Dear Parents and Carers,
Thank you for your on going support of the school. It is amazing how quickly the year progresses. We are looking forward to welcoming prospective Year 7 students on Monday. Some families come to have a look around the building during the school day and others visit during the evening. This is always a good event, and our students are always wonderful ambassadors for the school. The week after we also welcome prospective sixth formers into the building. We continue to offer a really wide range of A level subjects, and we are proud of the way students of all abilities do well here.
The start of the school year has been very smooth. Thank you for working with us in as far as uniform, standards of behaviour, and work ethic is concerned.
I hope you enjoy this week's bulletin.
Michael Wardle, Headteacher
Year 7 parents should all have received letters about our annual visit to Durham Cathedral next week. This cross-curricular visit has been greatly enjoyed by previous cohorts, and we are delighted that this year we will be able to see the Treasures of St Cuthbert as part of ‘Open Treasure’, the cathedral’s fantastic exhibition space. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Please remember to bring a packed lunch on the day! Do feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.
We hope pupils are looking forward to an interesting and varied day!
Miss McKenzie, History Department
Sixth Form Chemistry Students Attend OXPLORE Launch Event
Oxplore is a new initiative from the University of Oxford. The aim is to engage more young people with Oxford, widen participation at the University and stimulate intellectual curiosity by tackling ‘Big Questions’. Two Durham Johnston Year 13 students, Miles Sheldon and John Forth-Walker, won a national competition after submitting their own big question and as a result were lucky enough to be invited to the launch event to Oxplore on Wednesday 20th September. On the day, they were awarded a certificate of their achievement, on the back of which included a lengthy response to their ‘Big Question’ from an Oxford Fellow. Miles and John have written a report of their trip, which highlights some of their truly unique and inspiring experiences, including a lengthy breakfast conversation with some American academics! More information about Oxplore can be found here: https://oxplore.org/about Students' Miles Sheldon and John Forth-Walker give their account of their experience below:
'Oxplore, the shining beacon of big questions; we received our golden tickets to this event via a school competition in which we had to submit the biggest questions we could, in teams of two. We chose to submit the question ‘Are the behavioural differences between the genders a social construct or a result of innate biological differences’, a heated topic of debate across society. Apparently, this question was large enough for the Oxplorers, as we were informed that we had won the competition and fast forward a number of months, there we were on a 4 hour train journey eager to explore our large questions even further. We arrived in Oxford at 10pm on Tuesday so we had little choice but to make our way to our accommodation in Pembroke College. Once there, we found our rooms and slept until morning. After having breakfast - and an inspiring chat with some American academics that we bumped into – Dr Clay took us on a guided tour of Jesus College and some others until 10:30am, when the conference started. We were greeted with some refreshments and given the ‘big question’ of “Would you want to live forever?” then spent the day in multiple workshops and a museum exploring this idea from different perspectives, along with some local school groups and some other competition winners. We looked at some of the potential future technologies as well as some of the potential impacts to the job market from them. This lead us to the resounding conclusion that no, we would not want to live forever. The conference then concluded with a launch event and our own big question was given to an Oxford academic; we received a certificate with their full-page response exploring the gender differences from a feminist perspective. At 4pm on Wednesday the conference was all over so we headed to the train station to enjoy another 4 hour journey back home. Overall, it was an engaging event and it was fun to take part in the national launch of such an interesting programme.'
Dr Clay, Science Department
SIMS Learning Gateway
Last term we launched a secure online service for parents and carers - SIMS Learning Gateway (SLG). We 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.
This year we are aiming to make good use of our school Twitter account to both send reminders to parents but mainly to let you know what is going on in and around the school. We know many parents have appreciated the tweets from sporting events and school trips, but we are currently tweeting more about what goes on inside of school as well.
There is a languages translation competition live on Twitter today! Entries to be submitted to Mrs Jackson on Monday.
Please follow us @durhamjohnston
Mr Garside, Computing Department
It has been a busy week for DofE!
We had the pleasure of presenting several Bronze award certificates earlier this week to the students picture above, as well as having two Gold students complete their awards by giving their expedition presentation in school.
This weekend we have 10 Bronze teams out on practice and final expeditions, good luck to all!
Next week there will be meetings for students working on Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, and if that weren’t enough sign-up for Year 12 Gold DofE and Silver DofE (for those who have completed Bronze) will also open on Monday.
Ms Clay, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Co-ordinator
Pctured below are some of crops which have been growing over the summer. We have cabbages, uniquely shaped carrots, leeks, chives and basil. The produce is now ready to be cleaned and will shortly be on sale.
Half the proceeds raised from the sale of the produce will go to the Durham Food Bank and the other half will be re-invested in the gardening club for next year.
Mr Bowman, Science Department
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:
The PE department continues to be hugely impressed by the amazing numbers who are turning up for clubs. There were over 60 for cross-country on Monday, 70 for basketball on Wednesday and over 60 for both girls football and netball. It is excellent to see so much talent and enthusiasm for extra-curricular sport.
On Wednesday our VIth form football team started their league campaign with a difficult away trip to Carmel School. We took an early lead but were 2 – 1 down with only 5 minutes to play when a well taken goal by Joe Blackbourne saw us earn a draw.
The football continued on Thursday as our Year 7, 8 & 9 teams were at home against Greenfield School. Our Y7’s came back from 2- 0 down to win 3 – 2. There were more straightforward victories for the other two teams as our Y8’s won 6 – 1 and our Y9’s 5 – 0.
Good luck tonight to our Year 8 football team who are taking on Monkwearmouth in the County Cup.
Mollie Coe, Catherine Musgrave and Lily Sanderson in year 11 completed the Boston Rowing Marathon, on Sunday 17th September. They rowed the 50.2k breaking the course record for their category which had stood since 2002!
Adam Morris, also in year 11, completed the course rowing the entire marathon on his own to win his category too!
The Under 15 girls' cricket team played in the County Cricket Finals on Monday at The Emirates International Cricket Ground in Chester Le Street. They competed against other regional winning schools in a tense final. The girls played very well in the first game, being declared winners after 3 1/2 overs against High Tunstall School. The second game was very tense and went down to the 12th over. The last ball bowled could see St Thomas More being crowned County Champions if they managed to get a 6. The ball was heading for a clear 6, but Freya Hawthorne casually caught it with one hand to declare Durham Johnston team County Champions.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE