Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Dates for Your Diary

  • Wednesday 20 January - Year 7 Parents' Information Programme (E-Safety) -  6.00 p.m.
  • Year 11 Mock Examinations - 25 January - 5 February.  Please click on the following links for a copy of the Year 11 mock examination timetable  and guidance on revision for both students and for parents 
  • Monday 8 February - Year 9 Options Evening 6.00 - 8.00 p.m.
  • Friday 12 February - school breaks for Spring Half Term for one week
  • Monday 22 February - term begins
  • Monday 29 February - Year 9 Parents' Consultation Evening, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Monday 14 March - Year 10 Parents' Consultation Evening, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Thursday 24 March - school breaks for the Easter holidays (2 weeks and 1 day)
  • Monday 11 April - term begins



Headteacher's Message

Dear parents and carers,

This week in assembly I talked about Pixar films. You will have heard of some of these films, although you may not have known the company that produces them. Animated films like Brave, The Incredibles and Toy Story. Many of the films produced by Pixar contain strong moral themes. Finding Nemo, for example, explores issues of disability discrimination, as Nemo has only one strong fin and does not swim very well. It also explores different types of family, as Nemo is brought up just by his Dad. The film Up explores issues of age discrimination, and carries with it the message of living life to its full.

I showed some clips from Inside Out in assembly. Here, a girl named Riley is born in Minnesota and, in her mind, at different points in her life, five living emotions are created: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. Each emotion has a defined purpose in Riley's life.  Joy attempts to keep her happy, Anger keeps her life fair, Disgust keeps her from being ‘poisoned both physically and socially’ and Fear keeps her safe. Sadness, however, doesn't think she has a purpose in her mind, or that of the other emotions, and is ignored as a result. The film explores how young people deal with their emotions, and teaches that different emotions, even those perceived as negative, are valid. If you haven’t seen the film, it is well worth the watch. As young people develop and grow up they often experience heightened emotions, as clearly you will be aware. Navigating this can be difficult for youngsters.

Our Year 11 mock examinations start next week. Preparing for these exams is important, as is the learning that takes place once the results of these are known. Good luck to our Year 11s.

Have a good weekend. 

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Election of Associate Governors for 2016

I am delighted to announce that Luke Hallam and Katherine Hill in Year 12 have been elected by their peers to serve as Associate Governors on the school’s Governing Body for one year.   We extend our thanks to Matthias Bash and Harriet Chater for their commitment to the role of Associate Governor and the valuable contributions they have made to meetings during their term of office.

Michael Wardle, Headteacher



Key Stage 4 Option Choices 2016-2018

The Year 9 Options Information Evening will take place on Monday 8 February.  The evening will begin promptly at 6.00 p.m. in James Hall followed by the opportunity to talk to subject leaders and departmental staff about courses on offer, and to ask questions.   We look forward to seeing you on the 8th, but in the event you are unable to attend, and have some questions about options choices please do not hesitate to contact me.  

Information regarding option choices available, together with recommended pathways for your son or daughter have been posted home this week.  If you have not received this information by next Tuesday, please let us know.

Please note that the deadline for your child's Options Choice form is Friday 4 March 2016.  Forms should be handed in to staff at Reception.

Mrs Slattery, Deputy Headteacher



Science Careers Presentation Thursday 28 January

The science department is intending to establish a monthly, after school session where scientists with a variety of different scientific career backgrounds to come into school to talk about their work with students in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 who are considering a science-related career.

The first session will take place next week on Thursday 28 January from 3 – 4.15 p.m. in Lydia.   The speaker, David Gilliland will give a presentation on why employers seek people with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) skills, and will talk to students about his career as both a chemical engineer and a lawyer.

It would be helpful  to know how many students will attend next week’s event.  Students who are intending to come on Thursday should call along to Sc5 at break or lunch at the start of next week to let me know, so we have a rough idea of how many students to expect.

If any parent or carer works in a science-related career, and would be willing to come into school to talk to students on a Thursday afternoon from 3 – 4.15 p.m. we would be delighted to hear from you.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out the proposed dates of future session, marking your email for the attention of Dr Bolton.

Dr Bolton, Subject Leader for Biology


Year 9 Space Day Visit

On Thursday 14th January 2016, ten students from Year 9 explored the outermost reaches of space at the Physics Department of Durham University.  Students took part in active research by classifying galaxies and objects in the night sky as part of a world-wide project , quizzed a scientist currently working on the latest Jupiter mission (JUNO) via an online conference, constructed a lander and designed a base on Mars.  The JUNO scientist was impressed by the probing questions of all schools involved and Durham Johnston students won the prize for the most thought-out Mars base, the design of which considered all aspects required for sustaining life in the inhospitable Martian environment.  The day culminated in students observing the Moon's craters from the university's telescopes, which could be seen despite the British winter clouds.  Oh, and we worked out how many bananas you'd have to eat to be harmed by their mildly radioactive properties.  Don't worry ... your biggest risk would be a lack of dignity as you slipped on the skin.  Students were very positive about the experience and were a credit to the school in every way.

Mr Coates, Science Department


What Has Maths Done For me?


Last half term, the Maths department ran a competition for KS3 students.  

Students were asked to explore how Mathematics develops, explains and describes the world around us. We asked students to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, a poster or an article explaining what maths has done for them.  

We received a number of excellent entries into the competition and our winners were:

1st place Lina Van Hunen for her presentation on Escher

2nd place Daniel Cann for his article on Hubble

3rd place Isabella Gray for her presentation on Binary numbers

Miss P Urwin, Mathematics Department


Music Notices

Choral Evensong

Durham Johnston School Chamber Choir will sing Choral Evensong in Durham Cathedral at 17.15 on Monday 25th January. Those who wish to attend this service are asked to be seated by 17.05 and the service will be over by approximately 18.00.

Voluntary Donations to assist with the cost of instrumental/vocal tuition from Durham Music Service

Many thanks to those of you who were able to make a contribution towards the costs of your child’s instrumental/vocal tuition last term. If you are able to make a donation this term then it would be helpful if cheques could be given to Mr Holmes in an envelope marked ‘Music Tuition’ by the end of next week.

Ensemble Rehearsals

On account of James Hall not being available during GCSE Mock Examinations, music rehearsals over the following two weeks will be as follows:


Tuesday 26th Jan              

Junior Orchestra - Wind/ Brass only– MU2

Wind Band – Mu1

Wednesday 27th Jan       

Junior Choir – Mu2

Senior Choir – Soprano and Alto only – Mu1

Thursday 28th Jan            

Senior Orchestra – Strings only – Mu1

Tuesday 2nd Feb               

Junior Orchestra – Strings only – Mu2

Wind Band – Mu1

Wednesday 3rd Feb        

Junior Choir – Mu2

Senior Choir – Tenors and Basses only – Mu1

Thursday 4th Feb              

Senior Orchestra – Wind/Brass only – Mu1

Friday 5th Feb                    

Big Band – Mu1


Mr Holmes,  Subject Leader for Music


Gilesgate Roundabout Roadworks

For up-to-date information regarding the forthcoming work due to start on Gilesgate roundabout please visit www.durham.gov.uk/gilesgate.


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 25 January 2016.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form


Sports News

Sports news is brief this week as Mr Hopper is accompany the skiing visit.  Normal reporting will resume next week.

The Year 7 girls' football team - 2nd in the area finals this week.

Year 9 boy's Futsal finalists - beaten only in penalties in the final by the team from Park View Academy.

Years 9, 10 and 11 boys' basketball teams -  winners in the Tees Valley competition.

U15 girls' rugby training went very well this week.  The team will compete in the area competition at Mowden Park, Darlington next Tuesday.

Congratulations to our students who competed in the County cross country event at Meadowfield last Saturday, many of them reaching the top 12 positions.

On Tuesday our U16 boys basketball team travelled to Hartlepool Sixth Form College.   Six teams competed in the tournament but our boys were far too strong for the opposition. The boys beat Teesside High School comfortably 22-5; the team won their next game in a similar fashion 22-6 with another easy victory over Dyke House 24-8 in the semi-final to set up a final against Manor Academy. The team played some excellent basketball, winning 20-6 and becoming Tees Valley School Champions 2016. Well done to Harrison Whitfield who was awarded MVP for the tournament, the team were also awarded Newcastle Eagles tickets.



Football Fixtures 2015-2016