Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary

  • 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
  • 22 - 29 February - Year 12 and 13 mock examinations
  • Ski visit - 22 - 26 February to Les Menuires
  • 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.
  • School Spring Concert - Thursday 17 March, 6.30 and 7.30 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,

Monday sees our options evening for Year 9 pupils. During the evening we will be outlining how important it is for students to maintain a broad and balanced curriculum, and how it is sensible to keep options open in case students change their mind in the future.

There is a presentation that has been developed over the years called 'shift happens'. There are now very many versions of this on the internet.  It highlights how quickly the world is changing. One of the quotes is that 'we are currently preparing students for jobs that don't exist yet using technologies that haven't been invented in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet'. Although we study and teach individual subjects, it is also important for students to understand that it is the skill of learning that is central to education. This is clearly important whether our youngsters are in Year 9 or not. 

Do have a look at one of the versions of this presentation online. There are some surprising facts within these documents.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher



Key Stage 4 Option Choices Evening - Monday 8 February

The Year 9 Options Information Evening will take place this 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 do hope that you are able to attend.  If you are unable to come on Monday and have some questions about options choices please do not hesitate to contact me.  

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



Deadline for return of GCSE Statements of Entry - Monday 8 February

Year 11 students were recently issued with their GCSE Statements of Entry together with a  provisional timetable for the summer external examinations.    It is imperative that students and parents check the details published in the statements of entry (SOE) and make any corrections on the back of the form.  Forms should be returned to me by Monday 8th February at the latest.   The school is required to submit this information to the exam boards next week.  If our entries are not submitted to deadline, the school will be charged double the entry fees.

Examination timetables will be published on eportal next week. Students will receive a final paper copy just before the examinations start.

Ms L Gillham, Examinations Officer



Life at University

This term in conjunction with ‘Higher Education For Me’, a number of pupils in Year 10 have had the chance to dip their toes in the university experience. Last week 15 pupils has a taster morning introducing them to what life is like at Oxbridge. Earlier this week 10 students, accompanied by Mr Bowman (Science Department) spent a day at York University to experience life as a medical student.    

Sam Bradley in Year 10 commented 'I was interested in pursuing a medical career but this trip has really piqued my interest in the field and the experience that comes along with studying it at university.  By visiting the York/Hull medical school, I got the chance to learn about some of the different ways that medical students are taught.  The information they taught us really helped me begin to plan about how I’ll actually apply and learn to be a doctor in addition to giving an insight into the life of a student at university level.

The activities we took part in were suitable for all kinds of learners as there was a group discussion based task at the beginning that forced us to think logically and analyse information, contrasting with a hands-on lesson on first aid and what to do in the case of an emergency Danger, Response, Send for help, Airways, Breathing CPR.  I really enjoyed the day and would definitely recommend it to future students hoping to study medicine.'

Later this term some eager potential lawyers in Yr 11 will be spending the day with a law firm in Newcastle.

Mr Weaver, Assistant Head



Safer Internet Week

Next week is Safer Internet Week. We are using this as an opportunity to promote to our students the importance of good online behaviour. Next week during form time students will discuss e-safety issues with their tutors.

The following video will be shown to years 7 and 8


The video below will be shown to years 9 upwards.


Please help support us in delivering this message and we ask that you could have a conversation with your children this week regarding safe use of technology. There are many websites out there to help support parents in the digital age, one of which is our own e-safety site for parents which has links to the websites we think are the most useful. Click here to access

Mr Garside, Computing Department



British Exploring Society Visit

Copper Lewis, a first year geography student at Durham University and a member of the BES, delivered a talk to some of our AS geography students this week.   Copper was a recent visitor to the Himalayas and, as well as outlining the nature of the expedition, she provided an insight into the advantages of getting involved with the BES.   Our students, as ever, were excellent and showed a lot interest in her slides and stories.  Many have passed on their email addresses in the hope of receiving more information.




Mr Lindley, Subject Leader for Geography



Science Careers Talk

The science department held its first careers presentation after school last Thursday in the library when Mr. David Gilliland gave an interesting and informative presentation on his work as both a chemical engineer and a barrister.   Thanks to a response from a number of parents after the last bulletin, we have also managed to complete a schedule for the remainder of this academic year.





Thurs 25th Feb 2016

Mr. Ahmed Ali-Khan

Consultant in Plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Thurs 17th March 2016

Prof. Karl Coleman

Scientific research – graphene and nanotechnology

Thurs 28th April 2016

Dr. Kit Erlebach

Chemical engineering in the food and pharmaceutical industry

Thurs 12th May 2016

Dr. Tim Lang

Pathology and Healthcare science

Thurs 30th June 2016

Catherine Piggott

Veterinary Surgeon


Please encourage your son or daughter to come along if they are potentially interested in a science related career.

Dr. Bolton, Subject Leader for Biology



British Biology Olympiad

Some of our Year 13 biology students took part in the British Biology Olympiad last week.   Congratulations to Susannah Holliman on obtaining a Gold medal and to Susannah Atkinson, Dylan Coates and Josephine Armstrong for obtaining a bronze medal.    

Dr Bolton, Subject Leader for Biology



Senior Maths Team Challenge

On Tuesday 2nd February a team of four Durham Johnston students from years 11, 12 and 13 travelled to London to compete in the National Final of the Senior Maths Team Challenge, having won the regional heat in November.   Cameron Bain, Jenny Simon, Joseph Dean and Yuriy Tumarkin competed against eighty five of their fellow regional heat winners from across the country including teams from; Harrow School, Exeter Mathematics School and Westminster School.   The team greatly enjoyed the taking part in the four rounds of the competition and were a credit to both themselves and the school.

Mr M Patterson, Team Manager



Durham Johnston Environment Club

A key outdoor space within the the school grounds has undergone considerable improvement over the last two years led by science technicians Joyce Robson and Kay Argument who  have worked on developing an inclusive outdoor resource for science teaching and learning.  Developments have included improved wheelchair access, dredging of the pond to attract and sustain a wider variety of wildlife,  installation of new seating and the creation of raised bed planters made from recycled material.  Willow, which had become overgrown is now fashioned into a tunnel and will hopefully attract nesting birds, and a greater variety of insect.  The clippings will be put to a variety of uses.

The Environment Club for students was set up at the start of last term, and those students who attend regularly each week after school  are looking forward to the spring so that they can spend more time outside.  During the winter months they have been working on building bird boxes, and making preparations for planting in the spring.  One of the club’s planned projects is to grow plants for use in science practical lessons.   Another project will be to make cloches and trellises using willow branches pruned from the tunnel.  An insect hotel is also a priority on the club’s agenda.

Students are supported by Head of Year 9, science department staff and ex parent governor Brian Le Fevre.

The club has recently attracted funding from local councillor and school governor, Nigel Martin who visited the school on Wednesday to talk to the students involved and to present a cheque for £250.

Councillor Nigel Martin commented "I am delighted to be supporting the Durham Johnston Environment Club with a grant.  In addition to enhancing the surroundings of the school, the club is providing great opportunities for students to learn about sustainability and wildlife in practical ways that will help them in their future lives".

Next on the list is to acquire a greenhouse.  A secondhand one would be perfect!  Any donations, no matter how small would be most welcome.





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 8 February 2016

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form


Music Department News

North East Festival of Youth Choirs’, Saturday 27th February, 7.00pm, Durham Cathedral.

Chamber Choir takes part in a festival of choral singing. Rehearsal at 1.00pm.

Tickets (£7 and £3 concessions) available from the Gala Theatre Box Office.


School Spring Concert - Thursday 17th March - James Hall

Following the success of the two-part Christmas Concert, we have decided to have the same arrangements for the Spring Concert.

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

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

Tickets for each part of this concert may be purchased from the Music Department from Monday 22nd February.  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.

Tickets will be £2.50 or £2 concessions for each half. Payment by cash or cheque, payable to ‘Durham Johnston School.       

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music



Sports News


On Wednesday our Year 10 cricket team played in an indoor regional tournament at the Louisa Centre, Stanley. They topped their group after beating Longfield academy 92-24, Dean Storey scoring highest with an impressive bowling display.  Next, we faced a strong Hetton side, needing 12 runs from the last over; once again Dean Storey hit three consecutive 6’s ensuring we made the final. Sadly, we lost out to a very strong team from St. Wilfrid's who bowled us all out for 15, meaning we came away regional runners-up.

Also on Wednesday our Year 9 boys' basketball team travelled to Hermitage School to play in a tournament, they beat Hermitage in the opening game and the momentum lead to victories over Durham Community Business College, Fyndoune and Belmont. The boys won all of their tournament games returning as the tournament champions.

Mr Kidd, PE Department


New Age Kurling




Last week Durham Johnston hosted the Level 2 New Aged Kurling competitio0n for local primary and secondary school children. Schools taking part were Durham Johnston, Trinity, Silvertree, Nevilles Cross, Pelton and Gilesgate.

Mustafa came away with a gold medal and qualified to play for the Durham City Team at the County events.

Three boys from Year 9, Ryan, David and Max all played really well and won a certificate and sports wrist band for fantastic effort.

Mrs White, PE Department


Football Fixtures 2015-2016



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.