Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

2018 (38)

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2014 (37)

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Dates For Your Diary

  • Friday 30 June - Music Festival, 6.00 p.m. in James Hall
  • Thursday 6 July, Colour Run fund raising event for students in Year 9, 10 and 11 -  Period 5
  • 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.
  • Wednesday 12 July - 23rd Annual Sports Presentation Evening, Ramside Hall 7.00 - 11.00 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,

This week has seen a variety of events, including our Academic Enrichment day, Year 6 and Year 12 induction days, and our Key Stage 3 celebration evening.

At the celebration evening, the students present represented so many hard working and successful students in our school. I spoke at some length about our values as a community. 'The Johnston is a place that has a long and proud history.  Over the years, generations of students and countless teachers have been working towards what these days will call our mission statement; in the past this was simply a list of our values as educators. We want Johnstonians to be confident and articulate, self-motivated and determined to succeed. We want them to enjoy and value learning for itself, not just as the means to an end.We want Johnstonians to be reflective, inquiring, tolerant, positive and respectful of the needs of others. We want Johnstonians to take their place among the best'.

I talked to the students about leadership and their responsibility to shape the world around them. 'In so many places within our own country and over the world, we see division, we see despair and we see a lack of clarity or direction. The future is in the hands of young people. Young people who not only work hard, not only who achieve, but also who see the issues in the world around them and act to make the world a better place. Where they see hatred they seek to bring a loving response. Where they see others being treated badly, they seek to bring parties together in a way that forgives. Where people are in despair, they seek to bring hope. Where they see negativity, they seek to bring positivity. Where they see sadness, they seek to bring joy'.

Let us continue to work together, as families and as a school, to bring up our youngsters so they mirror this vision.

Have a good weekend.

Yours sincerley,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher



GCSE Information from the Government

The Department for Education has just launched a new GCSE webpage which provides information for students, parents, employers and those who work in education: it summarises information which we have provided for parents over the last two years. It explains:

  • why the GCSEs have changed
  • why the grading scale has changed and how the new grades align with the A* to G scale
  • the difference between a ‘standard’ and a ‘strong’ pass
  • the fact that grade 9 is not the same as the A* grade: there will be considerably fewer grade 9s than A* grades
  • what this means for students, schools, parents, employers and others who work in education


Academic Enrichment Event

Monday saw our academic enrichment event take place for students in Years 7  - 12.   I am absolutely overwhelmed by both the quality of the presentations and the amount of students who took part.  We had over 800 students sign up for this and the students involved were really motivated by our guests. 

A packed hall throughout the day, probing questions and a photo to send to Beyoncé –  what more could we ask! We were really honoured to have such a diverse range of speakers visit us.  The aim of this event was to show that there are several paths to success, and to instil a clear message:   Work hard, be resilient, have a good attitude, say yes and believe in yourself! 



A big thank you to everyone involved!

Miss Forbes, Subject Leader for ICT



Snapchat Warning

Snapchat have released a new update for their app that shows the exact location of publicly posted images on a searchable map.  For example this would allow users to search for places such as parks, schools, streets, homes and find pictures and videos that people have taken from that location. Needless to say we consider this to be a significant safety risk and we would urge parents to check that if your children use Snapchat on their devices that they turn on “Ghost Mode” to disable this feature.

To do this the following steps should be taken:

How to switch off Snap Map location sharing

◾ When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open Snap Map

◾ Touch the settings cog in the top right corner of the screen

◾ Tap "Ghost Mode" to switch off location sharing

◾ Photos and videos posted to Snapchat's public 'Our Story' will still be discoverable on the map

Mr Garside, Strategic Lead in ICT


National Research Project

Pupils in year 8 have been given a letter about an exciting national research project that the school is participating in, along with over 200 other schools across the country.  The aim of the project is to see whether the CREST Silver Award makes a difference to pupils.  The CREST Silver Award programme is delivered by the British Science Association (BSA) for students aged 14 to 16. The programme gives pupils an opportunity to run their own Science, Technology and Maths (STEM) research project, with the aim of developing their understanding of 'real world’ science to improve their attainment in STEM and transferable skills for further education and future employment.

The research team will be randomly assigning schools to either an ‘intervention’ or ‘control’ group. Schools in the ‘intervention group’ will run the CREST Silver Award in 2017/18 while schools in the ‘control group’ will not. This means there is a 50/50 chance we will be offering the CREST Silver Award to pupils.  Next year’s year 9 pupils will be asked to let their teacher know if they are interested in taking part in the CREST Silver Award. If your child is interested they will complete a short survey about their views of science and school. Your child will be made aware that completing the survey does not mean they will be offered a place on the CREST Silver Award and that we may not be delivering the programme. If your child is interested in CREST but we are assigned to the ‘control’ group, they will instead be offered a £10 high street voucher.

