Dear Parent/ Carer
Here we are at the last week of the academic year, but things are certainly not winding down.
Since the last Blog, amongst all the normal business of school, we have had our Summer Festival, featuring the Summer Showcase and Art Exhibition. Some of our students and staff have been part of the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, we celebrated a year of great achievement and participation in Sport at our Sports Presentation Evening and we have had our Enrichment Days with a wide range of trips, retreats and other activities. Last week our Y13 students gathered again as a community for the 6th form Ball and we topped the week off with our Sports Day. Reflecting on all of this, I am once again filled with pride to be part of this community. Sports Day as always particularly reflected for me the strengths of the school. The students all threw themselves into competing and supporting one another, but did so with a sense of fun and friendship. In this, they were led by members of staff who were managing to maintain their enthusiasm at the end of a tiring academic year. So as we approach the end of term, I want to take this opportunity to thank the students and staff for all the ways that they make this a special community, in the normal days and when we do something a bit different.
Also, at this time of year, we are as always about to say goodbye to some members of staff. Mr Pender is leaving us to take up a position as Head Teacher at All Saints School from September. We wish him every success and thank him for his great service to Notre Dame. I am personally delighted that I will continue to work closely with him within our family of Catholic schools in the diocese. Mrs Dent will be starting a well-earned retirement, having worked with us for 14 years and having done so much to establish our Social Sciences department and, indeed, our allotment. Mrs Bullough and Miss Haggar are also sadly leaving us, each to take up new posts which are closer to home. We wish both of them well and offer our sincere thanks for their hard work and commitment to this school and our children. Mr Churchill who has been with our Science Department covering Mrs Waller’s maternity leave will be going on to pastures new from September, as will Mr Carmichael who has worked in our Maths department.
I am sure that each of those colleagues noted above will not mind me highlighting five other members of staff who are embarking on well-earned retirement this year as these five gentlemen have between them given a remarkable 158 years of service to Notre Dame! Mr Bonner, Mr McShane, Mr Murray and Mr O'Connor can rightly be described as legends of the school. So many former students and colleagues speak with great warmth and affection about them, expressing real gratitude for the care and inspiration they have received from these outstanding teachers. Mr Dooley may not be known so widely by parents and students, but he too has served the school with distinction as bursar over 24 years. In that time he has done so much to ensure that the school is well managed financially and, above all, to ensure that every penny of the budget is spent for the best possible impact on the education of the children. While they each have different roles, gifts and talents to one another, what they have in common is the dedicated way that they put those gifts at the service of the students and the staff of Notre Dame and in so doing, have been a huge part of the school's success and current strength.
We thank all of those colleagues and wish them all the very best in the next chapter of their lives. For all those students and members of staff who will be back in September, I wish you a restful holiday and for all our families I pray that the coming weeks are a time to be refreshed and re-created.
A few dates for the diary:
A Level results day; Thursday 17th August. Members of staff will hand out results from the Salle from 7am. Mr Dransfield and other colleagues will be available for support and advice on University places.
GCSE results day; Thursday 24th August. Members of staff will hand out results from the Salle from 9am. Mr Birch, Mr Dransfield and other colleagues will be available to discuss courses at Notre Dame 6th form and also applications to other post 16 providers.
First day of term for Y7 students and those Y12 students joining us from other schools; Monday 4th September
First day of term for all other students; Tuesday 5th September
Parents' information evenings:
Parents of Y7 & Y8 students; Wednesday 13th September
Parents of Y9 & Y10 students; Thursday 14th September
Parents of Y12 students; Tuesday 19th September
Parents of Y11 students; Wednesday 20th September