Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary


Headteacher’s Message

Dear parents and carers,

I am always impressed by our students and their talents. We know that our PE department work with our students to develop their skills and certainly we can see the fruits of their labours at the annual sports awards evening.

At this time of year I often hear both instrumentalists and singers practising for Christmas. Among a range of events are the Christmas Carol Service in the Cathedral, and our school Christmas concert. Details of both of these events have been given in the Friday Bulletins.

Music speaks deeply to us all and takes us to different places in our thoughts and imaginations. It communicates to us on a different level. You will know how important music is to so many of our young people. I look forward to seeing you at some of our Christmas events over the next few weeks.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Packed Lunches (food allergies)

We do ask parents and students to be mindful of others when bringing in their own food for lunch. We have quite a number of students who are allergic to nuts, and some of students can have very strong reactions to nuts indeed. Please be aware of this. We ask parents to avoid providing students with nuts (or products with major nut content) for packed lunch. We seek to be able to include all of our students, and we ask that you are conscious of this issue when preparing lunches. Thank you.

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Year 11 – Last Day of Term Arrangements

As you know, we usually take Years 7 – 10, 12 and 13 to Durham Cathedral on the last day of term for our Christmas Carol Service. Despite the huge size of the Cathedral, we are not able to fit the whole school in as well as inviting parents of performers and Year 7. As in 2012, Year 11 will therefore be in school while the rest of the school is at the Cathedral. Like the rest of the school Year 11 will have normal lessons for the first half of the day. After lunch, this will be followed by sessions on preparation for university, further education, apprenticeships and the world of work.  For more information please click here. 


Christmas Jumper Day

Durham Johnston will be taking part in this year’s Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children on Friday 12thDecember.

All pupils are invited to wear a Christmas jumper on Friday 12thand make a donation of £1 to help support Save the Children.

Click here for more information. 


Christmas Lunch for Pupils 

This year pupils will have their annual Christmas lunch on Wednesday 10thDecember for £2.00 only.  They can enjoy a full roast turkey dinner (nut roast for vegetarians) along with Christmas pudding and white sauce or black forest gateau.


Invigilation Assistance Request

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


Web chat with Simon Payton Jones, Microsoft!

The school has won the opportunity to take part in a web chat with Simon Payton Jones on Wednesday 10th December.  Simon is a computer scientist who works for Microsoft and is Chair for the Computing at School organisation. Simon is also involved in the development of a programming language called Haskell.

We are opening up a competition for all students to come up with a question to ask Simon on Wednesday. The top ten questions will win the opportunity to be involved in the web chat. All entries must be emailed to Mr Garside by 9:00am on Monday 8thDecember.

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Mr Garside, IT Department



   International Hour of Code Week

Next week is the International Hour of Code Week. The aim is to get as many people across the globe to try their hand at computer programming.

At Durham Johnston, all students between Years 7 and 9 will get the opportunity to take part in the Hour of Code during their Computing lessons.  Students will learn important concepts that go into writing computer code as well as problem solving skills which can be applied to daily activities.  

In class students will be given the choice of following a tutorial to make a game based around characters from Disney’s Frozen, or they can learn how to make the Flappy Bird app.

Mr Garside, IT Department



Durham Foodbank

Thanks to the generosity of staff and students we have managed to collect 573 items to donate to the Durham Foodbank Christmas appeal. Particular thanks go to Heaviside House who collected 302 of these items.

In additional to the usual donations of tinned and dried goods, Christmas Hampers will be supplemented with mince pies, Christmas cake, biscuits, nibbles and sweets. These are the sort of items we all enjoy at Christmas time, which many families in our region will not be able to afford.  

Durham Foodbank are aiming to collect enough food to make 300 parcels so we have been a major contributor to this appeal, well done!

Mrs Dunn, Science Department



  National Geography Award 

Josephine Armstrong has been presented with a National Geography Award from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).  The award was presented to Josephine in a special ceremony at the Society’s headquarters in Kensington, London on 28 November 2014.

For this year’s competition, pupils nationwide were asked ‘How can geography help you?’ Pupils were encouraged to think about how geography, be it through the knowledge you learn, understanding you gain, or skills you develop, helps you across different parts of your life.The question allowed students to look at the way in which geography surrounds us all and to better understand the connections between the world’s people, places and environments and the interactions taking place between them. 

Commenting, Steve Brace, Head of Education at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said:
“The Society congratulates Josephine on her deserved award. We were delighted with the quality of entries this year, and were particularly impressed to see our young geographers, like Josephine, demonstrating the relevance of geography to many aspects of their lives, be it at the local or global scale.”

Click on the following link to view competition entries.  http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/Competitions.htm  

Mr Lindley, Subject Leader for Geography



GCSE Science Letters

Last week information letters for parents regarding GCSE Science courses were issued to each GCSE Science student in Years 10 and 11.  This included information regarding textbooks, revision guides and workbooks that are available for purchase in addition to the Kerboodle internet resource we provide. 

Year 11 students who took Core Science last year have also been given information about possible resits. The letters are personalised for each pupil but if you want to see the general letters they can be viewed at the bottom of the web page at the following link: 


Returns were due back Wed 3rd December but as we have only received replies from 16% of the pupils, we are extending the deadline to Monday 8thDecember. 

Please ask pupils to show you the letters and please sign and return slips by the extended deadline.

Dr Bolton, Acting Subject Leader for Science


Music Notices

‘Friends of Durham Cathedral’ Christmas Concert

Wind Band and Chamber Choir will be taking part in the above concert at 7.30pm on Wednesday 10thDecember. They will be walking to the Cathedral at lunchtime for a rehearsal, and will be dismissed from there at the end of the school day. If members of Wind Band and Chamber Choir can bring a packed lunch that day, it will make things a lot easier. Each performer has been allocated two free tickets for parents and friends, and these can be collected from the Music Department.


Christmas Concert

The school Christmas Concert will take place on Thursday 11thDecember. All the groups have been working hard over the course of the last term, and it promises to be an excellent evening. Tickets are now sold out. However, we want as many parents and friends to be able to attend, so we would like to ask all ticket holders to be in their seats by 6.50pm so that we can fill up any remaining space. People arriving without a ticket will be issued with a number.  At 6.50pm, when all ticket holders are seated, we will slot in as many extra people as possible, in number order, until the hall is completely full. For those who don’t fit in, we will arrange some seating in the atrium, for which there will beno charge as it will be limited view.

This is a trial arrangement following the congestion experienced at the concerts last year, and we will review these arrangements before the concert in the Easter term.

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.


Fire & Rescue Service Carol Service

Chamber Choir are singing in the Durham & Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Carol Service on Monday 15thDecember. Members of Chamber Choir will walk to St. Cuthbert’s Church, North Road after school for a rehearsal in situ, and the service will begin at 4.00pm, lasting just under an hour. All members of Chamber Choir should have returned a yellow slip for this event.


School Carol Service

The School Carol Service will take place in Durham Cathedral at 1.00pm on Thursday 18thDecember. Members of Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra and Chamber Choir will go straight to the Cathedral to rehearse on that day and for this they should have completed a green slip, to be handed into reception.

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music



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 08/12/14

Mrs Lennon, Deputy Head of Sixth Form



Sports News

The highlight of this week was on Tuesday as our Years 7 and 8 boys and girls sports hall athletics teams were at DCBC in the Durham City Championships. We completely dominated all four competitions with our boys and girls finishing 1stin both age groups. This excellent achievement included our athletes winning 19 out of 20 track events! All our teams now go on to the County Championships which take place in the New Year. Photos of the successful teams are below.



Also on Tuesday our Year 9 and 10 netball teams were at Durham School for league matches. These are always close and highly competitive matches and this year was no exception. Our Year 9 team won 16 - 13 and our Year 10’s lost 6 – 13.

On Wednesday our U16 girls football team were due to play Houghton in the County Cup quarter final but unfortunately Houghton cancelled the game at the last minute so we are still waiting for that to be played.

Also on Wednesday 40 of our Year 10 GCSE PE students were at Freeman’s Quay for the day taking part in the Regional Step Into Sport Camp. This was an excellent opportunity for them to work on their leadership skills. Amongst those leading sessions throughout the day was Craig Heap (elite gymnast and Tumble judge). All our students were a credit to the school and Mrs Young the event organiser and Director of Sport at Trinity School send the following message:

“I just wanted to let you know how well your GCSE cohort of pupils performed at yesterday’s Youth Sport Trust Step into Sport Regional Camp. It is amazing to see how your school send able bodied and pupils with disabilities to the camp to work together on their leadership skills. Many pupils were highlighted yesterday as being talented pupils and may be line for a place at the National Camp held at Loughborough. Pupils enthusiasm to perform to the best of their ability was evident yesterday.”

On Thursday afternoon our U19 mixed tennis team travelled to the David Lloyd Centre, Middlesbrough to face Yarm School in the North East final of the Senior Students competition. The winners of this match would then go forward to the National knockout stages. On the day they proved too strong for us despite a battling performance. We are one of only a handful of state schools who enter this competition so it is an excellent achievement to finish 2ndin the North East.   

Also yesterday our Year 7, 8, 9 & 10 netball teams were at Parkview for the final league games before Christmas. They all played very well with the following results:


  • Year 7 – won 13 - 5
  • Year 8 – won 15 - 5
  • Year 9 – won 17 - 1
  • Year 10 – lost 7 – 8


This week two of our boys competed in the Durham City Level 2 Swimming Competition at Freemans Quay. James Thomas from Year 10 and Ben Rutherford from Year 9 swam in 25m and 50m butterfly, freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke races and qualified for the Level 3 Winter Games in March. Ben Rutherford continued his winning streak and came first in every event in his category.

Finally, good luck tonight to our Year 7 rugby team who have a friendly against Grindon Hall School from Sunderland and our Year 7 basketball team who are in Hartlepool for a friendly tournament against High Tunstall and Manor School.

Please click here to view next week's Sports Bulletin.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE