Headteacher’s Blog 20/1/2023

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I came across this reflection which we used after Christmas as a focus for our staff prayer together. I found the words very powerful. It struck me that the message matches so well with our school ethos. The words of our Mission Statement and the Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which we aspire to live by, call us to action that will bring about a better world for all.

Post-Christmas Reflection

“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with the flocks, then the work of Christmas begins.

To find the lost, to heal those broken in spirit, to feed the hungry, to release the oppressed, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among people’s, to make a little music with the heart.

And to radiate the Light of Christ, every day, in every way, in all that we do and all that we say. Then the work of Christmas begins”.

I think you will see some great examples of faith in action as you read the news from school below, particularly in the amazing poem that the winner of the Creative Writing Competition, Huda Ibrahim in Y7 wrote.

Pupils have been awarded a coveted Eco-Schools Green Flag

Pupils and staff have earned an international accreditation this academic year, recognising their amazing work in making Notre Dame High school more environmentally friendly and raising eco-awareness in fellow pupils.

Eco-Schools is an international education programme that prompts young people to explore sustainability and climate change and take action.

Pupils in our Eco Champions group collaborated with Mrs Wilkinson to conduct an environmental review, assessing how eco-friendly their school is. They reviewed everything from the school’s recycling practices, to energy usage, to how environmental themes are covered in classrooms. Building on their findings, the pupils and activities that would up their green-credentials.

The group connected their work to 3 Eco-Schools topics: Litter, waste and the school grounds. Activities included feeding wild birds, growing crops on our school allotment, planting trees and lots of litter picking!

Mrs A Wilkinson

School Production “Six”

Notre Dame students and staff produced, yet again, a showstopping school production. The 12 queens (Rose, Honor, Emily, Madi, Grace, Freya, Alishba, Eve, Charlotte, Grace, Ashleigh and Annie) and 7 dancers (Camille, Cicely, Hollie, Emily, Lilly, Ophelia and Mina) performed to sold out audiences every night – all whilst attending lessons, revising for mock exams, and completing all their homework!

There were also 5 students involved who you didn’t see on stage. Three incredible musicians formed the band (Edith on bass, Xander on guitar and Ben on drums), and without their astronomical talent the show would not have happened. The final key students were Mia who was our fantastic stage manager, and Juno who helped out with painting and ticketing. These students are a shining example for others and their hard work and commitment accumulated in 4 exceptional performances.

Miss E Carrigan

Winter Showcase

In addition to SIX, we organised and directed the Winter Showcase. I was ably supported by Miss Marshall, Miss Corbett and Miss Wildes. This was an opportunity for students not involved in SIX, to show off their hard work and talent in the Performing Arts. 30 students Y8-Y11 sang, danced and performed scenes from musicals, and Miss Wildes GCSE Dance class performed 2 fantastic dances. This performance raised over £400 for props, set and costumes for our Summer 2023 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Miss E Carrigan

6th Form Language exchange to Spain

A week before Christmas, five brave students from Years 12 and 13 travelled to Palma de Mallorca to take part in an exchange with three other schools from Sheffield, and a school in Mallorca. The students had each been in contact with a Mallorcan exchange partner for the previous couple of months and on arrival at the airport went off to spend a week with their partner and their family, experiencing daily life in a Spanish speaking environment – applying everything they have been learning since year 7 into real-life situations.

Over the week, the students spent time in lessons at the local school, made fantastic friends with the Spanish students (they have all already been invited back next summer without any teachers cramping their style), visited the cultural highlights and sampled the gastronomic specialities of a beautiful island. The English and Spanish students spent the last evening together sat on the beach watching the sun set over the Mediterranean while it barely got light back home in Sheffield.

The students were an absolute credit to Notre Dame, thoroughly throwing themselves into every situation with a smile and should all feel VERY proud of themselves. The pressure is now on us to show the Mallorcans the best of what South Yorkshire has to offer when they visit in a few weeks’ time!

Mr D Chambers


This half term, year seven and eight students will be participating in the Read for Good “Readathon”.

A “Readathon” is a sponsored reading event that raises money for the Read for Good charity. This amazing organisation sources new books for poorly children in hospital across the country. They also fund professional storytellers to go into hospitals and brighten up the days of patients who are on the wards.  These children cannot use second hand or communal books due to the risk of infection and cross contamination. Read for Good make sure that every child has access to a fun book that they get to keep.

Our students at Notre Dame have been fundraising for this charity since 1995. Since then we have raised nearly £35,000. Over the Readathon week (6th-10th of February) our Y7 and 8 students read as much as they can. They ask friends and family to sponsor them, per page, per chapter or per book. Some sponsors donate a flat donation just for taking part and trying their best.

