Headteacher’s Blog 16/05/2022

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St Julie’s Day

Firstly, I would like to wish you all a Happy St Julie’s day! We celebrated it in school last Friday, it is a very special day for us.

May 13th isn’t actually her feast day, but it is the anniversary of her beatification (becoming blessed). We choose to use this day to remember St Julie as it is the closest to when the Y11 students leave, and we hope and pray that the students take the teachings of St Julie with them.

We started the day with a special assembly, reminding us all about the special person that St Julie was and how she influences us at Notre Dame.

It was a fun and joyful occasion, which is very fitting as St Julie is called the Smiling Saint. With that in mind Mr Neal arranged for 2 inflatables, a Gladiator Podium Duel and a 40ft Obstacle Course! These were available to all students at lunch time and proved to be very popular! Heads of Year also nominated students who are consistently excellent and show the spirit of St Julie to use them at certain times during the day. It was wonderful to hear the laughter and see the smiles on faces – our fantastic students certainly deserved this treat.

Of course, we also have amazing staff who deserve to celebrate this special day too, so the inflatables were also available to them after school. Mr Neal and Mr Hogan had a hotly contested duel, which Mr Hogan was delighted to win!

Y11 ‘Leavers’

Friday was also a special occasion as we marked the end of Y11 with our students. We still use the terms ‘Leaver’s Mass’ and ‘Leaver’s Assembly’, which is very misleading for several reasons. Firstly, they are all back today, sitting their first GCSE exams! Secondly, many of them are not leaving at all; 190 of our 210 students applied to join our Sixth form in September, our highest number ever.  Lastly, nobody, ever truly leaves Notre Dame, they remain part of our family always.

 I had the pleasure of joining Y11 for their Leaver’s Mass which Fr Paddy Walsh kindly came in to celebrate, and the Leaver’s assembly. Both occasions were truly joyful as students remembered their 5 years at Notre Dame through photo presentations.  Many students were involved with reading, music and singing which made the occasions truly personal and meaningful. There were many tears and laughter as students collected their yearbook and Hoodies, signed each other’s shirts, and listened to farewell messages from their Form Teachers. Staff were not immune to shedding a tear or two either.  

The whole year group were a credit to themselves and I must thank Mr Marsden, Mrs Townsley and the Y11 Form Teachers for their hard work in preparing such a great way to mark this milestone.


At the other end of things, we are busy preparing for our new Y7 who will join us in September. We are in the middle of our ‘Roadshows’, where along with a Head of Year, I travel to our primary partner schools, to meet students and parents so that we can begin to form good relationships to enable us to work in partnership. We come along with examples of school uniform and are able to answer any questions that parents or students have. Unfortunately, Mr Truppin, who will be Head of Year 7 in September is unable to join us in these meetings as he is currently working in London. However, he has made a welcome video to introduce himself and set a challenge for all Y7 students for when they meet him.

New School Day

As I communicated to you before Easter, we have made changes to the shape of the school day so that we can return to 5 one- hour lessons, one morning break and one lunch break. This has simplified the day and has created time for more enrichment activities to take place.

I am really pleased to report that the new day is running smoothly and students are happy with it. The canteen is now open at break for food for those who want it or prefer to eat then so that they can participate in a lunchtime club. The extra serving station at lunch has meant that students are served quicker, and all year groups are getting through within 40 minutes. Students are taking advantage of new freedoms since COVID restrictions and enjoy being able to eat outside with their friends and sit where they like.

In order to provide social space for our students, we have purchased more picnic benches and placed them on the top yard. They are very popular indeed and it is wonderful to see students sitting together for a chat, eating their lunch and even playing the card game ‘Uno’!

Summer Festival and the school production of Midsummer Night’s Dream

We are delighted that we will once again be able to open our doors for the Summer festival after a two – year hiatus. It would be fantastic to see as many families, students and friends of the school here as possible. It will be a great opportunity to play some games, eat, listen to musical performances and see the Art exhibition, presenting the work of current students.  There will also be a performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, if you can’t get a ticket for this night then you will have an opportunity to do so on 28th June (Y9 & 10) or 29th June (Y7 & 8). We had so many talented students who wanted to be involved that we have two casts!

We will be sending out more details on this via a letter.


FOND is shorthand for ‘Friends of Notre Dame’ and consists of a group of parents and staff who organise community events to get people together and raise money for school enrichment activities. One of the activities the group runs is the 200 club. For £13 a year you can buy a number. Three times a year 3 numbers are drawn from a hat and the lucky winners will collect £100.00 for the 1st Prize, £75.00 2nd Prize £25.00 3rd Prize.

In the past FOND has funded Duke of Edinburgh equipment, PE Kit and trips. Most recently it has helped us to buy more picnic tables. We would like to purchase more of these as well as outside games and equipment for lunch time. One way you could help with this is by joining the 200 club which currently is 68 short of 200! If you would like to join please email pparkergiblin@notredame-high.co.uk for an entry form.

MCAS -My Child at School App – Countdown to End of May continues

I have previously explained that we will shortly only be sending out information through the APP; My Child At School App (MCAS) and encouraged you to download it if you haven’t done so already. The date we are working towards is Monday 6th June. Thank you to everyone who has engaged with this so quickly and below is the current state of play. A particular well done goes to current Y7 parents and those who will be Y7 in September!

If you haven’t signed up yet, please do so and contact us if you are having any difficulties.

New Y7 September 2022












It seems fitting to end with a reminder of the our special school prayer to St Julie, and I invite you to pray it along with us.

St Julie’s prayer

St Julie,

Pray for us, Protect us, and Bless us,


God bless,

Mrs Cleary

Dates for your diary

·         GCSE exams begin Monday 16th May *

·         A’ Level exams begin Monday 23rd May *

·         Last day of this half term Friday 27th May

·         First day back after half term break Monday 6th June and deadline for MCAS sign up

·         Half day Induction for our non- feeder primary schools Wednesday 15th June

·         Midsummer Night’s Dream performances 28th June Y9 & 10, 29th June Y7 & 8

·         Summer Festival Thursday 27th June including Art Exhibition and Midsummer Night’s dream performance

·         Training Day Friday 1st July

·         Y6 Induction Day Wednesday 6th July

·         Y6 Parents’ Evening (for parents of students joining Y7 in September) Wednesday 6th July

·         6th Form Induction Days 7 & 8th July

·         Last day of summer term for students Friday 22nd July

*Note that there are some exams in some subjects prior to these dates, but this is when the main exam sessions start and when we suspend the normal timetable for these year groups

Things happening in school over the coming weeks

·         Y13 Leavers’ Mass Friday 20th May

·         Y11 Prom 24th June 2022

·         6th Form Ball Thursday 7th July

·         Enrichment Days; Monday and Tuesday 11th * 12th July

·         Sports Day; Friday 22nd July

·         End of year assemblies, week beginning Monday 18th July