Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates For Your Diary

  • GCSE Languages Information Evening for Year 10 parents - Wednesday 14 October 6.00 - 6.45 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,

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day 2014. It is a chance for us to reflect on our own mental health, and to remind ourselves of how important it is to invest time into staying mindful and positive. It is also an opportunity for us to consider friends and family that we know struggle with mental health issues. The sixth form Young Minds group are running a session in the hall today to reflect on these issues.

Do enjoy reading about what has been going on at school this week, and what is planned for the next few weeks up until half-term. Some departments focused on National Poetry Day yesterday, and we are still in the middle of our Festival of Culture. We welcomed three authors to school on Tuesday.  

Have a good weekend. 

Yours sincerely,


Michael Wardle, Headteacher





Primary aged children from across Durham county attended Durham Johnston on Tuesday 6th October to take part in Durham Book Festival for Schools.

Durham Johnston has been the home of Durham Book Festival for Schools since 2013.

Author and illustrator Simon Bartram entertained a capacity audience with ‘Bob Man on the Moon’ and Pip Jones introduced KS1 participants to the wonderful world of Squishy McFluff.

Simon Bartram also delivered an exclusive Illustration Masterclass for Durham Johnston GCSE Art students.


On Tuesday afternoon, Linda Newbery, author of The Shell House and Set In Stone, delivered a workshop on Writing and the First World War for history pupils from Durham Johnston and further afield.

A wonderful day of literary events for all ages thanks to our partners at New Writing North and Durham Book Festival.

For more detail about Durham Book Festival events, please see http://durhambookfestival.com

Ms Charlton, Director of Resources



Year 11 Revision and Subject Guidance

It is a very important year for our students in Year 11. A number of parents have recently requested advice and guidance with regard to revision. As part of our support for Year 11 students we discuss revision techniques as part of our assembly programme and subject teachers offer regular support for students regarding exam technique and how to prepare for examinations. This is a very busy time of year for coursework and controlled assessments and many teachers, voluntarily, give their time to help students after school. Students are being 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



Amnesty Book Drive for Refugees

Amnesty has been overwhelmed by the response to our appeal for book donations which has been incredible both in quantity and quality; it is clear that Johnston staff, parents and pupils have excellent tastes in literature. The high level of participation shows the power of the collective effort of Durham Johnston when motivated by a humanitarian crisis and it is especially gratifying that we should be giving the gift of learning when we ourselves are celebrating Durham Book Festival. As Amnesty starts to distribute the books we would like to thank you all once again for what has been an inspiring display of solidarity.

Charlotte Austin, Chair, DJCS Amnesty International Youth Group


DJSF YoungMinds Group

Students in Year's 7-11 accepted the invitation from the Durham Johnston Sixth Form YoungMinds group, to come along to James Hall at lunchtime today to share their concerns and potential solutions.  Students were given 2 Post-It notes and asked for their responses to the following questions.  1)  What is your No 1 concern at the moment? and 2) What would help ... ?   The information, which was collected anonymously, will be collated into a summary report which the committee will present to Mr Wardle.  The findings will also help to shape what DJSFYM do for the rest of the year.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form


Looking out for friends online - World Mental Health Day (10 October)

​Childnet have produced a short blog which is designed to help anyone worried about a friend who has posted worrying comments online.

The link is here http://www.childnet.com/blog/looking-out-for-friends-online

Here’s what to do to help a friend in need:

1.    Trust your instincts. If you see someone posting messages, photos, videos or links that suggest the person is not doing so well, you should reach out, talk to them as they may need some help. As a friend you know them best.

2.    Look for warning signs. While it can be hard, particularly online, to tell how someone is feeling, if they indicate that they may be at risk, you should always take this seriously. The guide from Facebook and Samaritans provides a list of things to watch out for.

3.    Offer support. Don’t be afraid to give your friend a call, pay a visit, or send them a message to let them know you are concerned. Offer to help connect them with any extra support needed.

4.    Tell someone. If you think a friend is feeling suicidal or might need help, please contact Samaritans, who are available round the clock, every single day of the year. You can reach Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

The link to the guide produced by the Samaritans is here:




Talented Writers

As part of their Festival of Language, Wolsingham School and Community College invited all Year 8 students across the county to enter a creative writing competition.  

Students were given the opportunity to showcase their writing talent and were asked to pen an original story on the theme of horror and the supernatural.  

