See below for the latest news from Notre Dame Sixth Form, as well as a list of upcoming events.
We're off to Uni!!
Although the UCAS deadline for applying to university has only just passed, many of our students have already received offers for their courses. We are delighted that their hard work in preparing their application and interview has paid off. Below is just a sample of the courses our students are taking up after 6th form.
- Sam has received an offer to study Engineering at Fitzwilliam College-Cambridge University.
- Emily has received an unconditional offer to study Education and History at Birmingham University.
- Tim has received offers to study for a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol Universities.
- Beth who joined us from Outwood City has received an offer to study Medicine at Bristol University.
- Will who joined us from Bradfield School has received an offer to study Philosophy at Sussex University.
- Claire who joined us from St Bernard’s school has received an offer to study History at Gonville and Caius college-Cambridge University.
- Sarah has received an offer to study Midwifery at Manchester University.
- Lucy and Kirsty have received unconditional offers to study Criminology at York St John University.
- Sophie has received an unconditional offer to study Physical Geography at Staffordshire University.
- Lauren who joined us from Parkwood Academy has received an offer to study Veterinary Physiotherapy at Writtle University.
- Emily who joined us from Bradfield School has received offers to study Biomedical Science at Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam and Lincoln Universities.
- Elle has received offers to study Sports Science at Loughborough, Birmingham Durham, Northumbria, and Sheffield Hallam Universities
The Sixth Form Student Voice: November 2017 Edition
An up to date guide to Sixth Form current affairs.
Chip shop chips and open mornings: Why Sixth Form life isn’t all that bad
As the weeks roll by and pull us sluggishly through this freezing November (seriously it’s been dropping to -2 in the mornings) that seems to have snuck up on us, there’s been a fair amount occurring at Notre Dame Sixth Form to distract us from the infuriatingly premature Christmas displays that have started appearing in shops across the city.
On Saturday 18th, we had our Sixth Form Open Morning – an extravaganza of stupendously pristine classrooms and a whole array of teachers promoting their subject with a relentlessly hard sell: something along the lines of “Oh you want to be a dentist? Why A-Level History is perfect for that!” All joking aside however, it was, in my opinion, a success. With hundreds of prospective students attending, and a strong turnout from student helpers as well, the school presented itself in a very positive light, proving once again that Sixth Form here is definitely worth considering for any current Y11s. And the weather helped too.
What was really highlighted to me though, is the change between lower school and Sixth Form. Talking to Y11s worrying about their GCSE results and complaining about the sudden increase in their work load this year (just you wait…), I began to fully appreciate the lifestyle change that comes with being a Y12 or Y13 student. It’s only been 5 months and I’ve already forgotten the feeling of wearing a uniform - although that may be my selective memory at work - or having to take that subject you just could not stand, or even eating a chip from the canteen and not the Ranmoor Friery. Elaborating on that last point, I think that’s what really sums it all up: chips.
Lower School (now bear with me on this) was oven chips. Don’t get me wrong, the oven chips were great – a lot of schools don’t have chips at all, never mind every Friday - and I definitely ate more of them than the average student would not only consume, but comprehend to be a reasonable amount of fried, thin cut potato snacks that a man would eat. Life with oven chips was undoubtedly a good one.
But life with oven chips was also a life of blissful ignorance that is only shattered after that fabled 3 month holiday and you’ve ceremoniously disposed of your old uniform; suddenly you are introduced to the prospect of chip shop chips. Now I don’t mean to glorify addiction here, but once you’ve eaten one you really can never go back. There’s now the possibility of gravy, curry sauce - even salt and vinegar you don’t have to pay 5p a sachet for! It’s like some kind of starch filled utopia has been opened up to you, and you start to question the very meaning of life before this carbohydrate consuming frenzy you’ve become engulfed in. There’s even no £5 cap on how much you can spend in a day, opening the door for some serious eating.
However, as Uncle Ben from Spiderman Voltaire once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. So, as well as animatedly advertising a local takeaway (and then trying to rectify the local health crisis I might have just caused with a loosely relevant Spiderman quote), that was essentially a long winded way of me trying to say that, whilst school isn’t exactly the world’s most popular pastime, Sixth Form definitely has its perks. It’s a time of taking subjects you genuinely enjoy (and waving goodbye to those you don’t). Of having new found freedom, and as a result beginning to figure out what you want to do with that freedom, both now and in the future beyond school. And, I think most of all, it’s when school really doesn’t become that bad – some people even like it. And whilst I’m not saying that everyone is going to find their true selves at Sixth Form and embark on an intense spiritual journey of discovery (I mean, you might - but it’s pretty unlikely), I am saying that you’ll enjoy yourself, and that Notre Dame is one of the best places for it.
So to anybody who came to the Sixth Form Open Morning on Saturday, here’s one last person telling you to consider Sixth Form, especially at Notre Dame – it is pretty great. And to any current Sixth Formers who might have heard this all before - the Pork Sandwich Shop next to the chippy is still closed, which is pretty tragic.
Finally, I’d like to end this article with this picture of the Eatwell Plate, just to encourage you all to eat food that isn’t chips…or to justify eating more chips because of the massive carbohydrates section. Your choice.
Tim Pickin, Y12
Christmas starts now!
December. A month which, in my opinion, has a distinctly unique aura about it – one which means it does not slowly merge into all the others as October and November seem to do. People know when it is December.
Temperatures begin to drop and snow begins to fall as students (and probably teachers) fantasise about snow days, and rumours of ‘record levels of snow’ on the way begin their annual rounds, the birds atop the main building become a secondary matter as we now cautiously watch the skies for rogue snowballs and, whilst the shops began reminding us with their promotional campaigns in early November, it is in December that the full force of festive anticipation and excitement hits the country like a tinsel covered freight train. One thought dominates the minds of everyone: Christmas.
Even so, it is difficult towards the end of the year. The longest term of the year is drawing to a close, the days grow shorter, the nights longer, and our thoughts drift back wistfully to the days when Christmas crafts were considered a perfectly legitimate lesson plan by our primary school teachers for pretty much the entirety of December. It’s hard, with the Christmas hype reaching its peak, not to drift into a trance, just holding out until Christmas, and letting everything else pass by. A sort of zombified Santa Claus if you will. However, as utopian as the thought of the Christmas holidays may seem, there’s no reason to not start celebrating now!
Across Notre Dame the festive season is coming to life: from Christmas jumper day to bake sales for advent charities, the spirit of Christmas is alive and kicking – and it’s easy to get involved. You don’t have to do much but Christmas is a time of giving when it comes to it, and it’s not that hard to give up 20 minutes of your time to help sell raffle tickets. And even if the warm, fuzzy glow and feeling of goodwill isn’t enough for you come the end of it, the fact that you’re helping out at school comes in as a powerful bargaining chip with parents.
Whilst you may think that all that sounds boring, weird or just too much effort, I ask you: what was ever boring or weird about Christmas? And you know what they call people who think Christmas is too much effort? The Grinch.
So get excited people! There is literal snow on the ground and Christmas is less than two weeks away! There is even a Christmas tree in the main building – this is serious. If the whole world around us seems to be, to use the technical term, ‘Christmassy’, why don’t we join in and make school more festive than Mariah Carey’s royalties. You never know, it might catch on and teachers will start showing films and doing Christmas crafts in class – karma is a wonderful thing...
School is of course not where you want to be in the run up to Christmas, but if we all start being more Christmassy, the wait until those holidays won’t seem quite so long.
To finish however, I just want to recognise that obviously there is more to Christmas than just making school feel festive. It’s a time of buying trees that are too big for your living room ceiling, receiving those generic presents from distant relatives (step forward Lynx Africa) and eating massive amounts of food and feeling fully justified in it. And of course, not forgetting that for Christians it is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And so with that in mind, when those holidays do come round, have a very Merry Christmas.
Just try not to deck it on the ice.
- Tim Pickin, Y12
The Sixth Form Student Voice: New Year 2018 Edition
New Year, probably the same old me.
The New Year has rolled in and we’re back at school once again. If you’re anything like me the first week back will have consisted of the shell shock of waking up before noon for the first time in 2 weeks, writing the year wrong, and struggling with the concept of using a pen again. Either way, that’s just standard January practice for me, and it will probably never change – however it is usually around this time of year that most people around the world do try to make a change. Be it a long term grind or a short term blast, January is the time of year for New Year’s resolutions.
We can track the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions right back to the Babylonians and 1895 BC, when they would pay all of their debts and return all borrowed objects at the start of the New Year – a sort of ancient money lending detox if you will. From this, over millennia, has stemmed the idea that we should start each New Year with a clean slate, and try to make a positive change to better ourselves each year. Whilst this is undoubtedly a nice sentiment, has it become the case that the tradition has just become symbolic? Supermarkets, according to studies, pack their shelves with health foods in January to make a profit off the ‘New Year, new me’ craze, but restock with their regular products in February when the vast majority of people have given up. Gyms, on average, have the most membership subscriptions in January and the most cancellations in March. The evidence is damning.
So what can be done at the start of the year to make a genuine change? What is a good New Year’s resolution?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that what constitutes a ‘positive change’ is entirely subjective, varying from person to person (although perhaps returning everything we’ve ‘borrowed’ over the past year might be a good thing for a lot of us…my thoughts drift to that library book I took out in year 7). Consequently I would argue it’s not always the best idea to jump on the bandwagon with a PureGym membership or a Nutribullet without a little bit of thought first. Of course if you want to get fitter or drink weird blended vegetable mush every day, by all means – go for it. But a New Year’s resolution ultimately should be tailored to you, and it’s quite hard to genuinely think of something about yourself you really want to do that will have a positive impact on your life. When you think about it, it’s kind of a big deal.
