Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

2018 (34)

November (1)

October (3)

September (5)

August (1)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (2)

March (5)

February (2)

January (4)

2017 (42)

December (4)

November (4)

October (3)

September (5)

August (1)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (3)

March (4)

February (2)

January (5)

2016 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (2)

September (5)

July (3)

June (2)

May (4)

April (3)

March (4)

February (3)

January (4)

2015 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (3)

September (5)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (2)

March (3)

February (3)

January (3)

2014 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (4)

September (4)

July (3)

June (4)

May (1)

April (12)

February (2)

Dates For Your Diary

  • School breaks for October half term holiday at 2.45 on Friday 23 October for one week.
  • School re-opens on Monday 2 November
  • Year 11 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 16 November 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Ski Visit 2016 - information evening for pupils and parents - 27 November, 6.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. in James Hall
  • 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,

I was teaching Year 7 today and remembered a trick I had encountered a while ago. Bear with me here!

1)      Pick and number between one and nine

2)      Multiply it by nine

3)      Add the two digits together

4)      Take five away

5)      Work out which letter corresponds to that number in the alphabet (ie a two is a B).

6)      Pick a country starting with that letter

7)      Think of the last letter of that country. Pick an animal beginning with that letter.

8)      Think of the last letter of that animal. Pick a fruit beginning that that letter.

The awe and wonder in the class when I talked about a kangaroo eating an orange from Denmark. Well, about half of the class were filled with awe and wonder. Some got confused with their nine times tables, and others chose Dubai or a koala.

I am always very proud of our students’ achievements. Just a quick glance through the past Friday bulletins this year shows how great our students are. This edition is no different.

Have a great half term, and I look forward to seeing the students return fully refreshed.

Yours sincerely,


Michael Wardle, Headteacher




Theatre Days

On Thursday 22nd October, over 750 of our young people joined Saltmine Theatre Company for three performances of ‘Stand For It!’. The play explored the process and effects of radicalisation and of extremism, both far right wing extremism and al Qaida narrative inspired extremism.

The plot involved Michael and James, two friends with very different lives which didn’t seem to matter until they both started to listen to some people with very extreme views.  As the boys began to be radicalised, the tension between them built and they grew further apart.  Students watching the play discovered whether the boys acted on these views and what effect this had on them and their families.

The show and workshop fitted into an hour long lesson to tackle controversial issues in an engaging, respectful and thought provoking way.


Pupils said;

‘It was great’,

‘It got the points across really well’,

‘The actors were really good’,

‘It conveyed a good message’,

‘It was very informative and helped explain extremism’

‘It was structured well and the performance was interesting’.


On Friday 23rd October, over 600 of our young people joined Theatre Company for performances of ‘Rise Up’. The play, set in modern day Britain, involved four actor-storytellers telling the stories of the Freedom Riders – principled citizens riding buses across Alabama and Mississippi, drawing attention to illegal discrimination and facing up to terrifying violence with peaceful resistance. Ordinary people became a movement, taking on the establishment and changing the world.

The play was powerful in delivering important messages with regard to human determination and resilience in the face of prejudice and discrimination.

Ms Charlton, Director of Resources



Antartica Exhibition

Last Friday all Year 12 geography students attended a seminar and an exhibition about Antarctica at the Palace Green Library.   Members of the British Antarctic Survey team were present and it was fascinating to gain their insights into the science of Antarctica and what life is like living and working in such a hostile but beautiful environment.  Our students asked some interesting questions and they've had their eyes opened to some potential careers!  The exhibition, which opened to the public on the 17th October, is excellent and contains some amazing artefacts and photographs from the past ( e.g. from Scott's and Shackleton's expeditions) and the present.

Pictured below  are five of the 63 students who attended.




Mr Lindley, Subject Leader for Geography



Nuffield Research Project



Over the summer break, two of our Year 13 students participated in the Nuffield Research Project scheme. Over a 4 week period, Josephine Armstrong and Stefan Renstrom experienced the forefront of scientific research during placements at the Institute of Genetic Medicine and the University Hospital of North Durham respectively, learning new laboratory techniques and acquiring a glimpse of their future career choices. This week their achievement was celebrated at the regional Nuffield Award Ceremony where they presented their findings to a team of leading local researchers. 

Mr McArdle, Director Post-16 


Digital Leaders

Over summer some of our Year 11 students spent time planning exciting projects that they could teach to our younger students in Code Club. They have spent this term developing their ideas and presenting them to us. As a reward for their hard work we presented the group with a Raspberry Pi kit which they can take home to help develop their projects further.



There were some fantastic ideas including using Python with Minecraft as well as making a drum kit out of fruit. We need a couple more weeks to finalise our plans, but we intend to start KS3 Code Club to all interested students in the next half term.

Mr Garside and Miss Forbes, Computing Department


Year 12 Art Students Visit the DLI

Last week a party of Year 12 Art students visited the McDowell Collection Exhibition of Neo-Romanticism art work on display at the DLI museum and gallery.

The curator of the exhibition, Lucy Jenkins, talked about the work on display and gave students a real insight into the importance and value of such an exhibition.

Today the students are going back to the galery to help set up still life groups which will be used for the 'Big Draw' event which is being held this Saturday.  Some of our students will be on hand to work with visitors to the event.

Mrs Hitchcock, Subject Leader for Art



Lord of the Flies - Year 10 Theatre Visit 2016

The English department has organised a trip for year 10 students to see the matinee performance of ‘Lord of the Flies’ at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.  This takes place on Thursday 10th March 2016 at 2pm. 

We have secured tickets for students in 10x1, 10x2, 10y1 and 10y2 as these classes are studying ‘Lord of the Flies’ for their English Literature GCSE examination in 2017. 

Students will leave school by coach at 1pm and return at approximately 5pm.  Therefore, students will have early school lunch at 12pm.  Students will wear school uniform for this trip.  Please note students will have to make their own way home from school.

A place on this trip costs £20.00 and includes coach travel to and from the Theatre Royal and a ticket in the upper circle for the production. 

We would like all students in these classes to attend the trip.  Please support this by allowing your child to come.  Further information will be provided in advance of the visit.

Mrs Aiken, English Department


Of Mice and Men

The English department has tickets for sale for the cinema screening of the Broadway play of ‘Of Mice and Men’ starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd and Leighton Meester.  The showing is on Tue 24th Nov 7pm at The Gala Theatre, Durham and whilst it is a sell out at the Gala, we have some tickets available.   This is open to students in years 11, 12 and 13. 

Tickets are priced £13.  If you would like a ticket students should contact Mrs Aiken in EN.

Please note that this is not a school trip; students must make their own way to and from the Gala.



House News

This half term the students have participated in number of different events. In September we had a very successful postcard fiction competition where students wrote short stories that would fit on the back of a postcard. There were 400 entries for this competition with a huge variety of creative stories. House leaders have been reading them all and will be deciding on overall winners over half term. To celebrate the Rugby World Cup we have had a form time Rugby Quiz for students to get involved with. The PE department have also organised a Netball tournament for year 7, 8 and 9 girls during lunch times.

Current standings for the house competition are as follows:


1st Place        Kenny

2nd Place       Annand

3rd Place        Heaviside

4th Place        Wakenshaw


Well done to everybody for taking part this half term but with only 40 points between 1st and 4th place there is still everything to play for!

Mrs Dunn and the House Team


Ski Visit 2016 - Meeting for Pupils and Parents

An information meeting for parents and  pupils who are going on the 2016 school ski visit will be held in James Hall on Thursday 26th November from 6.00 until 7.00 p.m.  Please click on the following link for a copy of the letter that has been issued to pupils.

This meeting will provide the opportunity to meet the members of staff who will be accompanying the ski visit and also provide vital information regarding travel details. 

May I remind parents whose children are going skiing that the final instalment of £155 is due to be paid by Friday 6 November at the latest.

Mrs G Hopper, 2nd in PE



Music Notices

Dates for your diary.

'Friends of Durham Cathedral’ Christmas Concert - Wednesday 9th December, Durham Cathedral, 19.30.

Chamber Choir and Wind Band will perform at this concert and  there will be a rehearsal in the Cathedral in the afternoon, c.13.15-16.00. Tickets for this event will be available soon.


Revised arrangements for School Christmas Concert – Thursday 10th December, James Hall

First Half (6.30pm) to include Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir and selected soloists.

Second Half (7.30pm) to include Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra, Chamber Choir and selected soloists.

Those of you who attended the School Christmas Concert last year will no doubt remember that it was a popular occasion. So much so that we needed to limit the number of tickets sold to each pupil, and even then things were somewhat ‘cosy’ in James Hall. This year we have even more students participating in ensembles, so we have made the following arrangements for the 2015 Christmas Concert.

Tickets for this year’s concert will be on sale from the middle of November and we have decided that we will sell tickets separately for each half of the concert. This will hopefully enable families to purchase as many tickets as they wish, and make seating more comfortable for both audience and performers.

Please could we therefore encourage you to purchase tickets for the half in which your child is performing (see above)? There will be some pupils who are performing in both halves, in which case families will need to purchase tickets for both halves. Please note that pupils who have siblings in the other half will be able to attend that half of the concert without a ticket.

We shall ask everyone to vacate the hall at the end of the first half and the audience will be readmitted in time for the second half to start at about 7.30pm. Tickets will be £2.50 or £2 concessions for each half.


Other information

Ex-Pupil Lewis Wilkinson will be directing Orchestra Cipriani in a concert at St Oswald’s Church on the evening on Tuesday 28th March. Please click the following link for more information. Orchestra Cipriani

On Monday 9th November the Neville’s Cross Community Children’s Choir will hold its first rehearsal. This is a new group which will rehearse weekly and is aimed at children between 8 and 13. If you would like more information, please click the following link. Nevilles Cross Children's Choir


Mr Holmes, Subject leader for Music



Sports News

On Tuesday our Year 8, 9 and 10 football teams were in action against Whitworth Park. Our Year 8 team lost 4 – 1 but our Year 9 team had an excellent 1 – 0 victory thanks to a Max Blackbourne header with 5 minutes to go. Our Year 10 team also recorded a hard fought victory 3 – 2. Also on Tuesday our Year 7 & 8 rugby teams travelled to St John’s for friendly games. Our Year 7’s continued an excellent start winning their game – unfortunately the Year 8’s lost to a very big team in a close game.

On Wednesday our U19 mixed tennis team were playing Pocklington School in a Northern Region match. The match was played in an excellent spirit in glorious sunshine. However we couldn’t quite match their high standard losing a close game. Also on Wednesday our Yera 11 netball team were at Durham High in the League tournament. They played some very good netball to win one game, draw one and lose two – eventually finishing in 3rd place.

On Thursday our Year 7 football team were playing Whitworth Park. They maintained their unbeaten start to the season winning 6 – 3 to go top of the league. Also last night our rowers were at Durham City ARC competing in the Area indoor rowing Championships. The top 3 rowers in eachage group qualify for the County finals which take place after half-term. In an outstanding evening 13 of the 23 rowers qualified for the County finals. These included Dylan Swinburn, Morgan Jobling, Stefan Szablewski and  Harry Coe all who won their race. The busy night continued as our U16 rugby team travelled to St John’s for the Area tournament. The lads never gave up against some outstanding opposition eventually finishing in 4th place. Reece Turnbull ended up as our top try scorer.


Finally last night our Year 7, 9 and 10 netball teams were in league action against Durham High B. They were all excellent games which we won.

Mr Hopper - Subject Leader, PE


Football Fixtures                                                                   

Football Fixtures 2015-2016


Match Reports




School Term and Holiday Dates  2015-2017

Please click on the following link for term and holiday dates up to Thursday 20 July 2017.  Term and holiday dates 2015-2017