A Caring Community
Notre Dame School is committed to caring for the pastoral as well as the academic needs of the students.
Two deputy heads and five assistant heads have overall responsibility for the pastoral care of the students, together with the Headteacher.
The School is divided into five year groups. Each of these groups has a Head of Year who has overall pastoral and academic responsibility for the students in that group. They are supported by Assistant Heads of Lower, Middle and Upper School who share responsibility with the Heads of Year.
Each year group is divided into tutor groups with a form tutor who has pastoral and academic responsibility for her / his group. Form tutors meet their students twice each day and are the first point of contact for all pastoral matters.
PERSONAL AND SOCIAL EDUCATION
A programme of personal and social education is taught by form tutors. The programme includes the following topics:
- Health Education
- Study Skills
- Sex Education
- Careers Guidance
- Work Related Learning and Enterprise Development
CONTACT WITH PARENTS
The School welcomes contact with parents and they are invited to the School on a number of occasions, both formal and informal, during each year. Parents may visit the School at other times by telephoning in advance to make an appointment.
Each student has a personal planner in which home learning and other important information is recorded on a daily basis. Teachers sometimes use the planner to write a note to parents and parents can also communicate with teachers in the same way. Parents are required to sign the personal planner each week to confirm that they have read all the information in it.
The School seeks to encourage students by celebrating their achievements.
Merit marks and achievement points are awarded for outstanding work, effort, progress and service to the school. Prizes are given to students who receive the greatest number of merit marks or achievement points and for effort, progress and service to the school. Students in Years 7 - 11 receive special certificates for their achievements. 100% attendance and punctuality are also rewarded as the school places a great emphasis on regular attendance.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
The School recognises that each student is unique and therefore endeavours to maintain a flexible system which meets the varying needs of all its students in normal classroom situations.
However, it is understood that there will always be some students who have difficulty in fulfilling their potential without extra support.
The SEND department works together with subject teachers and the pastoral team to identify students who require extra help with their work and to decide on ways of meeting these students’ special needs. The School also works closely with outside agencies which offer different kinds of expertise and support when it is needed.
Close links between School and home are fostered so that parents are also involved in making decisions about their daughter’s education.
The Jubilee Centre offers support to students at risk of underachieving.
Learning mentors provide a one-to-one support structure and help the students overcome barriers to learning. Students who find it hard to be in the mainstream classes for a variety of reasons can find support in the Jubilee Centre. Learning support mentors work to modify students’ behaviour and give them the confidence to cope in normal classroom situations. The school also has a counsellor to whom individuals can be referred.
LEARNING MENTORS, LEARNING SUPPORT ASSISTANTS AND STUDENT SUPPORT ASSISTANTS
Learning Mentors, Learning Support Assistants and Student Support Assistants provide support on an individual or small group basis to students who need extra help and organisation to achieve their potential.
The School is fortunate to have the services of two of the Sisters of Notre Dame as Chaplains.
They are able to provide support to students, develop community links and work with the RE department to develop students’ spirituality.