Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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February (2)

Dates for Your Diary

·         Wednesday 21st January – Year 7 Parents’ Information Programme – Science in Year 7  - 6pm

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

·         Monday 9 February – Year 9 Options Evening, 6.00 pm

·         Monday 23 February – Year 9 Parents’ Consultation Evening, 4 pm – 6 pm

·         Monday 16 March – Year 10 Parents’ Consultation Evening, 4 pm – 6 pm


Headteacher’s Message


Dear parents and carers,

Recent events across the world remind us all, whether we be students, staff or parents, of the lack of tolerance and the level of misunderstanding that exist between communities.  Schools in the UK are required to teach British values to their students and include these taught throughout the curriculum.  Clearly, there is debate about what is meant by 'British values', and indeed if the values of tolerance, acceptance and charity are British or more akin to what it is to be human and to live in a community.

At Durham Johnston these values lie at the centre of our school plan, and are covered in most subject areas in addition to the assembly programme, tutor time, and collapsed curriculum sessions.  We aim that our community is cohesive, where people of all backgrounds are held together, whatever their world view.  I know you teach these values at home too, and this partnership is one of the reasons we are successful in shaping well-rounded young people.

Have an enjoyable weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Revised Lunchtime Arrangements for Years 7 and 8

There are a large number of activities available for Year 7 and 8 students during lunchtime.  We have made a small adjustment to our lunchtime provision in order to allow more students to play games and to access the wide range of available activities.  Year 7 and 8 students have always queued together for lunch from 12.00 onwards.   As of this week we have modified this system; Year 8 have queued from 12.00 and Year 7 have only joined them from 12.15 onwards.   This has allowed students to participate in more activities and has also reduced the time that students have had to wait for lunch.  Years 7 and 8 will rotate as of Monday 19th January and will then alternate on a weekly basis.

Mr O’Sullivan, Assistant Headteacher


Important information for Year 11 Students and their Parents and Carers

Year 11 Mock Exams

Year 11 mock examinations are due to begin on Monday 26th January and will run until Friday 6th February 2015.  This is a very important time for all Year 11 students as mock examinations test the quality of each student’s organisation, timing and understanding of the demands of a variety of subjects and examination papers.

It is also very important that they use the mock exams to prepare for the reality of a very busy final examination period in the summer term.  We are very keen to ensure that students have access to the best possible advice and support.  Students have already been well prepared by their subject teachers and it is very important that they continue to seek clarification and guidance in class.  

In addition, Year 11 form tutors will also provide sensible advice as part of next week’s tutor programme.  There are also some very helpful revision materials on the school website that can be accessed via the following links: an overview of revision advice from each department; some sensible suggestions for students about how and when to revise and some thoughts for parents and carers, as we know that you will want to provide as much support as possible at home.

Departmental revision advice

Revision advice for students

Revision advice for parents

Mr O’Sullivan, Assistant Head


Year 7 Parents’ Information Programme - Introduction to Year 7 Science

On Wednesday 21st January at 6.00 pm we will hold the third in a series of introductory programmes for Year 7 parents. This session is entitled Introduction to Year 7 Science and will be led by KS3 coordinator for Science, Mr. Bowman.

You will see an overview of the Year 7 curriculum and sample a typical Year 7 lesson. We look forward to seeing as many Year 7 parents as can make it.

Mr Bowman, Science Department


UCAS Application Deadline

Thursday 15th January is the UCAS application deadline.  We have 151 applying to university, including some gap year returners.  As of last Saturday they had 340 offer between them, including seven from Cambridge and four from Oxford.

Mr McArdle, Head of Sixth Form


School Nursing Service Review -  A Chance to Have Your Say

Durham County Council are in the process of reviewing the school nursing service to ensure that they deliver the best possible services for children and young people across County Durham now, and in the future.

The health and wellbeing of children and young people has a strong association with academic attainment and ultimately health outcomes in later life.  The role of the school nurse is integral to partnership working across health, care and education.  There is an opportunity to contribute to the development of the future school nursing specification by completing various consultation surveys.  They are especially interested to get feedback from the following people.

·         Young people who attend secondary schools within County Durham

·         Parents and carers of all school aged children and young people

·         People working will all school aged children and young people

General information, online questionnaires and contact details can be found on the Durham County Council website on  http://www.durham.gov.uk/consultation

In addition to the surveys, they will be undertaking various focus groups across County Durham throughout January.  If you would like to talk to a member of the public health team in more detail about the review then please make contact at your earliest convenience. 

The consultation will close on 2nd February 2015.



All schools have been made aware that local police have recently been involved in an incident of suspected on-line grooming of children of primary age at a school in the County, where unknown person/s have identified themselves to pupils as famous people via Skype, in this case purporting to be a member of One Direction.

Durham County Council is liaising closely with the police regarding this matter and they have asked schools to make parents aware of the incident via a school newsletter or similar publication.

Their advice to parents and carers is to talk with their children and, in particular to discuss appropriate use of social media, and to check conversations histories on Skype and talk to their children about anyone that they may have been in conversation with recently.  They also advise parents and carers to check any conversation history on other social media network sites such as Facetime, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, gaming sites, chat rooms etc. and to ensure that parental controls are in place on all media devices. 

Further information for pupils and parents is published in the e-safety section of our website.  Clicking on the following link Share Aware” will take you to the NSPCC’s website.

Mr Garside, Computing Department


Battlefields Visit – Information for Year 10 Parents

Please could parents of students attending July’s battlefields visit communicate with their children about the potential burial or memorial sites of relatives so that we may include such visits when we are out in France and Belgium? If this is something you have not yet explored, then please utilise the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to help with your investigations.

The inclusion of personal visits as a result of students exploring their family history is usually the most rewarding experience of the trip.  Please pass this information to me directly in a marked envelope for my attention or email me.

There are two more scheduled payments for the visit (13th-17th July 2015), both of which will be for £200.  I will be requesting these payments in March and May 2015. Once again, cheques are preferable with payment made to Durham Johnston School Fund, handed directly to your child’s history teacher or to me.

Mr Wilbraham, Subject Leader for History


Ski Trip – Information for final arrangements

Please note the following ski visit final arrangements below: 


Please use this link to view our ski trip blog:  http://www.durhamjohnston.org.uk/news/extra-curricular/13-extra-curricular/226-ski-trip-2015

Mrs Hopper, PE Department



Form Group Discussion – Alan Turing


This week all forms between Years 7 and 11 took part in a discussion about the life of Alan Turing.  Students were given the opportunity to find out who Alan Turing was and the significant events in his life that made him famous to us today.

Alan Turing received a royal pardon by the Queen in 2013 and part of the discussion in form groups revolved around whether or not pardoning him was the right thing to do.

If you are interested in finding out more, why not have a discussion about this with your son/daughter this week. The videos that they watched can be found by following these links:



Mr Garside, Computing Department


Celebrations Evening

The Years 10, 11 and Sixth Form Celebrations Evening took place on Thursday 8th January.   We celebrated the efforts and achievements of our older pupils in our annual ceremony.

Students were rewarded for academic excellence in all subjects and for their efforts as members of the school community.  It was pleasing to welcome back so many past students who are making their way in their first jobs or beginning university and college courses around the country.

Our guest speaker Professor Tom Ward,Pro-Vice-chancellor (Education) Durham Universitycongratulated all the students.  He praised them for their achievements and reminded the audience that education is about more than just exam results: it’s about being a caring, rounded and tolerant human being.  Professor Ward also noted the hugely important role of parents and teachers in supporting young people during their time in school.  The packed audience was entertained by music from Emma Hall and Adam Heron and an award winning short film by Louisa Page.  

Mr Bancroft, Deputy Head


Durham Johnston Book Club


The first meeting of the Durham Johnston Book Club will take place on Wednesday 21 January after school.  It is open to staff, KS4 and KS5 pupils and  it will provide the opportunity for book lovers to get together, read fantastic books and to read more widely and learn.

On Wednesday, members will choose the book they will read and then meet on February 12 will get together to share ideas and discuss the chosen book.

Ms O’Neill Walton and the Book Club Committee


English Department News - Keats' Life and Poetry

In November a group of Year 12 pupils visited the Tyneside Cinema to see a free screening of “Bright Star”, a film about the life of the poet John Keats.

After the screening the students enjoyed a very interesting lecture and question and answer session with Dr. David Stewart from Northumbria University. This event was part of the “Being Human Festival”.

The visit was ran to support the pupils who are currently studying Keats and Ian McEwan’s “Enduring Love” for their AS in English Literature.

Dr. Stewart was then invited to come into the English Department to work further with our students.

On Thursday 15th November Dr. Stewart visited Durham Johnston and provided the English Literature students with  a stimulating and enjoyable insight into Keats’ life and poetry.

We would like to thank Dr. Stewart for his time and providing the students with an excellent insight into university style teaching.

Ms O’Neill –Walton, English Department


Music Notices

All school ensembles have made an excellent start to rehearsals this term and the repertoire for the ‘Stage and Screen’ themed concert on Thursday March 19th is looking very varied indeed!   If your child has a solo prepared, which fits in the theme of the concert, please would you ask them to see me in the next few weeks?

If your child cannot make an ensemble rehearsal please would you be kind enough to remind them to send their apologies and return music, so that, if they share a desk, their partner can still play during the rehearsal?

During the time of GCSE mocks (26th Jan to 6th Feb) the school hall will not be available for rehearsals and so there will need to be some changes to our normal rehearsal schedule.  These will be posted on the Friday Bulletin next week.

Voluntary Donations

Many thanks for the voluntary donations for instrumental lessons which were gratefully received last term. If you are planning to make a termly donation, please could your cheque be with me by the end of the month.

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 19/01/15

Mrs Lennon, Deputy Head of Sixth Form


Sports News

On Monday our Year 7 football team were playing John Spence School in the quarter final of the Tyneside Cup. We struggled to cope with a very good team and awful weather conditions, eventually losing.  We had a much better result on Tuesday with our Year 9 football team in the County Cup.  We were playing Monkwearmouth trying to reach the quarter finals.  The boys played some excellent football to dominate the game eventually winning 5 - 2.  They now go on to play St Wilfred’s in the quarter final.

Also, on Tuesday our Year 7 basketball team were at DCBC playing in the Durham Schools tournament.  We started with an easy 28 – 2 victory against the hosts. Another straightforward win against Parkview saw us qualify for the County Finals which take place at Maiden Castle in March.  Our only defeat was against Hermitage losing 10 – 8.

On Wednesday our Year 9 and Year 11 basketball teams were in English Schools action against St Aidan’s School, Darlington.  After reaching the last 8 schools in the country last season this was always going to be an easy game, and it turned out that way as we went on to win 62 – 2.  The Year 11 match was slightly closer but we still recorded a victory, winning 46 – 18.

On Thursday it was the turn of our Year 10 basketball team.  They were at Ponteland needing to win to keep their hopes of reaching the National stages alive.  They played some excellent basketball against a very tall and athletic team eventually winning by 20 points.  We now need other results to go our way to progress.

Good luck tonight to our athletes who are at DCBC for the County Sportshall Athletics trials and also good luck tomorrow to all our cross-country runners who are at Meadowfield competing in the County Championships.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE