Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary

·         18th December - Year 13 Internal Deadline for UCAS applications for 2015

·         18th December, Annual Christmas Carol Service at Durham Cathedral (Years 7,8,9,10,12,13) and (Year 11) 

·         18th December – Term ends

·         5th January – Term begins

·         12th January – Year 7 Parents’ Evening, 4pm - 6pm

·         21st January – Year 7 Parents’ Information Programme (Y7 Science), 6pm

·         26th January – 6th February,  Year 11 Mock Exams


Headteacher’s Message

The school is in full Christmas swing now. We have enjoyed a variety of excellent music events, we are wearing Christmas jumpers today, and we are planning for our visit to the cathedral on Thursday.  Christmas lunch at school was also enjoyed by our students this week.

As I was driving to work yesterday, the effects of the ‘weather bomb’ seemed to arrive in Durham. Should weather deteriorate over the next few days, I thought it prudent to remind parents about the difficulties of travel in the snow. Should you drive your children to school, do think carefully about where you drop them off. Cars are not allowed onto campus at this time of the day, and both buses and taxis bringing disabled students into school need to have safe passage through the one way system. Although it may be tempting if the weather is inclement, I need to ensure the safety of the site. Safety is paramount. I would rather students arrive slightly late but safe. Better still, of course is to leave home slightly earlier.

Should there be snowfall we have a zero tolerance approach to snowballing on campus. Although a lot of fun for many students, others do not want to get involved. There is plenty of time at the end of the day at home for snowballing and sculptures!

Have a good weekend.

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Et Verbum caro factus est MP3

This anthem was written by Mrs Holmes for the massed choirs of Durham Johnston School. It sets verses 1 and 14 from St. John’s gospel in both English and Latin, and was performed in public for the first time at the annual Christmas Concert on Thursday 11th December. It will also be performed in the School Carol Service in Durham Cathedral on Thursday 18th December. Mr Holmes – Durham Johnston School Music Department.

Et Verbum caro factus est

Year 11 Mock Exams

Year 11 mock exams begin on Monday January 26th until Friday 6th February.

Click here to download the exam timetable as well as exam rules and regulations.

Mr Bancroft, Deputy Head



End of Term Reports for Years 7-11

·         End of Term reports for pupils in Years 7-11 will be published on ePortal by Wednesday 17th December.

·         Pupils in Years 7-11 will receive a paper copy of their report from their form tutor on Wednesday 17th December.

·         Pupils in Years 7-11 will discuss their report with their form tutor on Wednesday 17th December.

·         Parents who have requested a paper copy of their child’s report should receive a copy before the end of term.

·         Years 7-9 percentage tables of levels in each subject are given on each child’s report.

·         KS4/5 students and all parents who have difficulty logging on to ePortal or have forgotten/lost their log in details, please email the school (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Mr Bancroft, Deputy Head


Carol Service

Thursday 18th December is our Christmas Carol Service, please click on the following links to view important arrangements for the last day.

·         Carol Service Arrangements - Year 11

·         Carol Service Arrangements - Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13



   Christmas Jumper Day  

Many thanks to staff and students who have supported the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day 2014 campaign.   A total of £400 has been raised.



Web Chat with Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft

On Wednesday we took part in a web chat with Simon Peyton Jones from Microsoft as part of our celebration of the "Hour Of Code" week. Simon has contributed many things to the world of computer science, including being a researcher for Microsoft, being involved with the development of a programming language called Haskell and more recently he has become the chairman for the Computing at Schools organisation, which is the driving force behind the recent changes in the IT curriculum.

Our students were able to ask a few questions to Simon to which he enthusiastically responded. Please click here and take 15 minutes to watch the video recording of the web chat.


Simon has also offered us another web chat in the future as he enjoyed the questions asked of him, particularly the question asked by Evelyn regarding getting more girls into computer science (see 12:54 onwards on the video).

Further to this, we have delivered an hour of code to our students throughout years 7 to 9 this week, giving them an opportunity to take time out of their current units of work to spend an hour coding computer programs. Students were able to create their own "Flappy Bird" app as well as learning about coding structures through a tutorial revolving around the Disney film Frozen.

