Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary

·         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

·         18 December, Annual Christmas Carol Service at Durham Cathedral

·         18 December – Term ends

·         5 January – Term begins


Headteacher’s Message

Dear parents and carers,

School life continues at quite a speed here at Durham Johnston, and it is hard to believe that December is already upon us. Do enjoy reading this week's bulletin to see some of the activities and themes that have been considered over the past week. As usual, a lot has been happening.

Students will also be considering their progress in academic subjects soon. Staff work with our students to help them move forward in their learning and understanding on a daily basis. We are nearly a third of the way through the academic year already. Do ask your children how they feel they are doing in their different subjects this weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


School Crossing Patrol, Brandon

The Road Safety Team have asked the school to inform parents and pupils who live in the Brandon area, that the crossing at Commercial Street Brandon will not be manned on the afternoon of Tuesday 2 December.


KS5 End of Term Reports

End of Term reports for Year 12 students will be available on ePortal on Tuesday 5 December after 3.30 p.m.

If parents or students have difficulty logging on to ePortal or have forgotten or lost their log in details, please email the school (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).



We are seeking assistance to support the work of our existing team of invigilators during our busy exam period 11 May 2015 to 24 June 2015.  If you are free during either mornings, afternoons or both during this time please contact Ms L Gillham, Examinations Officer on 0191 384 3887 for further discussion by 12th December 2014.


Debating Matters

The Durham Johnston School debating team was in action on Tuesday, competing in the first round of the ‘Debating Matters’ competition at Teesside University.

Sixth form students, Isaac Allen, Adam Hall, Francesca Whitfield and Charlotte Austin took on schools from across Country Durham, debating the merits of sportspeople as role models, and the benefits of three-parent IVF. Despite tough competition from the other teams, our debaters were judged to be the overall winners, qualifying for the North East final in 2015. A special mention should go to Charlotte, who was chosen as the outstanding individual debater of the round. Well done!

Mr Johnston, History Department


Commemoration of Founders and Benefactors Service

Durham Johnston, along with several other schools were invited to attend the annual Commemoration of Founders and Benefactors service at Durham Cathedral.   Mr McArdle, Head of Sixth Form and Head Girl, Cara Woods attended the service as representatives of the school to acknowledge the contribution that the school and its founder, James Finlay Weir Johnston have made to the local community.

At the end of the service, floral tributes were placed on the shrine of St Cuthbert.



Wednesday 26th Durham Johnston hosted the North East regional final of the English Schools’ Chess Federation team challenge.  Our Year 12 team and our Year 11 team came joint third. 


Mr McArdle, Head of Sixth Form


Careers Information – Forthcoming Open Evenings

New College Durham is holding an Information and Advice Evening on Tuesday 2 December from 5.00 – 7.00 p.m.  The school will provide a minibus from school if required.  Students who are interested should contact Mr Kennedy. 


East Durham College will hold their next monthly Come to College Interview Evening on Wednesday 3rd December from 4.30-7.00pm at their Peterlee Campus.

http://www. eastdurham.ac.uk/node/3414

The link below will take you to the Careers Section on the school’s website.


Mr Kennedy, Technology Department (2nd i/c Guidance)


Music Notices

School Concert Soloists

If any pupil would be interested in performing a solo (of any standard) in the Christmas Concert on Dec 11th, please would they speak to, or email a member of the Music Department ASAP. We are particularly interested in hearing for pupils who have a piece that has a festive element.


School Christmas Concert – James Hall – Thursday 11th Dec 7pm

Many thanks to those of you who have already purchased tickets. As has been previously advertised, the remaining tickets will be on sale from Monday 1st December. I’m afraid that we cannot guarantee a seat in James Hall for those who do not have a ticket, although some seating with limited view will be available in the atrium.

During the concert, there will be a raffle in aid of a cancer support centre called Maggie’s in Newcastle. www.maggiescentres.org Any donations of prizes will be gratefully received by a member of the Music Department.

Performance reply slips

Please could I ask that all performance reply slips are returned as soon as possible to either Reception or a member of staff in the Music Department.  If you have lost your original letter they can be downloaded here.

Click on the following links to download reply slips for: 

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music


Newcastle University ACE Day

An ACE day is an opportunity for groups of school pupils to visit Newcastle University campus and take part in a range of interactive sessions to increase their awareness of and aspirations toward higher education. Current university students work with small groups of pupils throughout the day to help them find out about all of the things that university can offer them.

On Thursday 20th November thirty, year ten pupils visited Newcastle University for a day of learning about the range of courses available to study. The pupils worked in groups with undergraduates, taking part in quizzes and creating posters to advertise the wealth of courses the university offers.

The pupils also visited different parts of the university campus to gain an insight into the variety of experiences and learning spaces that are available. The pupils found the day very interesting and informative and many talked positively about the notion of attending university.

Thank you to all of the staff and students at Newcastle University for the welcome afforded to our students and for providing them with an invaluable experience.

Ms O’Neill-Walton, English Department


Poetry, Tears, Fentimans and Romanticism


On Wednesday 19th November twenty Year 12 pupils attended a screening of “Bright Star” at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.

The film is about the life of the poet John Keats, whose poems ‘Lamia’, ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, are being studied for the AS English Literature LITB1 examination. Further to this, “Enduring Love” by Ian McEwan, the third text that the class are studying, is named after Keats’ poem 'Endymion'. Keats is also referenced heavily throughout McEwan’s novel.

The screening was followed by an interesting and revealing lecture and question and answer session with David Stewart, an expert on Romanticism from Northumbria University. Durham Johnston pupils asked some challenging questions and heard how Jane Campion’s film sensitively and perceptively explores aspects of Keats’ life and work.

This screening is part of the ‘18th-Century Legacies: the Past in our Present’, a series of free public events taking place across Newcastle city centre between 15-23 November 2014. The events are run by academics from Northumbria University in partnership with Tyneside Cinema, the Lit & Phil, the Mining Institute, and the Theatre Royal as part of ‘Being Human’, the UK’s first national festival of the humanities.

The students were delighted to be greeted by an array of complimentary Fentiman’s traditional drinks and enjoyed the wonderfully welcoming and academic atmosphere created by the Tyneside Cinema and University staff. It allowed the students an excellent insight into the tone and demands of university lectures and discussions and we are very grateful for the opportunity to take part in the event.  Anna Sawicki-Smith, Jessica Taylor and Ms O’Neill-Walton were interviewed on camera afterwards by film makers documenting the “Being Human” event, which Anna enjoyed greatly.

Ms O’Neill-Walton, English Department


Durham Johnston’s Future Chef

Congratulations to aspiring chef, Ceri Cooper in Year 10 who has made it through to the next round of the FutureChef competition which will take place in Halifax. We wish her well.  For more information about the competition please click on the following link.


Mrs F Suleman, Design and Technology Department


E-Safety – Information for Parents and Pupils

For links and resources to useful websites relating to e-safety, including recently published advice on cyberbullying from the Department for Education, please click here to view the E-Safety section on our website.

Mr Garside, Computing Department, Web and ICT Manager


Sixth Form Notices 

If you would like to keep up to date with what is going on in the Sixth Form please click on this link! W/C 01/12/14


Sports News

This week’s success began last Sunday afternoon as our U14 A & B basketball teams were at Newton Aycliffe leisure centre playing in a Durham Wildcats basketball tournament before their National League game against London. There were 10 teams taking part from across the region. In an outstanding performance both our teams won all their group games to win their groups and reach the semi-finals. The B team then easily beat a team from East Durham. Our A team had a more difficult game against Woodham but won by two points to set up an all Durham Johnston final. This game took place at half-time of the Wildcats game in front of a large crowd. As expected it was a close game which ended in a draw. They then played next basket wins and our B team scored first to win the competition. Congratulations to Owen Chaplin who received the MVP award.

On Tuesday our Year 7 basketball team were playing in their first competition – the Bishop Auckland Schools tournament held at Durham Johnston. They started slowly with an 8 – 8 draw against Bishop Barrington. They improved as the tournament progressed, winning their next two matches to win the group. This set up a semi-final against St John’s. This turned out to be our best performance of the evening as we easily won 14 – 2. The final ended up as a re-match from our first game as we faced Barrington. We took an early lead but unfortunately as the game went on we struggled to score and lost by 6 points to end runners-up. A great achievement for our first competition!

On Wednesday our U13 girls’ rugby team were in Darlington for a schools tournament. This was their first competition and they performed very well against some very physical opposition. They played 4 games winning one, drawing two and only losing once.

On Thursday our Year 8 basketball team were playing a friendly against Belmont. The Belmont team was mainly Year 9 & 10 students so it was a great achievement to win the game by 9 points and maintain their winning start to the season.

Also last night our Year 7 & 8 netball teams were at Durham School for league matches. The standard was very high in both matches with our Year 8 team winning 18 – 4 but our Year 7 team losing a very close game 3 – 6.

Finally this week I would like to thank house building company Gentoo for their kind sponsorship of two of our football teams. On Monday they also invited some of the players to visit their Shaw Wood Gate site in Durham for a tour. Pictured below are of some our students visiting the site.


Click here to view next week's Sports Bulletin