Dear Parents and Carers,
‘Hours of hard work, a phenomenal standard, and an excellent way to join in the festive season’ was the way I described our Christmas concert yesterday. As ever, the numbers of students involved in the concert was impressive. On behalf of parents and students I thanked the music team, and others who supported the event for their work, and the students for their commitment. A tremendous event.
The school is looking forward to our events next week, including the Santa Run for Years 7 and 8 on Monday. Our week concludes with our service in the cathedral which is always a very special occasion, enjoyed by our students and so many other members of our school community.
Our Christmas programme mirrors our school. Formal, thoughtful occasions, together with more lively moments – if we expect students to work hard we hope to give them opportunities to play hard too.
Have a good weekend,
Michael Wardle, Headteacher
We are supporting this year's Save the Children, Christmas Jumper Day Campaign again this year and will hold a fundraising day on Thursday 15 December. Staff and students are invited to donate £1.00 to wear a Christmas jumper to school on Thursday. House points will be awarded for the best decorated jumper. Please note that school uniform should be worn as normal.
The school will hold its annual Christmas Carol Service in the Cathedral on Friday 16 December. Please click on the following links for copies of the letters issued to students detailing arrangements for the last day of term, including transport arrangements.
We are holding a Santa Fun Run on Monday 12 December, period 5 to raise funds for St Cuthbert's Hospice. Students in Years 7 and 8 are invited to pay £1.00 to participate. They will complete a mile run on the school field and must wear Christmas themed, fancy dress (minimum being a Santa Hat). Every child who participates will receive a certificate and, as in previous years, we hope to have local media coverage.
If your child does not wish to participate, they must bring all of the equipment required for their usual lesson period 5 on Monday afternoon as normal. If this happens to be a PE lesson, then they should bring their PE kit for an outdoor lesson.
Mrs Bell, PE Department
Year 11 Revision Guidance
How can students improve their chances of achieving success in summer 2017?
How can they organise the time that they have remaining?
How can they ensure consistent performance in the summer 2017 exams?
Whilst the clock is ticking on the available time remaining until exams in summer 2017 there is still a significant amount if students are organised and they continue to work hard. There are a number of simple things that they can do in order to be as prepared as possible. Often the hardest thing is actually starting revision. The information below is intended to help students organise their time: to provide useful websites that might offer guidance and good ideas, and to give them access to the advice and support that is available in school. All of the aforementioned will help them to do well in their exams, but the most important factors relate to the amount of effort that they make to learn the material and to grasp the correct examination technique. The harder they work, the more successful they will be, but they also need to stay calm and to pace themselves.
For further information please see the following links.
Mr O'Sullivan, Assistant Head
We are pleased to announced that the following students have been appointed to serve on the Head Boy / Head Girl team for 2017.
Head Boy - Matthew Edge
Head Girl - Rita Dias
Alice Coatham - Deputy Head Girl
Vaibhav Tiwari, Deputy Head Boy
Photograph: Emily Heath, Year 12
On Wednesday we were delighted to have had Google visit Durham Johnston to spend a day with us showing how Virtual Reality could be used in the classroom. Classes throughout the day were taken on virtual expeditions across the globe to get an impression of what it is like to be in those places. Students experienced visits to the moon, the 7 wonders of the ancient world, Angel Falls, Ypres, Volcanoes, Rainforests, an app development studio in the USA and there was even a tour of the inside of the human body.
All expeditions were led by Durham Johnston teachers from departments across the school to take the experience from being more than just something that is visually impressive to being a learning experience to develop their understanding of topics that they are studying in the curriculum.
Mr Garside and Miss Forbes – Computing Department
On Tuesday 30th November, 4 Durham Johnston sixth form students took part in the annual Target 2.0 competition organised by the Bank of England. Over the last term the team had been preparing a policy to be presented to the Monetary Policy Committee concerning the base rate of interest and level of quantitative easing in the economy. They met every week to make sure they were well rehearsed so they could not only give a good presentation but also be able to answer questions asked by the panel of judges. The competition ran over the course of the whole day with 7 teams from across the North East taking part in the Regional Heat. The team presented their ideas to three judges who were the regional agents for the Bank of England and one being an economist for the Bank who had travelled up from London to come and judge. The team had to give a presentation and then answer the questions posed by the judges.
At the end of the day the judges gave each of the teams feedback on their performance in the competition. The team was praised by the judges for demonstrating a good grasp on economics and their ability to answer the questions they were asked quickly and effectively. Mr Walker, Subject Leader for Social Science who accompanied the students, commented on the team's excellent performance and speed in responding to the questions. However, the competition was very strong. Ultimately, the Royal Grammar School won and Emmanuel College were runners –up. The team thoroughly enjoyed the event and felt that it has increased their confidence and public speaking abilities. The team is now waiting for more detailed feedback on their performance to be sent to the school.
Year 13 student and Associate Governors Katherine Hill is to mentor younger students at the Youth Sport Trust's National Talent Camp next week. The following is from the press release issued by Youth Sports Trust.
A Peterlee teenager will be helping to shape the sporting elite of the future at the Youth Sport Trust’s National Talent Camp, a four-day residency which supports the next generation of athletes, coaches and officials.
From 16-19 December, 18-year-old Katherine Hill from Easington Village will be at Loughborough University to help mentor 350 of the country’s highest performers from their chosen sporting fields.
Katherine is returning to the Camp having attended last year as a coach after being specially selected by her sport’s National Governing Body for demonstrating talent, determination and potential for future success.
Keen swimmer Katherine will help camp attendees to undertake training sessions, workshops and practical masterclasses, which are supported by Sport England thanks to National Lottery funding and delivered in partnership with Loughborough University.
Since attending the Camp last year, Katherine has furthered her swimming teaching qualifications and she is also an Academy Squad Coordinator at Durham City Amateur Swimming Club. She is hoping to inspire other young sportspeople to pursue their active ambitions following their weekend at the National Talent Camp.
Katherine said: “I felt so much more confident after the Camp last year. It gave me a great insight into the appropriate ways of behaving as a Coach and the lessons that competitors need to learn for both in and out of the water in order to succeed. I returned from the Camp feeling like I had the potential to become a coach at the highest level – I hope this feeling is shared by everyone.
“The knowledge and skills that young people learn during the National Talent Camp are transferable to all facets of life such as education, employment and personal development. The talents being fostered at the Camp will help to improve the quality of sports clubs throughout the country. The Youth Sport Trust should take pride in making this happen.”
Katherine’s tenure as Associate Governor at Durham Johnston is coming to an end. We would like to thank Katherine and Luke Hallam for their invaluable and forthright contributions in the last year. The new Year 12 Associate Governors have big shoes to fill.
Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth Form
Many thanks to all the pupils and staff who worked so hard to make the concert last evening such a success. It really was a marvellous event and it was amazing to see that over the course of the evening in excess of 200 pupils had the correct piece of music, appeared in the right place at the right time and for the vast majority of the evening were playing or singing the right notes!
Here is a reminder of the Carol Service arrangements for Senior Choir and Senior Orchestra.
Students do not need to attend morning registration at school as they will be registered by Mrs Sutton in the Cathedral and school will be informed of any absences. If they need to get a school bus into Durham, they should attend registration and then leave school and walk to the Cathedral at 8.40, but please do note that they will be unaccompanied on this journey. Those with large instruments (that are in a hard case) should meet at the pupil entrance at 8.20 to load these into the school minibus for transportation.
Pupils may not enter the Cathedral until after 9.30 and registration will be at 9.40. On entering the Cathedral, they should make their way quietly to the back of the Nave where they will be registered by Mrs Sutton. Please note this may be a slight change of time from the letter musicians received in September.
Between the end of the rehearsal at c.11.15 and 12.15 the Cathedral must be completely vacated, although instruments may be left in the Chapter House. Those pupils in years 9 – 13 will go into Durham and have lunch between 11.15 and 12.15 and those in years 7 and 8 will have lunch tin the Cathedral Restaurant with me. All students need to be back in the Cathedral by 12.15 at the latest.
Those pupils in Junior Choir will travel to the Cathedral with the rest of year 7 and 8 and will meet Mrs Holmes there when they arrive.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
This week Lieutenants Lorna and David White from the Salvation Army in Langley Moor visited Durham Johnston to collect the Angel Tree toys and gifts that have been donated by our form classes. Over the last two weeks form classes have worked together to raise money for children in our local community who are less fortunate and who may not receive any gifts on Christmas morning.
Lorna and David visited the Mrs Scott’s form class 8CW in particular as they had carried out sponsored activities to raise over £130 to spend on gifts for their Angel Tree child. Lorna thanked the class and congratulated them on their thoughtfulness and consideration for others. David spoke about the ever growing need to help people in our community and that, whilst we are not always aware, there are more people than ever needing our support.
Last year the toys donated by our school helped to provide over 400 children with gifts on Christmas morning and this year our little Angel Tree became overshadowed by the astonishing selection of gifts that were so generously given by our Durham Johnston students.
On behalf of the Salvation Army, we would like to express a huge thank you to everybody who has contributed to this appeal and we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Mrs Dunn, Science Department
Please click on the following link for further information regarding Sixth Form Societies.
Last weekend our Junior Boys cross-country team travelled to Formby, Lancashire for the English Schools National cross-country finals. We were representing the North-east against the best 24 schools in the country. Despite the mini-bus breaking down we arrived in time to produce a great run, finishing in 13th place in the country and in the top five state schools. A great achievement and well done to Peter Cook, Charlie Phillips, Will McKenna, Ollie McKenna, Joe Bennett, Thomas Johnson and Ollie Stewart.
Also last Friday our U13 girls football team were taking on Cockermouth School in the English Schools Cup trying to reach the last 32 schools in the country. We dominated the game playing some excellent football eventually winning 6 – 0.
On Tuesday this week our U13 girls were in County Cup action away at St Joseph’s. They proved to be a very strong team and despite our best efforts we lost 2 – 1.
On Wednesday afternoon our Boys cross-country teams were at Emmanuel college for the Tyneside Championships. We entered 3 teams in the junior boys race and produced outstanding performances. Our A team won by over 30 points to become Tyneside Schools champions. Our B team finished in 3rd place, only 1 point behind Dame Allans and our C team were a credible 8th place. In the Intermediate race we also ran very well to win by 18 points. Our only defeat came in the Senior race. We were well placed with 3 runners in the top 10 but unfortunately our 4th runner picked up an injury and was unable to complete the course.
Also on Wednesday our Year 7 boys basketball team travelled to Sedgefield for the BASFA tournament. This was their first competitive matches and all the boys played very well. Our B team failed to make the semi-finals but our A team won their group to reach a semi-final against the host Sedgefield. This was a very close game which finished level. We then went to “golden basket” and an excellent shot from Callum Davison put us into the final. We met a very strong team from Woodham in the final and with 1 minute to play we scored to get within 2 points of them. Despite our best efforts we couldn’t find another basket losing by 2 points.
Last night our Year 7 boys footballers took on St Leonard’s in a friendly futsal tournament. After an excellent evening of futsal played in a great spirit the final standings were:
1st – Durham Johnston A
2nd – Durham Johnston B
3rd – St Leonard’s A
4th – Durham Johnston C
5th – St Leonard’s B
Good luck tonight to our Key Stage 4 badminton teams who are playing St Leonard’s in a friendly competition.
Finally a reminder to all Year 7 & 8 children that the Santa Run 2016 takes place during period 5 on Monday 12th December. Christmas fancy dress (minimum Santa hat) and £1 donation are required to take part. This event is always a great spectacle and an excellent way to raise money for St Cuthbert’s Hospice.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
Today the BTEC PE group finished their block of work on wheelchair basketball. This is part of their practical sport assessed unit. The group learnt all about the rules, regulations, scoring systems and roles of the officials.
Mrs White, PE Department
Durham Johnston Football Fixtures for 2016-2017
Bad Weather Protocols
As a school we endeavour to stay open during periods of bad weather. This allows education to continue uninterrupted, and is appreciated by parents. Nevertheless, it is prudent at this time of year to remind families of our bad weather protocols. They can be found here. The only time school leaders close schools due to bad weather is when the health and safety of the students or the staff are in question. We have not needed to close the school for many years, but the British weather can certainly be unpredictable!