Dear Parents and Carers,
It has certainly been a week of culture here at the Johnston. World Book Day is celebrated in the UK on the first Thursday in March. Many pupils in English lessons have been discussing what makes a good book or a good storyline in their opinion, and sharing some of their favourite books. Assemblies have been held, student led, which have focused on the joy of reading, and how reading can enlighten both our understanding of the world, but also develop empathy and a deeper appreciation of others. Several staff have also been sharing with the students their favourite books and the reasons for their choice.
Today we hosted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Three decades ago, a group of London musicians took a good look at that curious institution we call the orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook, and asked big questions such as 'why do we have a conductor?' and 'what would the music have sounded like when it was written?' To that end, they use period-specific instruments, but play in a wide rage of genres. Our lower school students thoroughly enjoyed the session this morning, and I was most pleased to hear good quality singing coming from the hall. An outstanding experience for our students.
I wish you all a good weekend.
Michael Wardle, Headteacher
World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.
This is the 20th year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 2nd March 2017 children of all ages came together to appreciate reading. The main aim of World Book Day 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’s why we held assemblies, displayed book recommendations and the English Department distributed Book Tokens.
We hope you will enjoy viewing the following video 'The Perks of Being a Book Lover'.
Mrs Walton, English Department
Year 9 Options Forms - Deadline for Return - 10 March
The deadline for returning Option Choice forms is Friday 10 March. If any parent requires further advice please do not hesitate to contact me. There will be also the opportunity to ask further questions from your child's teachers at the parents' consultation evening on Monday 6 March.
Mrs Slattery, Deputy Headteacher
We have received four nominations from parents wishing to stand as Parent Governors and to that end ballot papers and return envelopes have been issued to students in registration this week, or, in the event a student was not in registration then papers have been posted to the home address.
Papers should be returned to the school no later than 3.30 p.m. on Wednesday 8 March. A ballot box is available at Reception.
Results of the ballot will be published in next week's bulletin.
We have had a number of enquiries from parents asking when there will be an replacement service in place to allow them to view attendance and assessment data onliine. I am pleased to report that we will shortly be in a possition to launch a secure online service called SIMS Learning Gateway which is a replacement for the facility previously available on e-Portal. An information letter regarding the system will be issued shortly inviting parents to sign up for the service. Usenames and passwords will be issued on receipt of parental authorisation.
Each year, once Year 11 have sat their mock examinations Mr Bancroft holds a results assembly. This took place on Tuesday Feb 28th. During this assembly our Year 11 students get the opportunity to open their results from the mock exams as if it were results day. They receive a printout containing all of their results on one sheet. For many students it is a sobering occasion, and forces reflection on their part. However, it also gives students the opportunity to learn and consider their futures carefully. It brings their current attainment into sharp focus. The students are then given further advice and are reminded of the support which is available to them from all their teachers, the Head of Year and the Senior Leadership Team.
On Monday a group of 30 students in Years 8, 9, 10 and 12 trialled a new initiative for schools due for general release next September. Oxplore is an innovative new digital outreach portal from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the school classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest research undertaken at Oxford. You can see some examples on the preview site at www.oxplore.org. Oxplore aims to raise aspirations, promote broad thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity.
Mr McArdle, Assistant Headteacher (Director of post-16)
Year 11 students Jamie Sach and Luke Marsden, who recently submitted their applications for and Arkwright Engineering Scholarship for 2017 have been invited to attend an interview. Arkwright Engineering have received 1594 applications for the scholarship scheme this year.
An Arkwright Engineering Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship of its type in the UK to inspire and nurture school-age students to be the country’s future leaders of the Engineering Profession.
The Scholarships are awarded to high-calibre 16 year old students through a rigorous selection process and support students through the two years of their A levels, Scottish Advanced Highers or equivalent qualifications.
Every Scholarship is sponsored by a commercial company, trade association, university, professional institution, armed service, government organisation, worshipful company, charitable trust or personal donor. This means that support is offered in various different ways, for example, valuable hands-on work experience, support for your curriculum project and a personal mentor who can help you with aspects of your studies and career planning.
We wish Jamie and Luke every success in their interviews.
Year 12 student Katie Hancock has secured a place on an EDT 2017 Headstart summer school course at Lancaster University in Maths.
The course was over-subscribed with more than 1,100 students who weren't lucky enough to be offered a place on any EDT Headstart course at all.
For further information click on the programme please click on the following link http://semta.org.uk/images/pdf/Headstart-2017-programme.pdf
On Wednesday 1st March a team of four Year 10 students travelled to Framwellgate School to take part in the Year 10 Maths Feast, a team competition with other schools in the Durham area. I'm happy to report that our team did very well throughout the day and came in first place. Well done to the team!
Mr Patterson, Team Manager
Change Your Summer with National Citizen Service
Pupils at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School been invited to take part in an amazing opportunity during the summer holidays.
There have been 300,000 teenage graduates from the National Citizen Service (NCS) since its national launch in 2011. It has seen young people collectively spending millions of hours raising money for local good causes and organising projects that benefit the local community.
Our school is a big advocate of NCS and actively encourage students to get involved during the summer holidays.
NCS helps our pupils build practical skills for work and life. The programme supports university applications and also helps shape positive destinations for our pupils who are looking at taking the apprenticeship or employment route.”
Hayley Phillipson, Recruitment Coordinator for NCS, says, “We’re really looking forward to working with Year 11 students from Durham Johnston. Participants from the school will have the chance to experience the freedom of living away from home at before creating their own social action projects in the local area.”
NCS visited year 11 students at Durham Johnston on Monday 27th February 2017 to offer the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The programme begins with a week experiencing the freedom of living away from home at an outdoor activity centre environment in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Scottish borders taking part in a whole spectrum of adrenaline-fuelled activities such as rock climbing, abseiling and canoeing. They will get to know their NCS family, build confidence and leadership skills and achieve things they never thought possible.
Week 2 is all about building skills for life; whether it is budgeting, cooking a meal for themselves and their NCS friends, or taking part in workshops. Whilst living away from home in local accommodation they will work with organisations and local businesses to understand the community around them, and the world of opportunity that awaits.
When they return home, they will work together in teams to design, plan and deliver their own social action project on something they feel passionate about. This is the time to put everything they have learnt along the way into practice and make a lasting difference to the local area.
At the end of the programme participants will enjoy a graduation event where they will be reunited with friends and celebrate their successes. They will be presented with a certificate signed by the Prime Minister and receive another certificate that logs the number of volunteering hours they have completed during NCS. At this point, some excellent NCS graduate benefits are unlocked, such as access to an opportunity hub filled with exclusive work placements and further volunteering opportunities in the UK and abroad.
NCS 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 recognised by national employers such as Carillion and Aldi as well as regional apprenticeship providers.
No young person will ever pay more than £50 for the whole NCS experience, 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.
Bookings are now open for the unmissable summer NCS programme. To secure a place parents or pupils should call 0191 247 4020 or visit NCSNORTHEAST.co.uk
Please click on the following link for a copy of the recent letter to parents and carers.
Mr Kennedy, Subject Leader for Careers & Guidance
This week we have received our prize of £100 worth of seeds as our Level 4 reward from the Royal Horticultural Society. The box contains a mixture of vegetables and flowers including; peas, runner beans, courgettes, sunflowers and poppies.
We have already planted some sunflower seeds and hope to have a significant number growing on the bank beside the red canopy at the back of school and are looking forward to a colourful and bountiful summer!
Sixth Form Notices
If you would like to keep up to date with what is going on in the Sixth Form please click on the following link 6 March 2017.
Information regarding Sixth Form Societies can be found on the following link Sixth Form Societies.
Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth
Spring Concert – Thursday 30th March, James Hall
The musicians of Durham Johnston School boldly go where no concert has gone before!
First Half (6.30pm) to include Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir and selected soloists.
Second Half (7.30pm) to include Big Band, Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra, Chamber Choir and selected soloists.
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.
We shall ask everyone who does not have a ticket for the second half to vacate the hall at the end of the first half and then those with tickets for the second half will be admitted in time for the second half to start at about 7.30pm. Tickets will be
Mr Holmes – Subject Leader for Music
Ski Visit 2018 Reminder
May I remind parents that the closing date for deposits for the 2018 Ski Visit is Friday 10th March. Letters are still available from the PE office.
Mrs Hopper, Ski Visit Co-ordinator
On Monday our Year 7 boys and girls basketball teams were playing the second of their English Schools tournaments against Queen Ethelburga’s College. The evening started with an excellent girls match. We made a strong start but QE closed to only 2 points behind with 2 minutes to play. We however hung on to win 18 – 16. The boys also played some excellent basketball before we reached the deciding game. We dominated possession but struggled to score eventually going on to win a low scoring game 9 – 2. The boys have now won the North-East group and go forward to a National Finals day after Easter.
Also on Monday our Year 7 girls football team travelled to Laurence Jackson School in the English Schools Cup. The team played an excellent game despite the awful weather and finished 3 – 3. Penalties were needed to decide the winner and Holly Middleton eventually scored the winning penalty to put us into the next round.
On Tuesday the second half of the boys football season started with all five teams taking on Bishop Barrington. It was an excellent start as we won all five games:
Year 7 won 6 – 2
Year 8 won 10 – 1
Year 9 won 6 – 2
Year 10 won 2 – 1
Year 11 won 8 – 2
Also on Tuesday our Year 9 rugby team travelled to Yarm for the County 7’s tournament. They had a slow start losing a close first game by 1 try. They improved as the afternoon went on finishing with an excellent victory against Grindon Hall School to finish 3rd in their group.
On Wednesday our U14 basketball team were at St Cuthbert’s for the Tyneside Final. This was an excellent game against a very good team. Despite a battling performance they proved too strong for us as we ended up as runners-up after a 20 point defeat.
Also on Wednesday our U19 netball team were at Durham School for the league tournament. The standard was very high and some excellent netball was played. Our girls eventually finishing in 3rd place.
Last night our Year 8 football team took on St Thomas More in the quarter-final of the County Cup. A close first half finished with us 1 – 0 ahead. However we took full control of the game in the second half going on to win 5 – 0 to set up a semi-final against Dyke House. Also last night our VIth form football team were playing our local derby against the VIth Form Centre. This was a close game throughout which ended up 1 – 1, probably a fair result.
Finally good luck to our Year 7 and 8 boys cross-country teams who are travelling to Manchester tomorrow to compete in the Northern Schools cross-country championships at Trafford AC.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
Durham Johnston Football Fixtures for 2016-2017