Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Dates for Your Diary

  • Friday 4 March - deadline for return of Year 9 Options Choice forms
  • 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.
  • Friday 18 March - non uniform day for Sport Relief 2016
  • Thursday 24 March - school breaks for the Easter holidays (2 weeks and 1 day)
  • Monday 11 April - term begins
  • Monday 18 April - Year 8 Parents' Consultation Evening, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Monday 2 May - school closed for May Day Bank Holiday



Headteacher's Message

Dear parents and carers,

I am currently at the annual conference for the Association of School and College Leaders. One of the keynote speakers is Simon Cohen. Simon Cohen is a global social commentator and writer.  He has asked conference to think about 'why we do what we do'. It is an interesting question for teachers, leaders and, indeed, all of us. In teaching inspiration, compassion and joy, perhaps the profession would support our youngsters more than when focusing (only) on outcomes, inspection or accountability.  Why do you do what you do? 

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Friday bulletin. Have a good weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Careers Week at Durham Johnston

This week has been a hive of activity in James Hall.  To tie in with National Careers Week we have hosted a series of events to support students; to inform their future careers choices.  All year groups (7-11) participated in activities appropriate to their year group. 

Altogether we had over 1000 students inolved in different events thoughout the week. Our young people experienced many aspects of the 'world of work'; from Speed Networking in Year 7 - where the children took advantage of the opportunity to interview different business representatives, to Mock Interviews for our Year 11 students.  Our Year 9 students gained an insight into their personality type and individual strengths.  

The information students received throughout this week will be invaluable as they develop their personal skills and capabilities and will help them as they consider different career options.

These events will be built upon throughout their time with us.



On Wednesday we were visited by a representative from ATOS offering our Year 11 students the chance to apply for their Business and IT apprenticeship in Durham. If you haven’t heard of ATOS you will definitely have been affected by them as they operate IT systems all over the world. From developing and operating IT at the DVLA to working out the Premier League fixture list, they also operate many of the IT systems for our high street banks and building societies.’

Mr Kennedy, 2nd in Guidance



Sport Relief 2016

We will be holding a non-uniform day to raise funds for Sport Relief 2016 on Friday 18 March.  The donation requested from students who wish to participate is £1.00. Letters detaling additional fund raising events for Sport Relief were sent home with students earlier in the week.  To read a copy of the letter please click on the following link.

World Book Day

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it is a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

See Mrs Walton’s ‘Get Caught Reading’ power point here

View ‘The Perks of being a Book Lover’, which was produced by pupils at the school, hereThis is the 19th year there has been a World Book Day, and on 3rd March 2016 children of all ages came together to appreciate reading.

The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. That is why students received book tokens this week in English lessons.  Students can take their voucher to a local bookseller and can use it to pick one of TEN (exclusive, new and completely free) books. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club.  

Maths Department News

We have now received results for the Intermediate Maths  Challenge which took place on 4th February.

Of the 99 pupils that took part 63 will receive a certificate (16 Gold, 24 Silver and 23 Bronze).  In addition 15 pupils have qualified for the next rounds.

Intermediate Olympiad Qualifiers 10th March

Yuriy Tumarkin, Matthew Edge, David Mathias

Kangaroo Qualifiers 17th March

Joshua Erlebach, Rodrigo Raimundo Ramos, Luke Marsden, Joel Richardson. Willem Davison, Raph McCall, Tom Hughes. Harry Cookson. Novoneela Siddiqui, Catherine Musgrave, Shweta Banerjee, Luke Teggert.

Prestigious Invitation

Yuriy Tumarkin has also been invited to attend a training camp at Trinity College Cambridge. 22 of the most talented under 18 mathematicians have been invited to take part in this training which is part of the preparation for selection for the British team for the International Olympiad Competition.

Miss Rush, Subject Leader for Maths


Year 9 - Computer Science GCSE

We would like to share with you some links to a range of great online resources.  These links aim to help students that have picked Computer Science as an option for GCSE to get started with coding. Using these resources will help to build students' confidence with important coding and problem solving skills. We wouldn’t expect our students to have completed all three of the choices below, but picking a guide which enthuses you the most would be a good start.

Although we do look at other coding languages and concepts, Python will be the language that we will spend most of our time working in.





Program Arcade Games in Python

A set of short, easily digestible YouTube videos taking you from getting started with Python, to programming an Arcade Game


Beginners Guide to Python

This is a written tutorial taking you through the basics of Python. Each concept is covered by you coding some very easy to follow examples followed by a challenge to complete.



Program Games in Python

A book written by the official Raspberry Pi magazine the MagPi. Takes you through how to create a game using Python. Again starting from the basics to moving to the more complex concepts.




Mr Garside, Strategic Lead for ICT



Ski Visit to Les Menuires

The recent visit to Les Menuires, part of the 3 valleys ski region close Chambéry was a resounding success! 

On Saturday 21 February our party flew from Newcastle to Geneva where we were collected by our Ski Bound rep Chloe, and taken by coach to the resort a 3 hour drive away. The hairpin bends which formed the climb up the mountain were a little unnerving, but no screams were heard.

Our hotel Le Piolet, was ready for our arrival, and once the students had been allocated rooms (all with beautiful views!)and been through ski fit, we were served the first of many impressive dinners.

Sunday was the first day of skiing and we were lucky enough to have blue skies and sunshine, along with good snow conditions. It was a hard day for many of the students, some had never skied before, but they were all fabulous and took it in their stride. Our instructors were all very competent and friendly, and quickly established which groups the students needed to be in.

The week continued well, and though visibility was not great throughout, everyone made huge progress. There were a few falls but students showed remarkable resilience, especially the beginners!

The food clearly went down well, certainly the fresh air and exercise helped as plates were cleared every day with no complaints.

The après ski was excellent; bum boarding followed by a welcome hot chocolates back at the hotel, and Speed Mountain- a rollercoaster in the snow being just a couple of highlights!

The week finished perfectly with another blue sky day and fresh snow on the Friday and in the evening we upheld the tradition of DJ’s got talent, with fantastic performances by every single student.

The journey home went without a hitch as 39 tired students were returned to parents at the airport. All in all a successful trip, of which we hope that students will have fond memories for many years to come.

Mrs Banner, Languages Department



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 7 March 2016

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form



Music Department News

North East Festival of Youth Choirs

On Saturday evening Chamber Choir took part in the inaugural North East Festival of Youth Choirs in Durham Cathedral. They performed alongside award-winning choirs from all over the region, with each choir having chance to showcase their repertoire, before all the singers joined together for a massed rendition of Parry’s ‘I Was Glad’ at the end of the concert. It was an inspiring evening, with an exceptionally high level of music making, and there were many favourable comments from members of the audience and other performers for our offering of ‘Angelus ad pastores ait’ (A. Gabrieli), O Radiant Dawn’ (J. Macmillan) and ‘How Lovely are the Messengers’ (F. Mendelssohn).

Mrs Holmes, Music Department


School Spring Concert - Thursday 17th March - James Hall

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.  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


Funds raised for World Cancer Day 2016

The Sixth Form Medicine Society is a group of students who are interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare profession and meet weekly to discuss recent developments, learn more about the application process and invite outside speakers to share their experiences. To raise awareness on World Cancer Day 2016, DJSF Medsoc sold Unity bands for £2 to the sixth form, lower school and teachers. We’re proud to say that over £300 was raised for Cancer Research UK. Thanks to everyone who contributed!



Sports News

This week has been an outstanding week for sporting success at Durham Johnston.

On Tuesday our Year 7, Year 9 and Year 11 football teams made the long journey to Teesdale for league games. Our Year 7 team remained unbeate, winning 6 – 2 on the worst pitch we have played on this season. It was also straightforward for our Year 9’s who won 6 – 0. The Year 11’s had a closer game winning 1 – 0 with a Joe Blackbourne penalty.

Also on Tuesday our Year 9 rugby team were at Durham School for the County 7’s finals. The best 12 rugby schools from the North-east were competing. We produced an outstanding afternoon of rugby winning our group to reach the final. This included a comprehensive victory over Yarm School. We met Durham School in the final and despite scoring first we ran out of steam eventually losing by 3 tries.

Tuesday continued with our Year 8 indoor cricket team competing in the Durham City competition at St Leonard's. We played the hosts first winning by 20 runs. We followed this with an easy victory over Parkview. Another win next week against Fyndoune will see us become Durham indoor champions.

A busy day concluded with our U13 girls' badminton team travelling to Teesside for the North East finals. As County champions they were representing Durham against the best schools in the North-East. After an excellent day of high level badminton our girls finished 3rd in the North-east.

On Wednesday Emmanuel College were hosting the County cross-country championships. This is always a high standard as the Area winners from around the County compete to become County Champions. All our runners produced excellent performances. We were the only school to have teams in every race.

Our Year 7 boys won to become County Champions with Peter Cook finishing 1st and Charlie Phillips 2nd. Our year 7 girls' team were 3rd with Emily Salmon 2nd. Our junior boys' also won to become County Champions with Alfie Phillips in 2nd and Sam Gibson 3rd. Our junior gir' were 2nd. Our Intermediate boys finished 2nd with Ben Horfield winning the race and our Inter girl's won to become County Champions with Bridget Bradshaw finishing 2nd. Finally our Senior boys' finished 2nd with Cameron Bain winning the race. This all meant we were the best school in the County by a long way.

Also on Wednesday our VIth form football team travelled to St Thomas More for the Tyneside Cup semi-final. This was a great game but unfortunately we lost 2 – 1.

On Thursday our Year 9 football team were at St Wilfrid’s in the County cup semi-final. They are an extremely strong team who won the County Cup last season. This was another outstanding game of football. We battled throughout against a big very physical team to win 2 – 1 to reach the County Final – a great achievement.

Yesterday evening our U16 rugby team were at Maiden Castle for the County tournament. They won 2 games, losing only one game to finish in 2nd place.

British Senior Indoor Athletics Championships

Year 12 student Emily Gargan competed in the British Senior Indoor Athletics Championships last weekend.

She was the youngest competitor in the Triple Jump by some margin. Emily started her competition with a no jump. Her second jump was an absolute monster- almost 12.70 but she was, again, just over the board! Her third jump was good, an indoor personal best of 12.21. This gave her three more jumps. She then no jumped on her fourth, losing her balance as she approached the board. Her next jump gave her a personal best of 12.32 metres.

Emily came sixth in the National Championships. An excellent start in her first senior competition.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Netball Season Summary 2015-2016

To read a copy of the Netball Season Summary please click here.


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.