Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary

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

·          Tuesday, 10th  February - Y10 DPT and Men C Vaccinations

·          Friday, 13th  February - Y9 DPT and Men C Vaccinations

·          Monday 15th to Friday 20th February - October Half Term

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

·          Wednesday 11th March – Year 7 Parents’ Information Programme (Languages), 6 pm

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


Headteacher’s Message

Dear parents and carers,

As Headteacher I spend some of my time listening to what the major political parties are proposing for the education system. Whether this be changes to examination systems, changes to accountability frameworks, or financial proposals. It is interesting for me to weigh up the personal impact any changes in government may have with the impact on school. It is important that our students also listen to political views and begin to shape their own perspectives on the political system. Clearly, some of our Upper Sixth students will be able to vote in May.

Nearer the time of the election we will be holding events and discussions to help students of all ages understand our democratic system, and to underline the importance of engaging with this as they get older and move into adulthood. We do have systems in school whereby class representatives can put forward suggestions as to the running of the school too. ‘Form reps’ meet regularly, and do have an impact on some of the mechanisms at the Johnston.

Have a good weekend, and I hope you enjoy reading about some of the events happening at school at the moment.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher



Key Stage 4 Option Choices  -  2015-2017

Our Options Evening for Year 9 students and parents will take place on Monday 9th February at 6.00 p.m. in James Hall.  Subject leaders and other staff will be present to talk about their subjects and the courses on offer, and to answer questions.

Information booklets detailing option pathways together with an option choice have been posted out to all parents with students in Year 9 at the beginning of last week.

We hope you will be able to attend.

Mrs Slattery, Deputy Headteacher


Summer Examination Information for Students in Year 11

This week students in Year 11 have been issued with two important letters to bring home with information regarding summer examinations 2015.

The first letter provides each student with a provisional timetable and essential procedural information as follows:

All students must be in school at the designated time as per the attached timetable.  This will usually be 8.45 am for a morning examination and 1.00 pm for an afternoon examination.  Please note we run pre-exam revision sessions to prompt students before their exams.

  1. Students must attend school in full school uniform.  Students should not bring mobile phones,iPods or MP3 players to school. 
  2. Students must bring their own equipment – pens (black only), pencils, rubber, ruler, calculator etc) for each examination.  It is advisable to bring such equipment in a clear plastic bag or pencil case. 
  3. Students have now been entered for examinations therefore failure to attend school on the date of the examination will result in a charge of £30.00.  The Exam Board will only consider giving special consideration for missed exams for bereavement, accident or illness, backed by a doctor’s certificate.
  4. If at any time prior to an examination a student has a concern or is ill and may miss the examination, please contact us immediately.
  5. Students collect their examination results on 20th August 2015 between 10.00 am and 4.30 pm.  If this is not possible parents/carers or grandparents can collect the results with a letter of authorisation or by leaving a stamped addressed envelope with Ms Gillham so that results can be posted home. Key members of staff will be available to support students needing advice.Students will receive another timetable just before the summer exams which will includes seat numbers and rooming information.

The second letter contains a student’s Statement of Entry detailing the student’s name as it will appear on the exam certificate and the subjects that each student is entered for.  Please note that where a student is absent from an examination or has not completed controlled assessments there will be a charge per subject (currently £30.00).

Parents are requested to check the details in their child’s Statement of Entry which should then be signed and returned to the form tutor by 9 February 2015.

Amendments will be made in accordance with instructions and the new details will appear when students receive their final exam timetables in May.



Code Club

Durham Johnston’s Code Club has proved far more popular than we anticipated with over 80 members signing up at the first session.

To ensure that all interested pupils have the opportunity to attend, sessions have now been allocated to year groups as illustrated in the timetable below.

Miss Forbes and Mr Garside – Computing


Career Opportunities – Maritime Industry

South Tyneside College is holding a ‘shipping day’ on Saturday 7th February from 10am to 3pm. This would enable students to glean an insight into what a career in the maritime industry has to offer.

There will be major shipping companies such as Maesk, Carnival, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Navy and many more.

To find more information please use the following link:  www.stc.ac.uk/ShippingDay.

Mr Kennedy, Guidance


Year 9 Spanish Exchange – May/June 2015

We will be running a Year 9 Spanish Exchange to Granada in May/June of this year.

Students have been made aware of this in Spanish lessons but for further information please see the letters to parents section of the website.

Exchange visits are extremely good ways for pupils to improve their language skills, gain independence and confidence.

Last year’s exchange was a great success and we are keen to build on this. Please contact Miss Granlund via the School office for more information.

Miss Granlund, MFL Department


New School Website – We would like to hear your views!

It’s been about a year since we launched the new look Durham Johnston website and we’re now looking for your thoughts on what you think. We’d be grateful if you could find the time to complete a short feedback form so that we can gauge your opinion of our website.


Mr Garside, WEB and ICT Manager


Maths Department News

Senior Team Mathematics Challenge

Jacob Bradley, James Timmins, Cameron Bain and Yuriy Tumarkin, four of the top mathematicians at Durham Johnston, travelled to London on Tuesday with Mrs Cave to take part in the Senior Team Mathematics Challenge. 

They were placed 24th out of 79 teams, a very creditable position in a close and exciting final.  Results were so close that there was a three-way tie for first place between Harrow School, Hampton School (Richmond) and King Edward School (Birmingham).  The team were wonderful ambassadors for Durham Johnston and Mrs Cave received compliments on the way they represented the school.

On Thursday morning approx. 100 pupils took part in the individual Intermediate Mathematics Challenge and the results should be available soon after the half term break.

Miss Rush, Subject Leader for Maths


    North East Regional Final of the F1 in Schools Challenge

On Tuesday 19 students from Years 7 and 9 competed in the North East Regional Final of the F1 in Schools Challenge at Nissan, Sunderland.  

The competition was a culmination of planning and manufacturing model Formula 1 and Bloodhound Class Cars as if they were members of a real F1 team. The teams had to allocate jobs to their members and develop logos, team names, team identity, car design and colour scheme and after manufacturing the cars on a CNC milling machine they had to sand and paint to their own designs.

Although only models, the cars they still managed to travel at speeds of up to 60mph which when scaled up to full size is an equivalent of over 300mph! Our fasted car on the day managed to cover the 20 metre track in an impressive 0.816 seconds - yes less than a second - and matched the fastest car on the day.

The teams competed against over 40 other teams from schools and academies all over the North East and also included teams from the Yorkshire and North West regions.  Over the whole day our teams performed really well and were constantly being scored by the judges on their pit displays, quality of engineering, 5 minute verbal presentation and finally the racing itself.

Everyone who attended had a really enjoyable time and emphasised that they wanted to enter again next season.

Mr Kennedy, Design and Technology


Science Live! 

On Tuesday, 45 pupils from Year 10 went on a trip to see Science Live in Sheffield.

They attended five lectures on different aspects of Science, as well as two sections on exam tips from an examiner.

The five lectures included information on Anthropology, Biology, Astrophysics, Maths and Engineering, which all proved to be very interesting and informative.

Rita Dias (Form Group -10CW)


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

On Thursday fifty pupils from Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 went to Newcastle to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The ground-breaking National Theatre production has won awards for its spectacular design and staging and this is the first time the production has toured the UK from its London base. Pupils were overwhelmed by the production: it was imaginative, funny and moving. Most impressive was the way the whole stage was used to get inside the mind of a talented boy who sees the world in a different way from everyone else. Here is a link to the original trailer which gives a flavour of what the pupils experienced.


Mr Bancroft, Deputy Head


Launch of Student Finance Application Cycle 2015/16

The application cycle for Academic Year 2015/16 is now open.  Applications can be made by visiting https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance.

Along with a range of supporting information there is now a series of new interactive student finance quick start guides.  The quick start guides www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/quickstartguidesallow students and parents to find out the different types of student finance available – including how to apply and repay – all in one central place.

Mr McArdle, Head of Sixth Form


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 09/02/15

Mrs Lennon, Deputy Head of Sixth Form


Music News

School Spring Concert

‘Stage and Screen’ on Thursday March 19th in James Hall at 7pm

Ticket Sales information

From Monday 23rd February each pupil performing in the concert will be able to purchase two tickets from either Mrs Sutton or a member of the Music Department.  Remaining tickets will be on sale from Monday March 9th.

Tickets are £4 and £2 (Concessions – under 16 and 65 and over).

