Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

2018 (38)

November (5)

October (3)

September (5)

August (1)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (2)

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2017 (42)

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September (5)

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June (4)

May (4)

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2016 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (2)

September (5)

July (3)

June (2)

May (4)

April (3)

March (4)

February (3)

January (4)

2015 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (3)

September (5)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (2)

March (3)

February (3)

January (3)

2014 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (4)

September (4)

July (3)

June (4)

May (1)

April (12)

February (2)

Dates For Your Diary

  • GCE and GCSE appeals deadline for re-grading - Wednesday 20 September
  • Studying Medicine - a talk for Year 13 students - Thursday 21 September, 3.00 - 4.30 p.m.
  • Routes into teaching - a talk for Year 13 students who are applying for Primary Education, 3.00 - 4.30 p.m.
  • Year 6 Open morning/evening -  Monday 25 September, 9.15 a.m. and 6.00 p.m.
  • Sixth Form Open Evening - Monday 2 October, 6.00 - 8.00 p.m.
  • Year 11 Parents' Consultation Evening -  Monday 13 November, 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 13 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 4 December, 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 7 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 15 January, 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 12 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 5 February, 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 9 Options Evening - Monday 19 February, 4.00 to 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 9 Parents' Evening - Monday 5 March, 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 8 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 19 March, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.


Head's Letter to Parents

Dear Parents and Carers,

In assembly this week I talked about the passage of time. When I spoke to the Year 11s I asked which of them had turned 16 already. 12 or so students put their hands up. I then asked who had celebrated their birthday between the 1st and the 10th of September. Only four students put their hand up. How quickly time passes. Only four of the students in main school were alive at the time that the twin towers were attacked, a pivotal moment in our lifetimes. It had quite an impact on my family, as my partner's Uncle George was in the first tower, but was lucky enough to leave the building and escape. I then showed the students some aspects of life in 1974, the year I was born. The average price of a house was only £10,992. Nixon resigned from the presidency. The UK was preparing to join the EEC. Clearly I was able to draw some parallels with life today.

We reflected together on what they will remember about school when they are older. I showed them examples of the year book, where students think about the times and experiences that really stick out in their mind. I then told them that they may not remember the nagging, the encouragement, the homework, the individual lessons from school, but they would remember the moment they get their exam results. Time does indeed pass quickly. I also asked the students what their first ever memory was. This may be a good question to discuss over a family meal at some point. Do you know what your children's first memory was?

Have a great weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Wardle, Headteacher 


Important Reminders

May we remind parents of the following procedures regarding bringing vehicles on to the school site and after-school arrangements.


Please do not arrange to bring your child to school by car unless this is absolutely unavoidable.  We do not have any parking or even drop-off space for parents on our site and we are instructed by the LA and police to prevent parents coming onto the site in cars as the car park is so congested that extra dropping-off vehicles constitute a safety hazard.  From time to time we will do checks at the start and end of the school day and ask any parents on site in cars to leave.  Parents sometimes are offended or angry about this so it is best to be clear from the start: you may not park or drop off in our car park.  If you are bringing your child to school by car because there is no alternative, please arrange to drop them off and pick them up in the lay-bys to the north and south of school, or in Redhills Lane, being mindful of residents’ access. 

After school arrangements

We have an extensive programme of lunchtime and extra-curricular activities to which all children are welcome.  Please click on the link below for the most up to date information. Parents should please note again that there is no child care at Durham Johnston.  If a young person decides to stay behind in school it must be for a specific activity as published in the extra-curricular activities programme, or by arrangement with an individual teacher.  One of the most important aspects of life in secondary school is that the child begins to start to take responsibility for him or herself.  It is very important therefore that you develop an arrangement about how he or she will let you know what is happening after school if he or she is taking part in an activity and how he or she will get home. Also, if your child is to be picked up, what time and where.  We try to make sure that all the pick-up times for team engagements are published on the website.  Please do not be late to collect children playing in away fixtures!  If you are picking up a child after an activity or fixture, it is fine to come into the school car park after the buses have gone by 1515.

Extra Curricular Activities

GCE/GCSE re-grading appeals deadline

May we remind students and parents that the appeals deadline for re-grading GCE/GCSE is 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday 20 September.  Students should hand in their completed paperwork to Ms Gillham, Examinations Officer by 9.00 a.m.



Year 6 Open Day - Monday 25 September

Our Open Day for prospective students and parents will take place on Monday 25 September.

We are always keen for prospective students and parents to visit the school and to meet with staff and current students.  

There will be two opportunities to visit the school as follows:

For those parents who would like to visit in the morning, Dr Wardle will provide an overview of the school at 9.15 a.m.   Student guides will be on hand afterwards to offer parents a tour of the school.  Staff and students they meet during the tour will be pleased to answer any questions.  The morning session will end at 10.30 a.m.

For those parents who would like to visit in the evening, the school will be open between 6.00 and 7.45 p.m.  Dr Wardle will provide an overview of the school at 6.00 and again at 6.45 p.m. Parents and prospective pupils will be able to take a tour of the school and meet with teachers and students.  Senior staff will be available to answer any general queries.

A prospectus and other general information will be available for parents to take home.

We look forward to meeting you.

Mr O'Sullivan, Deputy Headteacher


Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Roentgenium Camp – August 2017

You may recall that earlier this year I wrote about the success of some of our sixth form chemists in the 2017 Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.  Two students, Matthew Edge and Yuriy Tumarkin, were awarded the super-special Roentgenium award meaning they were in the top 0.78 % of over 7,000 challengees from across the country.  As a reward for their achievement, they were invited to a residential weekend at Cambridge University in August.  Below is an account of their experience, written by Matthew; I’m sure you’ll agree, after reading Matthew’s description, that it was a truly inspiring and exceptional experience.  Furthermore, both Matthew and Yuriy have been invited to a reception in London in November where they will be presented with awards to recognize their extraordinary achievement in the 2017 Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.

Durham Johnston's chemistry department are looking forward to supporting Year 13 pupils through the Chemistry Olympiad this academic year and giving the current Year 12 the opportunity to take the 2018 edition of the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.


Pictured above is a photo of the Roentgenium Award winners, including Matthew (top right) and Yuriy (bottom left).

The following report was provided by Matthew Edge: 

'In August, myself and Yuriy Turmarkin attended the Roentgenium Award Camp at St. Catherine's College, Cambridge. So named since roentgenium is the element next down group 11 after copper, silver, and gold. After appropriately nerdy introductions of names and favouriteelements, there was a formal dinner at St. Catherine's, including a cheese course (my personal highlight). The next day we looked at topics of physical and inorganic chemistry with a talk about orbitals followed by a Chemistry Olympiad style practical to analysethe composition of a complex salt. We did this at the university department and it was really intriguing to see their first year labs where they had distilled water on tap. That evening ended with a very introductory lecture on quantum mechanics (which still managed to bend a few minds) and spending some time talking to current students who were also roentgenium award holders.

The third day focused much more on organic chemistry with talks on techniques for determining synthesis routes and a practical involving some very long words (like percolation threshold) for what was effectively determining how clumpy washing detergent is in different concentrations. We then went back and got reasonably dressed up for a formal at Cat's sister college, Corpus Christi. After drinks and the dinner (without a cheese course), we had a quick tour of the college and saw the infamous Corpus Clock. The next morning we went to the department for a quick run through of the theory behind NMR spectroscopy before working through some former Olympiad questions. After that we said our goodbyes to everyone we met and are excited to see them all again at a reception lunch for the camp attendees in November.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience meeting lots of similarly enthusiastic young chemists and learning plenty of new chemistry from some of the best in the business. It definitely inspired us all to aim high and try and see each other again at the second round of the Chemistry Olympiad next year.' 

Dr Clay, Chemistry Department


Teikyo University

The MFL department welcomed a group of 19 trainee teachers and interpreters from Teikyo University for the day on Monday 11th September. The visitors spent a full day observing lessons, talking to our students, enjoying lunch and a tour of the school.

They were very impressed by our well behaved students and our fantastic facilities.

Mrs Wood, Subject Leader for MFL


Year 12 Geography Study Visit to Italy 2018

During the last week of the summer term Year 12 Geography students are offered the opportunity to attend The Bay of Naples study visit. Students will have the opportunity to visit Naples, Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Solfatara and Capri. The trip is designed to enhance their study of hazards, coasts and urban environments. To reserve a place on the visit please contact Mrs Hardwick in Geography room 4.

Please click on the following link to download a copy of the letter and reply slip.


Creative Coding Club

Coding Club will run every Thursday this term between 3.00 and 4.00 p.m. and begins next Thursday 21 September.   Students interested in the following subjects may be interested to attend: 

  • Music

  • Coding

  • Team Work

  • Independence

  • Creativity

  • Problem Solving

Steven Bradley, a lecturer in Computer Science from Durham University is running a set of creative code workshops to teach how to use a Raspberry Pi to make music and create tunes using computer code.We can take a maximum of 20 students and require students to sign up in advance. If your son or daughter is  interested they should contact Mr Garside (IT3) or Mr Digby (IT4).

Computing Department


Careers Information

Students in Year 11 are responsible for ensuring they have secured their options for post-16 careers.  Please encourage your child to begin researching their options as a priority, early in this academic year.

A letter containing the ‘Information and Advice Evening’ dates for all of the local schools and Further Educational colleges this year was recently issued to students.  Applications will be taken at these events for entry in 2018-19 and multiple applications can be made by students that will ensure they have options to consider after they receive their exam results. A copy of the letter is available here.

The first of these events will be held as follows:

·         Durham Johnston 6thForm Open Evening – Monday 2nd October (6-8pm)

·         New College Open Evening – Tuesday 3rd October (5-7pm)

·         Durham High School for Girls Thursday 23 November, 6.30 p.m.

·         Durham School – Wednesday 18th October (6-7.30pm)

·         St Leonards – Tuesday 18th October (7-9pm)

·         East Durham College - Peterlee Campus – Wednesday 4thOctober (5-7pm)

·         East Durham College – Houghall Campus – Wednesday 11th October (5-7pm)

·         Durham 6th Form Centre – Thursday 19th October (5-8pm)If your child has any queries regarding career options or need help in completing applications then they must come and see me. If they wish to hand in any completed applications to me I will also email them to the appropriate establishment on their behalf.

Mr Kennedy, Subject Leader for Careers and Guidance


Free School Meals - Are you Eligible?

Having free school meals is a useful benefit for hard-pressed families.  Our biometric tills mean that there is no difference in the way that children who have free school meals pay for their food – everyone is treated equally.

The school receives additional funding from the Government to cover the costs of providing education (known as the pupil premium) for pupils whose families receive certain benefits.  This can include all school running costs, such as employing teachers and support staff, books and equipment, computers, expenses on our school building and free school meals.

If your child is under 19, in full-time education and you are in receipt of one of the following benefits they may be eligible for a free school meal.

·         Income Support

·         Income Based Jobseekers Allowance

·         Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

·         Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and    Customs, that does not exceed £16,190

·         Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit

·         Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).

·         Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

·         Universal Credit

Parents/carers can apply by using this form by clicking on the following link Free School Meals Application Form.  When you have filled in the form please return it to school.   Please rest assured that the information you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence and securely stored. For the whole of the time your child is in our school this is the only information we will need to check unless your surname changes.  If your child is entitled to receive a free school meal we will let you know the outcome as soon as possible.

Mrs Coady - Attendance and Welfare Manager


Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

Bronze DofE - Years 10, 11 and 12

Please note that students taking part next weekend (23 and 24 September) must hand in their paperwork on Monday 18 September.

Kit checks to be arranged by pupils - w/c 18 September.

DofE Team


Music Department News

Music Enrichment Activities 2017 - 2018

All ensembles have made an excellent start to the year and it’s not too late for pupils to join groups. We would particularly welcome instrumentalists in year 7, who have not played in an ensemble before, to join Junior Orchestra, which meets in James Hall after school on a Tuesday. Please click on the following link for information about Music Enrichment Activities for this academic year. If you have any questions or require further information, please ask you son or daughter to speak to a member of the music department.

Keyboard Lessons with Musicworks.

If your child would like keyboard lessons, these are available from Musicworks and take place in the school day on a rotation timetable, in the same way that they do with Durham Music Service lessons. For information, including groups sizes and costs, please see their website http://www.musicworksnorthern.co.uk/, ask your child to collect a flyer from the Music Department, or call 01287 209023

Durham Music Service Tuition

Timetables are displayed in the music corridor. Please do encourage your child to check the music notice board and ask their music teacher if they have any questions. I’m afraid that we are unable to share timetables electronically with parents/ carers, but if you could encourage pupils to note lesson times in their organiser that should assist them to remember times. If you have a year 7 child who is receiving tuition, please reassure them that it may take a few weeks to get into the swing of things and that they should not be too worried if they miss the occasional music lesson at the start of term.

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 link:

Sixth Form Notice w/c 18 September 2017

Sixth Form Societies

Sports Department News

Clubs and trials are now in full swing with excellent attendance overall.  We had over 40 boys at basketball on Wednesday and an outstanding 70 girls at netball club last night.

The first league football matches also took place last night as our Year 7 and Year 10 teams travelled to Staindrop. This proved to be an excellent start as our Year 7’s won 7 – 0 and our Year 10’s won 11 – 0.


Rugby, girls football and badminton clubs also start tonight.

Dance and Cheerleading

Our Year 7 pupils enjoyed the first dance / cheerleading session after school on Monday. They are hoping to enter a school competition later in the year. 


Year 11 student Eleanor Robinson has been nominated for a prestigious Sports Experience Young Volunteer Award to honour her selfless contribution to netball.  Eleanor, who plays for the U-16 team at Durham Palatinates Netball Club, will travel to the finals in Birmingham this weekend.

Eleanor is a credit to the school and to her club and we wish her the very best of luck!

To read more about the award please click on the following link: