Dear Parent/ Carer
I can’t believe that we are deep into the summer term. I am not sure I will ever get used to how fast a school year flies by.
There are a couple of great successes I would like to share with you all as they represent the many things that make me so proud of our students and our members of staff.
First, many of you will be aware of the sponsored reading that our students were engaged with as part of our annual commitment to ‘Readathon’. This year our students raised the highest total ever for Notre Dame, a fantastic £2027! Huge thanks to those students and members of staff who supported this, particularly Mr Whiteway who coordinated and promoted the work. Thanks too to you as parents who encouraged your children and dipped into your pockets.
The second success is that a group of our students have recently qualified for the South Yorkshire final of the Kielder challenge. This is a long running competition, in which teams of students, some who have a disability, work together to overcome a series of physical and mental challenges. The focus is on teamwork, overcoming challenges together. It is a competition that we have long been associated with and have done extremely well in. Our most recent group of students have once again been successful and I congratulate them all for the way in which they have reflected the values that are so important to us at Notre Dame. I am very grateful to Ms Tazzyman and Mr Neal who work tirelessly both to support the running of this event and to lead our team.
I often take time in the Blog to highlight extra-curricular events and successes such as these, as they are certainly worth celebrating. However in focusing on these things, I am conscious that this could have the unintended effect of downplaying the importance of the day to day lessons. It is for this reason that we have introduced our featured look at the work going on in a different subject in each Blog. I am grateful to the work that members of staff have put in to give you a window into day to day school life. This week it is the turn of the Social Sciences department.
While the extracurricular activities are often the most memorable aspects of our time in school and are very important as part of an enriching all round experience, it is important too to remember and recognise the vital development that is made through small steps in the everyday lessons. It is here that students learn & develop not just the knowledge, understanding and skills related to the subjects they are studying, but also many wider skills that equip them for life. They learn the value of discipline and routines that help us to do things that are hard at the time but will bear fruit in the future. They learn how to learn. They have lots of little experiences of overcoming challenge through perseverance, building both the confidence and resilience that are essential to maintain our mental health and wellbeing. They learn how to interact and debate with others, how to disagree while maintaining respect and friendship with one another. They are exposed to facts, opinions and challenges that broaden their experience of the world, helping them to flourish as people who are both interesting themselves and interested in others. It is a great part of my job to see this in practice when observing lessons or just being around and about the school.
Before I hand over to the Social Sciences department, I do have a couple of things to draw your attention to. The first is the Summer Festival which is happening this Thursday, 29th June from 4pm until 9pm. Please come along if you can. We are still open to donations of prizes for the tombola, books for the book stall and entries to the bake-off. We would also welcome any volunteers who can give some time, even if it is only 30mins, to help setting up or running a stall. If you can support in anyway, or have a query, please get in touch with Mrs Wright; firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for any way that you can support this event.
Finally, I need to draw your attention to an alteration to our admissions policy for 2018-19, which is now on the school website. It is a point of clarification relating to the churches that are covered under categories 4 and 5 in the policy, which has come from the Catholic Education Service to all Catholic schools. I recognise that this won’t affect many of you, but we need to make sure that we have highlighted this amendment to anyone who may have an interest.