Mr Garside, Web and ICT Manager, Computing Department


AOL Email Accounts

We are currently unable to send to or receive emails from AOL accounts. This is unfortunately out of our control and we will notify everyone once the issue has been resolved.

 In the meantime, where possible please use an alternative email address to get in touch with the school, or use our online contact form:


Mr Garside, Web and ICT Manager, Computing Department


Senior Team Maths Challenge Regional Round 2014 



On Friday 21st November at 12.03pm, the Durham Johnston Senior Maths Team boarded the minibus, bracing themselves for the long journey ahead. Jacob Bradley and James Timmins were experienced campaigners, having been part of the team in 2013 that narrowly missed out on advancing to the National Finals. Would the debutants, Cameron Bain and Yuriy Tumarkin, make the difference this year?

Before the answer to this could be considered,  we were turning into the Sjøvoll Centre at Framwellgate School. The time was 12.08 pm, or lunchtime in the Jacobian plane.

The highlight of the next half hour was when a certain Mr Bradley, when inquiring whether anyone else’s ham sandwich tasted fishy, was told no but that tuna sandwiches generally do. Mr Hamilton at this point reminded the team that reading the question was important as the mathematical equivalent of a tuna sandwich could be costly…

The competition soon got underway and, despite being seated on table 13 (Triskaidekaphobics look away), after a tricky group round, the Johnston team had a decent score of 48 out of a possible 60 points. Full marks followed in the crossnumber (unsatisfyingly easier than last year’s arithmetic quagmire) and with just the mini relay or renamed ‘shuttle’ round to go, it seemed like victory could be ours.

However, in the opening shuttle an early mistake was compounded in subsequent answers and after the 8 minutes allowed, the corrections were not complete. Meanwhile, the girls on the Durham High School for Girls table were sitting back with full marks and Johnston’s lead had been narrowed. After the final shuttle, we were unsure if the final score was going to be enough…

“Third place: St Thomas More, North Shields!”(Here we go) “Second place: Durham…” (gulp) “…High School for Girls!” (Get in!)

An excellent effort by the team and I wish them every success in London in February. Over to you, Miss Rush!

Mr Hamilton, Maths Department


Mayor of Durham Visits Durham Johnston 

The school was honoured to welcome the Mayor of Durham, Councillor John Robinson and members of the Mayoral Bodyguard who came to talk to students at a Year 7 assembly on Monday.  Councillor Robinson talked to pupils about the importance and significance of mayoral office and the history and traditions of the city.   Historically, Durham has the oldest Mayoral Bodyguard outside of the City of London.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the assembly and asked questions about the various ceremonial symbols, such as the Mace and Chain.  Pupils also had the opportunity to try on some of the ceremonial clothing and symbols.  The students were fascinated by the drama of the processional march and the colour of the spectacle. It was lovely to have such a rare visit and provided a unique insight into the historical and present role of the Mayor of Durham and his bodyguard.

Mr Noble, Head of Year 7  


Careers News

Year 9 Careers Event

On Friday 12th December all of Year 9 participated in an event called ‘Careers…what next?’  This event brought together 22 different organisations outlining potential opportunities for future careers.

We had representatives from British Transport Police, the Armed Forces and Carillion together with further education providers such as New College and Derwentside College. This event is an important part of ensuring our young people can make informed decisions about their career choices in the future and gives food for thought prior to GCSE Options early next year.

East Durham College - Houghall Campus Open Evening - Wednesday 17th December, 4.30-7pm

There will be an open evening for prospective students on the above date.  Please click here for further information.

Mr Kennedy, Careers Guidance Co-ordinator


Business Networking Event – Monday 19 January 2015

Calling all parents/carers who are self-employed, small business owners or employees of companies or organisations based in the Durham area.

January 2015 sees the launch of a flagship event which will help Durham Johnston School generate a database of business contacts who can support and help the school enhance the Information, Advice and Guidance offered to students.

Details of the event and how to register for FREE, are available via the following link: Business Networking in a Class of its own!

The event is kindly sponsored by Teesside University , Federation of Small Businesses, Open Awards, New College Durham and Digital Durham,  who will be on hand to offer information on support available to local businesses. 

Join us on Monday 19th January between 5 and 7pm for this FREE business networking opportunity to promote and raise awareness of your own services and products and simultaneously help Durham Johnston School to support students.

For further information please contact Mr Kennedy.

Mr Kennedy, Careers Guidance Co-ordinator



Salvation Army Angel Tree Christmas Appeal 

Over the past two weeks form groups have been thinking of other children who might be in need this Christmas time. They have decided to buy a present for a boy or girl of a certain age group and then they collected or donated presents for that child. We have had assemblies on Tuesday and Wednesday where the Christmas presents where placed underneath our Angel Tree.

On Wednesday we welcomed Lieutenant David White and Lieutenant Lorna White from the Salvation Army to come to our assembly and receive the gifts that have been collected. They were overwhelmed with the generosity and caring nature of our Durham Johnston pupils and took the gifts to distribute to over 400 hundred children in the Durham area in time for Christmas day. They offered sincere thanks, on behalf of these children, for time and thought that had gone into selecting presents which will make such a difference this Christmas.

Many thanks also to Mr and Mrs Holmes and the Chamber Choir for their contributions to the assembly.

Mrs Dunn, Science Department


Music Notices


Both the concert for the Friends of Durham Cathedral on Wednesday, and Thursday’s festive musical extravaganza in James Hall were a triumph. Congratulations to all students who participated and thanks to all colleagues and parents who supported both events in so many ways. The standard of music making was as high as ever, and it was marvellous to see the James Hall full of pupils from all year groups showcasing their talent, and the results of all their hard work in rehearsals over the past term. Rehearsals will begin again in the first week back to school in January to begin preparations for the next concert ‘Stage & Screen’!


Thanks to everyone who supported the concert raffle by donating prizes, or buying tickets. This was held in support of Maggie’s, Newcastle, and I’m delighted to say that we have been able to send a cheque for £400 to support their excellent work. If you would like to find out more about Maggie’s please click here. ///link to maggies PDF///

Monday 15th December

Chamber Choir are singing for the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Carol Service at St Cuthbert’s Church, North End at 4.00pm on Monday 15th. Please could all members of Chamber Choir be in MU1 by 2.50pm on Monday so we can walk to the venue and have a short rehearsal prior to the service?

Thursday 18th December

Members of Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra and Chamber Choir need to arrive at the Cathedral at 9.30am for registration with Mrs Sutton at the front of the nave at 9.40am and then a morning of rehearsals. There will be a service taking place in the Cathedral, so please could pupils not arrive before 9.30am?

Exam Results

Congratulations to all pupils who have passed music exams this term (and there are lots of them!). Exams are a measure of progress and they provide pupils with the opportunity to perform to a music professional and have their playing evaluated and critiqued. Any graded exam pass is the result of many weeks and months of practice, all of which is undertaken alongside a student’s usual academic commitments, and is a fantastic achievement.

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 15/12/14

Mrs Lennon, Deputy Head of Sixth Form


Sports News

On Tuesday night our U13 girls basketball teams were taking part in the Bishop Auckland Schools tournament held at Durham Johnston. Our B team just missed out on the semi-finals on points difference.  Our A team however finished second in their group to reach the semi-final against Barrington. This was an excellent game which looked like going into extra time as the score was 10 – 10 with only 5 seconds to go. However a last second shot from Barrington went in to put them into the final – our girls finishing in 3rd place.  

On Wednesday our Year 8 boys basketball team faced Dyke House, Hartlepool in the English Schools Competition. The winners of this game were very likely to win the North East group and progress to the National Knockout stages after Christmas. We started strongly and completely dominated the game eventually winning 66 – 31. This team still remains unbeaten and hopeful of a long run in the competition after Christmas.

Also on Wednesday children from our inclusion club had a Christmas treasure hunt all around our school. This finished off our disability sports club for the year. Please see the photo below.

On Thursday our boys’ cross-country teams were at Emmanuel College for the Tyneside Championships. The standard at this event is always very high and this year was no exception. Unfortunately we had several key runners missing through illness and injury but everyone tried hard and all 3 of our teams finished in 4th place. Sam Gibson finished 3rd in his race.

Also on Thursday our girls netball teams took part in the final practice of the year – a fun Christmas practice enjoyed by all.

Finally the PE department would like to thank Burnside Coaches, the latest local company to sponsor one of our teams. They have sponsored a football kit, worn by some of our pupils below.

To view the Sports Bulletin please click here.