We are very pleased to announce that two of our students, Thomas Heath and Thomas Hughes, won 2nd and 3rd places in the competition.  Both pupils received their trophies during their assembly this week.

Well done to both.  

Mrs Walton, English Department


Music Notices

Many thanks to those parents and carers who have felt able to make a voluntary donation to help cover the school costs of offering instrumental and vocal tuition through Durham Music Service. We have over 150 students having a weekly lesson in school and your support has enabled us to maintain reasonable lesson times and relatively small teaching groups. If any more parents or carers of pupils who receive music tuition in school are able to make a donation, it would be much appreciated and cheques could be handed to me, in an envelope marked ‘Music Tuition’ by the end of next week. If you have mislaid the original letter that was sent home, please click here.

Workshop and Concert

Tomorrow, Chamber Choir are taking part in a Workshop performance of Haydn’s Creation. The day, which is based in school and is being organised by The Durham Singers, will include vocal warm-ups and ideas for building singing confidence and technique, as well as discussion of how we balance the needs for good technical singing with stylish interpretation. Through the course of the day, participants will also learn more about the history and interpretation of this work – the first oratorio to make a major hit across Europe in the late eighteenth century, and about the fascinating background to the English text that we'll be using for the workshop and our own concert. 


Chamber Choir will also be participating in a performance of the work in Durham Cathedral on Saturday 21st November and there is a special price for parents, carers and supporters of pupils taking part in this performance. Tickets are available from the Music Department for £15 for front of the nave seats (usually £20) and £10 for rear of the nave seats (usually £15). Payment by cash or cheque, payable to ‘Durham Singers’.

Mr Holmes – Subject leader for Music



GCSE Languages Information Evening for Year 10 Parents

We would like to invite parents whose children are in Year 10 and who are studying a Modern Foreign Language GCSE course (French, German, Spanish, Mandarin) to a information session on Wednesday 14 October from 6.00 to 6.45 p.m. in James Hall. 

Details of the how language courses are assessed and how you can best support your child will be covered.   In addition the department will provide information about the KS4 exchange visit to France.

Mrs Wood, Subject Leader for Modern Foreign Languages



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 Monday 12 October.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form



Sports News

Another excellent week with more trophies won. The success started last Friday night with our VIth form football team winning a close fought game 3 – 0 against St Aidan’s. Also on Friday our U14 girls' football team were playing at Biddick in the English Schools competition. They proved too strong for us ending our interest in that competition. To complete a busy night our Year 9 rugby team were at Harton for a friendly match in preparation for the tournament which took place yesterday. We started well but struggled in the second half against a very physical team eventually losing by 4 tries.

On Tuesday our Year 7, 9, 10 & 11 football teams were playing league games against Ferryhill. Our Year 7’s continued their impressive start with a 12 – 0 win. Our Year 9 team won after Ferryhill conceded at the last minute. Our Year 10’s also won 4 – 0 thanks to an excellent second half performance. Our only defeat came for the Year 11’s who lost 4 -2.

On Wednesday our U13 boys' and girls' table tennis teams were at Belmont for the Area Championships. Both teams completely dominated the competition going on to win the title. They both now go on to represent Durham City at the County Championships in March. Also on Wednesday our VIth form football team were playing our local derby against St Leonard’s. This was an excellent game of football played in an great spirit. We scored a late goal to seal a 2 - 0  win.

On Thursday our U13 boys tennis team were playing Newcastle School for Boys trying to reach the last 16 schools in the country and to become North-east champions. It was a straightforward victory as we won 6 – 0. We now go on to the North of Great Britain finals in November and one more win from the National Finals.

Also on Thursday our Year 9 rugby team were at Harton for a central venue competition. They were outstanding throughout winning all their games.

Our Year 10 football team also made progress in the County Cup after Wellfield conceded the game.

Finally good luck tonight to our Year 9 football team who are playing Hermitage in the County Cup. The score is currently 4 – 0 to Durham Johnston at half-time so they are looking good for the victory.

Congratulations to Rachel Scrivens in Year 12 who competed in the Durham and Northumberland Archery Assocation's annual flight archery competition in August and achieved a new County record in both the Junior Ladies Recurve and Junior Ladies Longbow categories.  Rachel, who is a member of Wear Archers, also competed in the Northern Counties Clout competition in Harrogate at the beginning of September and shot new County records in both the Junior Ladies Single and Double Clout categories.  Well done!

Mr Hopper - Subject Leader, PE


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