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Fieldwork a Breeze for Geography Students

Fun in the Sun for A level Geography Students.

The weather may have been inclement when our students visited the Yorkshire coast, but their dispositions were sunny.

75 of our lower sixth A level Geography students joined the trip to Bridlington, Hornsea and Mappleton on the 25th and 27th of September. The purpose of the visit was to equip them with transferable fieldwork skills that they can utilise when they embark on their independent investigations later in the year. As you can see from the photo above, they also had a lot of fun.

You can find out more about our exciting A Level Geography programme by visiting us on Open Morning this Saturday, 12 October.

Fieldwork a Breeze for Geography Students

Fun in the Sun for A level Geography Students.

The weather may have been inclement when our students visited the Yorkshire coast, but their dispositions were sunny.

75 of our lower sixth A level Geography students joined the trip to Bridlington, Hornsea and Mappleton on the 25th and 27th of September. The purpose of the visit was to equip them with transferable fieldwork skills that they can utilise when they embark on their independent investigations later in the year. As you can see from the photo above, they also had a lot of fun.

You can find out more about our exciting A Level Geography programme by visiting us on Open Morning this Saturday, 12 October.

(posted 11 October 2019)

Fair Showcases Excellent Enrichment Offer

Students from the Debate Society encourage others to join.

There was a real buzz at our Enrichment Fair on Tuesday 17 September. This lunchtime event gave new and returning Notre Dame students plenty of ideas about how to enhance their college experience.

Our enrichment programme has been designed not only for the enjoyment of our students, but also to develop their confidence, fitness, and ability to succeed in the workplace and at higher levels of study. Every CV and university application form can benefit from the addition of meaningful extra-curricular activities. Our enrichment offer also reflects a key aspect of Notre Dame’s ethos: our focus on the development of the whole person, and our aim to enable each of our students to reach their full potential.

To that end, this year’s smorgasbord of enrichment delights – showcased during the fair – includes:

  • Debate Society
  • The Eco Team
  • Korean School
  • Greek Club
  • Climbing
  • Chess
  • Work Experience
  • Beginner’s Guitar
  • English Enrichment (Advanced English and the Student Voice newspaper)
  • Dance
  • PHAB Club (
  • Trips
    • Italy
    • Berlin
    • Peru
    • China
    • Lourdes
  • Sports Teams
    • Men’s Football
    • Women’s Football
    • Netball
    • Volleyball
    • Basketball
    • Recreational Basketball
    • Badminton
    • Rugby
    • Hockey

Any students who missed the fair should speak to Mr Tom Thorpe, who is based in the Achievement Tutors Office, for further information. Suggestions for additional enrichment activities can also be passed to him. Students seeking work experience are encouraged to make an appointment with our Work Experience Coordinator, Miss Heather Taylor, by email.

(posted 10 October 2019)

Bishop Blesses New College Peace Garden

The Right Rev. Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds, with College Principal Mrs Justine Barlow, in Notre Dame’s Peace Garden.

The rain of autumn didn’t dampen the warm welcome given to The Right Rev. Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds, at the service for the opening of our new peace garden.

With money donated by The Rhodes Trust, we created a small, seated area in St Joseph’s Court to encourage our students to participate in quiet moments of contemplation.

The service opened with the hymn Make me a Channel of your Peace sung in Spanish by the Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Chary González-Latham, and in English by upper sixth student Elizabeth Whitworth-Woodhead. Matthew Gerrard, the President of the Student Executive, led the welcome by thanking the Bishop for his commitment to post-16 Catholic education. Anna Ceuca, also a member of the Student Executive, read a poem written by our Oxbridge Co-ordinator Mrs Kitty Graham, which reflected the nature of Notre Dame. Our Principal, Mrs Justine Barlow, read a passage from St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians that reflects on the peace of God, which passes all understanding.

In his homily, Bishop Marcus spoke about how peace gardens were once common in medieval England. The names of flowers reflect this. For example, ‘marigolds’ is derived from ‘Mary’s gold’, which is apt for a college named after Our Lady.

Lower sixth students Codie Bahar and Marina Costa read the prayers of intercession, praying for the College that we may grow in faith and encourage one another with words of hope. At the end of the service the staff choir, accompanied by the assembled staff and students, sang a hymn to Our Lady, Stella Maris, the ocean star.

Bishop Marcus blessed the garden, accompanied by: our Principal Mrs Barlow; Dr James Hagerty, a trustee from The Rhodes Trust; Fr. Michael Hall, a governor of the College; and senior staff. All took note of the beautiful mural of a cross containing the word ‘peace’ in many different languages, and the benches that are made of recycled plastic saved from landfill. In the summer, we will plant more flowers to develop the beauty of the area.

(posted 4 October 2019)

Ex-Student Scores Spot in Top Basketball Team

Ex-student Patrick Onyia proudly displaying his Team ND vest.

