14th December 2018 Merry Christmas & Yippee Ki Yay.

Clarence the Angel: “Remember George, no man is a failure who has friends.”

 

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is a film that everyone should watch at least once and, if you haven’t had the opportunity, it is being shown over Christmas at both the Gala in Durham and the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle…

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7th December 2018 8 For 43

Above are a series of images of sportsmen (note the lack of women*) who loomed large in my early years and made the most of their ability. Alex Higgins winning the UK Snooker Championship and asking for ‘his baby.’ Daley Thompson winning his first Olympic gold medal in Moscow. John Lowe holding…

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23rd November 2018 Fáilte chuig an teachtaireacht Dé hAoine!

Fáilte chuig an teachtaireacht Dé hAoine!

 

We’ve been fortunate that for most of November the weather has been breacaimsir, but when walking into school this week my clothes have been aimliú on a daily basis. If on the off chance you hail from the West Coast of Ireland or Scotland you might…

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28th March 2018 Sinfonia Intitolata Bonaparte

                       

 

                       

 

In 1804 Beethoven was putting the finishing touches to ‘Sinfonia Intitolata Bonaparte’ when he received notice that Napoleon, a figure he admired for being both revolutionary and virtuous, had declared himself Emperor of France.…

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2nd March 2018 - Adverse Weather Protocol Learning Curve

Unsurprisingly, the focus for my letter this week is the weather. The week has been characterised by an obsession with the Met Office, Red and Amber Weather Warnings, driving conditions, fears over safety and the hugely difficult decision taken to close the school. As you are aware, the school’s…

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9th February 2018 Rituals & Milestones

School life is based upon a series of rituals and reoccurring milestones. Ill-fitting uniform on the first day of school. A new school bag. Replacing lost PE kit. The Christmas service at Durham Cathedral. First lessons in options subjects at GCSE and A Level. Last days of term. Results days.…

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9th February 2018 Some Battles Are Never Completely Won

“Sir, I was completing my homework on Anti-Semitism in 1930s Germany and I found a website which said that the Holocaust didn’t happened. Is that a common view?”

 

A year 9 student asked me the above question at the end of a lesson. He waited until other students had left and was clearly a…

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2nd February 2018 Votes For Women

A boy and his father are involved in a car crash. The father dies and the boy needs urgent surgery in order to survive; he will die unless operated upon quickly. He is rushed into the operating theatre. The surgeon enters at speed, ready to operate, but stops, stating ‘I can’t operate on him. He’s…

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Tags: Suffragettes, Lydia Pearson

26th January 2018 Lydia Pearson, Libraries & About The Young Idea

We have a number of invigilators in school this week as year 11 students are completing mock exams. On Wednesday an invigilator asked for directions and I explained that ‘You need to go straight past Lydia and turn right.’ They nodded, but rightly, looked a little perplexed.

Lydia is the name…

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19th January 2018 Old Photographs

 

If you look very closely at the above photograph (left) you will see two small human figures; one man having his shoes cleaned by another. It is titled ‘Boulevard du Temple’ and was taken in 1838 by Louis Daguerre. It is the first known photograph to feature a person. A year later, in…

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12th January 2018 Vive La France & An Introduction

As a history teacher at Durham Johnston it is always obvious that you have returned to school in January when, walking along the corridors, vigilant but thinking of tea, you are accosted by inquisitive 6th form students.

“Excuse me sir, how many economics ministers did Louis XVI have between…

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