Dear Parents and Carers,
Radio 4 this morning told me that today is European Statistics Day. The commentators on the Today Programme were very excited about this, and were referencing the Office for National Statistics and the ways in which an intelligent use of statistics is helpful for both people and institutions. It is important that our students develop a deep understanding of statistics as often they can be used to highlight one side of an argument above another, and even as adults they can be confusing. We need look no further than the Brexit referendum and the on-going discussions in Europe as evidence of this.
As headteacher I spend a lot of time looking at data and statistics. Only today I was asked by a colleague what the rates of absence are currently for different groups of students and different years nationally so we can judge whether or not we can improve the ways in which we serve families in Durham. I am proud of the fact that the Johnston uses data to ask questions rather than make judgements, as under every piece of data there is a student, a family, a young person, each of whom has a story. This is the reason why, as a school, we have a real focus on adding to the formal curriculum within the school day and through the vast array of clubs and after school activities. We want to maintain this focus.
I hope you realise that it is half-term now! Have a good break if you get one.
Thanks for your support,
Michael Wardle, Headteacher
60 students from Year 8 have spent this last week in Lésigny near Paris on a study visit. They have enjoyed visits to Paris, Fontainebleau, a market and the medieval town of Provins.
Evening activities have included, pancake making, Dragons Den, a bin bag fashion show and the big egg drop. Whilst here the students have had lessons in French, Art, History and D&T.
We will publish some pictures of the visit in the next bulletin after half term.
Mrs Wood, Miss McKenzie, Mr Atkinson, Mr Garside, Mr Rooney
Our annual festival continued this week with two days of outstanding theatre performances.
300 pupils watched standing performances of What Once Was Ours, a Zest Theatre and Half Moon co-production, across three performances on Monday. The show, part of a national tour, explored young peoples' views on how politics and national values impact on the complex lives of one family. Using striking original music and an highly immersive set design, the cast and crew delivered a very powerful new production for our young people.
On Tuesday we welcomed Theatre Centre with Twist by Chino Odimba; a radical adaptation of Dicken's classic tale Oliver Twist. Twist is one boy's search for home among the nameless millions they call 'migrant’. Written specifically for young audiences, Odimba’s retelling of a classic challenged intolerance with humanity and compassion, asking how much progress have we really made from the Victorian London in which ‘Oliver Twist’ was first published almost 180 years ago?
From Wednesday to Friday we provided 300 pupils with groundbreaking virtual reality experiences. Our Virtual Reality Grand Slam events featured multiple sets of both Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens equipment. Pupils were able to experience the devices for themselves and compare and contrast fully immersive virtual reality with cutting edge augmented reality technologies. Durham Johnston pupils became the first secondary pupils in the UK to work directly with HoloLens!
Helen Charlton, Director of Resources
Following the issue of letters and order forms for Triple Science and Combined Science books last week, the first batch of books has now been distributed.
A second order will be placed immediately after half term so if any pupil missed the deadline the form can still be returned by the end of the school day on Tuesday 31st October.
If either form has been mislaid please click on the following links for a copy.
Dr. Bolton, KS4 co-ordinator for Science
Yesterday and today our Year 10 and Year 11 students took part in a Relationships and Sex education event. The sessions were delivered by professionals from outside agencies who dealt with issues raised by our students in a survey sent to every student. Students value the opportunity to have their say on what is put forward in their RSE curriculum, and these events continue to be popular.
Mr Blake, 2nd i/c Guidance
The 2017 expedition season came to a very successful end last weekend, with two Bronze teams completing their final expedition and two silver teams completing a challenging practice. Luckily, the hurricane didn’t come early, but the teams still had high winds to battle with throughout the weekend.
We now move into the winter season, with participants at all levels working on their indoor training and their skill, physical and volunteering sections.
The DofE team would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff, students and parents who have supported us throughout the busiest expedition season we have had yet. Here’s to a restful winter break!
Miss Clay, Duke of Edinburgh Scheme Co-ordinator
After a fantastic first year for the VI house leaders it was time to recruit new like-minded people! After a series of meetings, formal applications and shortlisting we selected the new additions. The teams have now doubled in size and we look forward to another eventful year! Congratulations and welcome to the DJ House Leaders team pictured below.
What’s new for 2017? …….. watch this space!
Miss Forbes, Academic Enrichment
We have recently received a letter from BBC Children in Need, thanking the school for our fundraising efforts in the past, and have been identified as one of the top 500 fundraisers out of 17,500 schools for 2016.
This year's The Big Spotacular appeal week will run from the 13 - 17 November and once again we plan to support the campaign by holding a non-uniform day on Friday 17 November. Additional fund-raising activities are at the planning stage and more information will be published in school after the half term.
We hope that we can count on the support of pupils, staff and parents to raise even more money this year to make a real difference to the lives of young people in the UK.
Private Fostering is where a child under the age of 16 is looked after by someone other than their parents or close family members for more than 28 consecutive days.
The Local Authority has asked us to inform parents and carers regarding private fostering arrangements. Further information is available in the leaflet published below.
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
Ski Visits 2018
A letter has been issued to all skiers with regard to the parents meeting date on the Tuesday 21 November, 5.45 - 6.30 p.m. in James Hall. Please click here for a copy.
The dates of the ski trips next year are as follows:
Mrs Hopper, Ski Visit Co-ordinator
Music Department News
Rehearsals so far…
Attendance at rehearsals this half term has been really good and as a result we have managed to do lots of detailed work on the Spring Concert repertoire and well as Christmas Music. It may seem quite early for festive cheer, but when we get back after half-term there will only be 5 rehearsals leading up to the week of the concert!
We need to balance the ensemble items with some solos (preferably festive!) so if you have a piece that you would like to perform in the concert, please see me at some point during the first week back.
Please can I encourage you to put the date of the Christmas Concert (below) and also the other concert dates from the September Letter into your family diary/calendar to avoid any ‘double-bookings’ later in the year?
School Christmas Concert – Thursday 7th December, James Hall – advance notice for information.
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.
Tickets for each part of this concert may be purchased from the Music Department. 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 the 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 £2.50 or £2 concessions for each half and please note that these will not be for sale on the door. Payment by cash or cheque, payable to ‘Durham Johnston School’. These will be on sale from Monday 13thNovember.
On Monday our U13 girls' football team took on North Durham Academy in the County Cup. We scored in the first two minutes and went on to dominate the game eventually winning 8 – 3. Also on Monday our VIth form football team were in Newcastle taking on the RGS. We were missing several players through injury and struggled against a strong team losing 5 – 1.
On Tuesday our Year 7, 8 & 9 football teams were at King James for league games. All three matches were very one-sided as we won 5 – 0, 12 – 0 and 8 – 0. Also on Tuesday our U15 boys and girls table tennis teams were at Belmont for the Area tournament. Our boys team won their group to set up a final against St Leonard’s. We proved too strong for them winning 8 – 0 to become Area champions. They now go on to the County finals in March. Our girls team also played well just missing out on the semi-finals after finishing 3rd in their group.
On Wednesday we were hosting the U16 league netball tournament. The standard was very high and our girls produced some excellent netball to finish runners-up, losing only one match to the eventual winners from Durham High.
Also on Wednesday our Year 9 rugby team were taking part in the first round of the county cup. They produced some outstanding rugby to finish 2nd in their group after losing a close match to St Thomas More.
This result means they have now qualified for the County finals which take place after half-term.
On Thursday our VIth form football team were at home against St Bede’s. We struggled to find our rhythm against a strong team eventually losing 5 – 0.
Last night our rowing teams were at Durham ARC competing in the Durham City Indoor rowing championships. We produced some excellent performances with an incredible 20 of our 21 competitors finishing in the top 4 places to qualify for the County finals held in November. Congratulations to Elise Lambert, Thomas Moles, Dylan Swinburn, Ellie Hall Adam Morris who won their race to become Area Champion:
Finally, good luck tonight to our Year 7 boys and U14 girls' football teams who are both playing in English School matches and good luck to our Year 8 rugby team who are at St Thomas More for a Tyneside Cup match.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
Boys' Football Fixtures and Match Reports 2017-2018
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up to the summer holidays 2019.