Head Teacher’s Blog 16th April 2019
This year has a different feel to it, having had the spring break and coming back into school for Holy Week. Despite the different approach taken in Sheffield schools this year, we will be marking this most important time in the Christian calendar as we always do.
Students have been engaged in fund raising for the Good Shepherd appeal since the start of Lent, picking up on the call to do good works as part of our preparation for Easter. This week, every year group in school will gather for a Lenten service.
The theme of the service this year is ‘Forgiveness’. This picks up on the Christian belief that Jesus’ death on the cross was an act which reflected God’s forgiveness for us. It links in to a theme we have explored at different times through the year, brought home particularly strongly when Mr & Mrs Mizen came in to school to talk about their experience following the death of their teenage son as a result of a violent attack.
I wrote about their message about the power of forgiveness at the time and this is something that we will explore together again in our Lenten services. A key idea that Mr Mizen shared was that he forgave the person who attacked his son not because he felt he should do it, but because he realised he had to do it to be able to move with his life and to make sure that terrible act would not have power over the rest of his life. He couldn’t change what had happened, but through forgiveness, he was able to find healing, new life and new hope. This is, of course, so much at the heart of the Easter message.
Looking ahead, we are fast approach the next big event in our centenary year when we gather for our Centenary Ball. This is a special edition of the annual FOND Spring Ball, which this year is taking place at the City Hall. Tickets are going fast with a number of parents, staff and members of our Notre Dame alumni already having booked to come together for what will be a wonderful evening.
There is a lovely menu for the evening and our meal will be followed by live music and a disco. It is always a great community event and this year promises to be extra special. There are still tickets available due to the extra capacity that the City Hall has. If you would like to buy a ticket, please contact Mrs Parker Giblin at email@example.com
We recognise that the cost of the whole evening is a little higher than in previous years, because this is a bigger event at a bigger venue. We have therefore been able to provide a small number of tickets at £10 each for anyone who would like to join us for the live music and disco only. Again, if you are interested in one of these tickets, please contact Mrs Parker Giblin at the address above.
All money raised over and above covering the cost of the event will go to support extracurricular activity in school through the work of Friends of Notre Dame (FOND). FOND provide money for things such as sports kits, equipment for dance and music groups, equipment for Duke of Edinburgh award participants and covering fees for students involved in school competitions etc. We know that these extra-curricular opportunities are so much a vital part of the whole education experience of our students and the money raised through FOND is more crucial than ever at these times when school funding is under such pressure.
So a ticket for the centenary ball will not only gain you access to a brilliant community event in a special year for our school, but you will also be making a big difference to the experience we can offer students today. I look forward to seeing you there.
Dates for your diary
- School closed for Good Friday Friday 19th April
- School closed for Easter Monday Monday 22nd April
- Centenary Alumni Morning Saturday 27th April 10am-12pm Oakbrook House
- Notre Dame Dance Show Tuesday 7th May 7pm
- Bank Holiday Monday 6th May
- FOND Centenary Ball Friday 10th May at City Hall
- GCSE exams begin Monday 13th May*
- A Level exams begin Monday 20th May*
- Last day of this half term Friday 24th May
- First day back after half term break Monday 3rd June
*Note that there are some exams in some subjects prior to these dates, but this is when the main exam sessions start and when we suspend the normal timetable for these year groups
Things happening in school over the coming weeks:
Holy week services Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th April – As we conclude the season of Lent in school on
- Holy Thursday, all year groups will gather for a service to mark this time
Easter liturgies – Week beginning Tuesday 23rd April
- Y11 Leavers’ Day – Friday 10th May
- St Julie’s Day & Y11 Leavers’ Day 10th May – A day of celebration, thanks giving and prayers for our Y11 students. This day will include the Y11 leavers’ mass
- Y13 Leavers’ Mass 17th May
A Word from the Geography Department
Recent weeks and months have seen us remain busy with our commitment to fieldwork for all our students.
Last half term saw every Year 8 student visit Whirlow Hall Farm as part of our Food & Farming topic. We try to go to Whirlow in February/March as, in addition to all the other parts of food production, it offers a wonderful opportunity to see new born lambs frolicking around in the fields. A number of our groups were lucky enough to see lambs either being born or within 10 minutes of birth. Whilst a number of our students may have visited Whirlow before this visit was a real opportunity to think about the processes involved in getting food to our plate.
Prior to the Easter break our students sitting their GCSE exam this summer also conducted a day of fieldwork which was based on the Porter Brook. The students got into the river and made a number of measurements which all contribute to understanding how a river responds to rain events. There is real life application in using this data in the ongoing discussions about the possibility of using some of Sheffield’s parks as possible flood storage areas. https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/latest/sheffield-parks-could-be-turned-into-flood-plains-under-83m-council-plan-1-8037132
Our Sixth Formers haven’t been left out of all the fun though! Last month our Y12 students went to a Field Studies Council centre at Grange-over-Sands in South Cumbria. A three day residential visit is designed to equip the students with various fieldwork measuring skills and techniques, interpretation of results abilities and also begin to come up with ideas for their important NEA which they’ll begin next half term. Our Y13 students also explored a couple of lesser visited parts of town as a deepening knowledge and application task for the Regeneration topic. Kelham Island is becoming increasingly known across the city (and indeed the country) as an area which is very much on the up. https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/latest/sheffield-s-kelham-island-named-in-top-ten-coolest-places-in-britain-1-8338264 In addition, they also visited the ongoing regeneration project that is Park Hill flats.
In addition to all the valuable fieldwork we also try to link the topics we do to what is happening in the world. Our Y7 students have just completed an Energy topic, a significant part of which looked at how we produce our energy and how important renewable sources might be in the future. I wonder how many of our students across all Key Stages have been following the Extinction Rebellion protests in London in recent days? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-47945397
Outside of lessons we also have our Geography Club which Miss Turton does great work with on Friday lunchtimes. Miss Turton puts lots of thought and energy into these sessions and includes topic issues such as plastics in the oceans and coral reef damage. I know she would love to see some new faces at the club. It is an open invite to all Y7 & Y8 students, pop in and see what they do.
I would also like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the Y10 students who came into school on the last day of the Easter holidays for a revision/exam technique day. I hope that the students found the day useful and feel better prepared ahead of their first exam next month. I know the students involved worked so hard during the day and really begun to tear into the exam questions and explore what exactly is required of them to hit the highest band of marks. It’s never a one-off day though and all the GCSE students are welcome to drop in to see Miss Turton/Mrs Woodward on a Tuesday lunchtime or Mr Pickup on a Thursday lunchtime.
We’re always looking at other things we can do/offer. If you or your child has any ideas about things they might wish to study or activities they’d like to do at Geography club etc please do let one of the department know.