Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise

The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014) by the Prime Minister David Cameron when asked about British Values, he replied “I would say freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions.”

At Durham Johnston these values have a central role in how the teaching and learning is delivered. They are reinforced throughout the curriculum in the following ways:


The Citizenship NC 2014 states all children are to ‘acquire a sound knowledge and understanding of how the United Kingdom is governed, its political system and how citizens participate actively in its democratic systems of government’.  At Durham Johnston we promote democracy in many ways. A firm foundation is established in Year 7 where our children receive timetabled lessons on PSHE and Citizenship. Some of the topics covered within the unit on Democracy are learning about the importance of decision making, the different forms of government and their influence locally, nationally and globally, the value of debate and reasoned argument and the importance of tolerance when dealing with other faiths and beliefs.

The students have always had their voices heard at Durham Johnston. When the House System was introduced in 2009 they voted for the theme and House names deciding upon Annand, Heaviside, Kenny and Wakenshaw who were all soldiers from the DLI who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Each form class elect a House Rep and they attend regular House meetings and organise teams and participants for the many competitions that happen over the course of the year.

They elect a Junior House Captain (KS3) and a Senior House Captain (KS4) and in 6th Form they hold elections for Head Boy and Girl together with Vice Head Boy and Girl.

The Rule of Law

At Durham Johnston our young people acknowledge and engage with us to provide a safe and respectful school community. Our ethos is to produce tolerant individuals that are willing to challenge stereotyping, bullying and discrimination in any form so we can create a school community that is inspirational, that our young people want to be a part of and is a solid base for learning. This is underpinned in one of our core values which identify that ‘weexpect Johnstonians to have the highest standards of behaviour and we aim for our school to be a just and happy community so that our students understand how each person may be of service to society.’

In order to provide a ‘just and happy community’ our children are taught the importance of Laws on a regular basis and this is reinforced throughout the school with a rigid behavioural policy. Our children understand our expectations on them to behave in school and in the community and they are regularly reminded of the importance of having laws, whether in class, the school, the community or on a larger scale. They are also taught that Laws are there to help us and to keep us safe and that by accepting the Rule of Law comes with great responsibilities for all. They are also taught that when laws are broken, no matter at what level, there are consequences.

In the 2014 Kirkland Rowell report parents considered school discipline to be ‘outstanding’ and was one of the five criteria most important to parents with a score of 85%.

Individual Liberty

The children at Durham Johnston are encouraged to be individuals and they are supported when making choices. They understand that choice encourages them to be enterprising and is valuable in making effective transitions, positive learning and career decisions and in achieving economic wellbeing. They understand that making choices contributes to personal development by helping to build confidence, resilience and self-esteem, and to identify and manage risk. We want all Johnsonians to make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions.

Our children are taught about rights and how they can be exercised in a safe and supportive environment. We emphasise the importance of E-Safety in particular with the use of social media and the internet.

We encourage personal development and offer a wide variety of lunchtime and after school activities that allow the children the freedom to make choices and also be confident to alter their choices if they feel that is the right decision for them.

Mutual Respect

Our young people acknowledge and engage with us to provide a safe and respectful school community and produce tolerant individuals that are willing to challenge stereotyping, bullying and discrimination in any form. We encourage diversity and equality in all its forms and our children are taught about the ‘protected groups’ such as age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, ethnicity, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity and is why we are a Stonewall Champion School.

At Durham Johnston we teach that mutual respect enables them to recognise, accept and shape their identities as to understand and accommodate differences helps to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives.

Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Belief

At Durham Johnston we ensure that our children are given as many opportunities to promote cultural diversity and the many faiths and beliefs of others. This is reinforces throughout the PSHE and RE curriculum where great depth is given to the variety of faiths and cultures and why it is important to be tolerant to others. In Year 7 the students cover Identity and Diversity as a separate unit to reinforce our core values that ‘we want Johnstonians to be reflective, inquiring, tolerant, positive and respectful of the needs of others.’