We are a school with a strong sense of tradition, a vibrant present and an exciting future. There has been a Notre Dame School in Plymouth for nearly 150 years. This school is proud of its history but is forwarding looking too.
In 1804, two French women, Julie Billiart, the daughter of a country draper, and Francoise Blin de Bourdon, an aristocrat, founded a Religious Congregation dedicated to the education of girls. From that time onwards, in Europe, America, Africa, Japan and other parts of the world, Sisters of Notre Dame have worked to keep alive the educational ideals of St Julie. It is a truly world wide family. You may have heard of Sr Dorothy Stang who was murdered in the Amazon in February 2005 for the stand she took in support of the rights of poor farmers. She is a modern example of the bravery and independence shown by the founders of the congregation. The final sentence of their mission statement may help you to understand our inspiration.’ Each of us commits our one and only life to work with others to create justice and peace for all.
St Julie believed that education should be for all, whatever their ability. The first Sisters were encouraged to educate “the whole child: heart, hands and head” and they were urged to teach their pupils “whatever is necessary for life.” In ‘our present’ we have adopted this ‘head, heart and hands’ approach to underpin our status as a Specialist School and we too try to adapt our curriculum to suit every need.
Today our school numbers 800 students, more than 100 teachers and support staff and has strong links with other local schools. The Link Partnership (TLP) operates Post 16 where we work with Devonport High School for Girls, Devonport High School for Boys, St Boniface’s College and Eggbuckland Community College. This increases the opportunities we are able to offer to our students and has increasing advantages at 14 – 16 level as well. We also belong to the Notre Dame Virtual School, a developing website for our students and staff.
Notre Dame has a strong record of academic success, a broad and enriching curriculum that stretches the gifted and supports those who need extra time. We expect the best effort and the best standards from all our community members because we are totally committed to achievement. We are a learning community; a successful comprehensive school that values all achievements. From September 2005 we are also a Specialist Humanities School promoting excellence through English, Drama and Religious Studies.
From September 2008 we are the proud possessors of outstanding new sports, library and classroom facilities of which we are extremely proud. Our new classroom block is named Stang after Sister Dorothy SND who was martyred in the Amazon in 2005.
Our School mission statement and our home school agreement demonstrate clearly our ethos and values. Respect and responsibility underpin the learning experience for students and staff here. Our belief that God loves us makes us optimistic and purposeful people. St Julie said that we should be drawn to the love of God in the same way as the sunflower turns towards the sun. The sunflower image is one with which all the members of this school community are very familiar. We believe that God is good and we can experience his goodness and love through each other.
We want every young person who comes to Notre Dame, every adult who has contact with us, to experience this reality and be inspired by it.
Kate White, MBA