Moreover, a New Year’s resolution should be enjoyable. You may want to get better at cooking but if you decide to attempt some experimental recipe from Heston Blumenthal’s ‘let’s-freeze-everything-with-liquid-nitrogen’ range that is both confusing and stressful every week, you’re not going to enjoy it. Try cooking an omelette instead. People tend to look at New Year’s resolutions as if they’re a correctional process – fixing something that might be wrong with you - when in reality it should basically be just taking up a new hobby. The only thing you should be thinking of ‘fixing’ is what to do to enjoy yourself more, or feel like you’ve achieved something to be proud of; there’s enough stress trying to finish a stack of homework (or a school website article…oops) on a Sunday night or running for the bus in the morning because it was still dark so you just assumed it was still like five am or something...
Don’t add to that.
You don’t have to make a New Year’s resolution. You don’t have to listen to me (maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to stop handing out unsolicited life advice to people on the internet) but if you’ve read this far I might as well tie up what I have to say: A New Year’s resolution, if you choose to make one, shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be something you feel you have to do because everybody else is doing it or because somebody told you should. A New Year’s resolution is something personal, something that you decided to do because you want to and you’ll enjoy it, and something that is perfectly fine being absolutely nothing like anybody else’s. Find something to fill your free periods with or give yourself a goal you’ll be proud to achieve – stick to your guns. It may be a New Year but that doesn’t always have to mean a ‘new you’.
Whatever you choose to do I hope you all have a very happy and prosperous 2018, both in general and at Notre Dame. Good luck with the upcoming term and, most importantly, good luck familiarising yourselves with the art of using a pen.
- Tim Pickin, Y12
February in Review
February. A hectic month to say the least. So much so that I am writing this article somewhat belatedly (although some of the blame can also be attributed to my sensationally poor memory). However, it does offer me an opportunity that I haven’t had until now: to write with a different perspective; to write a review of the month. Luckily, I chose a good month to be somewhat lenient with my deadlines – so good in fact that to the untrained eye this article would look like a carefully planned and meticulously crafted piece of journalism. In reality, February 2018 was just pretty interesting, so strap yourselves in for an IMBD-style extravaganza! Sort of…
Perhaps the biggest event this month was the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang – a spectacle of sporting prowess that had the entire country completely transfixed by curling, the skeleton and other events that none of us had ever heard of, yet became experts in as soon as it came on. For two weeks living rooms were filled with “0.4 hundredths of a second off? Pathetic.” And “trust me, I know all about the Bobsleigh”. And whilst admittedly it may not have the same pizazz as the summer Olympics, I think it was a success – plus I now know everything about the ski cross.
Most of all, the Winter Olympics created sense of togetherness that developed in front of our TVs – on a patriotic level, amplified by the fact that, let’s face it, we’re not very good at the Winter Olympics - even Eddie the Eagle said we’re not a winter nation (although with the current weather that could soon change, kudos ‘Beast from the East’) and hence those record breaking five GB medals felt a little bit special for anybody who got as obsessed as I did. But perhaps more importantly, seeing countries such as Nigeria compete for the first time, not necessarily with the best equipment and nowhere near the medals, they were a shining example of how people can overcome the odds and inspire others. A lot like Dodgeball it was a true underdog story, and speaking of those…
Wigan beat Manchester City 1-0 in the FA Cup 5th round! Apologies to any City fans for rubbing salt in the wounds but it was a magnificent effort by the League One (that’s the third division for you oldies) club to knock out arguably the best team in Europe at present. I don’t think there were too many bleeding hearts for the Sky Blues afterwards.
Moving away from sport we had a whole array of February traditions come around. Valentine’s Day occurred midway through the month, sparking a cascade of chocolate, flowers, PDA and memes. Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of the whole occasion, it’s nice for a lot of people to celebrate and so I won’t condemn those who do wish to make an occasion out of it and do the whole romantic gestures and kissing-passionately-at-the-bus-stop-making-everyone-else-at-the-bus-stop-feel-a-bit-awkward thing. As long as it’s not your parents – that I will condemn. *shudders*
Perhaps a more universally loved tradition that mad an appearance in February was Shrove Tuesday, or, to you and me, Pancake Day; the well-loved tradition of gorging on fried batter, and the even better-loved tradition of arguing about how to serve said batter. Crepes or American pancakes? Savoury or sweet? As the main meal or for pudding? Of course there’s no right answer (except for crepes, sweet and for pudding), just so long as you eat a lot of them. Seriously, I was nearly in a coma after all that lemon and sugar. And following Pancake Day, and of course Ash Wednesday – itchy foreheads galore - came the beginning of Lent. Lent is, first and foremost, a time to focus on our faith in the run up to Easter, there can be no doubt about that. It also though, an annual test of everybody’s willpower, and one that can make people somewhat grumpy (or ‘hangry’ depending on what they’ve given up) towards the end. As a consequence any taunting or attempts to undermine said willpower has been known – and I speak from experience here – to cause extreme arguments and/or violence. Just warning you, siblings and their Lentern vegetarianism can be a deadly combination.