Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

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May (1)

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Dates For Your Diary

  • Wednesday 24 May, Year 13 study leave begins
  • Thursday 25 May, Year 13 Leavers Brunch
  • Friday 26 May - Year 13 Leavers' Ball, Radisson Hotel, Durham
  • Friday 26 May - school finishes for Summer half term break for one week and re-opens on Monday 5th June
  • Monday 19 June - Year 12 students return from study leave
  • Friday 30 June - Music Festival, 6.00 p.m. in James Hall
  • Thursday 6 July - an information evening for parents with students in Year 12 which will cover UCAS and Student Finance - 6.00 p.m. 
  • Friday 7 July - Music for a Summer Evening - 7.00 p.m.
  • Wellbeing Week - 17th - 20th July
  • Thursday 20 July - school breaks for the Summer holidays 
  • AS / A2 examination results published on Thursday 17 August.  A2 results will be available in school from 8.00 a.m. and AS results from 10.00 a.m.
  • GCSE examination results published on Thursday 24 August 2017 and will be available in school from 10.00 a.m.
  • Wednesday 6 September - schools re-opens for the start of the new academic year


Headteacher's Message

Dear Parents and Carers,

Wednesday was the last official day for our Year 11 cohort. It was an enjoyable morning, when the students received their year books and said goodbye to each other and to their teachers. It is always quite emotional, even though less than 24 hours later the students were in school sitting one of their chemistry papers! A group of students, under the guidance of Mr Weaver, spent a lot of time bringing together photos and comments together, and designing each page of the year book. This year, my message focused on the fact that many students will flick through the pages of their book several times over the course of their lives, when they move house and unpack boxes several decades on.

'It has been a privilege to get to know so many of you during your time here at the Johnston. You may read this message several times over your life, as yearbooks are a very special reminder of your time spent at school. When flicking through the pages of this book you will remember the happy times that you spent with friends, and many of the trips and visits that you enjoyed.

As I write this message in 2017 we are living in increasingly uncertain times, and the world needs young people like yourselves to step up and shape those around you, and help create a world where all can flourish and be themselves. As you stumble upon this book on and off through your life as an adult, I wonder what type of world we are living in.

When I first met you, in assembly, I quoted 'sometimes we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, 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 you move to the next stage in your education I challenge you to become more and more secure in who you are, and to live according to the values we share as Johnstonians. Your teachers encouraged you to be reflective, inquiring, tolerant, positive and respectful of the needs of others. As you read this as an adult, I hope you are in a position where you can consider how much you have developed as a person.

I also challenge you to take that which you have been given at school and carry some of the responsibility of leading and mentoring those around you. You are lucky to have been in a comprehensive school where people from all sorts of backgrounds mix and work together successfully. Taking this message into our lives, and into the world of work is never more important than it is today.  As you read this as an adult, consider how successful you have been in this endeavour.

Good health and prosperity to you all. Make sure that you remember your time here with fondness, and come back and visit. As you make your journey through this life, remember your school with pride'.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Wardle, Headteacher


31 Years of Public Speaking

You know the drill:  every year in Years 7 and 8, as the January dew turns to frost, English lessons begin that module of work, which culminates in a persuasive speech which is meant to be a number of things:  interesting, engaging and compelling to hear:  a speech which showcase the very best of descriptive techniques and writing skills, and which has the aim of persuading an audience to a certain point of view ....

Every year, each of our brave students have to stand alone in front of a room full of their peers and deliver their persuasive speech with confidence and conviction and with as much expression as they dare! It takes real guts.

Pupils are judged by their peers; then the chosen few are judged by their more critical teachers... and then, the final few find themselves delivering their speech to an audience of students, teachers, parents and the public, going head to head to try to win the coveted trophy and have their name immortalised forever in the history of the school.

The standard of these finalists has always been very high.  All of them demonstrate a superb ability to use a wide range of techniques to make their speech interesting and clear.  All of the students show an impressive ability to stand alone and speak from the heart, with emotion and emphasis to a audience of mainly strangers, despite some of them being incredibly shy.  They are all potential winners, and to reach this stage from a starting base of over 500 students from two year groups is, in itself, phenomenal.  

This year marks the 31st year of the Public Speaking competition, and the final this year was just as good as in previous years, but this year students had the opportunity to accompany their speech with a Powerpoint presentation.  Typically, as with other finals, the audience was treated to a wide range of topics which included the danger of sugar; prejudice against thumbs; how Barbie and Ken had a lot to answer for prejudice; that a particular phrase hid a multitude of sins; why pyjamas should be socially acceptable day-wear; how the post-Brexit Britain was broken; why teenage moods and mess were a mere matter of science; why making our beds is actually dangerous and should be avoided and why the world must maintain the Trident nuclear programme...  The winning speech which stole the show was Charlie Phillips's speech about the dangers of alcohol with his very unique interpretation of delivering it completely 'in-role' as an actual personification of Ethanol.  As he said; "I was there, you know, with Jesus, at the last supper...  I know everything and everyone ... Don't mess with me, or I will mess up your whole life!"

Well, we hope that you life is a blessed one, Charlie, and extend our thanks to you and all the students who took part in entertaining us this year!  Good luck to you all.

My thanks is also extended to staff in the English department for all their hard work in coaching and setting up the final event.

It has, once again, been an event to remember.

Mrs Scott, English Department



Year 11 Student Awarded an Apprenticeship with Sunderland AFC

Connor Slack, in Year 11 has been awarded an apprenticeship with Sunderland AFC , one of only eight apprenticeships given to 16 year olds in the UK each year. 

Don Peattie, Head of Education and Welfare at SAFC, presented us with a  team shirt signed by first team players which will be displayed in school.



Miss Owen, Head of Year 11



Oxplore is a new project from Oxford University to encourage students to think about new areas.  In February a group of our students entered a competition with their own ‘Big Questions’. We are delighted that some are winners.

Miles Sheldon and John Forth-Walker won first prize in the Y10-13 category for their question ‘Are the behavioural differences between the genders a social construct or a result of innate biological differences?’. The prize is a trip to the Oxplore national launch in September.

Bonnie Marville and Ellen Moir were highly commended in the Y7-9 category for their question ‘When languages develop, how do you find the word(s) to match the meaning if you don't have the words to explain the meaning?’.

Mr McArdle, Head of Sixth Form


Design and Technology

The standard of coursework produced by our Year 11 Design and Technology students has once again been of a very high standard.  Please click on the following links to see some examples of their work.


Resistant Materials


Duke of Edinburgh Notices

Please could I remind parents and students of the following:

  • The final instalment for Bronze is due before half term, making the total paid £160.
  • All Year 11 students wishing to take part in expeditions in July or September must ensure Ms Clay has contact details for them during study leave.
  • Year 12 Gold participants wishing to attend their practice in activity week should have paid the full balance of the award by July 10th (£320 in total).

Finally, please could students ensure that they return any expedition equipment i.e. bags, tents, rucksack covers, trangias etc. loaned to them at the earliest opportunity.

Many thanks.

Ms Clay & the DofE team


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 links:  

Sixth Form Notices - 22 May 2017     

Addressing FAQ's - Year 12 Students - May, June and July

Sixth Form Societies.          

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth                


Music Department News

Music for a Summer Evening

Year 13 musicians, along with their families and friends are warmly invited to ‘Music for a Summer Evening’ on Friday 7th July at 7.00pm. This is an informal cabaret–style evening in the Cafe, where pupils and staff entertain their guests whilst they enjoy drinks and a light buffet. If you would like to attend, tickets are available from the Music Department at a cost of £7.00 – cash or cheque payable to ‘Durham Johnston School’. This includes food and your first drink. Performers will also need to buy a ticket to cover costs of food and drink.

Instrumental/Vocal Tuition

Many thanks to those who have already sent in cheques for this term, or even the whole year's instrumental/vocal tuition. If you haven't done so yet, please could you send it to the music department in an envelope marked ‘Music Tuition’? In case it has been mislaid, here is a link to a copy of the original letter

Durham Johnston School Music Festival

The School Music Festival will take place on the evening of Friday 30th 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. Please note that because of technical difficulties with the link earlier in the month, the deadline is now extended until Friday 26th May.

Please click on the following link for futher details and an entry form.

Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music



Sports News

On Monday our Junior and Inter athletics teams set off for Monkton Stadium for the English Schools Cup 1st round. Just as we arrived the rain started and gradually got heavier as the morning went on. After several slips on the hurdles and no sign of things improving the decision was taken to cancel to event. It has now been re-arranged for next Monday.

On Tuesday our Year 10 football team travelled to St John’s for the Ben Potts Cup final which was the lastl football match of the season. We took on a Staindrop team who we had beaten in the league. However this proved to be a different story as we were made to battle throughout. The score was 1 – 1 at full time so we went into extra time. Unfortunately Staindrop raised their game and scored again to win 2 – 1.

Also on Tuesday our U15 girls tennis team started their season with a difficult away match at Durham High. The standard of tennis was excellent but unfortunately we lost 4 – 2.

On Wednesday our Year 8 cricket team started their County Cup campaign against St Robert’s. We bowled very well to restrict them to only 37 runs. We them batted steadily to win by 10 wickets. We now face Hurworth School in the next round.

Also on Wednesday our Year 7 – 10 rounders teams were all playing away at Parkview. After an excellent evening of rounders we won all four matches by the following scores:

Year 7 -  64 – 53

Year 8 – 68 – 23

Year 9 – 111 – 48

Year 10 – 72 – 44.

The players of the match (as awarded by Parkview) were:

Year 7 -  Jenny Horridge

Year 8 – Emily Salmon

Year 9 – Fleur Smith

Year 10 –.Bethan Bruce

Yesterday our U15 boy and girl athletes were at Monkton Stadium competing in the County Pentathlon Championships. All the athletes take part in 5 events during the day, scoring points for each event. At the end of an excellent day our Boys team finished 4th and our girls 3rd.Tom O’Neill finished 6th in the boys event and Emily Salmon 4th in the girls event.

Finally can I remind all those Year 7’s going on the Malaga Sports trip on 4th June that passports, spending money and EHIC’s need to be in next week.” 

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Congtratulations to:

Year 7 pupil Amelia Harrison who competed in a gymnastic competition with her trio last weekend in Stoke and won a silver medal.  This is a fantascie achievement and as result of the competition, Amelia is ranked number 2 in the country.

Year 10 student Ryan Rudkin.  Ryan, together with other pupils from Year 7, 10 and 11 competed in a New Age Kurling, Level 2 competition.  This presented an opportunity for the County Partnership staff to select a team for the County Games.  We are delighted that Ryan's talent was recognised and he will now represent Durham City in July.

Mrs White, PE Department


Durham Johnston Football Fixtures for 2016-2017