Dear Parent / Carer
It was a joy to be out and about in school last Friday lunch time, as we celebrated St Julie’s day and marked the last ‘normal’ school day that Y11 would spend together as a year group.
There were students enjoying ice-cream and others having a great time on the bungee run. As is now our tradition, everything stopped as our runners took on the challenge of the St Julie’s dash, seeing if they could beat the bell as they ran round the site, cheered on by students and staff. I must particularly note Dr Williams, who ran in the nuns outfit as has become a bit of a tradition. He had been reliably informed by Mr Neal that there would be lots of teachers doing the same!
While all this was going on, our Y11 students were getting their leavers’ tee-shirts signed. It was such a lovely atmosphere, with a lot of laughter and some tears. Following this, Y11 gathered for their final assembly, which had extra significance this year as this was Mr Johnson’s last leavers’ assembly. He is staying with us as a teacher, but has decided to step down as Head of Year. He did a typically magnificent job, in his own unique style and the students responded wonderfully. I will forever carry the memory of Mr Johnson standing at the front of the hall wearing his new dinosaur claw slippers, enjoying “I’ve got rhythm” being played brilliantly on the piano by Victor Baycroft. It is not something you see every day!
While I mention Victor, I must take this opportunity to celebrate his achievement as he has been placed in the top 24 students in the country in the United Kingdom Maths Trust Challenge. This is a fantastic achievement.
The day was topped off by the Ceilidh, which went down extremely well and was a chance for some of our parents, students and staff to impress with their dancing skills. Huge thanks to Mrs Wright and to all parents and members of staff who put the evening together.
On Monday, the GCSE exams started and I was encouraged, talking to our Y11s. There were understandable nerves, but the mood was positive and it was great to see the way that the students were supporting and encouraging each other, helped by members of staff. I was particularly touched to see Mr Neal standing up on a wall to pray for and wish luck to students as they went in for the RE exam while Fr Martin Trask moved amongst the students to give them a blessing. I was also touched to hear about the students who gathered together outside the exam hall to pray for each other and for all their friends.
Looking ahead, we hit another major milestone in the coming week as Y13 gather for their leavers’ Mass and their final assembly. For some students, they are leaving after 7 years at Notre Dame, while others are leaving having joined our community in Y12. In every case, on behalf of the whole school community, I thank those students for the part they have played in our lives and I wish every student all the very best with their exams. I pray that being a part of the Notre Dame community will bring joy and support at times in the future for every one of those students.
As I draw to a close, I have a couple of ‘plugs’ for upcoming events and also a reminder.
On Saturday 9th June the ‘One Sheffield Many Cultures’ festival will take place, between 11am and 3pm in the city centre. Students from Notre Dame are involved and will be performing at 2pm. This is a wonderful festival and something we are proud to be associated with as a school. If you are able to get along to see any of it and to support our students, then I would recommend it.
We also have our Summer Festival on Thursday 28th June. This will feature our exhibition of students’ examination work in Art and Photography along with our Summer Showcase of Performing Arts. There will be a range of other activities going on round the site as we celebrate our community. First of all, we hope to see as many people there as possible, so please put the date in your diary. We will soon be asking for some donations and contributions for the festival and we will also be asking students and parents if they can give some time during the festival to help set up or to run a stall for a short while. If we have lots of volunteers, then no-one has too much to do and everyone is able to spend time enjoying the festival.
Finally from me, a reminder about parking around school if you are coming to pick your children up. We have been seeing an increase in cars parking in the bus bays outside school. These are ‘no parking’ areas at the end of school in order that buses can pull up and we can get students onto the buses quickly and safely. We have also had some concerns raised by local residents who have had driveways and private access roads blocked by cars parked as parents wait to pick up children. I have been asked particularly to highlight the access road to Ranmoor Gardens which is opposite school on Riverdale Road, as this road is regularly being blocked by parked cars at school closing time. Local residents recognise, as do I, that parking is very difficult around school but I ask politely that all members of our community respect the parking regulations round the site so that the buses can operate safely and local residents can go about their business. Thank you.
I will hand over now to our Modern Foreign Languages department to give you a window into the day to day work in school.
Dates for the diary
Last day before half term break; Friday 25th May
First day back after half term break; Monday 4th June
Summer Festival including
Summer Showcase and Art Exhibition; Thursday 28th June 5pm at Notre Dame
INSET Day; Friday 29th June
Y6 parents’ induction evening Wednesday 4th July
Sports Presentation Evening Thursday 5th July
Last day of summer term Friday 20th July
Some things going on in school in the coming weeks
Y13 leaving day; Friday 25th May
A Level exams begin* Monday 4th June
GCSE & A Level Exams end; Friday 29th June
*Please note, there will be some examinations before this point, but this marks the start of the main A Level exam period.
Modern Foreign Languages Department
In the languages department, we would just like to say a huge thank you to our two Foreign Language Assistants, Javier and Mathilde, who have been a part of the team this year. Both have been working with our GCSE and A-level pupils, not only to help them to prepare for speaking exams, but also to play games, share ideas and bring new awareness of French and Spanish culture to our school. Our pupils have really enjoyed the opportunity to work in smaller groups and have really appreciated the kindness and enthusiasm brought to their lessons.
The department hope that Mathilde and Javier know how much of a good impression they have left on both staff and pupils since September, and we hope that they will stay in touch and come back to visit Notre Dame soon! Merci beaucoup et au revoir! Muchas gracias y hasta luego!
"Time goes by so fast, without realizing we are almost at the end of our experience as a Foreign Language assistant in Notre Dame and it is time to be back in Spain in my small region of La Rioja. In all this time I really enjoyed sharing moments with MFL staff and our students. The school should be proud of how hard they work. Hope all the best for all educational community of Notre Dame. Un saludo cordial" - Javi.