Your child will be issued with a sponsor card by their form tutor. They should complete this and hand it in to their teacher with any sponsor money they collect. This allows students to keep track of their fundraising, and the charity to collect gift aid. There is also an option to sponsor your child online at:

Make a donation to Read for Good or sponsor a pupil participating in Readathon! (enthuse.com) Please do ensure that you list the name of our school so your contribution gets added to our total. “Notre Dame High School – Sheffield”

We sincerely hope that your child enjoys participating in this year’s Readathon event. We know that our students always rise to the occasion when supporting worthy causes. Keep reading, raising and being amazing!

Many thanks, Mr Whiteway and the English Department

Chaplaincy Update

Lourdes Pilgrimage

The Lourdes pilgrimage assemblies have taken place for Y10, Y11 and Y12, led by Mr Loftus.  We already have lots of interest from students.


An exciting event called ‘FLAME’ has been organized at Wembley Arena on Saturday, 4th March 2023. Flame is a national Catholic youth event and thousands of young people have been invited.  It is a unique opportunity for young people to experience a joyful and missionary Church.  The whole program is designed to be high impact with inspirational speakers, music, drama and witness from within England and Wales and internationally.  This is to achieve a range and depth of spiritual and catechetical input on the day that would be more than an individual Diocese, school or parish could achieve.   A letter of interest has been sent to all students in Y9 and above.  We have a list of 45 students signed up already and more information about securing a place for students and payment of deposits will be sent at a later date.

Y7 Retreat

The Y7 retreat took place in the enrichment day in school on Wednesday, 19th October. The theme for the day was ‘Community’ and that each of us are made in the image of God.  To set the scene, the day began with music and a welcome liturgy in the Salle led Suzanne.  There were 5 different workshops organised which were led by the teaching staff: Circle time, This is Me, Positive Affirmations, Team work makes the Dream work and Liturgy. Circle Time was a chance for students to reflect on their time so far at Notre Dame and to listen to other students’ experiences. This is Me gave students time to explore that they are created to be exactly who God wanted them to be.  Based on the line from Psalm 139 ‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

Positive Affirmations: This gave students the opportunity to have a go at writing their own positive affirmations and reflecting on positive things about themselves and the qualities they have and would like to have. 

Team work makes the Dream work: This workshop focused on helping students to understand that they are part of something bigger than themselves and together they can do amazing things.  They were all given a different part of the body made out of paper and together they made lots of complete bodies which were to be used in the closing liturgy.

Liturgy: this workshop explained what liturgy means and what the different parts of a liturgy include. They spent time reading and unravelling the meaning of the scripture from St Paul to the Corinthians 12:12-20, ‘One body, many parts’.

Each class learned the’ Community Song’ and completed a link to make a compete Y7 paper chain to be used in the closing liturgy.  They also planned and delivered a liturgy at the end of this workshop.

The day ended with a closing liturgy, led by Suzanne. The atmosphere was fun, relaxed happy and exciting.  Students understood what the liturgy meant and they had written their own opening prayer, bidding prayers and closing prayer which were read out in the liturgy, together with the reading from 1 Corinthians 12:12-20.  One student was overheard saying “The atmosphere in there was electrifying!’, another was overheard saying “I love being in this school!”

All Souls Day

The voluntary Mass for All Souls Day was held in St John’s church on the 2nd November. There were over 100 students and many staff who attended the Mass which was fantastic!  Bishop Ralph was the main celebrant. The Mass was a great celebration to remember the lives of loved ones who have died and an opportunity to offer prayers for all the deceased.  Parents, carers and other visitors also attended the Mass, which was lovely.  The orchestra and school choir took part and there were many students involved in saying the readings and the Offertory procession.

Rainbows assemblies

The Rainbows assemblies for Y7 and Y8 took place before October half term and a group of students have now begun the program. The Rainbows Program was developed to help guide children through some of the feelings they may experience as a result of loss of any kind.  There have already been a few sessions and will run weekly for around 3 months.

‘Faith in Action’

The bronze award for ‘Faith in Action’ has been offered to a small group of students in Y8.  ‘The Faith in Action’ award rewards young people’s active service to others in their local and wider community. Young people accumulate credits of service and reflect on that service in the context of the teachings of the Catholic Church throughout their award journey.   The first session was on 4/11 which included meeting with other Y8 students all chosen to complete the award from the Catholic secondary schools in Hallam. The next meeting is in January 2023 where students will decide a community service project they would like to undertake.


For Advent, students in lower school chose to support The Sheffield Shoebox Appeal who aim to provide Christmas cheer for men and women in hostels, temporary accommodation and refuges, and the socially isolated elderly.  Notre Dame students made up over 100 boxes to support the appeal. Students also collected food for the local food banks in Sheffield which were distributed over the Christmas period.

Our Advent services were held in St John’s church and we were thrilled to be able to return again this year to pray and worship together as a school community.  Thank you to Reverend Matthew, Steve and Claire for their hospitality and use of this beautiful church. We also thank the St John’s bell ringers who rang out their bells for our services. Thank you so much!

