attend a variety of subject-specific talks. These included a bespoke session about applying to Oxford and Cambridge Universities, or for medicine, dentistry or veterinary science.

Parents also had the opportunity to speak to 15 universities, the Leeds Apprenticeship Hub, and National Citizen Service (NCS), who all staffed stands in our upper common room. Exhibitors were asked about courses, campuses, finance, applications and all other aspects of higher level study.

Our attendees found the event very useful. One parent said, ‘Thank you for a fantastic and informative evening to help us support and motivate our child.’

Head of Careers Mrs Anna Dickinson added, ‘This year’s HE Parents’ Evening was a huge success. There was a great buzz around college with a wide range of HE providers offering information, advice and guidance to our lower sixth parents. A special thank you to Leeds Beckett University for providing the student finance talk. And thank you to all the parents who took the time to visit Notre Dame and make the most of the valuable information provided. If you missed the HE Parents’ Evening and would like to receive further information please feel free to contact the Careers Department using careers@ndonline.ac.uk

Leeds Beckett University staff explain student finance.
University stands in the Upper Common Room.
(posted 3 May 2019)

Spanish Students Hit New Heights in Grand Granada

Our students and staff in El Realejo in Granada.

During the 2019 Easter holiday, 34 of Notre Dame’s A level Spanish students enjoyed a fantastic ten-day visit to Granada, Spain.

Throughout the trip they took part in a variety of activities. Highlights included a 17 kilometre hike in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, along a river in a gorge to a mountain peak with incredible views of the valley. Continuing to make the most of the weather, our students took a day trip to the beach to play volleyball, football and traditional Spanish games. They used up the rest of their energy at salsa and flamenco dancing lessons, then enjoyed a more sedate visit to the beautiful Alhambra Palace.

Each student stayed with a host family to enhance their language skills. Their mornings began with lessons at a prestigious Spanish school, designed to stretch and challenge them. Our students were also invited to deliver presentations in a secondary school, one about Yorkshire and the other about Brexit – both in Spanish, of course. They did us proud, and all had an amazing experience.

‘It’s the best way to practice your Spanish. There’s nowhere to hide!’ said student Kieran Masso.

Student Cate Young added, ‘We walked everywhere but it was worth it. The Alhambra Palace is a hidden treasure!’

Thanks to Mrs Gonzalez-Latham, Mr Sampson and Mrs Castro for giving up their Easter break to run the trip.

(posted 2 May 2019)

Notre Dame’s Passiontide Services

Students re-enact elements of the final journey of Jesus.

As Lent continued into the first week of April, assemblies at Notre Dame focused on the Passion of Jesus.

Each year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. These weeks are some of the most important in the calendar of the Catholic Church. For many centuries, the fifth Sunday in Lent (Sunday April 7 in 2019) was known as Passion Sunday. This marked the start of Passiontide. Here at Notre Dame, we commemorated the Passion and prepared for the miracle of Easter with a week of Passiontide services.

The Passion (from the Latin passionem, meaning suffering or enduring) refers to the final period in the life of Jesus. Our Passiontide services focused on the Stations of the Cross, which recall the mental and physical wounds Jesus suffered between his trial before Pontius Pilate and his crucifixion on Good Friday. A group of staff and students re-enacted elements of his last journey. Readings and prayers were interspersed with beautiful but solemn hymns and music. Those listening did so respectfully, and left each service in quiet reflection.

The student who played the role of Jesus said, ‘It has been amazing to actualise one of the most important parts of the Christian calendar, bringing this story to life.’

(posted 10 April 2019)

Students Support Cambridge University Project

The University of Cambridge.

Upper sixth A level Sociology students met Notre Dame alumna Eloise Pearson at the end of March 2019.

Eloise is completing an MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge. She attended Notre Dame from 2012 to 2014, studying A level Classics, English Language, and English Literature, attaining grades A, A* and A* respectively. Before coming to us, she went to St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy.

As part of her master’s degree, Eloise is completing a research project that focuses on the experiences of young women in terms of social media use. She was keen to speak to our female students, to find out their opinions on how social media posting affects their aspirations.

Eloise conducted one-hour focus groups with our students on 20 and 21 March. She showed our students trending images from the Instagram accounts of public figures, then asked them to respond. Students discussed a number of question prompts in relation to each picture.

The following week, Eloise returned to Notre Dame to carry out 20-30 minute interviews with the same students. Areas discussed included their social media posting habits, favourite blogs, and most used sites.

(posted 8 April 2019)

Higher Education Day: Epic Event

Students from Notre Dame and Cardinal Heenan explore their university options.

Every year we offer our lower sixth students a higher education event on a scale unmatched by any other sixth form in Leeds. This year, we invited year 11 pupils from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School to come along.

Higher education day took place on April 28. The Notre Dame Careers Department invited 58 universities to set up stands in the sports hall, where our students asked them about their courses, locations, entry requirements, and every other aspect of degree-level study.

As well as speaking to a huge range of local and national universities, our students had the chance to find out about worldwide gap year opportunities. They also attended a carousel of presentations with topics including how to choose a degree course, student finance, and how to write a personal statement as part of a university application.

On the afternoon of the event, our students took part in two subject-specific workshops of their choice from a list of 38. Some of the most popular were law, business, and health. Our lower sixth particularly enjoyed the student life panel, where they quizzed current undergraduates, and got a realistic idea of life at university. Those who wanted to explore options other than higher education were able to speak to the Leeds Apprenticeship Hub about the growth sectors and upcoming roles in our region and beyond.

After Easter, these students will continue to research their post-18 options with support from their personal tutors and the careers team. So that their parents and carers are equally well informed, we’ll invite them to a Higher Education Parents’ Evening on Thursday April 25 from 6-8pm. In the meantime, we’d like to thank Mrs Dickinson, our Careers Manager, who led on the organisation of this year’s remarkable HE Day.

(posted 4 April 2019)

Social Science Undergraduates Inspire Future Students

A University of Leeds student discussing her degree subject.

Here at Notre Dame, we have five ‘Future’ programmes designed to support students with their career aspirations. One of these programmes is Future Public Services, perfect for students interested in studying subjects like politics, geography, or law at university. Those who sign up take part in a suite of activities to inspire them, build their confidence, and give them an insight into higher-level study.

During February and March, our NCOP Higher Education Progression Officer and NCOP Public Services Champion organised four presentations for Future Public Services students. University of Leeds student ambassadors delivered these, visiting Notre Dame to provide tailored information for our lower sixth students. As well as explaining the degree courses on offer, the ambassadors answered our students’ questions.

The degree subjects discussed were:

  • Politics (including parliamentary studies) and social policy
  • Geography with transport, and business management with marketing
  • Social science subjects, and law

The purpose of these presentations was to help our students develop an understanding and awareness of the range of undergraduate subjects available. The University is keen – as are we – to ensure that all our students feel able to aspire to higher education, and can overcome any barriers to attending university.

Our students benefited from being able to ask questions of current undergraduates and develop more realistic ideas about life as a student. They asked about everything from study techniques, to the university social life, to job prospects as a graduate. One commented that the sessions, ‘really brought the idea of being a university student to life.’

(posted 3 April 2019)