· 17th November – Year 11 Parents’ Consultation Evening, 4 – 6pm
· 26th November Regional Team Chess Challenge Tournament 3-6pm Years 7-13
· 28th November Year 12 Internal Deadline for Durham University Supported Progression scheme
· 1st December – Year 13 Parents’ Consultation Evening, 4-6pm
· 8th December – Year 12 Parents’ Consultation Evening, 4-6pm
· 18th December Year 13 Internal Deadline for UCAS applications for 2015
· 18th December, Annual Christmas Carol Service at Durham Cathedral
· 18th December – Term ends
· 5th January – Term begins
Dear parents and carers,
It will not have escaped your notice that today is Children in Need and that the theme this year is super heroes. The school tweeted this week that students would win ‘extra house points for dressing up as your hero - no Mr Weaver costumes please!’. One of the definitions for a hero is someone of ‘distinguished courage or ability, admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities’. Some teachers have been asking students who they perceive as having these character traits, and it started to make me think about the people who have had a positive impact on my life and whose courage and qualities I try to emulate.
It is an interesting question for us all to think about. Although often cited, I would probably name Desmond Tutu as one of my heroes, as someone who fights tirelessly for equality and justice. There are many unsung heroes in our communities also, however. In the privileged position that I am in, I hear of many, many stories of students and teachers fighting against the odds with health issues, major family traumas, and battling with the difficulties that life sometimes throws at us. Children in Need helps many young people in dealing with these difficulties.
I decided not to dress up as Desmond Tutu, but I did consider putting a long scarf or bow-tie and fez on.
Michael Wardle, Headteacher
On Tuesday 11th November the school remembered all those who lost their lives in the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries by observing one minute of silence at 11.00 a.m. The last post was sounded in the Atrium at 11.00 a.m. During the minute’s silence school governor, Councillor Nigel Martin and the Head Boy and Head Girl placed a wreath on behalf of the Old Johnstonians who are commemorated on the school memorial. The silence was observed impeccably.
This week’s assemblies have also focused upon remembrance. In the assemblies on Monday and Tuesday I talked to the students about the 888,246 poppies that have been placed at the Tower of London as part of the ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ memorial created by Paul Cummins to represent those British and Colonial troops that were killed during the Great War.
The memorial has clearly had a significant impact upon people and I explained to the students that 37 of the ceramic poppies related to former students and teachers from Durham Johnston, focusing in particular on Ben and William Moody; two brothers from Shincliffe. The brothers died within a week of each other in April 1917 and are buried 5 miles apart in Arras. William was an accountant at County Hall, Ben a teacher in Hull. However, some articles regarding the ‘Tower poppies’ have expressed the opinion that it fails to highlight the reality of war.
As part of the assembly I then shared some of the artist Otto Dix’s paintings from 1924 called ‘Der Krieg.’ The paintings highlight clearly the impact on those who survived the conflict and the appalling conditions experienced by many. Many commentators have used the two representations of memory and war to highlight differing views about the conflict. I concluded by explaining that a new memorial, the Ring of Remembrance at Notre Dame de Lorette, is the first to commemorate all those that died in northern France, regardless of nationality. It lists the names of 580,000 men, the majority being British, French or German, but its purpose is to demonstrate the impact of war and the need for reconciliation. These themes were developed by Mr Wilbraham, Subject Leader for History, in both Sixth Form and Year 11 assemblies later in the week. In particular he spoke about those individuals that survived the war and the impact upon families after the conflict, in particular referencing Erich Remarque’s ‘All Quiet on the Western Front.’
The school would like to thank Mr Eddy Castling for his help in researching the Durham Johnston War Memorial. Click here to view more detailed information on the 37 named men from 1914 -18.
Mr O’Sullivan. Assistant Headteacher
This year’s Children in Need theme is superheroes and today’s non-uniform day has been well supported by staff and students alike, raising a total of £1403.00. Students hoping to earn valuable points for their respective Houses took part in a number of competitions. Some dressed up as their favourite superhero. Outfits ranged from Superman to Cat Woman, with some of the best efforts coming from our own teachers! Some students submitted a short essay describing their personal hero and why they admire them. There has been a truly fantastic level of participation from our students this year and we are delighted to be able to show you some of the best entries!
1st Emilia curl – Wakenshaw
2nd Millie Clish – Annand
3rd Mia Hague – Kenny
4th Jordan Rennie – Kenny
Congratulations to Year 12 student Josephine Armstrong who has been selected as one of three highly commended entriesof the Young Geographer of the Year competition in the Key Stage Five category.
The competition this year has attracted over 700 entries and standard of entry is particularly high. We commend Josephine’s considerable achievement.
The Young Geographer of the Year awards will be presented at a ceremony on Friday 28th November at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Mr Lindley, Subject Leader for Geography
During this year’s Festival of Culture we were privileged to welcome the Zest Theatre Company who performed a cutting-edge, interactive play entitled Gatecrash. A number of pupils and staff attended the performance including ex-pupil, Poppy Kennedy who is currently studying journalism at Darlington College.
Please click on the following link to read Poppy’s review.
More than 50 Year 7 parents attended the second session of the Parent Induction Programme series on Tuesday 11th November. The event began with an explanation of how English is taught at Durham Johnston and the skills we focus on as a department.
Mrs Everall (Key Stage Three Coordinator) led a demonstration of some of the activities that are used in English lessons and parents were able to try out some of the activities for themselves. A Year 8 student, Thomas Heath, was on standby to help if necessary and answer questions about Year 7 English.
Those parents who attended the session were very gracious in their feedback and made many positive comments.
Thank you to all who came along.
Mrs Walton and Mrs Everall (English Department)
Pictured above are some of our students enjoying a falconry demonstration which took place last week. Year 7 student Bonnie Marville, Form 7H commented “We are currently reading the play ‘Kes’ which is about a boy who finds and raises a kestrel. Our teacher got a falconer to come in and show us some birds of prey. There was a buzzard, and eagle owl, a kestrel, a barn owl, and a few others. Some of us got to hold and stroke them and they flew one of the birds through our arms. It was an experience some of us will never forget.”
As you will know from the examples published in last week’s bulletin we had some fantastic entries! The winners are:
Two teams of Year 7 and 8 students travelled to Gosforth Middle School on Wednesday afternoon to take part in the regional heat of the Kids’ Lit Quiz.
Team A comprised:Alfie Harland, Anouk Saint, Fleur Smith and Pippa Walton
Team B comprised:Adam Harrison, Alfie Phillips, Marine Saint, Hannah Volland
Reserve: Moyo Adewumi
37 teams from over 30 schools too There were also two adult teams, one comprising librarians and English teacher Mrs O’Neill Walton, which achieved notable success beating a team of authors.
The students, however, were the real stars, competing with impressive zest and knowledge and answering questions about literature on a variety of categories ranging from Christmas to amphibians!
Both our teams came in the top 10, with our team B coming second overall, only 3 points behind the winning team, Hexham Middle School. A marvellous achievement! A number of our students also won individual prizes of books and book tokens.
Once the competition was over, the students made the most of the opportunity to speak to the authors Linda Strachan and Lucy Coats.
All in all, it was a most enjoyable and successful afternoon!
Mrs Everall, English Department
If you would like to keep up to date with what is going on please click on this link! w/c 17th November 2014
Mrs Lennon, Deputy Head of Sixth Form
A very busy successful week across a wide range of sports. On Tuesday we were hosting the Bishop Auckland Schools Year 8 basketball tournament. We had two teams entered and they both made progress through the group stages to reach the semi-finals. Victories for our A team included a 22 – 4 win against Parkside and a 20 – 0 defeat of Ferryhill. Our B team also secured a 20 – 0 victory against King James. Unfortunately our A and B teams met in the semi-final. This was the best game of the tournament as our A team eventually won 18 – 10. Our A team then played Woodham in the final and our team faced St John’s in the3rd / 4th play-off. After a shaky start our A team proved too strong for Woodham going on to win the game and the tournament 16 – 8. Our B team finished 3rd after a 14 – 10 success.
Also on Tuesday our U13 girls cricket team were in action at Fyndoune. They are a very good team and had no difficulty in recording comfortable victories against Fyndoune and Framwellgate. Next week they face St Leonard’s in their next league game.
On Wednesday around 60 of our cross-country runners were at Framwellgate for the Area Championships 2014. We completely dominated the event against all the other Durham Schools winning six out of the 8 races:
Year 7 Boys – 1st (Sam Gibson won the race and is Area Champion)
Year 7 Girls – 1st (Natasha Stephenson won the race and is Area Champion)
Year 8 & 9 Boys – 1st (Ben Horsfield was 3rd)
Year 8 & 9 Girls – 1st (Rina Sebastiao won and is Area Champion)
Year 10 & 11 Boys – 3rd (Oskar Maatta was 11th)
Year 10 & 11 girls – 1st (Kezia Dowsett was 4th)
VIth form boys – 1st (Oliver Watson won and is Area Champion)
Vith form girls – Eleanor Daglish won and is Area Champion
On Thursday our rowers were at Durham ARC competing in the Durham Schools Indoor Rowing Championships. There were races for every year group and 12 of our rowers finished in the top 3 places and therefore qualified for the County Finals which take place next week at Maiden Castle. Well done to Owen Chaplin, Stefan Szablewski, Bethan Hall and Corrine Hatton who won the race to become Area Champion. A photo of the team is below.
Also on Thursday our Year 7 & 8 netball teams were hosting Choristers in league games. Our Year 8 team played very well winning 16 – 4 but unfortunately our Year 7’s were beaten 7 – 1 by a very tall Choristers team.
Finally last night our Year 9 rugby team were at Harton School competing in the County tournament. Against very strong opposition and in poor weather they battled hard in every game drawing their final game to finish in 5th place.
Today students from the year 11 PE exam classes acted as leaders for the Primary Sportshall Athletics competition. Pupils from Bowburn Juniors, St Margaret’s, Shincliffe and Nevilles Cross ran the event for 75 children. The year 11 students were fantastic leaders and many members of staff and parents from the primary schools commented on the great role models they were. St Margaret’s A team won overall competition and will go on to represent our area at the County event next month.
This week the PE department would like to thank PW:a Architects – a local company - for kindly sponsoring our Year 7 rugby team kit. They look extremely smart – please see the photo below.”