Each year group celebrated by singing Christmas carols, lighting the candles on the Advent wreath,  praying and listening to scripture. The focus of the service and the sermon was on the birth of Jesus. A baby who brought hope to a world that appeared to be hopeless. A baby that grew into a man, who was crucified and died to take away the sins of the world. The great news of Jesus’ resurrection and the hope that we have knowing that our sins are forgiven because Jesus our Saviour paid the price for you, for me, for the world. The box on the altar was wrapped up in Christmas paper. A student was asked to unwrap it which revealed a box. The box had the world painted on it and a doll was inside the box. The doll represented Jesus. All the sides of the box collapsed which made a cross, on which the world was painted. A symbol that Jesus came into the world for everyone. Our services were a wonderful way to finish the year and to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who came to earth to bring Good News for the world.

On the 9th of January , we returned to school after a 2 weeks break.  The second ‘Faith in Action’ meeting was held on the 11th January at the Sheffield University Catholic hub.  The theme of the day was ‘Loving our neighbour is loving Jesus.’  The day allowed time for prayers, reflections, bible readings and an understanding that as Christians, we must take on a greater responsibility for people in need. St Paul said “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  Bishop Ralph celebrated Mass for the faith in Action group that day and as part of the liturgy we washed each other’s hands as sign that love is an action and that our actions can show love in the world.

Suzanne Gomes


Winning entry from the Creative Writing Competition

That Has to Change

Many suffer,

Many don’t.

But we all live in this world,

Our home, our Earth and we all only live once.

We all have our own part to play

Like in an enormous orchestra where we are all expected to

Play our own instruments

In our own way

You can’t just choose to play noise instead of music

But some do – and that has to change


Many choose to do what’s right –

Play in a way that is best for everyone

Some only choose to play to their own advantage alone

And that has to change.


Many choose to respect the way people might

Play, respect that everyone is different

Some aren’t open to other people’s habits

And discriminate

That has to change.

Many try their best to keep our world in good shape.

Some don’t care about the impact their actions

have on other people and places.

And that has to change.


Many try to accommodate others

Give them things that there is no need to give

But are too scared to give

And that really has to change.

Now that I have listed the things that need changing,

Go change them yourself and think about others

Inspire others to change and always try to be your

Best self.

By Huda Ibrahim (7YP)


Headteacher Breakfast Club

On the 12th January, 5 students who were actively involved with the Black History Month assemblies in October 2022 attended Headteacher Breakfast Club. It was a delight to hear from Emmanuel Kargbo in Y10, and Busie Sibanda, Beza Tewodros, Eliana Uduoise and Valerie Madafi in Y11, in relation to how they planned the assembly, what they wanted to achieve and how it had been received by students. It was an incredibly inspiring assembly and we are very proud of the work that these students are doing in school in relation to racial justice.

Final note

Many of you will have older children who left Notre Dame recently and are now at university, or will have friends and family who are doing so, or may know of someone who is looking to change their career.

If you know of anyone who you think would make a great teacher, and who may be considering this as a career, please let them know about our teacher training courses. We would love to have a conversation with them, and to be able to answer any questions they may have about training to become a teacher.

We are also able to offer three-week school experience opportunities this summer from 16th June – 6th July. If you are an undergraduate who is studying Science, Engineering, Maths, Computing or Modern Foreign Languages at university, we are likely to be able to pay you a government funded bursary of £900 to take part in this. Funded places will fill up fast, so contact us early if this might be of interest.

If you are interested in either of these opportunities please contact admin@sheffieldscitt.org.uk  or visit our website Sheffield SCITT

I am aware how long this edition is and that this reflects so well on the incredibly impressive events that are happening in school. I must end by giving my thanks to all the staff involved in providing these rich experiences for our students namely;

  • Miss Carrigan, Miss Corbett, Mr O’Farrell who organised, directed and managed the “Six” production. To Miss Wildes for her fabulous choreography and Mr Quinn for building 6 stunning thrones. Thank you to Mr Hogan for being the technical whizz behind the scenes.
  • Mr Chambers, Mrs Wilkinson, Mrs Cramphorn, Mr Whiteway and Suzanne for all their hard work leading on the trips and enrichment activities that so many of our students have benefited from.


God Bless,

Mrs Cleary

Dates for your diary

  • Y11 Parents’ Evening                 Thursday 26th January
  • Y8 Options Evening                 Tuesday 31st January
  • Half term begins                                                 Friday 10th February


Events happening in school

  • Y9 Shoah Service                 Friday 27th January
  • Children’s Mental Health Week                 Week beginning 6th February
  • Y13 Assessment Week Week beginning 6th February
  • Y9 HPV TDP Meningitis Vaccinations Friday 10th February