Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary

  • Ski Visit 2016 - information evening for pupils and parents - Thursday 26 November, 6.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. in James Hall.  For further information please click here.
  • Year 13 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 30 November 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.  For a copy of the letter of invitation please click here.
  • Year 12 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 7 December 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.  For a copy of the letter of invitation please click here.


Headteacher's Message

Dear parents and carers,

Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by the terrorist acts in Paris last week.

'Contest’ is the United Kingdom’s strategy for countering terrorism. One of the four planks of this overarching strategy is ‘prevent’. Many of you will have heard of this duty on schools. The aim is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by ‘stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism’. Staff receive training in the prevent strategy. In recent training materials I have received, it talks of guarding students against adopting a ‘them and us’ ideology. This reminds me of my comments a few weeks ago, indicating that it is on a very basic level that we need to remind our families and communities to remain tolerant and understanding of that which we consider different.

I also note that schools are expected to teach fundamental British values – these being often defined as tolerance respect, accepting and celebrating difference, among others. It seems to me that these are not only British values, but values that a great many people all over the world believe in. The link to anti-bullying week is also clear.

On a different note, some of our activities in school are starting to help prepare for the Christmas season. With the winter drawing near, I am also using this bulletin to remind you of our bad weather protocols.

Have a good weekend.

Yours sincerely,


Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Parent Governor Vacancies

With effect from 1 December 2015 there will be vacancies on the school's Governing Body for two parent governors and we invite nominations from parents.  Please click on the following links to download a copy of the information letter and the nomination form.    Printed copies will be issued to students to bring home to you on Monday.

Further information regarding the work of the Governing Body is available on the school's website


Anti-Bullying Week

This week the whole school has been focusing on the serious issue of bullying. The school prides itself on many of the strategies we employ to combat all aspects of this unpleasant behaviour. As a Stonewall champion school we ensure that all are pupils are safe and a big focus this week has been on the issue of making sure no one in our community is a bystander to inappropriate behaviour.





As part of ‘anti-bullying week’, the Sixth form Equalities group took part in ‘ Educake and Celebake’, the national bake competition. Our winning cake will be sent  through in photo form only, to the national competition, as it was devoured at lunchtime!

£100 was raised and I would like to thank all the wonderful bakers who contributed their quite wonderful and tasty cakes, cookies, brownies and cupcakes.

Mr Weaver, Assistant Head



Year 7 Code Club – Using the Pibrella

Year 7 students this week confidently hooked up their Raspberry Pi computers to our monitors and powered them up ready to

This week our Y7 code clubbers learnt how to connect devices to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins (General Purpose Input/Output) to be able to control other hardware. We used an add on board called a Pibrella this week which allowed the students to make lights flash and buzzers sound by typing in a few lines of code using Python as our programming language of choice.

The students quickly become very creative with their code and in less than 20 minutes students had set up their Raspberry Pi and were exploring how to do more exciting things with the hardware they had been given.


Next week the students will be given a choice as to whether or not they want to continue to use the Pibrella, or they could learn how to use programming code to make things happen in Minecraft.

Code club will continue for Y7s until Christmas. We will then advertise code club to any interested Y8 and Y9 students.

Miss Forbes and Mr Garside, Computing Department


Ski Visit Information Evening

Please note that the ski visit information evening will take place on  Thursday 26 November at 6.00 p.m.   and not Friday 27 November as publicised in error in last week's bulletin.   Please click here to read a copy of the letter issued in October.  The evening is an opportunity to provide parents, whose children are going skiing next year, with important information in advance of the visit and hope that you are able to attend.


Music Notices

Percussion Workshop

On Tuesday morning the Music department was delighted to host a Durham Music Service percussion workshop in James Hall. Students from around 14 secondary schools in the North East attended this event and they were challenged and inspired to work together as they started to prepare some improvised repertoire for a possible performance at the Sage in 2016.



Haydn’s Creation – Chamber Choir

Chamber Choir will be participating in a performance of the Haydn’s Creation in Durham Cathedral tomorrow evening (Saturday 21st November) at 7.30pm. Rear Nave tickets (£15) will be available on the door and there is a pre-concert talk at 7pm for those who might be interested in learning more about the work. Please do come and support Chamber Choir in this exciting venture if at all possible.


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.

Tickets for each part of this concert may be purchased from the Music Department.  To ensure that as many parents, relatives and friends as possible can attend this event, we would encourage you, please, to purchase tickets only for the half in which your child is performing? There will be some pupils who are performing in both halves, in which case audience members will need to purchase tickets for both parts of the concert. 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. Payment by cash or cheque, payable to ‘Durham Johnston School’.

Please note that on this occasion, there will not be a raffle.

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music


Euroscola 2016

Many congratulations to the team of to Year 13 students Harriet Chater, Emma Clifford, Annabella Goeta, Laura Phillips, Beatrice Smellie and Susie Smellie who entered and won a competition organised by the British Council.  The students created ideas for a short film, and next week will attend a special event at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle where they will be given specialist help in producing their film.

In the initial round of Euroscola 2016, students were asked to write a 3 minute screen play on how the EU has supported developing countries and its multi-lingual nature.

The team have won a 2 night visit to Strasbourg where they will attend a the European Parliament along with student representatives from across Europe. Speeches in the main chamber, debates, lunch and entertainment in Strasbourg will all form part of an busy itinerary. Well done to all involved for taking the initiative and organising their competition entry themselves.

Mrs Wood, Subject Leader for French


Durham Johnston Student Reaches Finals of National Science and Engineering Competition

Year 13 student, Stefan Renstrom has been successful in reaching the finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition in March 2016.  The finals are held as part of the Big Bang Fair, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham.  Stefan will showcase his project "Analysis of Single Sample Glomerular Filtration Rate Estimates for Chemotherapy Dose Determination" to judges and visitors.  The organisers commented that the quality of this year's entries has been the strongest ever, so it is a fantastic achievement to have made it to the national finals.  Very well done!.  We wish Steven every success in the finals.

The Big Bang Fair is the UK’s largest celebration of science, engineering, technology and maths for young people and will take place at the NEC, Birmingham from 16th – 19th March 2016.  The event is free to attend and this year expects to attract up to 70,000 people including 55,000 young people aged between 7 and 19.  The event consists of three days for school visits and one public day during which over 200 organisations will exhibit and provide interactive engaging activities and theatre shows. The Big Bang also hosts the Finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition. 



 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 23 November.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form



Sports News

On Tuesday our U13 boys' tennis team were at the Puma tennis centre for the North of Great Britain finals. Over 2000 teams enter this competition and we made it into the last 16 schools in the country.  We lost a close game to the Cumbrian champions from Queen Elizabeth School but produced some excellent tennis in the afternoon to defeat the Yorkshire champions from Hymers College 4 – 2. This meant we finished 3rd in the North of Great Britain and in the top 10 schools in the country. A great achievement and well done to Harry Cookson, Tom Davies, Nic Thompson, Adam Crawford and Roan Varley.

Also on Tuesday we hosted the Year 8 Bishop Auckland Schools basketball tournament. We won our group comfortably without losing a game. This included a 16 – 0 victory over Parkside which put us into the semi-final against Sedgefield. Unfortunately our shooting let us down in this game and despite having lots of possession we just couldn’t score enough points eventually losing 12 – 6.

A very busy day continued as our U14 girls' football team were in County Cup action against St Bede’s. In appalling weather conditions our girls battled hard but just couldn’t find an equalizing goal eventually losing 2 -1.

Girls' cricket also took place on Tuesday as our U13 girls' team travelled to St Leonard’s. The team continued the excellent form of last week as they easily won to remain top of the group.

Finally on Tuesday our Year 7 rugby team were playing in a CVL at Darlington. They also braved poor weather and a floodlight failure to win 3 and only lose 1 game.

On Wednesday it was the turn of our U19 tennis team to play in the North-east finals against Yarm School and Egglescliffe School. We had a slow start and lost 5 – 1. Yarm then beat Egglescliffe. In the final game we played some excellent tennis to come from 2 – 0 down to win 4 – 2 against Yarm. This now means the winners will be decided in the final matches against RGS.

Also on Wednesday our Year 7 and 8 netball teams were involved in home games against Framwellgate. Our girls dominated both games eventually winning 11 -1 and 13 – 3.

On Thursday our U13 girls' football team travelled to High Tunstall in the County cup quarter final. They played well and won 3 – 1.

Finally last night our Year 7 rugby team were playing in another CVL at Harton. The continued their impressive season winning 4 games and only losing to the hosts by 2 tries.

Good luck to Sian Tustin, Jenner Lister, Leia Davison and Miriam Stewart who are swimming in the Schools National Relay Finals tomorrow at the Aquatics Centre in London.  Well done for qualifying for the Medley relay finals - a fantastic achievement!

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader, PE



Durham Johnston Tumblers

Our fantastic tumbling team performed at the Primary Gymnastic event on Thursday at Deerness. The girls performed a very impressive routine consisting of somersaults, twists and tumbles. The primary school children and staff were spellbound.

Mrs White, PE Department




Football Fixtures 2015-2016