Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

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Dates For Your Diary

  • Friday 16 July - school breaks for the summer holidays
  • Thursday 18 August 2016 - AS and A2 Examination Results available for collection
  • Thurday 25 August - GCSE results available for collection
  • Term begins Wednesday 7 September 


Headteacher's Message

Dear parents and carers,

There have been many exciting events over the course of this week, and this bulletin also highlights some of the events that will take place over the next two weeks. It is a busy time for the school.

I spoke at the Key Stage 3 celebrations event on Tuesday. I referenced the uncertain times in which we find ourselves, and highlighted leadership skills amongst our young people. We talked about what it means to be successful, and how often success and fame is temporary, but what is important is to have a positive impact on those around us. I referenced the story of the chess board and the grain of rice.  There's a famous legend about the origin of chess that goes like this. When the inventor of the game showed it to the emperor of India, the emperor was so impressed by the new game, that he said to the man "Name your reward!"

The man responded, "Oh emperor, my wishes are simple. I only wish for this. Give me one grain of rice for the first square of the chessboard, two grains for the next square, four for the next, eight for the next and so on for all 64 squares, with each square having double the number of grains as the square before." The emperor agreed, amazed that the man had asked for such a small reward - or so he thought. After a week, his treasurer came back and informed him that the reward would add up to an astronomical sum, far greater than all the rice that could conceivably be produced in many, many centuries! I may be wrong, the maths department could help me get this spot on, but if I started with one penny on the first square of the chess board and kept on doubling it, I would end up with more than £5 million pounds by square 64. In actual fact, I would end up with 500 times 5 million 5 millions of pounds.

I said the following at the event, and this is for the whole community: ‘I suppose my point is this. The success we celebrate in our community real. Students have all worked hard, performed well, and are developing into upright members of society who will undoubtedly be leaders one day. And young people may look at their leaders at the moment and ask questions of them. It is in individual conversations, individual friendships, individual occasions when we stand up for what is right and just that will shape those around us. And as others follow in our footsteps, what was one person changed, becomes two, two becomes four, four becomes eight and so on. In 64 moves the whole world is changed’. Easier to say than to do, but an interesting thought none the less.

Have a good weekend. 

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


NUT Strike Action - Tuesday 5 July 2016

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has called for strike action on Tuesday 5th July 2016. The NUT is calling on the government to improve the financial position of schools and to ensure that pay and conditions of teachers are protected to support the current workforce and to ensure that there is a supply of high-quality, well-trained teachers in the future.

At the moment I am planning that the school will remain open on Tuesday, although there will be some disruption to teaching on the day. I am unable to guarantee a full teaching day for students, but I think that the school will be able to remain open. Should this change, I will let you know by text as soon as I can.

Nonetheless, my own union, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) understands the reasons for this action. There are major financial pressures on all schools and the Johnston is not immune to this. Much of this will not have been noticed by parents and students because governors and senior leaders clearly want to protect the strength of the curriculum and other areas of provision in times of austerity. However, I can confirm that difficult decisions around options, class-sizes and the like have been taken over the past few years as a direct result of underfunding. ASCL too calls on the government to improve the financial position of schools and to facilitate the supply of high-quality, well-trained teachers. 



IT Students Visit to St Margaret's

On Monday our Y12 IT students visited one of our feeder primaries to talk to Year 5 students about a range of topical issues.



Computing, e-safety, body image and the transition to secondary all featured.  It was a really engaging session and well run by the sixth form team who had planned some excellent activities.  The students at St Margaret's were fantastic - full of ideas and energy, resulting in a really productive morning!

Miss Forbes, Subject Leader for Computing 


Charity Auction 

On July 15th we will be holding a charity ball in memory of our much loved friend and colleague Gill.  We have had an amazing response from people willing to sponsor and donate to this event.  We have some exceptional prizes, some of which are really desirable so we are going to auction these!  If you’d like to place a bid for auction on July 15th please contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with your name, the item(s) you’d like bid on and the maximum amount you’d like to pay by Monday July 9th.  A member of the team will then bid on your behalf on the night (if you are not attending) 

We have:

  • A 4 ball round of golf at The Ramside with John Beresford (former NUFC player from our hey day!) and a player of his choice (Kevin Ball is looking likely) – this opens up the bidding for 2 additional players – you can bid as a two or separately.
  • NUFC – 2 x places in the Magpie Club - game to be chosen - (subject to availability - 2016/17 season).  Package Includes: 3 Course Hot Fork Buffet - Exclusive Seating in seating Leazes Stand - Team sheets and Match-day Programme.
  • SAFC A signed and framed 2015/2016 Sunderland Squad shirt.
  • SAFC A signed ball – 2015/2016 squad and gloves signed by the under 21 keeper Jordan Pickford. Ramside Spa - Half day spa with lunch for 2 (Worth £110).
  • Newcastle Crowne Plaza Hotel - Overnight stay for 2 with breakfast & use of facilities - fitness room, pool, Jacuzzi and steam room (£130+).
  • RUGBY – Tickets for Saturday 12th November 2016 - England v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, London 2:30pm & Signed Ball!

Proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support and into a trust fund for Gill's daughter Sophia.

Thank you – happy bidding!

Miss Forbes, Mr Garside & Miss Jackson


Durham Johnston Young Carers

A young carer is a person under 18 years of age who helps to look after a family member who is disabled, physically or mentally ill or has a substance misuse problem. Caring can involve physical or emotional care, or being responsible for someone’s safety and wellbeing.

At Durham Johnston School we believe that all children and young people have the right to learn, enjoy and achieve, regardless of what is happening at home. We are in the process of developing a  Young Carers Policy to show how we will support any pupil who helps to look after someone at home and to demonstrate how we will try to relieve some of the worries which young carers have about home and their school work.

If you would like any further information about Durham Johnston Young Carers, or feel we can support you in any way please contact Mrs Wood, Student Support Centre Manager.

The link below provides information on Young Carer services offered by Family Action.



House System 2016

Congratulations to Heavisde who have won the House Competition for 2016.  For more information about this year's  activities please click on the following link.  House System Update.

Miss J Dunn, House Co-ordinator


Researching University Options

Year 12 parents attended an evening presentation from Lee Worden Head of Admissions at Durham University on Thursday this week.  The students have been exploring their options by researching university courses and attending Open Days since they finished their AS exams.

This week twenty Year 12 students visited open days at Oxford and Cambridge universities.  They explored colleges,  attended taster lectures and investigated the admissions systems.  



Mr McArdle, Assistant Head, Director of Sixth Form 

National Citizenship Service - Last Change to Sign Up

Durham Johnston Comprehensive School students who don’t want to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer are urged to book their place on National Citizen Service (NCS) before it’s too late.

Over the next few weeks thousands of teenagers from across the North East will be departing on their NCS adventure, including forty-seven students from Durham Johnston who are already signed up for this summer’s programme.

NCS, open to all 16 and 17 year olds, starts with a week’s stay somewhere like the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Scottish borders complete with plenty of outdoor activities. Here, participants get out of their comfort zones and meet lots of new friends.

In week two, living from a base within the local area, it’s all about building skills for life; whether it’s budgeting, cooking a meal with new friends, or taking part in workshops. Working with organisations and local businesses to understand the community around, participants start to see the world of opportunity that awaits.

Next, they’ll work together in teams to design, plan and deliver a social action project that they’re passionate about. This is the time where all the skills obtained along the way are put to use to make a lasting difference to the local area.

NCS is designed to be an ‘experience to change lives’, builds CVs, offers a chance to meet new people, take on new challenges and fast forward futures. NCS is recognised by UCAS, so is useful for university applications and is also recognised by national employers such as Carillion and Aldi as well as regional apprenticeship providers, who offer guaranteed first-interviews to NCS graduates.

NCS is backed by the government, who heavily subsidise each place. The total cost of the programme is around £1,400 but no young person will pay more than £50 to take part, which includes everything; all food, accommodation, transport and activities. Any students in receipt of free school meals are eligible for a bursary, reducing the cost further to £10.

During June or July anyone that signs up with a friend will receive £25 of Nandos vouchers through our Take a Mate offer. Already signed up? You can recommend an eligible friend and they’ll both be entered into a prizedraw to win £50 Intu or Amazon vouchers if they quote #SQUADGOALS when they book.

Hayley Phillipson, NCS recruitment coordinator for County Durham, commented: “There’s not long to go until the start of our summer programme, so any students that want to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime-experience should register before it’s too late!”

Most dates for this summer’s NCS programme are already oversubscribed but an increasingly limited number of places are available on dates departing 16th July, 29th July and 2nd August.

Students or parents should call 0191 247 4020or visit NCSNORTHEAST.co.uk to guarantee a place.


For those that can’t take part during the summer, a condensed NCS programme runs in the autumn. Enquire for further details.


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 4 July 2016

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form


School Music Festival

Many congratulations to the 40 performers who took part in the 9th Annual Music Festival on Monday evening. It was a tremendous evening, showcasing the musical talent that we have at Durham Johnston School, and we were delighted to have such a varied programme of instruments and repertoire. The three classes were adjudicated by Mrs Claire Sinclair (former teacher of music at DJ), and the prizes were awarded as follows.


The Whinney Hill Cup (for performers of Grade 1-3 standard)

Winner – Euan Russell (Guitar)

Runner Up – Emily Hesselink (Voice)

Runner Up – James King (Piano)

Most Promising Performer – Miriam Stewart (Saxophone)



The Crossgate Moor Cup (for performers of Grade 4-5 standard)

Winner – Sam Gibson (Saxophone)

Runner Up – Magnus Bower (Saxophone)

Runner Up – Nicholas Hayes (Violin)

Most Promising Performer – Simon Zhu (Piano)


The Durham Johnston Cup (for performers of Grade 6+ standard)

Winner – Paul Ray (Flute)

Runner Up – Joseph Dean (Trombone)

Runner Up – Laura Haubold (‘Cello)

Most Promising Performer – Rosa Pollard-Smith (Violin)



Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music



Sports News

On Monday our Year 7 cricket team were due to play Bede Academy in the Tyneside Cup but it had to be postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. However the Year 8 Tyneside Cup semi-final against St Aidan’s did go ahead. This turned into an incredibly close game as they needed 10 to win from the last over. They got one run from the final ball to tie the scores. However they won as they had lost one fewer wicket.

On Tuesday our Year 8 team were in County Cup action taking on High Tunstall in the semi-final. Unfortunately the weather was poor again and it spoilt what should have been a great game. They coped better with the wet conditions than us to win with 6 overs to spare.

Also on Tuesday our rounders teams were at Framwellgate for the final league games of the season. These were very good games and we won the Year 7, 8 & 9 matches. Our only defeat was for the Year 10’s by only one rounder.

On Thursday our U13 boys tennis team were playing Yarm in the North-east play-off. This was an excellent match which ended up 3 – 3. We therefore needed a 10 point tie break. We started well and went on to win 10 – 5 to become champions. Well done to Harry Cookson, Roberto Haubold, Roan Varley and James King.

Also on Thursday our U15 boys tennis team were due to play Southmoor and High Tunstall in the league decider. However both teams conceded on the day so we became league champions and now go on to face Yarm in the North-East play-off. 

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Visit to Wimbledon

Ten lucky tennis players had the opportunity to visit Wimbledon on Wednesday 29th June. With 2 Centre Court tickets to share between the party we were lucky enough to rotate every 45 minutes to see Djockovich, Federer and Radwanska play and win all their matches. The most thrilling match was Federer playing against GB’s new hero Marcus Willis.  Unfortunately the rest of the day was tainted with rain -  rain of the annoyingly drizzly type that made the courts too slippery to play on.

We did have a full set of court no.2 tickets to go with our Centre Court tickets and managed to see intermittent play, finishing with GB’s Daniel Evans playing to 6 games all in the first set against Dolgopolov. Getting towards 6pm the spits and spots of rain came back and the players asked several times to stop play, worried about getting injured. The hugely entertaining crowd on court 2 booed and chanted and the umpire made the decision to play on after getting on his hands and knees to “feel the grass”. To be fair Evans & Dolgopolov did slip around a lot and that could have been disastrous to their career if one had been injured, even the ball boys and girls were falling over. Eventually the players took a bit of a strop and had a sit down protest, which was quite funny to watch, Evans demanded a white towel so he could wipe his shoes on it to show evidence to the referee. Obviously the crowd hadn’t see much tennis and were desperate to keep it on, thus more clapping and chanting but the right decision was made, rain stopped play!

A wonderful day out at the World’s best Tennis Championships; strawberries and cream eaten, celebrities chased and photographed (including some selfies) and plenty of souvenirs bought!

Mrs Hopper, PE Department


Ski Visit - 3rd Instalment

Deposits for the ski trip are due to be paid to Skibound next week. Today is the deadline for payment of the third instalment.   If this payment has not yet been made, we would appreciate if you could send it with your child on Monday morning.

Mrs Hopper, PE Department



U13 Girls' Football Team


On Monday our U13 girls' football team were presented with their new strips, sponsored by Mally Harvey our football coach.

The U13 team won the Count Cup finals this year making them the County Champions. 

Mrs Bell, PE Department


Durham Johnston Euro 2016 House Competition

Despite England crashing out of France 2016 to Iceland on Monday, the house Euro competition has been in full swing this week. On Monday another shock result as year 7 team Albania beat England 5-0 to set up a final against Slovakia next week. Tuesday’s semi-final for the 9 & 10’s ended in a 1-1 draw and straight to penalties which Spain beat Ukraine 4-1.

On ‘wet’ Wednesday the game was still played, the rain did not dampen things or the usual chanting and Wales beat France 2-0 (could this be a sign of things to come?)


Thursday was year 6 induction day, the future year 7’s the crowd for the game between Croatia and Germany; Croatia took an early lead and eventually won the game 4-1 to set up a year 10 final against Spain next Friday.

Today there was a very tough and exciting game between Switzerland and Russia, the game was level after 30 minutes of playing so it was straight to penalties. The year 7’s missed two meaning the year 8’s having gone through and will play Wales next week in the 3rd and 4th place game.

Mr Kidd, PE Department 


Primary Netball Tournament

On Monday our year 9 netball team acted as netball umpires for the Primary Netball tournament. They did a great job, running the competition, keeping the scores and keeping the primary school teams in the correct place. Without leaders of this quality events like this would not be able to happen. Well done girls.

The final winners were West Rainton who beat Brandon 2 - 1

Mrs White, PE Department



Football Fixtures 2015-2016



Leazes Bowl Roundabout Roadworks

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