Student Testimonials

Sixth Form Testimonials

Billie

Hey, I am Billie and I guess you could say I am a born and bred Notre Dame student. I went here previously for my high school education and I always knew that I wanted to study here for my advanced education, due to overwhelming amount of support and opportunities Notre Dame had given me in lower school. Of course, I was curious about other schools, such as High Storrs because I am incredibly passionate about performing arts – not to mention my mother works there - and I even had a trial day at Mount Saint Mary’s private school as they had offered me an academic scholarship.

However, I chose to remain at Notre Dame because I simply adore the family-like community that the school radiates from teachers, students and other staff that honestly doesn’t compare to the other schools that I visited. Not to mention the quality of teaching and further help that Notre Dame provides is outstanding and extremely close to a private school such as Mount Saint Mary’s. For instance, my GCSE English teacher, Mr O’Connor, earlier this year had offered extra assistance to help me achieve my aspirations of being an Oxford graduate in law; first starting, by giving me extra time after school to be more sophisticated and fluent in English and then using those tools to help me reach my ultimate goal.

Currently I am studying English Literature, English Language and Government and Politics which complement each other nicely and lead me down the path of law and the judiciary system. Aside from Oxford I am also planning on applying to The University of Newcastle, York and Leeds all of which have a brilliant reputation of teaching law excellently.

Initially, I feared that staying at Notre Dame may have been a mistake because I was constantly questioned as to why I didn’t choose a new place for a fresh start however after the first week of school I truly am so content and overjoyed with my experience at sixth form here. I am surrounded by not only loving and caring friends but also work driven individuals who encourage me to be the absolute best version of myself. Notre Dame provides the perfect environment and amount of freedom for you to discipline yourself to do the hard work that comes with all courses you’ll study but also you can still simultaneously enjoy yourself.

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Nathan

Hi, My name is Nathan and I am currently in Y13 studying Maths, Chemistry and Biology. I have been at Notre Dame since Y7 and have thoroughly enjoyed every single year.

When deciding whether to stay for 6th form I did consider other options in Sheffield, however my choice was quickly made once I’d been to other open days. There seemed to be a lot less regard for students individually and more focus on academic results alone. In contrast I knew how genuine and caring the teachers here at Notre Dame were from my time in lower school and I can confirm this absolutely continues into the 6th form.

Across all 3 of my subjects, my teachers go the extra mile to be available for what is essentially free 1 to 1 tuition outside of lesson hours and this has been invaluable for working through the challenges of A levels, but also in making me feel very valued as a student.

I have applied to Newcastle, Nottingham, Birmingham and Liverpool to study medicine next year. The school has helped me significantly in this process; from various teachers offering advice on my personal statement to Mr Dransfield filling my inbox with work experience opportunities throughout Y12. My sister, who also went through Notre Dame from Y7-13, is now in her first year at Cambridge University studying law. She too is full of praises for the help that this school provided her with to achieve this.

Finally, I’d like to say how fantastic the school community and ethos is. As a Christian myself I have been involved in the Christian Union here and it has been a great encouragement for me in my faith. This supportive environment can be seen in every area of school life here at Notre Dame and alongside the beautiful grounds makes this school an amazing place to study your A levels.

Thank you for your time!

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Pip

Hi, I’m Pip and I’m in Year 12 here at Notre Dame, studying Chemistry, English Literature, English Language and Music. I know that sounds like a massive workload, and it is, I won’t sugarcoat it – but I don’t believe I could have chosen a better place to do it. As an external student from Tapton, I honestly can’t put into words the difference I felt coming into Notre Dame.

Every teacher who teaches me at A Level (and many that don’t) are constantly ready and willing to set aside their precious free time for you if you need it, be that chasing them round with last-minute questions before school starts, asking for help with a tricky homework at lunchtime or just having a chat about how you are after a lesson has officially finished.

As one of few students left doing four subjects, I feel incredibly nurtured; my teachers are always checking up on me, making sure my workload isn’t overwhelming me and that I’m mostly stress-free and able to enjoy the social side of being at sixth form as well as the academic side. As yet I’m not sure what I want to do at university, though I do know I’d like to apply to Oxbridge, and I can’t say that I’m especially looking forward to dealing with UCAS again, but I know that when the time comes to make those choices and start my applications, I will be completely supported by the kind and knowledgeable staff here at Notre Dame.

I know many of you will be finding this time of year incredibly stressful, because I experienced it myself. I know I might seem a world away from you right now, with the threat of GCSEs no longer hanging over my head, but I was in your position only a year ago, and trust me, I haven’t forgotten what it felt like. I dragged my long-suffering mother round what felt like every sixth form in Sheffield last November, knowing that I wanted a change after my five years at Tapton and hunting desperately for the place that felt “right for me”. When I came to Notre Dame, I knew instantly that I’d found what I was looking for. The atmosphere created by staff and students alike on open morning was so welcoming and warm, and I really hope that you experience this too as you look around today.

Obviously the academic side of things is important as well, and I know I was looking for somewhere that would stretch and challenge me academically, and for that I can’t recommend Notre Dame enough. My school inbox is constantly full of emails telling me about work experience, school trips, extracurriculars and opportunities to further my study. Most of these come from Mr Birch himself, and I think that shows the real dedication of the staff here at Notre Dame and their willingness to go above and beyond to help their students achieve their full potential not just as learners, but as people. In fact, it was something Mr Birch said as I sat in this hall last year that tipped the scales in Notre Dame’s favour; he talked about educating students to be confident, competent and well-rounded people, not just a set of grades. This really resonated with me last year, and since starting my study here in September I’ve found it to be true; never before during my school career have I felt so appreciated on a personal level. If you’re looking for somewhere to make the last two years of your time in compulsory education enjoyable, challenging and rewarding, I would highly recommend applying to Notre Dame; it’s a fantastic school academically that will also send you out into the world feeling loved, supported and ready for anything life might throw at you. Thank you for listening, and good luck in the summer!


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Matt

Hi, my name is Matt. I study maths, further maths, physics and chemistry and I aspire to study computer science at university.

Last year, I was in a similar position to many of you not knowing what I wanted to study at A-level. I had decided as I want to study computer science at university, I should study a computer science A-level. I had been at Notre Dame since year 7 however Notre Dame did not offer computer science A-level. This lead to me dragging my mum round what she said felt like every sixth form in Sheffield. From Bradfield to Birkdale, despite offering computer science and boasting exceptional results, nowhere seemed to live up to the experience I’d had at Notre Dame lower school. Notre Dame has a sense of community, inclusion and support which can’t be measured by exam results. In addition, we have one of the best grounds in Sheffield and the results are so inspiring. The teaching here is exceptional and teachers will go above and beyond without hesitation.

It should be noted, I don’t consider myself a Catholic, nor really a Christian yet the ethos of the school still carries relevance to me. I still feel welcomed and the atmosphere inspired by the Catholic ethos is part of why I stayed.

For me, the bottom line was, I don’t need computer science A-level to study it at university. The decision to stay was made because the community and environment of Notre Dame was far better than other school in Sheffield. Ultimately Notre dame sees each student as an individual, this was really important to me. Now, I can’t recommend Notre Dame enough.

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Ailsa

Hi my name is Ailsa and I’m taking A-levels in English Literature, Politics and Philosophy. For secondary school I went to Westbourne which doesn’t have a sixth form therefore knew I’d have to move, I really wanted to make the right decision therefore I went to five different schools open events and I can confidently say that Notre Dame was by far the best. The passionate teachers, the caring Christian values the school embodies and the extra-curricular activities all drew me to the school. My school email inbox is always packed with new opportunities to serve the school and wider community as well as extra-curricular experiences from Duke of Edinburgh to residential trips. This is something that I really appreciate about this school.

A levels are hard work but at Notre Dame the teachers are beyond helpful and have gradually introduced us to the challenges surrounding sixth form life. They constantly provide advice on how to reduce stress and organise ourselves effectively.

As a new comer to the school I was naturally anxious about meeting new people and making friends. The first few days are bound to be challenging when starting a new school however with Notre Dame’s caring community I quickly fitted in and found myself making friends in no time.

Whether you're joining from another school or already at Notre Dame I’d really recommend this school to continue your higher education studies. Best of luck with your GCSEs and I hope to see you around school next year.

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Jamie

Name = Jamie, studying Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Biology
• When it came to looking at sixth forms, I looked around Notre Dame and Tapton. After being at Tapton for 5 years, the difference at ND was astonishing.
o Teachers extremely caring and genuine.
o School felt very welcoming.
o Had a really friendly community feel to it – even before anybody spoke to me, the setting and grounds seemed homely and warm.

• If you’re going to spend two very intense work years anywhere, make it somewhere you’re going to want to be. Part of me really just wanted a change from my old school, to freshen up so to say, but I could also sense that this would be a very smart change, and the last few months spent here have only confirmed that.
o Quality of teaching is flawless.
o Opportunities and resources offered to students is exceptional.

• So far I have loved all of my subjects, and am hoping to continue on to study medicine at university afterwards. Although definitely not decided yet, most probable options will be Oxford, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Lancaster, and I have no doubt that this school will help me to reach this ambition as already my school inbox is filled with work experience opportunities and information from Mr Dransfield (cheers sir) – just a small piece of evidence for the care and time the staff will invest into each student’s success.

o If you want to study A levels in a beautiful location with teachers who not only clearly know their stuff and are able to teach it well but also care deeply about their students’ wellbeing and aspirations, then I cannot recommend Notre Dame to you enough. This school stands out by its clear attention to little details which you just won’t find anywhere else, but make all the difference, and you may already receive that impression just from looking around this morning. This school doesn’t just take you in and spit you out after two years with a raw set of grades at the end (although I have no doubt in its ability to help you achieve very high grades), but it invests real time and energy into insuring that you as a student are coping and are happy, and builds you as a person too.

o As an external student from another of the top competitors for schools in Sheffield, take it from me, this school is exceptional, and I would strongly recommend you at least consider applying here. I did, and I don’t regret it one bit, and you certainly won’t either. Thank you for listening!

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