Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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Dates for Your Diary

  • 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 doubt you will have missed recent messages in the news. Perhaps you will have even read the white paper that was published by the government yesterday ‘Educational excellence everywhere’. You will undoubtedly have been following the national financial situation, and you will have been keeping your eye on changes in the educational landscape. As I have said to staff and governors across the course of the year, with so many changes in examinations, curriculum and accountability measures, we need to focus on excellence rather than these changes. If we concentrate on being the best we can be, and doing the best job we can, we will be able to navigate our school through the changing terrain.

In a similar way, all schools are pressed financially, and the Johnston is not immune to public cuts. Again, we need to focus on excellence, and do our best to cut our cloth accordingly. There are challenges and opportunities ahead. The white paper indicates that all schools need to be on the road to becoming an academy by 2020. It indicates that local authorities will not be responsible for maintaining schools past 2022. That is to say, that children in Year 5 and younger, when they reach Year 11, will not be in schools run by local authorities at all. The white paper also encourages formal collaboration. Our commitment is this: that the Johnston will focus on developing academic excellence, working for social justice, and preparing our students for the future in the best way we can over the coming years.

The white paper is located here should you be interested: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/educational-excellence-everywhere

Yours sincerely

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Dropping Off and Collecting Students

Please note the following that is taken from information given to parents once their child is admitted to Durham Johnston.

Please do not arrange to bring your child to school by car unless this is absolutely unavoidable.  Children need to develop the independence of getting themselves to school on time and need the exercise that walking or cycling gives.  We do not have any parking or even drop-off space for parents on our site and we are instructed by the LA and police to prevent parents coming onto the site in cars as the car park is so congested that extra dropping-off vehicles constitute a safety hazard.  From time to time we will do checks at the start and end of the school day and ask any parents on site in cars to leave.  Parents sometimes are offended or angry about this so it is best to be clear from the start: you may not park or drop off in our car park

I need to remind parents of this as there has been an increase of traffic on site. Last week some of our students who are wheelchair users struggled to get from their vehicles into the school building. This clearly cannot happen. I also, unfortunately, need to remind a few parents that if, as a last resort, there is a need to drop children off in nearby residential areas, that you are polite to residents and other members of the public.  

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Elizabeth Boyd

Elizabeth Boyd, a former teacher and deputy head at Durham Johnston, has died at the age of 81. Elizabeth spent much of her career at Durham Johnston going back to the conversion from grammar to comprehensive. She was a long serving and deeply respected deputy head until her retirement in the early 1990s. Elizabeth was also a gifted and extremely well read English teacher whose passion for the subject was an inspiration to her students - especially at A level.  The funeral was on Thursday March 17th and was attended by members of the school past and present.


Spring Concert ‘Around the World in 80 Minutes’

Congratulations to all pupils (and there were over 200 of them) who performed in Thursday’s School Concert. It was a marvellous event and the hall was packed for both parts of the concert. The audience were transported around the world and visited places as far away as Mississippi and Ipanema and although there are other musical events, it was the last massed ensemble ‘extravaganza’ of the year and so it was a change to say a first farewell to our year 13 musicians. Their hard work, dedication and talent, acting as role models (most of the time!) for the younger pupils, is an invaluable part of the work of the Music Department and we would like to thank them most warmly. We were all moved by their rendition of ‘Circle of life’ from The Lion King and we will remember the image of Edd Phillips being raised in the air, whilst holding a small lion, for many years to come! This year we said a fond farewell and good luck to the following pupils who have been a part of school music, some for the past seven years, and some who have joined us more recently.

Susannah Atkinson, Arjun Badyal, Cameron Bain, Eva Bhowmick, Hannah Booth, Kate Chandler, Harriet Chater, Emma Clifford, Ella Crawford, Tiana Dinard-Samuel, Peter Dowsett,  Clare Gayer, Juliet Hague,Tom Kind, Anna MacLaurin. Edd Phillips, Yelena Sheppard, Bea Smellie, Susie Smellie.

Thanks also to teaching colleagues, peripatetic staff from Durham Music Service, parents and the caretakers who have supported our extra-curricular music this year in so many ways.  

Forthcoming Events - Summer Term 2016


Music Festival - Soloists from all year groups

Monday 27th June, James Hall - 6.00pm, 6.45pm, 7.45pm


Music for a Summer Evening - Y13 leavers and their parents and friends

Friday 1st July, Atrium Café - 7.00pm

More details about these events will be available after Easter.


Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music


Sport Relief 2016

Money raised for Sport Relief from today's non-uniform day totalled £1,306.20. In addition a further £141.50 was raised from a raffling two fantastic chocolate cakes, baked and donated by the school's catering manager plus a further £53.92 for the Teachers v Sixth Form Dodgeball match this afternoon which brings the final total to £1501.62!

Throughout the week, students have also participated in a variety of House sporting events linked to Sport Relief. 

Tuesday's House volleyball competition was slightly sparsely attended but was enjoyed by all there. Heaviside won the competition, winning all 3 matches. They were closely followed by Annand, Wakenshaw and Kenny.

Today's volleyball also did well and resulted in a win for Kenny, who also had the most volunteers. The Teachers v VIth Form dodge ball game after school was popular with spectators and gave everyone a chance to blow off steam.

Thank you to staff and students for supporting this worthwhile charity.

Head Boy and Head Girl Team - Ciaran Bowman, Eleanor Curry, Tom Wilkinson and Sofia Hryniv


FI in Schools Race Day

On Monday 3 teams, Ninja Ducks, Potion Panthers and Pyrotechnics, from Durham Johnston attended the F1 In Schools Challenge Regional Final an Nissan, Sunderland. Throughout the day, the teams took part in various activities including presenting their teams to a panel of judges, racing their cars and also having their car design scrutinised.  

Out of 18 teams, two out of three of our teams finished in the top three for the fastest lap:

1st Ninja Ducks (a mixture of Y7 and Y9 boys)

3rd Potion Panthers (Y7 girls)

However, due to a ‘critical rule’ being broken these times were not considered by the final judges. The teams are currently waiting for specific feedback about their car designs so that they can begin to modify their designs, looking ahead to next year’s challenge.

Although we did not walk away with any trophies this year, all pupils have worked extremely hard within their teams and most pupils attended the club two nights a week after school each week, since September. The teams should be very proud of how they prepared and competed in this regional final and should use this as motivation for next year’s challenge.

Mr Rooney, Technology 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 21 March 2016.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form


Maths Inspiration 2016

Last week 45 students from years  10 to 13 accompanied by four teachers, travelled to The Northern Stage, Newcastle for the Maths Inspiration event 2016. Three speakers, who each followed a different route into mathematics, discussed how they were using mathematics in their careers. The talks were designed to encourage students to study Maths and related subjects at A-Level and beyond. Jennifer Roberts talked about the statistics involved in making a decision about new  medical treatments and John Roberts, designer of the London Eye (amongst other things) talked about the mathematics of roller coasters. Oskar Maatta and Josh Green made an appearance on stage to help with one of the demonstrations.  A particular favourite was Colin Wright, a talented juggler, who revealed how the mathematics of juggling can be applied to real life problems. Overall, the visit was enjoyed by everyone who attended, both pupils and teachers.

Jennifer Simon, Year 13



Sports News

On Tuesday we were due to have league football matches v Wolsingham. Unfortunately they conceded the games which confirmed our Year 7 team as league champions. However our VIth form team did have a game on Tuesday taking on a very strong team from St Thomas More. We were 1 – 0 down at half time but despite our best efforts we couldn’t find a goal in the second half eventually going on to lose 4 – 0.

Yesterday was a very busy but successful day as around 70 of our students competed in the Durham County Winter Games at various venues around Durham. Our Sportshall Athletics teams were at Spennymoor and produced some excellent performances throughout the day. The results were:

Year 7 boys – 1st and County Champions

Year 8 boys – 1st and County Champions

Year 7 girls – 1st and County Champions

Year 8 girls – 1st and County Champions

It is now about 5 years since any other school in the County has beaten us at this event. Our Year 7 and 9 basketball teams were at Maiden Castle where they also played very well, winning every game to become County Champions.

Finally, the table tennis teams were at Freeman’s Quay. Our U16 girls won to become County champions. The U13 boys and girls competitions were extremely close and went to games countback. Our girls finished in second place and our boys in 3rd.

This meant it was an exceptional day for Durham Johnston as out of 10 possible County titles we won 7, were second in 1 and third in 1.

The success continued after school as our Year 9 football team travelled to Bishop Barrington for a league / cup double game. This is always a close match and it was no exception this year. However an Owen Chaplin goal with only 1 minute to go saw us win 1 – 0. This virtually guarantees them the league title with only one game left.

Also last night our Year 7 and 8 rugby teams were playing St Leonard’s in an end of season friendly. The matches were extremely well attended and played in an excellent spirit. Honours were shared as we won one game each.

Good luck tonight to our Year 9 football team who are at home taking on Parkview in the Tyneside Cup semi-final and also to our VIth form rugby team who are at Emmanuel College for a friendly. Also tonight we have several of our rowers competing in the North-east reginal indoor rowing finals at Maiden Castle.

Finally good luck to our Year 7 girls football team who have been at Maiden Castle today competing in a regional tournament.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Disability Sports Competition

Durham Johnston continues to strengthen its sports links with Durham Trinity School.  Year 8 student, Mustafa Tameme was a member of the Durham team, who, along with students from Trinity School took part in a Panathlon of Disability Sports on Monday.   Mustafa, who trained for the competition in PE lessons in school along with his peers, took part in the Wheelchair Slalom, New Age Kurling and Boccia events.  Congratulations to the Durham team who came 2nd in the competition.


Football Fixtures 2015-2016




Gilesgate Roundabout Roadworks

For up-to-date information regarding the ongoing improvements to the Gilesgate roundabout please visit www.durham.gov.uk/gilesgate.