Student Testimonials

Sixth Form Testimonials

 

Callum Y12


Hi I’m Callum and I’ve been at Notre Dame since Y7 and I’m currently in Y12. I am studying Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Physics and hoping to start an Extended Project Qualification next term. As well as Notre Dame I also considered going to Silverdale or Birkdale for sixth form. However, after looking around at both of those schools and talking to the students and teachers at those schools I realised that Notre Dame was the best fit for me. There is a much more welcoming atmosphere here at Notre Dame and the quality of teaching is fantastic. The teachers are very supportive and approachable making the subjects a lot easier. I know that I have made the right decision because I am enjoying sixth form a lot and I’m reaching all of my targets.


Although I only need to apply for university next year, I already know that I want to study Medicine and apply to Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Edinburgh University and two other Russell Group Universities. With a number of previous students having achieved similar targets to mine, I feel very confident that Notre Dame will guide me when looking towards higher education.


Wherever you go, A Levels will be hard, but I would certainly recommend choosing Notre Dame as being the place to go when making the jump up.

 

Grace Y13


A Levels. Are. Really. Hard. The first words Mr Birch will tell you next September. Sorry to ruin the surprise. He’s right! They are such a jump up from GCSE, but Notre Dame makes that leap a manageable step. I came to Notre Dame in year 12 as one of only two from Silverdale. I was initially a little lost in a brand new and very green school! The strong community ethos of this school provides such a warm and welcoming atmosphere, which as a new student I found to be such a relief and was great for meeting lots of new people. This school ethos really came across to me when I visited and was one of the main reasons I chose to move to Notre Dame. For me I needed a change of setting and here the focus was not only on grades (although they are very important!) but also how we develop as people.


I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths and I have just received my first interview for medicine. Less subjects means that the courses you will study will be in much greater depth than GCSE, for me this has been made easier by experienced teachers who know the course content inside and out. My subject teachers have been extremely supportive and will always send a quick email to explain a question I am finding confusing or go out of their way to help with something I am struggling on.


The sixth form team also plays a huge role over the next two years and are understanding of the demands and stresses of a levels whilst providing lots of encouragement and reassurance.


Moving to Notre Dame was definitely the right decision for me and I would encourage you all to come here as it really is a great school.

 

Connor, Y13

Hi, I’m Connor and I chose to stay on at Notre Dame for Sixth Form without a second thought. I briefly looked around Tapton but mostly just to be nosey. That visit confirmed for me that what we have here is special. The staff are genuine, caring and supportive of all we do, even those who haven’t taught me since Y7 are still friendly and remember my name. Notre Dame treats everyone as a valued individual and not a number, something that always surprises students who join us from other schools.

I’m not the most organised person and firmly believe if it wasn’t for my teachers, especially our outstanding maths department, I would’ve struggled with the transition from GCSE to A level. Away from academic studies Notre Dame still excels. We have plenty of opportunities to engage in sports, music groups and societies. The emphasis on peer support and student voice is strong. We have an active student council across all years, allowing us to raise any concerns we may have, as well as multiple peer-mentoring schemes in place. I’m definitely going to miss Notre Dame next year and could not recommend it more to anyone.

 

Rebecca, Y13

Hi. My name's Rebecca and I'm head girl at Notre Dame. I'm currently studying Geography, Biology and Maths at A level.

I thought about looking around other schools, but I didn't because I knew Notre Dame was where I wanted to stay. It had everything that I was looking for in a sixth form; a wide range of subjects, great teachers, good facilities and a caring Catholic ethos. After being here for 5 years I already knew that the teachers were thoroughly involved in every part of my learning. I knew I could go to them and ask them questions if I was unsure, go to them for extra support or just to unload the worries of doing alevels. I know I made the right decision because I wouldn't have received the same amount of guidance from teachers elsewhere. The Catholic ethos of our school also makes us very unique, there really is a sense of community within the school and I knew that this kind of an environment would be important for me in sixth form, given the demand of A levels.

Everyone says the step from GCSEs to  A levels is huge, and it is. After a few weeks in Year 12 I had realised this. One of the main things was the amount of homework that we got given, so much more than I was used to. As well as this the content increased in depth. In saying all this my experience was made easier by experienced teachers who knew the course content inside and out.

I've applied to university to study Geography as it's always been my passion. I've applied to Cambridge, Durham and St. Andrews and have received offers from Bristol and Edinburgh.

I would definitely recommend coming to Notre Dame as I love it and think you will too.

 

Mina, Y13

My name is Mina, and I am currently in Year 13 studying Biology, Chemistry and Sociology, and I hope to study Dentistry at university from next year.

From Years 7 to 11, I went to Handsworth Grange Community Sports College, a school I loved attending, as I had formed amazing relationships with all of my teachers and fellow peers. As they didn’t have a sixth form accommodating the subjects that I wanted to study, I had to find another school of equal excellence to attend to study for my A-Levels.

I came here on a school visit at the beginning of Year 11 with peers from my previous school. Notre Dame’s sixth form was the first I had a look at, and it appealed to me instantly. The quality of teaching, great atmosphere and exceptional grades achieved by previous year groups immediately put Notre Dame on my shortlist of sixth forms.

I also attended open evenings at High Storrs and Tapton, but neither seemed to be right for me. I returned to the open morning at Notre Dame with my parents, when I realised that this is the sixth form I wanted to study at. In fact, I don’t really know why I visited the other schools, as I think I realised this when I came here the first time!

Although A-Levels are notoriously difficult, Notre Dame has a great support system to help overcome this. Show My Homework and the ability to access the school system from home makes studying much easier, especially as I live quite far from school. Teachers respond to emails quickly, and are also happy to give up their free periods or lunchtimes to help out with anything you may be unsure of, which is likely, as the step up from GCSE to A-Levels is huge!

I cannot recommend Notre Dame enough; there are plenty of opportunities here – I have been a School Councillor, and am currently part of the Head Boy Head Girl team. I’m sure that you will love the community atmosphere here as much as I do, especially on days like Pink Day!

I wish you the best of luck in your GCSEs - maybe it will be you speaking up here in a year’s time!

 

Amy, Y12

I have been at Notre Dame since Y7 and I am currently in Y12 studying my chosen A-levels of: Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Economics. I aim to eventually go to university and study Engineering. Although I went to look around Silverdale, as the location was a lot more convenient for me and I had heard positive things about the Sixth Form there, I ultimately decided to stay on at Notre Dame. I chose this because whilst Silverdale had just as many facilities and expert teachers as Notre Dame, I personally did not feel that the atmosphere was as warm and as supporting as Notre Dame. Also I felt a lot more comfortable here with the teachers I had known for years and a school I was accustomed to. Notre Dame’s good results encouraged me that I would benefit academically from studying here.

So far I have enjoyed sixth form, it is obviously a big step up from GCSE but I feel the subjects I am studying greatly interest me, and I prefer only having 4 subjects rather than several to concentrate on. Meeting new people may be odd at first, but in reality it has given us a good chance to develop social skills for the real world-where we probably won’t be surrounded by people we have known for years. I would recommend Notre Dame Sixth Form as a possible choice, as It has a lot to offer and the close-knit community here makes the difficulty of A-levels a lot easier and more enjoyable.

 

Declann, Y12

Hi my name is Declann and I’ve been at Notre Dame since Year 7. I am studying Maths, Further Maths, Economics and Physics with the hope of doing Economics at university. I decided quite early on into last year that I wanted to stay at Notre Dame for Sixth Form because I felt comfortable in the school community and with A levels being a lot harder than GCSE’s, I felt that I would struggle with the demands of settling into a new environment as well as doing A levels.

The first half term has been a challenge simply because after having a couple of months off not working after GCSE’s even though I did some work over summer to prepare myself for Y12 it is still a giant leap between Y11 GCSE’s and Y12 A level’s. It took me about 2-3 weeks to fully settle into Sixth Form.

A levels are hard and you won’t get through them by just going to the lessons. You need to go away after each lesson and consolidate your notes to gain a better understanding of the course. Another thing you could do is read ahead as it helps you when you are in class and you are learning the topic that you’ve read up on and instead of hearing new vocabulary and learning new content, you are simply just reinforcing content that you already know.

Crucially though, you need to be organised because in Sixth Form although the teachers are there to help you the responsibility is on you the individual, so choose subjects that you want to and not ones that your friends are all doing so you feel inclined to do it.

I would recommend Notre Dame because you get to meet so many new people and its truly fascinating to see the school in a whole new perspective when in sixth form.

