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 his nerve to win the UK Darts Championship, outwitting Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson and Leighton Rees. Bob Willis taking 8 for 43 and terrifying the Australian cricket team at Headingley. Trevor Francis scoring the winning goal for Nottingham Forest in the European Cup Final in Munich. The rivalry between Steve Ovett and Seb Coe and consecutive world records being broken. John McEnroe’s belligerence and dynamism. The great rivalry between the ‘Fabulous Four’ middleweight kings of the ring; Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran. If any of those sporting names or memories resonate with you then, bad luck – you are at least as old as me! In the late 1970s and early 1980s there were 3 Channels and I diligently watched any sport that was broadcast, getting up early to watch the pitch inspection for summer test matches, staying up late (if allowed) to watch the boxing or greyhound racing on Sportsnight each Wednesday. Those 800 and 1500 metre records were set on Friday nights; Bob Willis finished off the Australians on a Tuesday in the first week of the summer holidays in 1981. I apologise for the nostalgia and for straying too close to ‘jumpers for goalposts’ territory, or, worse, John Major’s rose tinted ‘Old maids bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist.’ I didn’t, however, just watch those sports, I tried each of them with varying degrees of success. You don’t know what your strengths or weaknesses are until you have a go at something.
*(I should also note, the absence of female role models; women were written out of sport 40 years ago, of secondary importance in athletics and tennis, completely invisible in many other sports. Like many areas of life, there has been hard fought change and a contemporary list would, hopefully, be very different).
I wanted to share those memories because sport really is important. It allows us to marvel at the unique talent that some have and the commitment and endurance needed to succeed. Sport is also inspirational, the success of others can encourage us to take part and try new things.
Sport fosters many things that are good; teamwork and leadership. Ever since I was a kid, whatever situation I was presented with, I always tried to make the most of it. Daley Thompson, 1984
There are obvious health benefits that come from being active, but sport offers much more than that. A sense of achievement, self-worth, structure in a chaotic life, even a feeling of belonging can come from involvement in sport. In its purest sense, it also has the potential to be meritocratic; gender, race or socio-economic circumstances should be irrelevant and often are. However, participation amongst young people is in decline, with a fifth consecutive annual drop in participation in 2018.
We are very fortunate that so many students contribute to the sporting life of our school. There are students that compete at the highest levels, regionally and nationally, and a great many more who do so purely for enjoyment and exercise. The PE department at Durham Johnston works very hard to encourage all students to take part in sport and that dedication was recognised in the School Sports Magazine rankings for 2018. Our school was ranked 14th, putting the school in the top 1% of schools nationally and one of the highest ranked non-selective schools. We are very proud of that achievement and of the ongoing commitment of students, staff and the vast number of parents and friends of the school who contribute to that success. As you know from recent bulletins, that success was added to recently with a very strong performances in the National Cross Country Championships in Ipswich. Our junior girls finished 3rd nationally, with the junior boys finishing 7th. In the same week that they were representing the school so admirably, the department also held a series of competitions and activities for local primary schools. Last week 22 of our BTEC, GCSE and A Level students worked alongside local students with disabilities as part of a regional Sports Camp. We were very proud that the head of PE at Trinity School shared the following comments;
‘I wanted to let you know how well the Step into Sport Camp went and that pupils from Durham Johnston are a credit to their school. The A Level sports leaders students were amazing and of a very high quality generally, leading their groups and an inspiration to others to aim high.’
There are many ways to measure excellence in sport, but to paraphrase Daley Thompson, at Durham Johnston those involved in PE demonstrate leadership and teamwork; they make the most of the opportunities provided. We are very fortunate to have such talented students and the students are very fortunate to have such dedicated teachers and coaches.
That dedication is also a feature of the wider school. In the recent Sunday Times Parent Power Schools Guide for 2018 we were ranked as the highest performing state school in the North East and 14th nationally amongst non-selective schools. We are obviously very proud of this achievement, as it indicates that a large number of our students were successful. That too is the result of team work and a desire to encourage all to participate. Have a good weekend.
Our annual Christmas Carol Service will take place on Friday 21 December.
Please click on the following links for copies of the letters detailing arrangements for the day which issued to students earlier this week.
Congratulations to the pupils who took part in the Kids Lit Quiz final in London.
Here is what they said after the competition.
'After winning the Kids Lit Quiz regional heat, we went on a very long journey to London for the National final. It was great! In the end, we came 8th in the country! We are very proud of ourselves, and we believe that everyone contributed wonderfully.'
Very well done!
Mrs Walton, KSE English Co-ordinator
A team of six Year 9 Design Technology students competed at the regional heat of the UK Sub Sea STEM Challenge last week.
Pupils had to design, make, program and market a model R.O.V. (Remote Operated Vehicle) that would be used to lay data cables under the sea for a Communication Engineering company (Soil Machine Dynamics).
Team members were:
Erin Keeler- Clarke
The team developed a range of skills including presenting, teamwork, leadership and computer programming . They came second in the competition behind the Royal Grammar School and above Newcastle School for Boys. R.G.S were formidable competition - last year they not only won the regional heat, but are also the reigning national champions.
Congratulations to the team!
Mr Corkin, Subject Leader for Technology
This is a time of year when parents and carers might be thinking of purchasing video games for their children. In our newsletter this month there is some timely advice and guidance on the things to consider, as well as how to set up some important parental settings on electronic devices which we hope you will find useful.
Mr Garside, Strategic Leader for ICT
Sixth Form students have the opportunity to join our extensive range of student-led societies which meet regularly during lunchtime and after school each week.
We tell students "Not something here for you? Start one"
Please click here to see what societies are currently offered.
Science letters and forms to order science books were issued to pupils in Years 10 and 11 on Thursday.
If you would like to purchase any books through the school please return the completed form and money by Thursday 13th December to Dr. M. Bolton in Science 5.
Dr Bolton, Subject Leader for Biology
Neville’s Cross Community Christmas Festival.
Congratulations to Johnston Brass and to other pupils who performed in the Durham Music Service ensembles as part of the Neville’s Cross Community event last Friday. Lots of positive comments have been received from pupils, staff and parents who attended the event.
Tomorrow - Saturday December 8th – 14.00
Junior Choir, Johnston Brass and selected soloists perform in a Christmas Concert at North Road Methodist Church. Tickets (£5) will be available on the door and tea and biscuits will be available afterwards.
Performers should be there, in full school uniform, by 13.40 and the concert will take about an hour.
School Christmas Concert
Tuesday 11th Dec
2.45 - First Half Rehearsal - please be prepared to stay until 4.00, if necessary.
This is for Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir.
Wednesday 12th Dec
2.45 – Second Half Rehearsal - please be prepared to say until 4.00, if necessary.
This is for Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra, Chamber Choir and DJ Brass. *
(*Big Band will be performing in the second half of the concert and their final rehearsal will have been on Friday 7th)
The Concert – Thursday 13th December
This starts at 6.30. All participating students need to be in school by 6.15 and please could all audience members be seated in James Hall by 6.25. If you also have a ticket for the second part, please also surrender your ticket for a second half programme to save you needing the leave the hall in the brief interval between parts one and two.
We will ask everyone that does not have a programme for the second part to vacate the hall at the end of the first part and then those with tickets for second part will be admitted in time for the second half to start around 7.30. Please could students who are performing in the second half be in school by 7.20.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
PE Department News
On Tuesday our Year 7 girls basketball team travelled to St Aidan’s School, Harrogate for a friendly match. This was another strong performance from this team who lead by 6 points at half-time. We continued to play well in the second half going on to win 37 – 13.
On Wednesday our Year 7 five-a-side girls football team played in the Bishop Auckland tournament against Teesdale, Staindrop and Parkside school. The girls showed outstanding talent, winning each 7 minute game 5-0, 6-0 and 4-0. They now progress to the next round to play in the semi-finals in two weeks’ time.
Also on Wednesday our U14 basketball team were at home taking part in the Tyneside Schools Cup against Biddick. We started slowly finishing the first quarter 4 points behind. However we improved throughout the game taking control in the second half going on to win 46 – 22. We now reach the finals which take place after Christmas.
Last night our Year 7 boys 5-a-side team were at King James for their Bishop Auckland tournament. Unfortunately we kept conceding goals meaning we didn’t finish in the top two schools and therefore won’t progress to the next round
Also last night our U16 girls football team were at home taking on Macmillan in the English Schools Cup. This team are one of our strongest rivals. Even though Emily Salmon and Daisy Smith scored two great goals we were defeated 4-2 knocking us out of the National Cup.
Good luck today to our Year 7 girls football team who are at Maiden Castle taking part in a tournament. Also good luck to our Year 10 basketball team who are competing in the Tyneside Cup.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
The photo above shows the junior girls at the end of their race in the National Schools Cross Country finals in Suffolk. At this point we did not know the results of the race, however over the tannoy we soon heard the countdown of the top 10 teams (out of 27 schools racing). We thought we may have been 5th or 4th, but as the countdown went on and got to 4th place and we hadn't been announced yet, the excitement grew. When we heard the announcement "And in 3rd place with 112 points, it's Durham Johnston Comprehensive School" the whole group erupted, all the parents, staff and both the girls and boys’ teams were ecstatic. This is the best performance of any cross country team we have ever had, we have made quite a few National finals over the years, but 3rd is an outstanding achievement. Let’s not forget the junior boys who also ran an outstanding race and came in at 14th (out of 27 schools) in the competition. It is a major achievement to have qualified, so to have 2 teams make it to National finals is very special and we are very proud of them all. Each and every runner took part with sheer determination, resilience, guts and courage, fantastic team effort from all 12 competitors. Our tagline has always been #runlikethewind well the certainly did, they ran like the wind.
Mrs Hopper, 2nd i/c PE
Extra Curricular Activities
Please click on the link below for updated information on extra-curricular activities offered during 1st and 2nd lunch and after school.
Well done to all special mention for Freya Gibson who came in 10th position out of 162 runners, just fantastic. Jessica Peart and Charlotte Dillon were 25th & 26th with Lucy Pinkney in 51st. Both Ruby Phillips and Grace Dale ran the race of their lives to keep us in that top 3 position, because for every runner they beat or overtook it was more points for the other schools, keeping us at the top. Very well done one and all.
Year 7 and 8 Santa Run - period 5 on Friday 14 December