Dear Parent / Carer
Such a lot has happened since the last Blog. I will share a few highlights of what I have seen round and about school, but as always this gives just a glimpse of everything that is going on in our community.
On the Thursday before we broke up, we had our second Friends of Notre Dame Halloween disco and it was lovely to see a good turnout from our Y7 students who came along to have fun at the end of their first half term at Notre Dame. There were some spectacular costumes and some equally impressive dance moves!
The next day was ‘Pink’ day when our 1804 leadership team put together a whole series of events, all raising awareness about breast cancer, while raising money to support research. This topped off a busy half term of action in support of others, as our students also did a wonderful job raising money for the St Wilfrid’s centre and also in bringing food for the food bank.
Also, before the half term break, we were visited by the Eco Schools assessor who was shown round the school by our Eco club who explained everything we have been doing and everything we plan to do to support sustainability and environmental awareness at Notre Dame. Following the visit, we heard last week that we have been re-designated with a ‘Green Flag’ award and this is a great testament to the work of the students in our Eco club and to Mrs Wilkinson who gives so much of her time and personal commitment in leading them.
Together the fundraising and the commitment to care for our planet, our students and staff have truly reflected the Hallmarks of the Notre Dame community through their efforts and enthusiasm and I thank them all. I thank you too, as parents, as I know what it is to have to support a bake sale, non-uniform day or a demand for tinned food often at the last minute in the rush to get everyone out to school and work!
As we returned to school, our assemblies all focused on Remembrance and the History Department did a wonderful job leading deeply thought provoking times of reflection. The week culminated with our remembrance mass, when we think not only of those who have lost their lives through combat, but also those members of our own school community, students, staff and family members, who have passed away. Thanks to the Fr John Cooke and to the students and staff who led us in our mass and thank you to those parents who were able to join us.
Coming back to the classroom and the day to day business of school, Mrs Cleary, Mrs Woodward and I were lucky enough to attend a conference led by Professor John Hattie, who is an internationally renowned leader in educational research. It was particularly great to return to school in time to join the English department who were doing some training together on a strategy that they are employing to help students who struggle to engage with reading. It was striking the extent to which their work was a direct and very practical implication of all the lessons that we had been hearing about during the day from worldwide observations of the ways that children learn best.
Looking ahead, as you will see from the ‘dates for the diary’ there is a lot happening this half term over and above the work of school.
This Saturday morning, we will have our 6th form open morning when students and parents will be able to come and see what post 16 study is like at Notre Dame. It is always well attended and I would encourage our own Y11 students and their parents to come along too. While you know the school well, 6th form is quite different and it is a really good opportunity to spend some time asking questions and thinking about what that study looks like here in our own school.
Later in the term, we have our prize nights, first for students from last year’s Y11 and their parents and later for students from last year’s Y13 and their parents. These are always great evenings, where we get to celebrate our students’ achievements and, in some cases, catch up with those who have moved on from Notre Dame.
We also have the Notre Dame production of ‘School of Rock’ to look forward to. Tickets are now on sale. Those of you who have been to a Notre Dame production before will know just how good they are. If you haven’t been, I would encourage you to get tickets as soon as possible. You are in for a treat.
Finally, in the last week of term we have our annual Advent Carol Service. This is always a beautiful and reflective evening that helps to round out the end of the season of advent and help us to turn our eyes toward the celebration of Christ’s birth.
I look forward to seeing you at one (or more) of these events over the coming weeks and I offer my thanks to students, parents and staff for all the work and preparation that I know is already going in.
Dates for the diary
Y7 parents’ evening; Tuesday 14th November 5-7pm
6th form open morning; Saturday 18th November 10am-noon
Y12 parents’ evening; Thursday 23rd November 5-7pm
GCSE Prize Night; Tuesday 5th December 7-9pm (St William of York Church)
School production; Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th, Friday 8th, Saturday 9th December
A Level Prize Night; Thursday 14th December 7-9pm (Salle)
Y11 Mock exams; Week beginning Monday 18th December
Advent Carol Service; Tuesday 19th December 7-9pm (St Vincent’s Church)
Last day of school this term is Friday 22nd December and term will start again on Monday 8th January