Last week I was fortunate to join the conference of head teachers from our Sheffield Catholic schools. At the conference, we were led by an inspirational woman, Sr Judith, who is the director of a Catholic organization that supports formation of leaders in Catholic schools. She shared with us a poem that I found really helpful, so I thought I would share it with you as a prayer for the half term break, in the hope that you find it helpful too. It is at the end of the Blog.
Sticking with the theme of poetry, I have included at the end of today’s Blog a poem by one of our students, Emanuel in Y8. His poem is inspired by the Climate Change conference and I was delighted that he was happy for me to share it with you.
Window into school
Over the last few weeks, heads of department and members of the senior management team have been able to get back out on learning walks, having been restricted in the extent to which we could visit classrooms through restrictions last year.
We have been looking at the start to lesson routines as this has been an area of focus for us as we re-establish habits that were disrupted over the last year and a half. It has been great to see the meet and greet approach on the door, with well thought out activities to start lessons to help students t settle quickly and have some success. Many of these activities recap previous learning as we know that this not only sets the lesson up well but helps to build memory.
As always, I was impressed by the way that students were responding to those routines and expectations. It was good to see how well students have got back into the habit of making a good start to lessons and as always, I enjoyed hearing their experience of the first half term. We will now be using all that feedback in discussion with each other as teachers to share what is going well and make the tweaks that improve things that could be better.
Yesterday we had our ‘Yellow Day’ which we run at the end of half term nearest Mental Health Awareness Day. Students came in own clothes with many dressed in yellow to help brighten our day. I broke out my Hufflepuff tee shirt and felt slightly awkward as I welcomed candidates for interview in the morning! There were a range of activities during the day and at the end of it we have raised some money to support mental health charities and hopefully added to the work of awareness raising.
Today is our first Enrichment Day of the year. Students are doing different things than they would on their normal timetable, from a retreat in Y7 through PSHE and personal development activities to a post 16 taster day for our Y11 students, to help them as they think about their next steps.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents of Y11 students that our 6th form open morning is coming up on Sat 13th November. Even though your children know the school, it is a really good opportunity to hear about 6th form life and to learn about the different subjects from students and staff.
Message from the Children’s Hospital Vaccination Team; if you gave consent but your child was absent on the day of vaccination
Did your child miss their chance to have their COVID-19 vaccination in school?
Please note if your child has tested positive for COVID-19 they need to wait 4 weeks before they can have a COVID 19 vaccine.
Sheffield Children’s Hospital Vaccination and Immunisation Team has been making visits to schools from 24th September to offer the COVID vaccine for children age 12 to 15 years old, and will continue to do this after the half term holiday. Please check with your school if you are unsure whether we have visited already.
We are aware that some young people may have been absent from school when our team visited, and if this is the case they can also drop-in to one of our half term clinics below:
- Becton Centre, S20 1NZ – 25 October to 29 October – 9.30am to 3.30pm
- St Columba’s Church, S10 5PL – 25 October – 9.30am to 3.30pm
- SOAR/ LEARNING ZONE S5 8NL -26 and 28 October – 9.30am to 3.30pm
- Sharrow Community Forum, S7 1DB – 27 and 29 October – 9.30am to 3.30pm
If you would prefer to make an appointment, please call 01143053230 or email our team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Free School Meals over Half Term
Sheffield City Council are again providing Free School Vouchers to families over half term where students are eligible for Free School meals. If you are eligible you should have received a letter from the Council with information about how to claim the vouchers. The letter from the Council will explain how to claim the vouchers.
Nasal Flu Vaccines
If you would like your child to receive the nasal flu vaccine in school please follow this link to complete an online consent form;
The vaccinations will take place at your child’s school on 08/11/2021 The link will close on 01/10/2021 If your child has already had the Nasal Flu vaccine since Sept 2021 please disregard this message. If you have any problems accessing the link please telephone 0333 358 3397 (opt 2)
Exam Invigilators needed
We are looking to recruit exam invigilators at school, these posts would suit people looking for flexible working hours who have some time to support school at exam times. The details of pay and job description can be found on our website or you can click the link below to find out more details.
Exam Invigilators – Notre Dame High School (notredame-high.co.uk)
Start to new half term – Monday 1st November
Training Day – School closed to students Friday 12th November
6th Form Open Morning – Saturday 13th November
We are planning that this will be a ‘live’ event in school, where students in current Y11 who are considering joining our 6th form in September will have an opportunity to find out about the courses on offer and our overall 6th form programme. More details coming soon.
Y12 Parents’ Evening – Thursday 25th November
Y7 Parents’ Evenings – Tuesday 30th November
Parents evenings will again be happening via our remote system as last year. You will receive information about how to access the system nearer to the parents’ evening(s) that involve your child(ren).
GCSE Assessment Week – Monday 6th – Monday 13th December
If you have children in Y11 or Y10 you will receive separate information about the plans for GCSE Assessment week. During the week, students will sit assessments in exam conditions, covering all the subjects that they will take this year at GCSE. The assessments play one part in the way that they help students to prepare for the final exams in the summer. First, they give students a focus to get started with their revision. Everything that they do in preparation for these assessments will help with their final exams. Second, the students gain experience of what the exam period is like. It is a helpful run through so that they know what to expect in the summer. Finally, the assessments will help students to know where they need to focus their energies as they move into the final full term before exams.
My message to any student who is feeling a bit anxious about their preparation is to focus on what you can control. Ask your teachers for advice about what things to revise and the best activities to do to revise. Then set yourself a revision timetable (form tutors, friends and family can help you with this if you don’t know how). The timetable should include a bit of time to revise for each of your subjects every week (doing a little bit often is better for learning than doing loads all in one go then leaving it for a long time). It should also be realistic, leaving time for breaks and for the other things that are still part of your life. Time to relax with friends and opportunities for exercise are really good to mix in.
That’s all for this week. I will leave you with the two poems I mentioned at the start of the blog.
God’s Dream – a poem by Charles Peguy
The Lord God said: I myself will dream a dream within you,
Good dreaming comes from me, you know.
My dreams seem impossible, not too practical nor for the cautious man or woman;
a little risky sometimes,
a trifle brash perhaps.
Some of my friends prefer to rest more comfortably
in sounder sleep with visionless eyes.
But from those who share my dreams
I ask a little patience,
a little humour,
some small courage,
and a listening heart – I will do the rest.
Then they will risk and wonder at their daring;
run, and marvel at their speed;
build, and stand in awe
at the beauty of their building.
You will meet me often
as you work in your companions who share the risk,
in your friends who believe in you
enough to lend their own dreams, their own hands,
their own hearts,to your building.
In the people who will stand in your doorway,
And walk away knowing that they too can find a dream.
There will be sun-filled days
And sometimes a little rain –
a little variety both come from me.
So come now, be content.
It is my dream you dream,
my house you build,
my caring you witness;
my love you share
And this is the heart of the matter.
A lot of species have gone extinct,
I think humans have to have a think,
a lot of habitats lost,
a lot of animals taking the cost
we have action
but don’t have the reaction.
It’s not just animals getting hurt it’s our plant our vulnerable earth
With all the animals we were blessed so let’s make in turn God impressed