Please see below a copy of the letter which asks for your permission to obtain information about your child from the school, including their name, date of birth and Unique Pupil Number. Information provided will be shared with a small group of researchers at NatCen Social Research. The research team will use the information provided to link with the National Pupil Database (which is held by the Department for Education). It will be shared with the Department for Education, EEF, EEF’s data contractor FFT Education and in an anonymised form for research purposes. Once your child’s information is included in the data set, the data will be anonymised and no one will be able to identify individual pupils.  There is an opt-out slip at the end of the letter if your do not wish for your child’s data to be used.  The opt-out slip must be returned to the school reception within two weeks by Friday 14th of July.

Evaluation of Crest Silver Award Programme

Dr Clay, Science Department




We are pleased to report that the issues with the system have been resolved.

Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience and thank parents for bearing with us whilst we have worked towards restoring the facility.

If any parent or carer has any queries at all regarding their child's account please let us know by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Intermediate Biology Olympiad

We have had 31, Year 12 students take part in the Intermediate Biology Olympiad this week and  await the results. This is a national competition by the Royal Society of Biology aimed at 16-17 year olds with questions to challenge their biology knowledge.

Miss Murphy, Science Department



Duke of Edinburgh - Sign-up Now Open

Sign-up for DofE is now open for students in Years 8, 9 and 10 is now open.


For students who have not taken part in the award programme before, there will be information given out in assembly. They will then collect a letter, which is to be completed and handed in to Reception. Students begin the scheme on Bronze. Further information is available from any member of the DofE staff team (Ms Clay, Mr Smith, Mr Carss, Mr Briggs), from students who have completed the programme in previous years or on the DofE website. The deadline for handing in the letter is Friday 14th July.

Bronze – Continuing Students

Students who registered last year on the Bronze programme, but did not complete, are welcome to continue from whichever point they are at. They need to collect a letter with expedition dates etc on and return an information form. Any monies paid last year are carried forward to this year, as is any training already completed or sections already worked on. The deadline for return of information is Friday 14th July.


For students who have already completed (or almost completed) their Bronze award, they are invited to continue on to the silver level. These students also need to collect a letter, and return it to reception. There is no deadline for this, students can sign up to Silver whenever they have completed their Bronze award.


The Gold award is only offered to students in the 6th form, or those who have completed their Silver award. Sign-up for the Gold level of the award will open in September.

Duke of Edinburgh Staff Team


RSE Event

Members of a team from outside agencies who specialise in the delivery of RSE are coming to school to work with our young people on the following days:

5th July - Year 7

6th July - Year 8

7th July - Year 9 

They will address issues raised as priorities in both our student and parental consultations this year. We hope this will educate and enrich the wellbeing of our young people. Please click on the following link for a copy of the letter sent out to parents.  Should you wish to contact us regarding this event or to exercise your right to withdraw your child, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RSE Event


Year 12 Students attend an RSE Training Course

This week, 13 Year 12 students took part in a RSE (relationships and sex education) training course provided by the Durham Schools RSE Commission.

The students found the training a really positive experience and they made excellent contribution throughout.

The results of this training will be used to focus the delivery of RSE further down the school as those students will meet with the PSHE lead teacher to aid in the development of new schemes of work.

The practitioners from the Durham Schools RSE commission were very impressed with our students and commented on the students' maturity and engagement with the training.

Mr Blake, 2nd i/c Careers and Guidance



Music Notices


Tuition from Durham Music Service

A letter should have been collected by all pupils in years 7 to 12 who currently receive instrumental tuition from Durham Music Service. If this letter didn’t make it home, please follow this link for a copy. Please could reply slips be with the Music Department by Friday 7th July.


Durham Music Service Chamber Orchestra

This ensemble will be performing a  programme of music including two AQA, A-level set works on Friday 14th July at St Giles` Church, Durham at 7pm. Durham Johnston flautists will play the solo parts in Vivaldi’s ‘Il Gardellino’ and several of our string players will form part of the orchestral ripieno for this and other pieces in the programme. For more details, please click on the following link.

DMS Chamber Concert 

Mr Holmes – Subject leader for Music


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 week beginning Monday 3 July.

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

Information regarding Sixth Form Societies can be found on the following link  Sixth Form Societies.          

Mrs Lennon, Operational Head of Sixth        


Ski Trip 2018  

May I remind parents and carers that the 3rd ski instalment of £155 is due on Monday 3 July.

For your future reference there are 2 more instalments due on the payment schedule for next academic year.

Friday 15th September £155 and Friday 3rd November also £155.

Many thanks.

Mrs Hopper, PE Department



Sports News

On Monday our U15 tennis team had a league game at home against Dyke House. It was a straight forward victory as we won every set 6 – 0 to win 6 – 0 overall. Also on Monday our U15 cricket team were at Blaydon CC taking on St Thomas More in the Tyneside Cup quarter-final. We restricted them to only 53 runs and went on to reach the semi-final with 12 overs to spare.

Unfortunately on Tuesday the planned girls beach rugby tournament at Seaburn was a victim of the weather. However our U13 boys tennis team were in action in the north-east play-offs at the Puma Tennis Centre. As county champions we were representing Durham and after an excellent morning of tennis we finished runners-up losing to Egglescliffe 4 – 2.

On Tuesday afternoon the weather improved slightly as we travelled to Monkton Stadium for the Year 10 Tyneside Athletics Championships. This was an excellent afternoon for Durham Johnston as we dominated the competition to become Tyneside Champions with the following scores:


1st – Durham Johnston – 110 points

2nd – Parkview – 88 points

3rd – Prudhoe High School – 83 points



On Wednesday it was the turn of our U15 boys tennis team to take part in the north-east plays-offs at David Lloyd Centre, Middlesbrough. We beat Yarm School in an excellent match 4 – 2 to win the title and a £100 prize for the school. They now go on in September to the national knockout stages.



The weather got in the way of the rest of the events on Wednesday as U13 tennis matches and a Key Stage 1 multi-skills event had to be cancelled.

On Thursday we were due to be at Barnard Castle for a county cup cricket quarter-final with our Y7 team but it also has been postponed. However the U15 Tyneside tennis tournament did go ahead last night. We again dominated the competition winning all matches 6 – 0 to become Tyneside Champions.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Year 10 Ballerinas

A special mention to our two year of our Year 10 pupils who recently  took part in a production of Swan Lake with the English Youth Ballet at the Sunderland Empire. They were two of six of the ‘Silver Swans’ who performed with the group of Swans. They took part in over 70 hours of rehearsals during half term in preparation for the performances.


The students commented, ‘For us, one of the best things about this experience was performing with the professional dancers who were so inspiring to watch. We thoroughly enjoyed it!’



Mr Kidd, PE Department

Neville's Cross - Traffic Signal Refurbishments

Major highway works are taking place at Neville’s Cross, Durham City this summer.

Traffic signal refurbishment works will start on Monday 26 June and are expected to run until 12 August. This will be immediately followed by road reconstruction and resurfacing at Neville’s Cross Junction and Neville’s Cross Bank which will continue until September.

The traffic signal refurbishment work will involve refurbishing the traffic signals, installing new ducts under the road, and updating the pedestrian crossing facilities – this work will be carried out over four phases A, B, C and D.

Once this work is complete, carriageway reconstruction and resurfacing will take place at the junction and on Neville’s Cross Bank as far as the Stonebridge Roundabout – this work will be carried out over three phases: 1, 2 and 3.

Phase A starts on Monday 26 June with a lane closure on the southbound carriageway of the A167 between 9.30am and 3.30pm Monday - Saturday.

Details on the full programme are available at www.durham.gov.uk/nevillescross

The page will be updated regularly throughout the project and we will circulate updates at key stages to keep you informed.


New dog control measures introduced in County Durham

​Durham County Council has implemented a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog control. The new dog control measures mean that from 1 June all dog owners must:

  • ​pick up after their dog and dispose of dog waste appropriately
  • not allow dogs to stray – this means wander loose/roam or exercise without a responsible dog owner present
  • not allow dogs into designated fenced off play areas included in the new order
  • put their dog on a lead when asked to do so by an authorised officer.

If dog owners fail to follow the new rules, they will be issued with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice.

#FollowOurLead campaign

The council’s #FollowOurLead campaign will communicate the new dog control measures to dog owners. Stickers will be placed on lamp posts and dog/litter waste bins to remind dog owners to be responsible and pick up dog foul. Signage is also installed at every fenced off play area included in the new order, advising that dogs are not allowed to enter fenced off play areas. This is for the health and safety of children to protect them from dogs and dog foul.

Irresponsible dog ownership will not be tolerated. Any dogs left to foul or roam around school grounds, play grounds or other children’s areas will be dealt with under the rules of the new order. Please report dog issues online at www.durham.gov.uk or call 03000 261 000. Emergency or dangerous dog situations should be reported directly to the Police by telephoning 999.

For more information about the Public Space Protection Order for dog control, please visit www.durham.gov.uk/dogcontrol



Uniform Policy Years 7 - 11

We are aware that many parents and carers will be considering purchasing school uniform ready for the start of the new school year and would like to take this opportunity to issue a reminder of the school's uniform policy.

Uniform Policy (Years 7 - 11) 2017-2018



SIMS Learning Gateway

We recently launched a secure online service for parents and carers -  SIMS Learning Gateway (SLG).  We have had a very positive response, with a large majority of parents choosing to sign up.

The key benefits of the system are that parents are able to view the information regarding their child's attendance and punctuality and view termly reports and timetable details. 

An additional benefit is that parents are able to check that details, such as address and telephone numbers are correct, and advise the school of any changes electronically.

If you would like to sign up for the service please click on the following link for a copy of the Parental Access Request form which can be returned to Reception.  Individual usernames and information regarding secure passwords will be provided as soon as possible thereafter. 

SLG Acceptable Use Policy

Parental Access Request Form