Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Dates for Your Diary

  • Year 7 Parents Information Programme on e-Safety – Wednesday 17 June  6.00 – 7.00 p.m
  • Information Evening for Parents re  Battlefields Visit 2015  -  Wednesday 24 June,  6.00 p.m. in James Hall
  • Annual Sports Presentation Evening – Wednesday 8 July 7.00 p.m. at Ramside Hall (tickets available from the PE department)
  • UCAS and Higher Education Finance Information for Year 12 Parents – Thursday 9 July, 6.00 p.m., James Hall


Headteacher’s Message

Dear parents and carers,

Durham Johnston likes to welcome visitors to school. We often have visitors from different countries who come to speak to staff and students about education and similarities and differences between our system and theirs. You will remember that we hosted a delegation of Australian teachers recently. We also host colleagues from other schools in England. This week, our sixth form team welcomed teachers and leaders from other schools in order to share ideas and learn from each other.

Welcoming visitors and showing them around school always reminds me of how lucky we are at DJ. The building is a real asset. Students appreciate it, and it does help them focus on learning. I also get to show visitors the magnificent artwork that the students produce and the host of trophies and awards on display in the PE corridor.

We aim to be a place where we continue to learn from others, and graciously share any insights we may have with others too.

We have had another busy week with several large GCSE examinations having taken place. Do enjoy reading about other events that have taken place and some notices for the coming weeks.

Yours sincerely


Michael Wardle




Pupils Have Their Say - 2015 Kirkland Rowell Pupil Survey

In April, many of our pupils were asked for their views as part of our latest pupil survey which we do every two years.  We ask a range of questions to measure our progress and are pleased to hear pupils’ views.  We use the company Kirkland Rowell who are the market leaders in providing independent surveys to schools. Well over half of all secondary schools nationally use these surveys.   We are given scores based on pupils’ responses. These are then translated into judgements.   

The headlines of the 2015 survey are:

·         The overall pupil rating for the school remains outstanding, as it was in the last two surveys – going back to 2011.

·         Our subject departments are rated highly by the pupils.

·         19 of the 20 non-subject areas were rated by pupils as good or outstanding including: teaching quality, levels of homework, exam results, caring teachers, happiness of child, school discipline, control of bullying, and school communication.

·         Pupils again considered social health education to be satisfactory. Some pupil responses suggest that we need to do more work on reminding pupils of the healthy eating choices provided by the school.


Kirkland Rowell’s Summary of results over more than two surveys

The following non-subject areas received significantly higher scores over more than two surveys: enthusiastic teachers, school communication and teaching quality.

·         The school leadership uses responses to questionnaires as part of our self-evaluation process. They help us put plans into place to ensure that the school is both effective, and also a welcoming and caring environment.



Girls’ uniform

Next week there will be assemblies led by Mrs Slattery for girls in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10.   I remain concerned about certain aspects of girls’ uniform, principally the length of skirts and the rolling up of sleeves. I know many parents check that the uniform is correct when girls leave the house, but that ‘somehow’ it is adjusted by the time they reach school.

A reminder of the uniform policy is here.

At the same time as assemblies, tutors will remind boys of the need to tuck shirts in and not to roll sleeves up.



Traffic on site

A polite reminder that the campus is not designed for parents to drop students off in their cars at the beginning and end of the school day. Too much traffic on site when 1,500 students are arriving and leaving the site compromises safety.



Year 7 Parents’ Information Programme - E-Safety

On Wednesday 17th June between 6pm-7pm we will be running an E-Safety session for Year 7 parents.   The session will be hosted by Mr Garside and Mr Weaver (Assistant Head - behaviour) and will aim to cover some of the risks our students are exposed to when using technology as well as to provide practical advice on things that parents can do to engage with their children on this topic.



Battlefields Visit 2015 – Information Evening for Parents

There will be an information evening for parents whose children are going on the Battlefields visit in July.  The meeting will take place in James Hall on the 24th June and will begin at 6.00 p.m. and will last no longer than 45 minutes.

Letters will be issued shortly to provide further context for the visit and meeting.

Mr Wilbraham, Subject Leader for History



Are You Aware of What Your Child is Doing Online

Please click on the this link to read  e-safety guidance provided by Durham Police.



Money Raised for Cancer Research UK

In December, Jamie Whitaker of 8UA decided to raise money for Cancer Research UK by running a Christmas Competition for Year 8. He approached a number of local businesses, and persuaded them to donate some excellent prizes! Jamie said “Some of my relatives have died from cancer, so I wanted to support Cancer Research UK, and I thought this would be the best thing to do because it was easy to enter and anyone could do it.” We were also able to arrange for a representative from the charity to come in and give an assembly to year 8 to explain what the money would go towards, and why it’s important for us to support them.


In total, Jamie raised an impressive £230, which we were able to present to Anne Robertson of the Neville's Cross Friends of Cancer Research UK on Tuesday of this week. We are particularly pleased that this means the money will stay in the North East, going to help the work being done in Newcastle, which is a centre for excellence in cancer research.

Jamie’s hard work and initiative in organising and running the competition are to be highly commended. The year group and staff are very proud of him!

Miss McKenzie, Year 8 Form Tutor



GCSE Mathematics Preparation Evening



Question: What is the volume of a cylinder of radius Z and height A?

Answer: PI.Z.Z.A of course!

More than 80 pupils turned up for the second “Maths and Pizza” revision session on Wednesday evening.  Pupils and teachers worked for over 4 hours on a variety of activities including treasure hunts, quizzes, jigsaws and timed exam questions as they completed their preparations for the second GCSE mathematics paper on Thursday 4th June.  High attendance was guaranteed by the promise of slices of pizza at the end of the session.

Well done to all who took part and a special thank you to Mrs Graham for supporting the revision sessions this term.

Miss Rush, Subject Leader for Maths


Alan Turing Cryptography Competition 2015





A number of pupils from Durham Johnston took part in the 2015 Alan Turing Cryptography Competition hosted by Manchester University.  Now in its fourth year, the competition is very popular and a total of 993 teams of 4 pupils across the country began the challenge in January 2015.  In addition to the range of prizes that are awarded throughout the course of the competition, teams that successfully complete all six chapters receive a special certificate.  The maths department is delighted to announce that two of the Durham Johnston teams have been awarded this certificate this year.


Team Genii-Platypi2 finished in 61st place

Eleanor Curry, Sofia Hyrniv, Charlotte Kenyon and Terri Millington,

Team Quantum Crypto finished in 66th place

Aleksander Carver, Joshua Erlebach, Mark Liesicke and Joel Richardson

Very well done to both teams.

Miss Rush, Subject Leader for Maths



Music Notices


The Great Charter – Durham Cathedral (Saturday 13th June) and Middlesbrough Cathedral (Saturday 20th June)

Tickets for Durham Cathedral performance are available from the Music

Department. Front of Nave £15 and £13 (Concessions), Rear of Nave £10 and £8 (Concessions), and under 16s free.

Our next rehearsal for this is in school on Sunday afternoon, from 12.30 and if anyone has any questions about other arrangements please do get in touch.


School Music Festival – Monday 29th June – James Hall

Entries for this are now closed and I can confirm that all students who have entered will be able to perform in the festival. More details to follow.


Music For a Summer Evening – Friday 3rd July – Atrium Cafe

Tickets, which are £6, must be purchased in advance, and may be obtained from the Music Department.

And finally, I was asked to draw your attention to the following project.


Opportunity for Actors and Musicians

The Records of Early English Drama North-East research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Britain, will include a theatre festival on 7-11 July 2016, for which they are auditioning now. The festival will celebrate the North East’s rich tradition of music, theatre, and ceremony, with a cast of local people, school pupils, students and professionals.

One particular production, The Sacred and The Profane, will take place on Palace Green. The Sacred and The Profane features, among other elements, a procession of the medieval Boy Bishops of Durham with an entourage of child monks, a crucifer, and banners. This would require talented young boy or girl performers who are able to sing and/or deliver a sermon. Auditions for this production will take place on 11-12 June 2015 in the Town Hall and at St Oswald's Parish Hall. For details about the production please see the project website, at http://community.dur.ac.uk/reed.ne/?page_id=1236, and for the audition http://community.dur.ac.uk/reed.ne/?page_id=1275.

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music



6th 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 10 June 2015

Mrs Lennon, Deputy Head of Sixth Form



Sports News

On the Friday before half-term our U19 boys tennis team were in Cumbria playing Queen Elizabeth School, Kirby Lonsdale in the North of England and Scotland semi-final. It was an excellent match and after nearly 3 hours of high quality tennis the score ended up 3 – 3. As in the last round we therefore needed a 10 point tie-break shoot-out. This again went our way and we won 10 – 6 to reach the final and the last 24 schools in the country. Well done to John Heppell, Harry Cookson, Michael Herbert and Tom Davies. Next week they now face the Scottish national champions, Merchiston School, Edinburgh for a place in the National Finals.

On Tuesday our Year 9 cricket team were playing Emmanuel College in the Tyneside Cup. This turned out to be a very one-sided game as we scored 222 in our 20 overs. Ben Stewart was top scorer on 77 not out. We then bowled them out for only 27 runs including Ollie Johnson taking four wickets in one over.

On Wednesday our U13B boys tennis team were playing St Robert’s in the league. They proved too strong as we eventually lost 5 – 1. Also on Wednesday our Year 7 girls were at Framwellgate in the league. They played very well and went on to win 45 - 20. Following that our Year 9 and 10 girls were hosting Durham High also in the league. These are always close games which unfortunately we lost 33 - 37 and 26 - 37.

On Thursday our U13 boys and girls tennis teams along with our U15 boys were all at Barnard Castle. Our U13 boys won very easily 6 – 0. This was a double league and County Cup final so congratulations to Harry Cookson, Tom Davies, Nic Thomson and Adam Crawford who are now County Champions. Also on Thursday our Year 9 & 10 girls were playing Framwellgate. These were two more close games with our Year 9’s losing 20 – 24 and our Year 10’s winning 45 – 42.

Our U15 boys also won 6 – 0 to reach the County Cup final. The girls game was closer and came down to the last match. Ella Metcalfe held her nerve to win 7 – 6 and win the match for us 4 – 2. That also puts the girls into the County final.

Well done to Year 11 student, Emily Gargan who recently competed in the North East Championships triple jump and jumped and incredible distance of 11.98 metres which was a Championship Best Performance and a PB for her. This achievement takes her back to the top of the British Rankings on the Power of 10. It was only the second time she'd competed this season after returning from her back injury.

Finally good luck tonight to our U13B and U15B boys tennis teams who are playing St John’s in the league.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE