Dear Parent/ Carer
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Spring Concert, where we were entertained by a very broad range of music styles played by many different groups and ensembles. The standard was so high and there was such a sense of joy throughout the evening. It was wonderful to see students express their talent, but also share with us the hard work and commitment that goes into performing at such a high standard. My thanks go once again to everybody who came out to support our students, to Mr Ward, Mr Wilkinson and all of the music teachers who work with our students and of course to the students themselves.
Since the last blog, we have had our Y8 Mass and it was lovely as always to be able to gather a year group, with tutors and parents who were able to attend. My thanks to Fr John Cooke who celebrated the mass with us and to Mr Lacey and the chaplaincy team for organising everything.
We also had some sporting success with a different flavour, when Mr Neal and Miss Tazzyman took a group of our students to compete in the South Yorkshire School Games Curling event. The team were brilliant and brought back the gold medal!
We are currently in the process of forming a 6th form leadership team for a new venture in school, as we form an 1804 society. Many of the Notre Dame schools around the world have an 1804 society, named for the year in which the Notre Dame order was founded. The society is focused around student service and leadership within their school community and we look forward to launching it soon with all students and staff. We have launched it with our Y12 students and invited them to apply to join the leadership group for the society. The quantity and quality of applications was outstanding and, as I said to the students when I thanked them for their applications, certainly challenges any notion of young people being unwilling to serve others. Reading the applications made me proud to be associated in any way with those students.
As I noted in the last blog, students who have external exams this year are very much into the phase of preparation for the examinations. They are focusing on revision which pulls together the work done over the years leading up to this point and also on exam technique, which enables them to translate their knowledge, understanding and skill into marks within the confines of the assessment. Experience tells us that some students will be putting themselves under an unhelpful amount of pressure, worrying about whether they are doing enough work, or the right work, while others will be worrying their parents and teachers by being content to say they’re going to get something done soon! Of course, there will be students everywhere in between those two extremes.
A former colleague of mine used to offer advice that I believe is relevant to all students, wherever they are on that spectrum, quoting Robert H Schuller; “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation”.
Our message to all students is to make the most of every lesson, follow the advice of teachers and, if they’re not sure about something, to ask rather than worry about it. We are also encouraging students, if they haven’t done so already, to have a revision plan in place, outlining what they need to spend time on outside of school and when they intend to do it. These plans should build in space for rest and for time to be with family and friends, to keep a balance between the work that needs to be done and maintaining a healthy life. Again, subject teachers and form tutors are only too happy to give advice to students unsure about how best to plan, or what they are best to spend their revision time doing. None of these things are particularly ‘exciting’, but it is by sticking to this unspectacular preparation each day that students will go into exams confident and ready.
Before I hand over to our Business and Economics department to share in more detail what is going on day to day in school, I have a couple of dates for your diary.
First is our Alumni morning on Saturday 13th May, open to all members of our school community past and present. It is always great to meet former students and teachers on these mornings and to hear memories of the history and tradition of the school.
The second is our annual Spring Ball which will take place this year on Friday 19th May. Again, this is always a great community building event, where parents, staff and other members of our wider community can enjoy an evening together and, at the same time, raise some money to support extracurricular activity in school.
Details of both events are on our website.