Notre Dame High School, Sheffield
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|Motto||Ah! Qu'il est bon est le bon dieu
French: "Ah! How good is the Good God"
|Founder||Sisters of Notre Dame|
|Local authority||City of Sheffield|
|DfE URN||138361 Tables|
|Students||1,400 (346 in Sixth Form)|
Notre Dame High School in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, was established in the 1850s by the Sisters of Notre Dame, a religious order. It currently has 1400 students, with a 1:17.3 Teacher: Student ratio.
- 1 Admissions
- 2 History
- 3 Achievements
- 4 Pupils
- 5 Ethos and traditions
- 6 Notre Dame Virtual School
- 7 Alumni
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The school has a Catholic ethos and caters for children from all over the city and further afield. The school has a mixed gender, and has students aged 11–18.
The Sisters of Notre Dame set up the school in 1855 in central Sheffield, moving to a site on Cavendish Street in 1862.
In 1919, the Sisters moved their living quarters from Cavendish Street to Oakbrook House, a Victorian mansion in Ranmoor built in 1860 for Mark Firth, a steel manufacturer who became Lord Mayor of Sheffield and Master Cutler.
In 1935, another secondary school was built in the grounds of Oakbrook House; in 1948 the two schools amalgamated to form a girls' grammar school, Notre Dame High School for Girls, on two sites.
The grammar school was converted in 1976 to a mixed comprehensive, still on two sites. The school finally consolidated onto the Oakbrook site in 1988 when the Cavendish site was closed and subsequently demolished.
Oakbrook House, which was owned by famous Sheffield steel baron Mark Firth and part of the school since 1919, is now the school's Sixth Form block and has been a listed building since 1973. The main school building is a 1930s building with many architectural features including a main hall, known as the salle, with a high vaulted ceiling. As the school has expanded other buildings have been built that complement the architecture of the site making use of local sandstone or red pantiles depending where the building fits in. The Hallam City Learning Centre which is hosted on site has distinct modern architectural merit and receives a mention in the Pevsner guide to the architecture of Sheffield.
The school became an academy in August 2012.
It has been a Specialist Technology College since 1995 and was awarded a second specialism in 2005 in Humanities and a third as a Leading Edge school supporting a partnership of other schools. The Leading Edge specialism also includes a sub-specialism on sharing good practice with others around issues of educating able, gifted and talented pupils.
ICT has been a prime focus of the school; recently winning the 2009 Becta Excellence ICT Award for the best whole school in Yorkshire and the Humber and in the past has won other awards including a national award at the Specialist Schools and Academies Conference in 2005 and again in 2007 in recognition of this work. A new environmental learning centre website has been set up and an eco-classroom has been built by the on site Hallam CLC in the school woodland area which makes use of the latest technology to enhance learning and set an example for sustainable buildings as part of the approach to the sustainable schools strategy.
The GCSE (A*–C) rate in 2009 was the strongest in school's history with the 80% barrier of the number of pupils gaining 5 good GCSE being broken for the first time. The figure including English and maths was well above average for Sheffield with 70% of 5th Year (Y11) pupils attaining these grades, compared with Sheffield's average of 39.9%. It was the second highest for Sheffield in the state sector, with Silverdale School being the highest. In 2007, there were 280 in the sixth form, 111 of whom took A-levels, with an average point score of 84.70, compared with the average of 79.9 in England overall.
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The pupils, aged 11–18, are all from varying ability backgrounds. The majority of the pupils are Roman Catholic, with only a small proportion (a quota of 30 per year-group) being of other faiths.
The traditional white shirt and school tie has fallen out of favour among pupils, who now wear a green polo shirt combined with the compulsory school jumper in line with pupil preference. Standards of uniform are strict with tailored black trousers and black leather shoes completing the uniform. Rules on jewellery are particularly strict, with pupils only being permitted to wear stud earrings and a religious necklace.
The school has four houses: Picardy, Compiègne, St Julie, Cuvilly, all having roots in places associated with St Julie Billart, the founder of the Order of Notre Dame. There are two school inter-house competitions: Firstly, the sports day, which is greatly competitive and is often held in higher esteem by the pupils than the house cup. The house cup is the award for the house with the most amount of positive incidents (previously known as house points), and shows academic ability and effort of house. The houses are balanced equally, with two forms from each year.
In recent years there has been a change in the discipline system, pupils previously received yellow slips for minor behaviour incident, i.e. forgetting homework . Two yellow slips would result in a detention. Major incidents would have previously have resulted in a pink slip, which would have resulted in an immediate detention, and possibly the pupil will have been sent to the bungalow. The entire system is now computer based, though the same. The bungalow has now been demolished and SSR (student Support Room) has been established.
Pupils are encouraged to take a lead in the school and there are annual elections (usually in November) for the captaincy of the four houses, and also to select the pupil year council. In 2007 the school switched its nomination processes to its pupil web pages. There is also a student council, from all the years in the main school.
Ethos and traditions
The school continues with its strong Catholic ethos and offers many opportunities for pupils and staff to work together to prepare for various pastoral occasions., for example, the whole school Mass at the end of the year, and for the 5th year leavers' mass during May.
The school is known for its dramatic performances through musicals (performed by the pupils) and a staff pantomime. Drama musicals are usually organised twice a year, one for an older age group in December and a musical (traditionally a collection of pieces).
The school contributes to mainly Christian charitable work and often collections are organised to raise money for campaigns such as CAFOD as well as some more light-hearted activities that take place on behalf of charities such as internal charity FOND (Friends of Notre Dame). There are two main times of fundraising: Advent fundraising and Lenten fundraising. The latter is always for the Good Shepherd Appeal, which is run for local charities such as the St. Wilfrid's Centre. Advent fundraising is usually done for a charity voted on by the pupils or the year council, where each year has a different charity.
Notre Dame Virtual School
The school collaborates with Notre Dame schools all over the world through the Global Virtual Learning Environment 'Notre Dame Virtual School' (NDVS).
Notre Dame High School for Girls
- Judith French, Principal of St Hilda's College, Oxford from 2001-7, and psychiatrist
- Prof Sheila Hollins, Professor of Psychiatry at St George's, University of London since 1990, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2005-8
- Judy Parfitt, actress
Notre Dame High School
- Jon McClure and Ed Cosens, singer and bassist respectively with Reverend and the Makers
- Chris McClure, lead vocalist of The Violet May, and whose image is the cover art of the Arctic Monkeys' album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
- Joe Carnall, former lead singer of Milburn (band)
- Alex Kiwomya, professional footballer currently signed to Chelsea FC