Headteacher's Blog 27.11.17

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Dear Parent/ Carer

As I write this, our 6th form open morning is fresh in my memory. The site looked wonderful and as always, students and staff were there in numbers to offer welcome and advice. I am grateful to all the staff and to the students who gave up time on a Saturday morning to come to support their school community and help others make decisions for the coming year.

I must say a particular word of thanks to Callum, Grace and to Mr Pickin who spoke to the prospective 6th form students and their parents about their experience of Notre Dame, from their experiences as students and as a parent of four children who have come through the school. I wish that more of our current students and my colleagues could have been there to hear them. They encapsulated so much of what I love about our school and so much of what everyone in the community can be proud of.

As well as thinking ahead to next year, our Y11 students are also preparing for their mock exams which will take place in the last week of this term. Both the exams themselves and the preparation that students will do for them form an important step in revision and practice for their final exams. I know that many of the Y11 students have already made revision timetables that they are working to. Starting work early, so that it can be broken up into small manageable chunks not only helps to manage the stress of exams but it allows for regular repetition and recall which is the key to the way that the brain makes memories and links ideas together.

If there are students who have yet to make a start on revision timetables or preparation for their mocks, the best response is not to worry about it, but to get on and start now. When putting those timetables together it is important to be realistic, finding some time to revise each subject while keeping on top of regular homework, but making sure too that time is set aside to rest and to spend time with friends and family. Again, starting now helps with this as we have much more time to spread the work over so that it stays manageable.

There are many resources to support with revision that teachers can and will highlight for you and I would encourage any student who is unsure about the best things to do during revision time to ask your form tutor or subject teachers. A final tip would be to make sure that you make the most of your lessons right up to the time when you finish. I have seen students focus so much on what they do outside of regular lessons that they don’t make the most of the time they have with the teacher and the other students in their class to build knowledge, skill, understanding and confidence.

In summary, then, a few tips for all those students who have GCSE or A Level exams in the summer:

  • Make a revision timetable that works for you and stick to it; Plan times when you can do your own revision for each subject, making sure you have thought about the times when you do regular homework. It is important to keep clear times to be with family and friends, times to relax and do things you enjoy and time to get good sleep! So starting revision now and doing it in lots of small chunks is best.
  • Act on your teachers’ advice about the best things to do to revise for each subject; If you are not sure, then ask your teacher as soon as possible.
  • Make the most of your ‘normal’ lessons; Don’t focus so much on the things that you do outside of lessons that you miss chances to build knowledge, skill and understanding during the times when you will have your teachers and other students there to work with.
  • Remember, many students just like you at Notre Dame have done extremely well with their exams. There is no magic to it, just some hard work balanced with time to relax and making the most of good advice.

A final note from me to say that we expect to be featured in the Sheffield Star this Wednesday as they showcase some of the things that are happening in school at the moment. They will be talking to members of our 6th form leadership team as well as students from our Eco Club and members of the cast and crew of ‘School of Rock’. So please keep a look out.

Dates for the diary

GCSE Prize Night;                  Tuesday 5th December 7-9pm (St William of York Church)

School production;                  Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th, Friday 8th, Saturday 9th December

A Level Prize Night;                Thursday 14th December 7-9pm (Salle)

Y11 Mock exams;                  Week beginning Monday 18th December

Advent Carol Service;            Tuesday 19th December 7-9pm (St Vincent’s Church)

Last day of school this term is Friday 22nd December, when we will be finishing at the regular time of 3.35. Term will start again on Monday 8th January.

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Head Teachers Blog Biology 27.11.17 2

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