Notre Dame Alumnus Patrick Onyia has scored a place in Northumbria University’s Basketball Men’s 1st team.

Patrick was already an outstanding player when he joined Notre Dame’s Basketball Academy in 2016. During his time at college, he was named Basketball Player of the Year at the Team ND Sports Awards. He achieved all this while studying for A level Maths, Product Design and Physics in preparation for his career as an architect.

In September 2018, Patrick began a degree in architecture at Northumbria University. After a year in the Men’s 2nd team, he impressed the coaches so much that they moved him into the 1st team for the 2019-20 season. For Patrick, ‘going into the season as a 1st team player for a top basketball University in the UK is a challenge that I am taking on with great excitement, and one where I will definitely be giving my all.’

Patrick has fond memories of Notre Dame’s sporting community. ‘I really enjoyed my time playing basketball for Team ND. From the training sessions, to our games every Wednesday, the College has been a major factor in shaping the player I am now and the player I will be in the future. Having Ricky as a coach at Notre Dame helped me a lot because he has the ability to see the game from both a coaching and a playing perspective, since he is still an active professional player for the Bradford Dragons.’

In fact, the head coach for our Basketball Academy, Ricky Fetske, also played for Northumbria University’s Men’s 1st team. During the 2013-14 academic year, Ricky was studying there for an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Shortly after that, he began working at Notre Dame, and has been supporting students like Patrick to achieve sporting excellence ever since.

We wish Patrick the best of luck for the 2019-20 season and beyond.

(posted 23 September 2019)

Trip to Dales & Lake District Reaches New Heights

One of our students tackling Hutton Roof Crags.

During Enrichment Week last year, our students had the chance to spend three days in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, developing their mountaineering skills with the support of our intrepid staff.

On Monday 1 July, plans to climb Twistleton Scar were thwarted by rain. So instead, a visit to Ingleton climbing wall was arranged. There, students were introduced to climbing with rope, and without (this is known as bouldering).

At the end of this training session, the group travelled to the Lake District to stay at a mountaineering hut in Patterdale belonging to the FRCC (Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District). The warden of the hut bent over backwards to accommodate our students. That evening, the students cooked dinner, which was followed by a stroll in the sunshine.

On Tuesday 2 July, the group travelled from Patterdale to the end of the Borrowdale valley, from which they started their ascent towards the summit of Scafell Pike (the highest mountain in England). The weather was good without being too warm. Everyone reached the summit, some needing more encouragement than others! A great sense of achievement was felt by all.

On the way back to the hut, they visited Keswick for a well-deserved dinner, then stopped by Aira Force to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery that the Lake District has to offer.

On Wednesday 3 July, after an enormous breakfast, the students cleaned the hut in order to leave it as they found it. As the weather was glorious, the group decided to stop at the Cumbrian village of Hutton Roof, above which a small crag offers plenty of opportunities for climbing. In addition, Hutton Roof Crags has some of the best areas of limestone pavement in Britain, with a wealth of unusual plants and animals. After a full day of climbing and sunbathing in the warm sunshine, everyone headed back to Notre Dame.

This trip enabled our students to enjoy the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District, but they are also using the experience to work towards an award with the John Muir Trust, which is ‘a conservation charity dedicated to the experience, protection and repair of wild places.’ You can find out more about the John Muir Award here and here.

Thank you to staff members Tony Ryland, Anne Chevalier, Tom Humphreys and Ollie Horton for organising and supervising the trip.

(posted 18 September 2019)

Industry Insight for Health & Social Care Students

Our outstanding health & social care students.

Congratulations to 10 Notre Dame students taking the Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care, who successfully completed 8 weeks of work placement across their first year of study.

Our full-time health and social care CTEC, which is equivalent to 3 A levels, provides students with in depth knowledge of their subject, as well as allowing them to gain extensive experience in the workplace. During the 2018-19 academic year, this work experience included two weeks in a social care setting, one week undertaking enrichment activities with Leeds Teaching Hospitals, and 4 weeks in either St. James’ Hospital or at Leeds General Infirmary. The month-long placement enabled students to immerse themselves in the day-to-day life of a hospital. Our students worked in a range of departments, including cardiology, respiratory medicine, and surgery. They gained an insight into what life might be like as a nurse, developed a range of employability skills, and increased their overall confidence. Though the placements were highly demanding – both physically and mentally – our students thrived and the feedback they received was extremely positive. 

Gemma Driver, who completed a surgical rotation placement, was described as a ‘star student… willing to take on any task she was given, and complete it to the best of her ability’. Celia Vaz and Hannah Ntaibu were both complimented for showing patience and resilience, as well as being highly competent in recording patient observations. Lily Williamson was praised as ‘outstanding… one of the most helpful students the team has ever worked with.’ These comments, made by experienced medical professionals, clearly illustrate the maturity and excellent work ethic of this group of students.

To celebrate their successes in the work place we held an event for these students, which was also attended by their parents and senior staff from college. Each student was presented with a certificate, chocolates and a book entitled The Language of Kindness; a Nurse’s Story, which hopefully provided some inspiring summer reading.

These placements formed a part of Notre Dame’s work with the Capacity Delivery Fund, which aims to increase the provision of long-term industry placements available to students studying at post-16. This year, we aim to provide placements of 9 weeks for 22 students studying health and social care. This sector looks set to grow in the Leeds region, so we value the opportunity to equip our students with the experience they need to thrive in this area of work.

(posted 16 September 2019)

Investment Hits the Target

Funding for our Women’s Football team

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College is delighted to have been selected as one of thirty colleges to receive English Colleges FA Growth Funding to support the formation of a new Women’s Football Cat 3 (Regional league) team. 

The college was chosen out of 100 applicants to receive the funding which will help establish a sustainable Women’s Football team over the next 3 years, allowing new and existing students to participate and therefore creating a more inclusive extra-curricular offer.

The money will help provide qualified and licensed coaches, referees and kit to help the Women’s Football team improve their skills and abilities, and give them a positive and enjoyable experience of football / futsal whilst studying at college. 

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College is extremely passionate about ensuring their students are able to join a sporting community to keep them physically active and positively impact their mental wellbeing. 

Notre Dame will also welcomed brand new changing room and foyer facilities for the 2019/2020 academic year and season. The refurbishment represents the College’s commitment in ensuring the Football & Basketball Academy players and A level Physical Education & Sport CTEC students train, develop and learn in a professionally facilitated environment.

Changing Room Revamp
Work in Progress: Brand New Foyer
(posted 30 August 2019)

Notre Dame Results Day 2019 Success!

Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College are proud to announce our students have once again achieved exceptional results.

We are celebrating 828 A Level high grades (A*-B) achieved; 75% of students achieved high grades (D*-D) in BTEC courses; 142 A* grades achieved and a phenomenal one out of every two students achieved a high grade at A Level.

Some students gained exceptional results, including 43 students achieved three A*-A, 204 students gained 3 or 4 high grades at A level and 65 students gained a high grade in A Level Chemistry.

The success keeps on coming! Each year a number of the College’s students go on to secure places at the most highly sought after and competitive universities in the country, including Oxford and Cambridge. We are pleased to announce 100% of our Oxbridge applicants achieved their place. This can be put down, in part, to the College’s Enhancing Excellence programme. Notre Dame students are at the front of the queue when it comes to receiving the best advice, guidance, support and preparation when applying to Oxbridge and also to other Russell Group universities.

Grace Scanlon (pictured) gained her place studying English at the University of Oxford after achieving three As. Justin Augustine (pictured) is also celebrating gaining a place at the University of Manchester to study Computer Science after achieving an A* and three As.

Notre Dame Principal, Justine Barlow said: “I am absolutely delighted by the results students achieved this year. This is clearly a result of hard work, determination and high aspirations from not only our students, but from parents and our dedicated staff who always go above and beyond to support our students. Congratulations to all and we wish you all the best in your bright futures”.

(posted 15 August 2019)

Ex-Student A Right Swine!

Ex-Notre Dame Student Tom Lewis in recent BBC production Gentleman Jack.

Here at Notre Dame, we were very pleased to see college alumnus Tom Lewis gracing our TV screens in the recent HBO/BBC production, Gentleman Jack. Tom, who left Notre Dame in 2010, played beleaguered son Thomas Sowden in the series. His character’s storyline led to a dramatic incident in a pigpen. If you haven’t seen it yet, the entire series is still available on BBC iPlayer, but only until August 6.

Tom Lewis attended Ralph Thoresby School before he came to Notre Dame. Here, he took A levels in English Language & Literature, History, Theatre Studies, and also attained an AS in Classics. Staff who knew him at the time weren’t surprised by his success, stating, ‘You could tell he had talent. We always thought he’d go far.’

With a second series announced, it won’t be long before Tom is back, filming at Shibden Hall, near Halifax. We wish him the very best of luck with this, and can’t wait to see what he does next.

(posted 31 July 2019)

Making an Art of the Exhibition

Notre Dame alumna Georgia Stones with her piece at the
SFCA National Arts Exhibition.

One of Notre Dame’s alumna had her work on display at this year’s SFCA National Arts Exhibition, entitled Cloud Land. Based in Alexandra Palace, London, the aim of the exhibition was ‘to advance arts in education, to recognise and celebrate excellence in the arts, and to stimulate our thinking.’ (Read more at

Among the pieces chosen for the exhibition was the work pictured, by ex-student Georgia Stones. Georgia went to Temple Moor High School before she studied A level Art, Biology and Psychology at Notre Dame. After leaving us in the summer of 2018, she worked towards a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Leeds Arts University. From September 2019, she will be studying for a BA in Graphic Communication and Illustration at Loughborough University, where we hope she will continue to make an exhibition of herself!

(posted 29 July 2019)