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music


Sports News

Primary Netball League

The Primary Netball League came to an end this week. The six teams from Neville's Cross, Shincliffe and St Margaret's primary schools improved throughout the league, leading to very competitive games.

The league ended with St Margaret's A team winning with 15 points, closely followed by a Shincliffe then Neville's Cross. 

Mrs Bell’s netball teams did a fantastic job umpiring the matches and have been invited to officiate at the final in March.

Girls Rugby

Our Girls Rugby team is going from strength to strength with 12 players on the squad. On Thursday night they had a special coaching session with Tamara Taylor the England Womans’ Rugby Captain to prepare them for the Level 3 County Games.

New Age Kurling and Wheelchair Basketball


Today we hosted the Durham City Level 2 wheelchair basketball and New Age Kurling competitions. Pupils from primary and secondary schools all over the city came to compete for a chance to represent Durham City at the Level 3 County games in March.

Students from Year 10 Health and Social and BTEC PE were on hand and assisted as officials.

All of our students performed really well and we wait to find out if they have earned a place on the Durham City team.

Mrs White, PE Department


Y7 Rowing Programme

Week 2 for our Year 7 students who are at Durham Amateur Rowing Club!

This week the students have put into practice what they have been taught using the indoor rowing machines. The students have started to row on the river using techniques taught by the DARC coaches and competing against one another. 

Well done to Thomas Johnson who won the 10 strokes challenge last week and received his medal and prize for his efforts.

Mr Kidd, PE Department


Weekly Update

On Tuesday our U13 Boys Cricket Team were at the Louisa Centre competing in the County Indoor Cricket Finals. We started strongly with a comfortable victory over Cardinal Hume. A one run defeat in our next game meant we needed a victory in our final group game to reach the final. A poor batting performance meant we were always under pressure eventually losing by 12 runs. We found our form again in our play-off game winning easily by 30 runs to finish in 5th place.

After school our U15 Girls Basketball Team were competing in the Bishop Auckland Schools tournament held at Durham Johnston. All the games were very close including a 12 – 12 draw with Parkside. The result came down to our final game against Ferryhill. We needed to win the become champions. After a tense start we settled down and proved too strong for Ferryhill eventually winning 14 – 6.

On Wednesday our Year 9 basketball team were at Hermitage competing in the Area Championships. We completely dominated all our games including a 16 – 0 defeat of Parkview and a 16 – 2 victory against the hosts. We won the competition and now go on to represent Durham City in the County Finals in March.

Unfortunately netball this week has been a victim of the weather with both the U19 and Year 7 tournaments being cancelled.

On Thursday it was the turn of our U15 boys to compete in the County Indoor cricket finals. We have a very strong team and this showed as we easily won our group to reach the final. This included a record 102 – 31 victory in our second game. We faced a good team from Egglescliffe in the final. We batted first and performed very well to score 62 runs in our 7 overs. An excellent bowling display by the whole team saw us bowl Egglescliffe out for only 31 runs to easily become County Champions. Congratulations to Matthew Pinkney, Harrison Whitfield, Joe Blackbourne, Fergus Hawes, Sonny Armstrong, Reece Turnbull, Jonny Brooks, Callum Hodgson, Dean Storey and Ben Stewart.

Also on Thursday our U13 Girls Rugby Team were due to play Parkview in the Area rugby final. After lots of practice our girls were all ready but unfortunately Parkview failed to turn up at the last minute. The girls now go forward to the County finals in March.

It was the turn of our U13 Girls Cricket Team today who were competing in the County Indoor Finals. As with the boys yesterday they made progress into the semi-finals. Unfortunately they lost a very close game with North Durham Academy by only 3 runs. This was the only team to beat us all day as our girls went on to easily win the 3rd / 4th play-off.

Good luck tonight to our Year 9 and Year 11 basketball teams who are travelling to Dyke House School, Hartlepool in the English Schools competition. They both need victories tonight to win the North-east group and progress to the National knockout stages.

It is a busy weekend of sport as well.  Several of our cross-country runners are at South Shields on Saturday competing in the Inter County Championships hoping to finish in the top 16 and gain a place at the National Finals.

On Sunday we also have several athletes travelling to Hull to represent Durham at the Northern Region Sportshall Athletics Competition. Particular mention to Year 7 pupils - Sam Gibson and Natasha Stephenson who are competing in both events.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE