Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Dates for Your Diary

  • Year 7 Parents Information Programme - Wednesday 23 September 6 - 7.30 p.m.
  • Year 6 Open day - Monday 28 September, 9.15 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. For further information please cllick here.
  • Year 7 Visits to Durham Cathedral - Tuesday 29 September, Thursday 1st and Friday 2 October.  For further information please click here.
  • Sixth Form Open Evening - Monday 5 October, James Hall, 6.00 - 8.00 p.m.
  • Year 7 Parents Information Programme - Wedneseday 23 September 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 11 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 16 November 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 13 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 30 November 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 12 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 7 December 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.


Headteacher's Message

Dear parents and carers,

September 15th was the International Day of Democracy. The UN defines democracy as ‘a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives’. This week at school we held our first house assemblies of the year. Our house system brings together students of different ages for competitions and charitable work.  Each year through the house system students give of their time in order to help those in need, be they in this country or abroad. Any ideas that the students may have to help those in need are most welcome - each form has a house rep and together they organise some of our events.

I am sure that the Johnston community is touched by the plight of the very many migrants leaving their homes, many of whom are not able to determine their own futures. Some of our students have decided to do something to help. Our Amnesty group in the sixth form will be organising a book collection to support those currently in need. They will be in touch with the students through the tutor programme, giving details of how to donate second hand books, and why this can help. This is just one example of the many ways in which our young people want to see a better world for those around them. Do help us by supporting the work of the house system over the year.

Have a good weekend. 

Yours sincerely,


Michael Wardle, Headteacher



Y7 Parents Information Programme 

The first of three events in the Year 7 Parent' Information Programme will take place on Wednesday 23 September and will start at 6.00 p.m. 


Subject Leader Mrs Clark and Key Stage 3 Co-ordinator Mrs Everall will give a brief outline of the work covered in Year 7 and the skills taught.

A number of Year 8 students will be on hand to help demonstrate a sample English lesson and to answer any questions you might have.


Parents will be provided with information about language study in Years 7 - 9 and will have the opportunity to try a sample language lesson.



Coats and jackets

Do check that the children have their coat or jacket on when they leave the house in the morning if it is raining. Several students were very wet this week when they got to school, saying that they forgot their jacket!  


Friday Bulletin Text Message Reminder

We apologise that you have not received your weekly text message to let you know that the Friday Bulletin has been published.  We have just changed our service provider, but anticipate that normal service will resume next week.




We’ve noticed that there has been an increase in the number of students arriving late into the school building this week. Please can we take this opportunity to remind parents that all students should aim to be in the school building before 8:25am. Students arriving after 8:30am will be issued with a break time detention.

We do accept that there will always be occasions where lateness is unavoidable and we would seek to be sympathetic, however repeated excuses of distance travelled to school or traffic congestion are not acceptable.

If you feel that there are special circumstances that are preventing your child attending school on time then please contact your child’s Head of Year in the first instance. 

Many thanks for your support with this matter

Mr Garside


School Photos

The school photographer will be in school to take individual student and group photos on the following dates.

 Tuesday September 29th   -  Individual photos -  years 11, 9, 8, 12, 13

 Wednesday September 30th  -  Individual photos -  years 10, 7;  Year group photos - years 11, 12 and 13 


Amnesty Book Drive

Durham Johnston Amnesty International Group is appealing for book donations from pupils and staff for the North East Refugee Service as a response to the devastating humanitarian crisis developing as people flee war-torn Syria. The North East Refugee Service works with refugees who settle in our area, the numbers of whom are set to increase. The world has an obligation to meet the human rights of refugees and our campaign aims to help fulfil Article 26 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to an education. Amnesty representatives will be visiting forms to collect books throughout the week commencing 28th September, with Year 11 forms visited on the 28th, Year 10 on the 29th, Year 7 on the 30th, Year 8 on the 1st October and Year 9 on the 2nd. Thank you for your generosity in what is a pressing issue,

Charlotte Austin, Chair of DJCS Amnesty International Youth Group



This week we have started the new year off with some House assemblies. Each house: Annand, Kenny Heaviside and Wakenshaw has had an assembly explaining that the houses are named after soldiers from our region who were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery and valour. The House system is about extra-curricular enrichment, teamwork and participation and is inclusive to all.

There was a brief recap about the events that took place last year and the overall positions that the houses were in at the end of last year’s competition.

1st Wakenshaw

2nd Kenny  

3rd Annand    

4th Heaviside

The names of the new House Representatives from each form for 2015-2016 were introduced to the houses and the applications for Senior and Junior House Captains were invited. Applicants should write a short letter, e-mail or video themselves telling the house leaders why they should be considered and what they can bring to the role. The deadline for applications is Friday 2nd October and they should be handed in to Mrs Dunn. House Captains and representatives are vital to this system so they can come up with new ideas for house activities and competitions, help organise events and encourage involvement.

The first house competition was announced. This is a Postcard Fiction competition whereby students should write a short story that might fit on a postcard. There will be points awarded for all entries and particularly good entries will be awarded further points. A deadline for entries is Friday 2nd October.

A new house year will bring lots of new challenges, activities to take part in and healthy competition. Let the contest begin!

Mrs Dunn, House Co-ordinator


Information for Parents of Year 11 Students 

This week all Year 11 students were issued with a copy of a letter detailing dates and times for Information and Advice evenings which are being held by local schools and FE Colleges in 2015-2016.  Parents may find it useful to keep a copy in a prominent place as a reminder of the forthcoming events.

Please could parents remind their children that it is their own responsibility to ensure they have secured options for their post-16 careers and that they should be considering their options this term.

Applications from students will be taken at these events for entry for 2016-17.  Multiple applications can be made by your child.   This will ensure that they have a number of options to consider after their exam results.

Mr Kennedy, 2nd in Guidance/Careers


John Rice Visit to Durham Johnston


Last Wellbeing Week saw the return of the fantastic John Rice. John is a poet who has come into the school for a long time, and has never failed to impress. Year Seven had the opportunity to learn about writing and poetry from a real published author, and listen to John read some of his poems and tell silly stories. From my perspective, John really helped me enjoy poetry more. Before he came in I really didn’t like poetry and I thought it was a difficult subject. That all changed the second John introduced unique writing techniques with an interesting teaching style which kept everyone engaged all the time. John creates an encapsulating atmosphere as he reads and uses different tones of voice to keep pupils interested. Furthermore, he is extremely funny and often makes bad jokes. In fact, he told the class he was going to tell a lie, and then told the lie 5 minutes later! Everyone thought it was true! Personally, I thought meeting John Rice was an absolutely memorable experience that I will treasure for my whole life; he has made me enjoy new kinds of writing from a new perspective.

Daniel Cann, Year 8



Year 11's Invade Cambridge

From the 8th to the 10th of September, eight students from Year 11 travelled to Cambridge with seven other schools from Durham in order to get a taste of life as a student in one of the most prestigious universities in the world. We met the wonderful Brenda (event co-ordinator) first thing, then after a long coach drive there we settled into our single study bedrooms in Christ's College (where half the group of 80 students were staying) before walking to the larger St John's college for our Welcome Talk. Having returned once again to Christ's we had the pleasure of a guided tour around our college, led by one of the students who had studied there. We had a formal dinner that evening with amazing food and an amazing atmosphere, followed by an evening tour of Cambridge which, unbelievable ghost stories aside, was very enjoyable. We DJ students all gathered around a room with a piano and, more importantly, a kettle for our free time before returning to our bedrooms.

Day Two started with a chance to explore the nearby Cambridge Colleges which taught us all that, if nothing else, Cambridge has some beautiful architecture. After a talk on the 'day in the life of a student', we each experienced two lectures, with a choice to whether we wanted to learn about the arts or the sciences, and we had lectures on 'DNA Origami', 'Research in the Social Sciences', 'An Introduction to Scientific Research', and 'Fortune Telling in the Ancient Near East'- all of which proved incredibly interesting. A Q&A with the Cambridge Admissions Officer came next and free time followed. A high point of many people's trip was the visit to the local cinema to see a film that was much more scary than we first thought! Before going to bed we DJ students and those of Fram gathered, in a selected room containing pringles and chocolate, around a laptop in order to watch the Great British Bake Off. We had a wonderful time at what was christened the 'Bake Off Party', mixing with other students and engaging in ingenious get-to-know-each-other activities featuring question sets such as 'What is your name? Who do you want to win Bake Off? And is the cheese or sultana scone superior?'. Having been worn out by socialising we returned to our rooms and fell asleep.

On Day Three we had free time in the morning to wander around Cambridge and do some shopping before a Q&A on student life. Then we were lucky enough to experience a guided punt tour on a beautiful sunny day, around a beautiful city with the wonderful Brenda who, by this point, we had unanimously decided to be our favourite person in the world. We all had the chance to have a try at punting for ourselves and luckily no one fell in, although one or two of us came rather close at times! Last but not least we had a group photo back at St John's with all 80 students before we sadly departed and started to make our way back to Durham.

Overall it was a brilliant experience on which we created memories and friendships that will last us for the rest of our lives. And who knows... maybe we'll all end up at Cambridge together one day!



Ellie Bartlett, Year 11



World Challenge - Edges of Empires


Last weekend the World Challenge team camped and hiked along Hadrian's Wall training for their expedition to Tanzania next July. 

Mr McArdle, Director Post-16


 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 21 September 2015.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form



Sports News

The new football season has started this week with all teams performing very well.

On Tuesday all five teams were playing at home against Sedgefield. The Year 7 team won 4 – 1 with a hatrick for Joe Hugill. The year 9 team won 6 – 0 with 4 goals for Liam Graham. The Year 10 team won 8 – 1 and the Year 11  team scored a late goal to draw 2 – 2. Our only defeat came for the Year 8’s.

On Thursday the Year 7, 8 & 11 teams were all at Bishop Barrington. The Year 7 team continued an impressive start with a 7 – 1 win. The Year 8’s bounced back from Tuesday’s defeat with a thrilling 7 – 5 victory and the Year 11 team completed a clean sweep winning 3 – 0.

The PE department have been very impressed this week with the large numbers attending all clubs. There were over 50 at both cross-country and badminton on Monday. There were also nearly 60 at basketball and football club on Wednesday. Also on Thursday there were over 60 girls at netball and 30 taking part in a new boxing club. I am sure there will also be a big turn-out tonight for the girls football trials and boy's rugby club.

Finally good luck this afternoon to our U13 boys tennis team who are competing in the National Knockout stages of the British Schools championships. They are playing St Olave's School, York. Hopefully we will have news of their success next week.

Basketball News

Our congratulations go to Jack Marsden in Year 10 who, through sheer hard work and determination, has been selected to play with the Newcastle Eagles School of Excellence U16 basketball team.   The team will play in the National League 2015-2016.  During the summer Jack also attended trials and was successful in being selected to represent the North East U15 Boys'  team to play in the Regional Development Tournament in Sheffield this week against teams from around the country.  We wish Jack and the team every success.  

Football Fixtures 2015-2016

Please click on the following link for details of league football fixture for the forthcoming season.   Football Fixtures 2015-2016

Mr Hopper - Subject Leader, PE