Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Dates for Your Diary

  • School breaks for Summer Half term week on Friday 25 May and re-opens on Monday 6th June
  • Thursday 30 June -  UCAS and Higher Education finance briefing for parents -  6.30 - 7.30 p.m., James Hall


Headteacher's Message

Dear friends,

I am afraid I need to share some sad news with you. One of our colleagues at school, Gill Bittlestone, died this week after a long illness.

Miss Bittlestone will be remembered as someone who was tenacious in her desire for the very best for her students. She was an excellent and well-loved teacher. She set up and led the house system, as she was determined to ensure that students developed holistically in addition to academically. She will be remembered by her colleagues and friends at work as someone who lived life to the full, and someone who cared deeply about those around her. She will be missed by her friends and colleagues at work. Many students, certainly the older ones, will have the fondest of memories of her. She fought her illness courageously, and never stopped being positive, nor stopped ‘seizing the day’.

One of my favourite quotes, which I used last academic year, was shared with staff this morning. ‘It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same’.

Miss Bittlestone, Gill, did that.  

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


Public Examinations - Information for Students, Parents and Carers

Public examinations are now underway and will continue until the end of June..  Students will embark on study leave on the following dates:

Year 11  -  12.00 on Wednesday 18 May

Year 12  -  Friday 13 May and return to school on the 13 June

Year 13  -   Thursday 26 May 

Students will be issued with individual examination timetables at the beginning of next week together with a leaflet detailing important information about exam board regulations, dates when the results will be available and details of when certificates and coursework may be collected.  Please click here for a copy of the information.

Please be aware that it is the school's custom and practice to publish GCSE and A Level examination results in the local press.  If a student or their parents or carers have any concern regarding the publication of their results, they should notify the Examinations Officer, Mrs Gillham in writing, no later than the 1st July 2016.  

During the examinations t


Exam Revision Advice 

We are very keen to ensure that all our students have access to the best possible advice and support as they prepare for their GCSE exams.

Students have already been well prepared by their subject teachers and it is very important that they continue to seek clarification and guidance in class. There are also some very helpful revision materials on the school website that can be accessed via the following links: an overview of revision advice from each department; some sensible suggestions for students about how and when to revise and some thoughts for parents and carers, as we know that you will want to provide as much support as possible at home.

Departmental revision advice

Revision advice for students

Revision advice for parents

Mr O’Sullivan, Assistant Head


School Crossing Patrol

Durham County Council has agreed to provide a crossing patrol for pupils on the A167 just outside the school's pedestrian-only gate.  

Please click on the following link  https://www.northeastjobs.org.uk/job/School_Crossing_Patrols/150446 for full details of the post.  The posts are often difficult to fill, so if you know of anyone who may be interested, please do make them aware of the vacancies.


Creative Students

Year 11 students studying Textiles and Resistant Materials have recently completed their exam coursework.    A great deal of hard work has gone into their final products and the standard is very high.  To see examples of their creativity please click on the links below.


Resistant Materials


World Challenge Project 2016  



This July a team of sixth formers will be undertaking an expedition with World Challenge.  Our project is based in Luhota village, in the southern highlands of Tanzania 22 kilometres from the regional capital, Iringa and 500 kilometres southwest of Dar-es-Salaam. We will be working at Luhota Secondary School.  The school has about 613 students, aged from 13 to 17 years old.  Our main task is constructing accommodation for teachers to work at the school.  Just as in the UK it is hard to recruit and retain good staff who can earn more in other jobs.  Having accommodation provided is one way to overcome this.  We are also raising money for books and equipment – the national average is five children to every text book and the government has just changed the curriculum there too!

Mr McArdle, Director of Sixth Form


Annual Public Speaking Competition

The 30th Annual Durham Johnston Public Speaking competition took place at the beginning of the week.


Since 1986 every child in Year 7 and 8 has prepared and made a speech to their classmates as part of the English department's curriculum. Last night’s final was the culmination of the 2016 competition.  It was won by Kara Warburton with "A Level Playing Field" an impassioned plea for greater gender equality in professional sport. Other topics included the Dark Side of the Force, Faith Schools, Being Small and the EU. The audience was thoroughly entertained and challenged at times by speeches of an incredibly high standard.  Thank you to Mrs Scott, Mrs Tennant and Mrs Everall for organising the event and supporting the pupils in their preparations and practice.    

Mr Bancroft, Deputy Headteacher



Arts Award Success

Many congratulations to Year 13 student Hannah Booth who has achieved the prestigious Gold Arts Award. Hannah has been involved in drama from Year 7 and was instrumental in creating Dramatix, the sixth from drama club who have produced and performed two successful performances of DNA and An Inspector Calls.  Hannah is one of our first students to achieve the Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Awards.

Three of our dedicated creative writing students in Year 8 have also achieved their Bronze Arts Award. Well done to Katie Gill, Sophie Hannam and Katy Hughes.

Ms Ayrey, Subject Leader for Drama


Oxbridge Advice

On Thursday 12th the schools liaison representative from Lincoln College,  Oxford University came in and addressed interested students from Years 10, 11 and 12 to explain what Oxford and Cambridge Universities have to offer and to encourage them to apply in the future.

Mr McArdle, Director of Sixth Form


Memories in the Wind

Earlier in the year the Art department was approached by Michelle Harland, the founder of Creative Youth Opportunities seeking volunteers to take part in a community education project entitled Memories in the Wind  in conjunction with St Cuthbert’s and linked with  Dying Matters Awareness Week (May 9 - 15 May).

Four of our students, Eve Beck-Taylor, Adam Kelly, Jennifer Lynas in Year 12 and Hannah Fullard in Year 11 took up the challenge.  The aim of the project was to celebrate the special moments that punctuate life and to encourage people to see life and death as a journey to be shared with others.  Day guests at the Hospice were happy to share their fondest memories with the students which included fish and chips at the seaside to wartime adventures.  The artwork celebrated treasured moments that many people can associate with and was unveiled at a community picnic in the grounds of the Hospice last Saturday.  

Louise Johnson, Community Liaison Officer at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, said: The picnic was a great success as it brought the younger and older generations together. If we want to change the culture of how we look at, talk about and plan for end of life and eventually death, then we need to change the way these subjects are perceived, engaging with young people provides us with a great opportunity. Hospices often struggle to connect with young people but the Memories in the Wind project has helped to bridge the gap."






Music Department News

Lunchtime Activities

From Monday 23rd May extra-curricular lunchtime activities will be as follows;


Monday – GCSE Performance (rehearsal and recording time for Y10 pupils)

Tuesday – Guitar Club (MUS1), Theory Club (MUS2), Aural Skills (MUS3)

Wednesday – Theory Club (MUS2), Aural Skills (MUS3 and MUS1)

Thursday – Keyboard Club (MUS2), Aural Skills (MUS3 and MUS1)

Friday – Aural Skills (MUS2 and MUS3)


Aural Skills appointments need to be booked with a member of the Music Department and are then weekly until your ABRSM or Trinity Exam. All other clubs are open to anyone who is interested.


ABRSM and Trinity Exams

If your child needs to leave school for a music exam, please enter a note in their planner and ask them to have it signed be either me or their form tutor. They then need to take this to reception in order for an off-site slip to be generated.


Durham Johnston School Music Festival

The School Music Festival will take place on the evening of Monday 27th June in James Hall and there will be three classes

Class 1 (Grade 1-3)                          Whinney Hill Music Cup                                                 6.00pm

Class 2 (Grade 4-5)                          Crossgate Moor Music Cup                                          6.45pm

Class 3 (Grade 6+)                            Durham Johnston School Music Cup                        7.45pm

The competition is open to all pupils who take music lessons outside school (including piano and singing) as well as those who receive tuition in school from Durham Music Service. Pieces, which must be solo (accompanied or unaccompanied), must last no longer than 3 minutes for Classes 1 and 2, and 4 minutes for Class 3. Pupils who play more than one instrument may enter a maximum of two different classes and the grades for each round refer to the standard of the piece performed and not to any formal qualification held.

For more details and an entry form, please click here for a copy of the entry form.

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music



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 16 May 2016.

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form



Sports News

On Monday our Year 7 football team were at St John’s taking on Bishop Barrington in the League Cup final. Our Year 7 team were trying to complete an outstanding season remaining unbeaten and winning all four competitions, something never done before by one of our teams. As with every game this season the result was never in doubt as we scored our first goal inside the first 2 minutes. As the score reached 13 – 0 the referee ended the game with about 10 minutes to play.

On Tuesday our Junior and Inter boys and girls athletics teams were at Monkton Stadium competing in the English Schools Cup round 1. Six of the best schools from the County took part in a full day of excellent athletics. We ended up with the following results making us the best school taking part:

Junior Boys – 1st

Junior Girls – 1st

Inter Boys – 2nd

Inter Girls – 2nd

We are now waiting to hear if all our teams have qualified for the North-east regional round in June.

On Wednesday our U19 tennis team were in Newcastle playing RGS, Newcastle in the National Cup North of England semi-final. The standard of tennis was extremely high but we won the crucial games eventually going on to win 12 – 0. We are now into the last 32 schools in the country and face the Scottish Champions from Merchiston School.

Also on Wednesday our U15 rugby team were playing in a friendly 7’s tournament. Despite having a team of mainly Year 9’s we played well winning our first two games before eventually running out of steam and finishing in 3rd place.

Thursday was another busy day as our Year 10 cricket team travelled to Easington in the first round of the County Cup. Easington batted first and set us a target of 81 to win in 15 overs. Some excellent batting from Josh Clifford and Adam Khan saw us reach the total with 3 overs to spare. We now face High Tunstall in the next round. Also last night our U13 boys and girls tennis teams travelled to Barnard Castle in league games. We again were successful as the boys won 4 – 2 and the girls won 5 – 1.

Finally today our U13 boys and girls cricket teams were at Brandon CC taking part in the Durham City “Chance to Compete” tournament. The girls won their first game against St Leonard’s but unfortunately lost a close deciding game with Framwellgate by only 3 runs to finish runners-up. The boys had more success as our A team won all their matches to win the competition. They now go forward to represent Durham City in the County finals in June. Our boys B and C teams also performed very well to finish joint runners-up with St Leonards

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Football Fixtures 2015-2016




Wharton Park Celebration Weekend

Wharton Park has recently undergone a major transformation and to celebrate are holding a  whole weekend of family fun on  Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May from 11.00 a.m. until 3.00 p.m. each day.

There will be live performances in the amphitheatre, free arts and crafts events and coached sports session throughout the weekend.  Visitors will be able to explore the park's new features which include two new children's play areas, an outdoor gym, a community garden and Heritage Centre and cafe.   


Leazes Bowl Roundabout Roadworks

For more the most up to date information  please visit www.durham.gov.uk/leazesbowl or follow #leazesbowl​