 

Alycia, Y12

Hello my name is Alycia,

I’ve attended Notre Dame since Y7. I’m currently studying Philosophy and Ethics, History and Psychology. They’re difficult, as are all A-levels, but you can do it! When my journey through A-levels has concluded I hope to go on to University and either do a degree in Psychology or History.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when starting my A-levels and this first half term has – I’m not going to lie - been quite hard. It’s quite a shock to system after 11 weeks off after GCSEs. You’re given a lot of work. However, your teachers are always there to support you as they truly want you to do well. The main thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat.

I actually didn’t go to any other open days for sixth form I was certain I wanted to stay here, all I needed was my grades. The main reason I stayed on at Notre Dame was because of the amazing, loving and caring community here. The teachers knew me and knew my weaknesses and they’ve helped me to curb them.

In the first two weeks of sixth form I dropped English Language. The reason I did this was because I wasn’t passionate about it. It is key to have a passion for you’re A-level subjects as these subjects are more or less your life for two years. I always knew I wanted to do 3 A-levels but I wasn’t really sure which A-levels they were, by choosing 4 I had the breathing space to choose. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure which A-levels you want to do, just trust your instincts and you’ll know.

Good luck on your GCSEs , I know you’ll do really well because you can do it!

 

Prabhav, joined from Birley Secondary School

I joined Notre Dame Sixth Form from Birley Secondary School. I am currently studying Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics and I hope to go on to study Medicine at University.

Before deciding to come to Notre Dame to do my A – Levels I had a look around many different Sixth Forms including All Saints, King Edwards, High Storrs and Silverdale.

I decided to come to Notre Dame because I was in particularly impressed by the ethos and sense of community within this school, something that made Notre Dame stand out from other sixth forms. Furthermore from the open morning last year I knew that teachers at Notre Dame were very experienced and they very clearly explained the syllabus of the subject they taught. Also, like a few students at Notre Dame, I live quite far away but commuting to the school is not a problem because there are lots of good school bus services and the 120 which is direct from my home to Notre Dame.

Now, The Autumn Half Term has flown by. It only seems like a week ago that I started my first lesson as I have been enjoying my time at Notre Dame Sixth Form very much. There were only two of us from Birley but very quickly I made lots of new friends as the students that were already at Notre Dame and other students just like me were very friendly and approachable. I love all my classes, we have even made up a group chat on Facebook as a chemistry class where we can share ideas. I asked Mr Birch, my chemistry teacher if he wanted to join but he looked less than impressed. Teaching has been excellent here. We all know that A – Levels are hard but all my teachers have been very supportive and when you put hard work into it, together studying becomes very fun and even tough sections seem easy to do.

 Overall, I am very pleased that I made the decision to come to Notre Dame Sixth Form and I am looking forward to a very exciting and fun year ahead.

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Catherine, Y12 (at Notre Dame since Y7)

Hi, my name is Catherine. I’ve been at Notre Dame since year 7 and I am now in lower sixth. I am studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at A level and I hope to go on to study Chemistry at university. In year 11, I went to look around different sixth forms at the open days to choose which would be best for me. I looked around Silverdale, Tapton and Notre Dame. 

I quickly decided I wanted to stay at Notre Dame because when I went to the other sixth forms I realised that I actually really liked my school and it could offer me a great sixth form experience. The teachers here know their stuff, and will help my to get my best grades. But its not just the grades – I felt part of a community, and I still do.

I’ve just about adjusted to sixth form life now and I’m really enjoying my time here. The workload has been challenging – they don’t lie when say A-levels are a big step up from GCSE, but I’ve loved focusing on my favourite subjects, and studying them in detail.

I’ve also enjoyed volunteering in STEM club, and have been offered enrichment activities such as the Extended Project Qualification. These will be helpful when I apply to universities next year.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my experience at Notre Dame sixth form so far, and I would really recommend it.

 

Euan (Y12, at Notre Dame since Y7)

Hello my name is Euan, I have been at Notre Dame since Y7 and I am currently studying Spanish, Sociology, English Language and History at A level. After Sixth Form I am hoping to go to university to study Law with Spanish and hopefully when I have graduated become a lawyer.

When I was in your position I looked around different schools' Sixth Forms just to see what they were like, I went Silverdale and St. Mary’s but I decided to stay at Notre Dame mainly because I had seen the schools previous results in the Sixth Form and they were very good and also I find the teachers are very approachable and easy to talk to if you have an issue with work which is very important at A level. I have also found with my previous years here at Notre Dame that there is a very good working environment.

When I started Sixth Form I really enjoyed meeting the new people that had joined the school. The work does get considerably harder but you feel like you are making more progress and as I have selected subjects that I enjoy doing it is much easier to cope with a larger workload that you are given.

 

Hattie, Y12

Hi I'm Hattie and I've been at this school since Y7. I'm taking Geography, History, English Literature, and Philosophy. I hope to go on to study English Literature or History at university, after finishing my A Levels at Notre Dame.

I didn't choose to look around other schools before staying at here, although I considered moving to All Saints since they offered an A Level in Late Modern History, which is different to the course at Notre Dame.

Ultimately, I chose to stay here because I like and trust the teachers at this school, who encouraged me and helped me to get GCSE results which I was pleased with.

After my first 8 weeks here, I recommend to anyone who is considering studying Arts at Sixth Form to stay at Notre Dame as the support offered by teachers is incredible and the enthusiasm they have for their subjects truly shines through.

While the transition from GCSE to A level will be hard, hopefully you will be studying subjects you like, and I can say that Notre Dame is a place in which you will be well prepared to make the jump.

 

Hugh, Y12

Hi, I'm Hugh and I've been at Notre Dame since Year 7 and am currently in Notre Dame Sixth Form. I'm studying Philosophy and Ethics, Politics, History and Maths. I've not fully decided which career path to take yet but am considering one involving Law.

I didn't look around any other Sixth Forms prior to this year as I fully understood that Notre Dame was suitable with what I wanted to do. In hindsight I would have liked to see the quality of other Sixth Forms for comparison, but nevertheless, I'm fully happy with my decision to stay.

The step from GCSE is quite big and the work load can be challenging, but as long as you're organised, you should be okay.

Notre Dame Sixth form offers many opportunities for volunteering as well. For example I help tutor some Year 11's with their Maths and this is something which looks good on personal statements.

Overall I would recommend staying with Notre Dame as it is up there with the best Sixth Forms in the city.

 

James, Y12

I joined the Sixth Form from Birkdale in September and am currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry.

I originally looked around Tapton and King Edwards before deciding that I would go to Notre Dame. I was shown around the school by the senior staff and really liked the impression that I got about the ethos of the school. I thought the campus was more inviting here and having a dedicated Sixth Form common room with Café was a definite bonus. Having been at the school for three months now, I still get that sense of a community, not just a place to learn new information.

I came alone from my previous school, but I felt at home quickly. I fortunately knew one or two people here already, but it's easy to make friends and the Sixth Form café definitely helps with this. The form groups are very varied as well, so it's always interesting to hear about other subjects that people are taking.

I've enjoyed my first half term at the school, I've really enjoyed doing fewer subjects in more depth and the support from the staff is excellent. It's really made the transition from GCSE to A level a lot easier than I thought it would be. There's lots of opportunities outside of subjects as well with sports and music clubs for all interests. I'm also looking forward to going to Cern with the Physics department and skiing in February. All in all, it's been a really good decision to move to Notre Dame.

 

Ella, Y12

Hi my name is Ella. I'm doing Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Spanish A Levels.

They're hard. A levels are really hard: the content is wider and more in depth, the standard is higher, we get more homework, and there is so much stuff you just have to know. Fortunately at Notre Dame though, all of our teachers know exactly what's required for us to do well. From the first week, I knew that if I were struggling I could feel comfortable going to them for help because I already knew them and I am in a school where I feel confident. Mr Birch is fantastic as head of Sixth Form and I've been quite demanding of him, but he's supported and helped me with everything I've talked to him about. If I had gone to a new school, my experience of A Levels would be so much different. I think I would be finding it more stressful, harder and I wouldn't be enjoying them as much as I am now.

I also went to look around Birkdale and I really liked it, especially the attitude of the teachers and the ethos of the school; I thought it was where I wanted to go. But I realised that everything I was looking for was what we have here, and I was comparing every other school I looked at to Notre Dame. I honestly didn't realise how fortunate we are to have teachers that are genuinely kind people. They create and enforce a respectful and caring environment that I didn't really notice until I thought about leaving it. We take what we have here for granted and I don't think you understand the appeal of Notre Dame until you look elsewhere - I certainly didn't.

At the end of the day though, I managed to see that Notre Dame was where I wanted to stay and I made the right decision for me. I hope you begin to see how special Notre Dame is but choose a school that you know you will be happy at next year. And good luck with your exams in the summer!

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