Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Headteacher’s Message

Dear parents and carers,

Thank you for giving us feedback through the biannual Parent Survey Report for which we use Kirkland Rowell. The results are hot off the press.  Once again parents rated the school as outstanding and gave us lots of positive feedback including the quality of teaching, academic results, the quality of school facilities and the level of discipline at school. We are also pleased that parents had seen improvements in certain areas of school life too.

Of course, you have also given us areas to look into. We will be giving more detail about the report soon, through the Friday bulletin. In the past parents have given us feedback about the school and we have responded. For example, the timing of the Year 7 parents’ consultation evening has been changed for next academic year, and modern language requirements for triple scientists have also been altered. We do seek to respond to requests where possible.

It has been said that ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions’. That is the case also for students. When reports are issued in the coming weeks, please talk to your children about the progress they are making and the areas in which they can make further improvements in attitude or work rate. Should there be any intervention strategies highlighted, ask them about these too.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher



Dates For Your Diary

  • Year 8 Parents Evening - Monday 23rd June

  • Year 7 Parents Evening - Monday 30th June

  • Annual Sports Presentation Evening - Caedmon Hall, St Hild and St Bede College - Thursday 10th July at 7.00 p.m.  

  • Term ends 17th July 2014


National Schools Regatta

A crew of eight  U16 girls from Durham Amateur Rowing Club  took national honours last weekend at the National Schools Regatta, the most prestigious Junior event in the year. Durham Johnston has a long tradition of strong links with the Rowing Club.

The crew was made up of four girls from Durham Johnston: Hannah Iqbal, Charlotte Jackson, Corinne Hatton, Laura Phillips  and Cox Rebecca Jackson, along with Ellen Blowey, Georgia McMillan, Sarah Coleman and Alex McMullen.

After finishing 3rd in the Schools Head of the River on the Thames then being selected to represent the North Region at the Junior Inter Regional Championships last month where they took a closely fought Bronze, their progression became complete last weekend.  The girls dominated their event to win GOLD by over 6 seconds from the second placed crew, leading from first stroke of their 2000metre race and extending their lead with each stroke.

This is the first time that a crew boat from Durham Amateur Rowing Club have taken a Gold at  this event winning The Steve Gunn Bowl, Junior 16 Girls VIII Rose Bowl.  The last time the club achieved a gold at National Schools was with Jessica Eddie (with sister Alex in a junior double) over 10 years ago.  And it was fitting  that the crew last week performed in the club’s new eight oared boat ‘Jessica Eddie’ named by and after Jessica who is  one of the club’s most recent and successful  international oarswomen, who won a Silver Medal at the World Championships this weekend in the Women’s 8.

Coach Fred Snowdon said, ‘This is the most dedicated squad I have ever coached, I admit I was worried the girls’ school prom the night before might have affected their performance, but clearly I should have had no worries, they performed brilliantly’.

Durham Amateur Rowing Club are actively looking for more Juniors especially Year 8 and 9 to build on this success.  There are courses running at the moment. If you would like to come down and have a go, please contact either Mrs Tighe or Mark Bell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This outstanding performance was also reported in the local press:  www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/11244352.Girls_strike_gold_at_schools_regatta/


Durham Johnston World Cup – 1 Week to go!

We’re less than a week away from the Durham Johnston World Cup kicking off. All forms have been provided with a pack of information about how the football side of the tournament will run.

During the tournament, fixtures, match results and current tables will be updated and available live on our school website. Please click on the link below for more information.


Students will be allowed to attend school in their PE kit on the days where they are playing in a match. These students will have to complete a “Fifa Fair Play” trace form on the day of their match. Any foul play during lessons will result in them not being able to represent their nation.

There is a real buzz around the school about this event. We have forms practising their national anthems, customised t-shirts being made and chants being invented.

Mr Garside, Mrs Jackson and Miss Granlund


Year 11 Prom 2014 - Ramside Hall Hotel


What a night we had and not a tiara in sight! The rain came but what a show. The convoy of cars and limos and agricultural vehicles arrived with panache, smoke and some style. Glitter and heels that defied gravity glided into the wonderful ballroom as pupils sought out the photographer for that all important Vogue moment.

The Gold Wonka tickets were sought out with glee, frankly any excuse for chocolate and the excellent cuisine woofed down with little need for bibs or stains on dresses / shirts.

The musical highlight was without doubt Mr Banner’s grooving on the dance floor to Queen and watching all the pupils put on silly hats, spectacles and other props to have their photo taken in the photo booth.

A fantastic night for a wonderful group of young people!

Mr Weaver, Assistant Head


Maths Challenge News

Earlier this year 150 pupils from Durham Johnston took part in the Intermediate Maths Challenge. 82 pupils received certificate including 9 gold and 3 pupils also qualified for the next round, the Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad. This is a challenging paper consisting of 6 questions to be completed in 2 hours.

We now have the results for this round and we are delighted to announce that  Zak Beattie (Year 10) and Luke Marsden (Year 8) have been awarded a merit certificate.  Congratulations also to Yuriy Tumarkin (Year 9) who has been awarded a medal and a book prize.  This medal is awarded to the top 100 pupils in the country and the book prize is given to the top 50 pupils.

Miss Rush, Subject Leader for Mathematics



Year 8 Trip to Beamish

On Wednesday 4th June, the whole of Year 8 visited Beamish Open Air Museum.  This is part of the school’s response to the Henley report, which encourages schools to offer opportunities for children to experience high culture, including heritage sites.  In form groups, pupils visited all of the main sites in the museum, learning about life in a typical North East town and colliery village in the years leading up to the First World War, as well as life on a farm in the 1940s and a manor house in the 19th Century.


Feedback from pupils tells us that they enjoyed themselves, with most learning something into the bargain:

“I really enjoyed talking to the people dressed as Edwardians.”

“Beamish was great. I enjoyed the farm and learning about the history of the town.”

“My favourite part of Beamish was going to the mine buildings and seeing how the coal was brought up and processed.”

“The staff were very friendly and answered all of our questions in detail. Everyone especially enjoyed the sweet shop and bakery where we saw people making biscuits.”

The sweetshop in the town seems to have been a highlight for most…!

We received a number of compliments from museum staff about the behaviour of our pupils. I was particularly impressed by their stoicism given the poor weather; well done for not grumbling.

It was a very long, but worthwhile day.


Miss McKenzie, History Department


Music Notices

  • School Music Festival - Thursday 3rd July

Entries for the School Music Festival are now closed and all students who have entered will perform on the evening. Please would those students who will need accompanying get a copy of the piano part to Mr Holmes ASAP? Tickets are not needed for this event and more details will be placed on the Friday Bulletin nearer the time.

  • Wind Band Reminder

There is an important rehearsal for the Birmingham Trip for all wind band members on Tuesday 10th June from 2.45 to 3.45 in Mu1.

  • Music for a Summer Evening – Friday 11th July – 7pm

A Musical Evening for Year 13 Leavers and their family and friends. Tickets are now on sale for £6 and this includes your first drink and a light buffet.

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music


Teams of the Week

An excellent week which includes another County success.

On Monday our Year 8 cricket team travelled to Lanchester in the County Cup. Despite some heavy rain we batted well to set them 104 to win.  It turned into an easy victory as we bowled them out for 47. We now play Consett for a place in the quarter finals.

The Year 8’s were in action again on Tuesday this time in the Tyneside Cup. Parkview proved a greater challenge but we still won reaching their total with 2 overs to spare.

Our U13 girls tennis team played our local rivals from Durham High on Tuesday. As always it was an excellent match which went down to the last game. Unfortunately we eventually lost 4 – 2.

On Wednesday our Year 10 basketball team were at St Thomas More competing in the Tyneside finals. It was an excellent tournament with a high standard of basketball. We only lost one game 11 – 9 to the hosts. Unfortunately they remained unbeaten so we ended the tournament as runners-up.

Congratulations to our Year 7 rounders team who beat Choristers on Thursday night.

Also on Thursday our U14 pentathlon teams were competing in the County Championships at Monkton Stadium. After an excellent days competition Sam Bradley produced an outstanding 800M to finish first and become County Champion. In the team event we were in 3rd place going into the final event (800M). All our team produced a great run to move us up to 1st and become County Team Champions. Well done to Sam Bradley, Connor Slack, James O’Neill and Harry Rowntree.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE