Background Information to Candidates About this role
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College is an outstanding College situated in inner-Leeds catering specifically for pupils from the three partner Catholic 11-16 high schools in the city.
The College places a great deal of emphasis on fulfilling its Catholic mission to build a community built on faith and trust and in providing extensive individual support to students to enable them to achieve their full potential. The mission and ethos permeate all elements of College life, from the tutorial programme, to the general religious education programme (PTE), to assemblies and liturgies, and to encouraging volunteering and fundraising for charitable causes.
Just less than half of our students are from Catholic backgrounds and we recruit students from approximately 80 other high schools in Leeds and surrounding towns and districts, demonstrating the strength of our reputation throughout the area. The College has grown significantly over recent years, and the roll stands currently at approximately 1900 students, all enrolled on full time study programmes. 93% are enrolled on Level 3 courses of which 70% are on an academic pathway and 30% are on an Applied General pathway. 7% of students are enrolled on our Level 2 programme.
89% of College students are from Leeds postcode areas, 6% from Wakefield and 4% from Bradford. 44% of College students are from black and minority ethnic group backgrounds, compared to 28% in Leeds schools as a whole. The male female ratio is approximately 40:60 and 22% of students reside in disadvantaged postcodes. Approximately 16% are recorded as LDD and 18% received support from our Learning Support department.
Leeds has 35 secondary schools or academies, 25 of which have sixth forms, as well as a very large GFE college offering a wide range of courses including some A levels. A 16-19 free school opened in September 2015 and a UTC opened in September 2016. There are currently plans to open 3 more 16-19 free schools within the area.
The overall performance at key stage 4 in the city is lower than the national average and this is reflected in the College’s average GCSE points score (Lower Six = 5.62, Upper Six = 5.74, Level 2 = 3.85). The College has moderate admission requirements for Level 3 programmes of study, but in spite of this, achieves extremely good value-added scores (see ALPS Strategic Overview 2016-17).
Our Level 2 outcomes are consistently above benchmark in terms of achievement and success and at Level 3 we continue to have excellent achievement rates. Overall retention is improving and is now in line with national benchmarks for sixth form colleges and as a consequence our overall achievement (success) rate reached 89% in 2017. Our academic points score per entry puts us firmly in the top 15% of all sixth form colleges.
Our curriculum has been designed to reflect current and forthcoming labour market opportunities, offering appropriate courses to allow our students to enter the labour market as skilled, competitive, and resilient young people. Our links with our Law Academy and the major Law firms in the city of Leeds is an example of this close relationship in practice.
All students who are yet to achieve a pass at grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths are required to study L2 English and Maths courses until they secure the required grade. Success rates on these courses are significantly above national benchmarks and this success helps to ensure the very best progression opportunities for our students.
Considering the prior attainment levels of our students, it is a strength of the College that we achieve excellent progression rates to higher education and appropriate employment opportunities. 70% of the upper sixth leavers in 2016-17 progressed to higher education, including 27% progression to Russell group universities with 6 students taking up places at Oxford or Cambridge.
The progression rate to higher education and suitable employment opportunities is of great significance for the College and for the city of Leeds as a whole given the academic starting points of its students and the high levels of deprivation in the city.
With an increased drive to recruit young people onto apprenticeships and work based learning, 167 students progressed onto appropriate apprenticeships or employment opportunities, contributing to the employment demands of the local area, whilst securing good development opportunities and training. In short, students from a wide range of different backgrounds come to Notre Dame, make excellent progress and move on to positive destinations which is a major achievement for an inner-city sixth form college.
To secure sustainable improvements, there was a restructuring of the College Management in September 2015 following the retirement of a number of long serving senior staff. The senior team was composed of Principal, three Vice Principals and Director of Finance. In September 2016, following the appointment of one of the Vice Principals to Principal at Greenhead College, the Pastoral Vice Principal was appointed as Deputy Principal with curriculum and pastoral leadership responsibility to ensure that our improvement strategy is appropriate and adhered to. The Vice Principal has responsibility for human resources, marketing and enrolment. Two new Assistant Principals were appointed; one for quality assurance, the other for pastoral oversight and leadership of L2 provision. The newly constituted team ensures a co-ordinated approach to whole College improvement.
The College works closely with our local schools and Colleges, from senior management level to department links, thus allowing the College to plan and provide the most appropriate opportunities for the young people in the city. The College is also a key member of: ACVIC (Association of Catholic Sixth Form Colleges); NorVIc (Association of Northern Sixth Form Colleges); SFCA (Sixth Form College Association) and AoC (Association of Colleges). The College estate is in good condition and there has been significant investment in IT and student facilities in recent years. The financial health of the College is rated as good. Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College was last inspected in April 2008 and judged to be outstanding.
“Building a Community on Faith & Trust”
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College, inspired by the Christian tradition, holds at the centre of our ethos the dignity and uniqueness of each person. Notre Dame values and welcomes those of other beliefs.
We aim to:
- treat each other with respect
- create an atmosphere of mutual trust in which we develop the confidence to be ourselves
- provide a high quality, meaningful education which encourages the development of the whole person
- provide equality of opportunity
- celebrate the joy and energy of our community
- support everyone, of all abilities, to make positive steps towards achieving their full potential
- promote a caring environment, working together for the benefit of the individual and the wider community
- build a community based on faith and trust, respect for each individual, and full development of each person’s potential, as found in the teaching and example of Our Lord Jesus Christ