Headteacher’s October Blog

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Dear Parents & Carers,

I had the pleasure of attending two very special, uplifting Liturgical events in the last month. The first was our first gathering as St Clare Catholic Multi Academy Trust which you can find more out about on the website. It was so heart-warming to see students gathered from all schools and singing their hearts out! It was truly a celebration. I was very proud of our students who were a large group supporting with stewarding as well as participating in the Mass. Nine of our students served at the Altar and it was so encouraging to see them being proud of their responsibility and willing to share their faith with the gathered group.

Equally wonderful was our All Souls Day Mass last week that took place over at St John’s Church, Ranmoor. This was a voluntary Mass where students had the opportunity to remember all those they have lost. Over 180 students attended from all year groups and they participated and behaved magnificently. The music was outstanding thanks to the choir and support from Mr Ward, Ms Francis and Mr Loftus. Father Michael Umameh from Sacred Heart, Hillsborough, celebrated mass for us. We all loved his ‘off the cuff’ singing and he soon got everyone clapping and stomping along! My thanks to Father Michael and everyone involved for giving us this uplifting opportunity.

As we move into November we find ourselves in the month of Remembrance.  As well as remembering those we have lost on All Souls Day – we will be remembering as always, all those who have been lost in war and conflict in the past and those who are still affected today. Loss is such a challenge to us all, but Father Michael shared that he found comfort in celebrating the lives of those who were gone and thanking God for the time that they were given on earth. This prayer has a similar message and I share it with you in case you would like to use it during this month.

Bless those who mourn, eternal God,

With the comfort of your love

That they may face each new day with hope

And the certainty that nothing can destroy

The good that has been given.


May their memories become joyful,

Their days enriched with friendship,

And their lives encircled by your love.


Transport Issues

We have been in contact with the bus company regarding the non-running of the 786 bus on Monday morning of last week.

The bus company have explained the reasons for this and apologised for it. They have given assurances that the circumstances that caused it will not happen again. If you would like more details on this then please ring or email Mr Scriven.

Well done to all students concerned for the maturity and resilience they showed in making sure they got themselves to school that morning and thank you to all families for their help and support with this.

  • Should not be brought into school.
  • If prescribed by a doctor, it should be stored and taken in the Medical Room.
PSHE: Restart a Heart day 2023

On Monday 16th October our Year 7 students took part in th e 10th annual “Restart a Heart” day, a national event where thousands of students learn about cardiac arrest and are equipped with lifesaving skills such as CPR. Students were taught how to assess for danger when they approach someone who has had a cardiac arrest, check for breathing, open their airways and how to do CPR. They thoroughly enjoyed this and learnt lots from it. We are very thankful to the volunteers from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service who came in to school and delivered this important training to our students.

Careers: BBC Bitesize Careers Roadshow

Also, on Wednesday 18th October we welcomed the BBC Bitesize Careers Roadshow into school to deliver assemblies to all Y8, Y9, Y10 and Y11 students. Alongside the BBC presenters and crew, we welcomed three professionals working in our local area who were questioned by both the presenter and our students.

A variety of topics were covered including the relevant qualifications for their career paths, key soft skills to develop for the workplace, and personal anecdotes from their career journey. Students also had the opportunity to ask some excellent questions that they had prepared during form time and hear the responses from the panellists. We are thrilled that our students had the opportunity to experience this and hope they took a lot from it.

Mr T Day- Head of Careers & PSHE

Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Expedition – 14th and 15th October 2023

On the weekend of 14th & 15th October fifty Year 11 students undertook their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) expedition.  The expedition was based in the beautiful Peak District National Park.  We are so lucky to have this environment on our doorstep.  The groups met at the old Hassop railway station on the Monsal Trail and camped on the other side of Bakewell in the village of Birchover.  The finish point on day 2 was in the centre of Bakewell.

The weather was typically autumnal and posed some challenges.  Both days were characterised by sunshine and showers but as the sun went down at the end of the first day and the beautifully clear night sky was revealed, the temperature dropped. Overnight temperatures of around 1C meant a cold night for students and staff alike.  Frost on tents in the morning is certainly a sign that the year is rolling on.  After an understandably slow start on the second day the groups were soon up and off and generally in good spirits as they set off on a glorious Autumn morning.

The expedition is built around a team aim/purpose (individuals can have their own aim too), and it is always a delight to see the students come together and help each other and work as a team. This can be in the form of navigating together, cooking together or just giving each other a lift when things get a bit tough.  It is really a delight to see such team work and camaraderie in action.  Well done Y11!

As always special mention must go to the group of staff who gave up their weekend to help support the students on their expedition.  We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated team who help facilitate this for our students.

The expedition is however only one part of the DofE Bronze Award.  The students also need to complete a skill, physical and volunteering section to complete the whole Award.  Each activity requires a commitment of at least an hour a week over a period of 3,3 and 6 months. More information can be found at:

DofE – The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

We wish our students all the best in completing their sections.  Support is available in school each Monday lunchtime for any Y11s who need some help in completing their award.

Mr M Pickup- Head of Geography

In the words of Charlotte (year 11) from Group D: 

DofE was, in a single word, memorable. We completed the expedition section with school and, whilst we were challenged (mainly by the weather) the feeling of achievement at the end was overwhelming. We completed the expedition as a group of friends and it was the little things that will stay in our minds: the mini-milestones, the checkpoint exhilaration, the beauty of nature, the laughs and the relief after getting back on route.

Just waking up and watching the sunrise at the campsite in Birchover or viewing a double rainbow (captured in above photo) from the top of the moor is enough to make DofE one of the most memorable times of our lives.  Our DofE will remain forever in our hearts and it is thanks to the help of the teachers that we were even able to make it to the starting line. DofE will always be tough and provide it’s challenging moments but the skills that you leave with are crucial”.  

Round up of Sporting Activity and Achievements

Y7 Boys Rugby Team

Our newest rugby team did really well on Thursday 19th October in introductory matches with and against King Edwards and Wickersley Schools.

They all got stuck into tackling – which was new to 4 of them. The next rugby fixture will take place the week after the Autumn half term. This team includes Jake France, Ethan Batty, Yannis Fowkes, Lucas Foster, Oliver Simpson, James Simpson and Leo Cooke.

Lucas, Oliver, James and Leo are all new to rugby!

On Thursday 2nd November our Y7 boy’s rugby team (James Simpson, Lucas Foster, Ethan Batty, Leo Cooke, Yannis Fowkes, Oliver Smith and Dantaye Lannaman) played fixtures against King Edward’s, Silverdale and High Storrs school on what was a very wet, windy and muddy pitch. No scores were formally kept, but they probably came off second in most of their games but their heart did not drop and they all got stuck in with the physical side of the game.

PE Department

News from the English Department

Y13 English Literature

Our A’ Level students will be attending a performance of Agatha Christie’s play ‘And Then There Were None’, next Wednesday evening (8 November) at the Lyceum Theatre, accompanied by their English teachers.

This is to support their study of the Crime genre in preparation for the final exam.

Young Writers Competition

In July, Adriel Mondenou, Emma Deneka, Joey Coleman, Sarah Azar, Emily Hall, Rebecca Bartolozzi Ogbonna and Lola Shirtcliffe all produced a 100-word short stories that was published in the Integer Anthology by the Young Writers. Well done to all!

Y11 Battlefields Trip – in the words of our students

There are some days of your life that you know will stay with you forever- every moment of the Battlefields trip was just like that.

Over the course of 4 days, we visited numerous places of significance to WW1, and some which were of particular importance to our school and members within our community which gave the trip a greater personal connection.

There is no denying that this was an emotional experience due to the pure nature of the trip however it was this that will forever be cemented in my heart: the way that everything was put into perspective and given new meaning.

One such moment that remains at the forefront on my mind was our visit to Thiepval, in which the names of simply the missing of the Somme were engraved all the way from the top of the monumentally high walls to the floor. Seeing just that gave the war a new perspective, showing us the sheer scale of it.

Of course, walking in the trenches will also remain a highlight as it’s impossible to truly understand the conditions from a textbook (and please, make sure to follow the advice and bring your wellies!).

I would honestly recommend this trip to anyone, whether or not you do GCSE History. The staff that went this year were incredibly knowledgeable and supportive and helped to create a wonderful atmosphere for us, as did the accommodation staff. The trip has run for many years now and there is good reason for that- it is an enriching experience like no other that will stay with you as a core memory of your time at Notre Dame.

By Willow and Charlotte (Y11).

Keeping safe: Firework Safety Advice

We have been asked to share the following advice with parents by the National Safety Council regarding the use of fireworks and sparklers at this time of year.

Fireworks Safety Tips: If You Choose to Use Legal Fireworks

If consumer fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks

Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the fireworks show!

Sparklers Are Dangerous

Every year, young children can be found along parade routes and at festivals with sparklers in hand, but sparklers are a lot more dangerous than most people think.

Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries.

For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.

Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or coloured streamers.

Mr S Scriven- Designated Safeguarding Lead

Headteacher’s Breakfast Club

The following students attended Breakfast Club on the 5th October because they actively supported the Notre Dame Community with the Y6 Induction Day in July time.

Thomas was also in attendance for his recent sporting achievement which involved competing in his first national competition trampoline championships at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham. He scored 17th place in Britain for his age category!

Kadija Bah,Anyes Chesworth,Alma Goddard,
Ermyas MakeleAdona TesfayeThomas Branney-Graveley
Joseph GalliganSummer Griffin. 

On the 12th October, I really enjoyed talking to Emmanuel Kargbo, Zaniah Wynter, Yelorm Azumah, Whitney Lutakome, who supported our Notre Dame community with their hard work in preparing and leading the recent Black History Month assemblies. It is a brave thing to get up and speak to students older and younger than you, which meant they were understandably nervous. The response from students was very positive and it was a proud moment seeing them be so supportive of one another.

Also, in attendance were Isabel Ruvinski & Ana Baster for attending the World Youth Day 2023, during their summer holidays, with the Hallam Diocese.  This was a massive international event held in Lisbon, where Pope Francis celebrated Mass and spoke to the thousands of young people!

A very lively group of attendees on the 2nd November were the Y8 Rugby Club who had a very big breakfast indeed!! They were Daniel Bellamy, Magnus Bushell, Ermyas Makele, Ethan Dale, Joe Mason, Patrick Knapton, Will Corcoran, Stanley Walker & Joe Rundle. They have very few games but always put up a great show and represent our school community magnificently.

Many thanks to Mr Noble for organising the team.

Zac Bruce also attended as he has been selected to take part in the South Yorkshire Development Player Pathway for Rugby Union – the first step to playing for Yorkshire and ultimately England! He will be attending regular training sessions on mid-week nights throughout the season with games against other regions later in the season.

God Bless,


Dates for your diary
6th Form Open morningSaturday 12th November10:00am -12 Noon
Training Day 2Thursday 9th November 
Training Day 3Friday 10th November 
Ski Trip 2023 Parents’ eveningTuesday 28th November5:30Pm
Y13 Parents EveningThursday 30th November5:00pm
GCSE Prize Night – SalleThursday 7th December7:00pm
Advent Carol ServiceTuesday 19th December7:00pm
A Level Prize Night- SalleThursday 21st December7:00pm
Last Day of TermFriday 22nd December 
First Day of Spring Term Monday 8th January 
Events happening in School over the coming weeks

Anti Bullying week

13th to 17th November

Flu Vaccinations Y7-11

Friday 24th November

Y11 French/Spanish speaking assessments

27th November to 1st December

Y11 & Y10 midsize Assessment week

11th to 18th December