Headteacher's Blog 02.10.17

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Dear Parent/Carer

Last week I was able to spend most of the time doing the best bit of my job. I was into classrooms to see how things were going both with our new Y12 students and with our returning Y13 students. As always, the conversations with students and members of staff about the learning process were really rewarding and reflected the high quality of work that is going on day in day out in the classrooms round school.

Then, on our INSET day we began spending time looking at the Hallmark which is our focus for this year. We were invited to reflect on how each one of us can contribute to ‘building community amongst those with whom we work and serve’. We were helped in this by some reflections from Fr John Cooke and by some excellent preparation by Suzanne and Mr Cain.

I then saw that community in action on Tuesday evening as we opened our school to parents and children who are making their choice of secondary school for next September. The school looked wonderful and the staff were impressive in the enthusiasm and welcome they gave at the end of a busy day. Our students too were fantastic, coming back into school on their ‘day off’, looking smart in their uniform and doing a brilliant job of welcoming others to their school. I lost count of the number of positive comments that I had from parents on the evening, saying what a wonderful advert our students are for the Notre Dame community.

It has been a week which has reminded me again how lucky I am to work amongst the students and staff of Notre Dame.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I will be away with Mr Cain, Suzanne and Mr Neal meeting with some of the Sisters of Notre Dame and members of staff from the other UK Notre Dame schools. The sisters work hard to help ensure that we maintain a strong and active community with their order and the other schools across the country. It is always an inspiring time, when we reflect about the tradition that St Julie established and what it means to pick up and carry that baton today. I look forward to coming back and sharing it with everyone.

Dates for diary

Y11 Parents Evening;                         Thursday 5th October 5 - 7pm

Notre Dame Car Boot Sale;               Sunday 8th October 11am – 1pm

Y7 & Y8 party;                                    Thursday 26th October 7 - 9pm

Y7 Parents’ Evening;                          Tuesday 14th November 5 - 7pm

6th Form open morning;                      Saturday 18th November 10am – 12noon

Outside of the maths classroom

This term sees the return of two familiar friends to the maths department, helping us enrich the mathematical experiences of our students outside of normal lessons.

UKMT Challenges

The United Kingdom Mathematics Trust have served thousands of schools across the country in providing competitive challenges for students who are keen to push themselves in their own mathematical thinking. Notre Dame has always been well-represented in both the individual and team challenges at all age groups.

Over the next few weeks we look to our sixth formers. This Thursday kicks off with a special Mathematical Olympiad for Girls, a 2 ½ hours individual competition designed to challenge the most able students. The most common score nationally is 4 out of 40, but we have 5 girls looking to do better than average!

November sees the regional round of the Senior Team Challenge. Mr O’Sullivan is currently preparing trials, as there are only 4 places available.

After Christmas there’ll be more competitions for our junior students, but in the mean time you can google ‘UKMT gateway’ to see what all the fuss is about!

National Cipher Challenge

Rome’s lost legion vanished. The reason for their disappearance, and the nature of the treasure they guarded has been lost for centuries. Now at last the truth can be told. Join Harry, Jodie and Maryam in their quest to solve the mystery of The Lost Legion.

October sees the return of the National Cipher Challenge, run by the University of Southampton. As always Notre Dame will be hopeful of success, led by Mr Mendes who is running a lunchtime club on Fridays. The first challenge is available online from Thursday evening – so get code breaking! Here’s one to get you going…

Xe! Elt dlla fp qeb dlla Dla!

(Hint: It’s a well-known quote from St Julie!)

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