School life is based upon a series of rituals and reoccurring milestones. Ill-fitting uniform on the first day of school. A new school bag. Replacing lost PE kit. The Christmas service at Durham Cathedral. First lessons in options subjects at GCSE and A Level. Last days of term. Results days. These rituals are long established at Durham Johnston and students quickly fall into a long standing pattern as each academic year develops. There are certain significant milestones for teachers too. The first class that you teach. The first books marked. New exam specifications and legislation. Saying goodbye to GCSE and A Level classes. Many of these are instantly familiar for students, parents, carers and teachers. There are other aspects of school life in 2018 that might not be as easily recognisable. For our Form Tutors and Year Leaders there is a new ritual, one that did not exist in 1998 or 2008. It is the Monday morning, first day after half-term ritual of dealing with issues caused by mobile phones, or irresponsible social media use. A similar pattern is notable after weekends. Mobile phones are not allowed to be visible or used in school for a very good reason; their absence provides students with respite from constant communication and the possibility of negative social interaction with others. It also affords time to think. Students often write and post things that they would never say to others as part of a normal school day.
Our pastoral leaders will always investigate bullying and try to resolve friendship issues, but these problems are increasingly caused by poor decisions made outside of school. Naomi Greenaway’s Daily Telegraph article from December 2017 reflects an increasingly common view of the potential issues that can arise from young people having access to smart phones at too young an age:
Remember that feeling of having a bad day at school? Now imagine that day followed you home, continued to torment you all evening long – and was the first thing you woke up to the next morning. Remember that feeling of going into school on Monday morning and realising you’d been left out of an ‘evening in’ or a night out? Now imagine sitting in your bedroom watching the event unfold selfie by selfie, message by message?
There have been a variety of other articles and reports published in the last year that raise similar concerns. Unregulated mobile phone use can have a very detrimental impact upon self-esteem, health and the ability to empathise with others. Our reason for limiting mobile phone use in school is a desire to protect students. We would encourage parents to support us by taking a similar stance.
In assembly on Mon Feb 26th Y11 pupils will receive their overall grades for their recent mock exams. As in previous years they will receive these in an envelope together with the rest of the year group. This process is designed to give the pupils a flavour of the way things will be in August – to prepare them for the experience of receiving a full set of grades. Before and after the envelope opening we explain everything to the pupils: the purpose of the mock exams; how to learn from the feedback; how to use their subject teachers for advice; the support that the school will offer to them; the importance of building on what has been learnt in the mock exams.
Mr Bancroft, Deputy Head
Congratulations to Year 12 students Amerso Bassiouny, Jenna Cheung, Andrew Hunton, Jose Moir and Miranda Stephenson who have won a county competition to represent the North East of England at a Euroscola event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Together with students from three other schools in the region, they will spend a day at the Parliament taking part in debates and activities and meeting students from across Europe.
Mrs G Wood, Subject Leader, MFL
Please see below details of recent appointments to the Governing Body.
Mrs Fasasi, Parent Governor, appointed in December 2017
Ms Ward, Parent Governor, elected in February 2018
Councillor Scott, Local Authority Governor appointed in January 2018
Mr O’Sullivan, Head Teacher appointed as Staff Governor in January 2018
Mr M Marshall, Student Associate Governor appointed in January 2018
Mr M Elliott, Student Associate Governor appointed in January 2018
Miss Murphy, Teacher of Science, re-appointed as Staff Governor for a second term of office in February 2018
If would like to correspond with the Chair or a member of the Governing Body you may do so by contacting the school as follows:
Telephone: 0191 384 3887
Post: Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, Crossgate Moor, Durham DH1 4SU
A member of staff will ensure that any correspondence is forwarded promptly.
Two 'F1 in Schools' teams from Durham Johnston attended the Regional Final at Nissan on Tuesday this week. Competing against 22 regional finalists, the teams raced their cars and underwent a rigorous scrutinising processes where they had to justify the design process and explain their team's ethos. Although neither team progressed to the National Finals, they should be very proud of the hard work they have committed in their own time, both during lunch period and after school, since September.
Mr Rooney, Design and Technology
We are pleased give our support to Year 8 student Lauren Rennie in her endeavour to raise money towards the cost of corrective spinal surgery, for which she will have to travel to Germany.
The cost of the operation is likely to be in region of £32,000 and Lauren is hoping that her bid to undertake a sponsored silence from Monday 26th February to Friday 2 March will attract sponsorship from pupils and staff.
Lauren was diagnosed with scoliosis (a curved spine) at the age of 14 months and her parents were told she would never walk. Following her diagnosis she had to visit hospital every 3 months to have fixed, full upper body plaster casts fitted until she was four years old. Lauren was then fitted with removable casts which she had to wear every day until she was 8 years old.
Lauren has recently been offered the oportunity of surgery known as virtual body tethering (VBT), a procedure which involves fusing the spine with metal rods, by specialist team at a hospital in Germany. The outcome will be life changing for Lauren and her family.
We wish this determined young lady and her family every success in reaching their fund-raising goal.
Mr Bowman, Head of Year 8
Six, Year 7 pupils spent the morning of Thursday 15th February working on artefacts in the DLI museum at Palace Green to investigate life in the WW1 trenches. They then investigated the information on display in the museum about the history of the regiment. At the end of this they met Prince Charles and explained what they had learned about the exhibits to him.
Dr Sarah Price, Head of Engagement and Learning at Durham University commented that the students had behaved impeccably, and were a credit to themselves and the school.
Mr McArdle, Assistant Head (Director of Post 16)
In the Geography Department this week Key Stage 4 and 5 students had the chance to learn about volcanology in an after school session held on Thursday afternoon.
Students were fortunate to work with and listen to Dr Claire Horwell and Dr Ed Llewellin from Durham University learning about the types of volcanic hazard and managing risk.
Mrs Hardwick, Geography Department
We were pleased to receive a letter of thanks from Emma Storey, Income Generation Manager at Willow Burn Hospice in Lanchester, thanking the school for the £500 donation raised in school. The hospice receives only 33% of their income from Government sources, so every donation is vitally important to them. Willowburn Hospice has been established for 29 years, and are committeed to the delivery of services of the highest quality. They are well known locally for providing much needed community resources and renowned for the compassion their staff show to the people they serve.
You can read more about the work of the hospice on their website www.willow-burn.co.uk
House Emblem Design Competition 2018
We had a phenomenal response to this competition and the quality of the designs was excellent. We had over 150 entries which was wonderful to see.
Thank you to everyone who took part and congratulations to our winners.
Please click on the following link to view the winning designs.
Miss Forbes & The House Leaders
If you would like to keep up to date with what is going on in the Sixth Form please click on the following link Monday 26 February 2018.
Evensong in Tunstall Chapel, Durham Castle
On Thursday evening, Chamber Choir joined forces with the Choral Scholars of University College, Durham Castle, to sing Choral Evensong in the Tunstall Chapel. It was the first time that many members of the choir had sung Evensong and they rose to the challenge with impressive aplomb. They were conducted by Jeremy Cowan, an undergraduate finalist in the Music Department, and he was delighted with the way in which they responded with such ease to his encouragement and direction.
If your son or daughter is entered in the Spring session for either an Associated Board or Trinity College examination and you feel that they would benefit from some extra support in developing their aural skills in preparation for the exam, please do encourage them to book an aural training session with a member of the music department.
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 copy of the original letter.
Spring Concert – Thursday 22nd March, James Hall - I can sing a rainbow.
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.
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 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 ether the Music Department from Monday 26th February.
Finally, if your child would like to perform a solo in the concert (colourful items particularly welcome!) please would you ask them to speak to me before Friday 2nd March.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
I must start on reporting the outstanding achievement for our U14 girls football team on Tuesday. They were at home taking on St Ivo School, Cambridgeshire in the English Schools National Cup semi-final. St Ivo are current national champions having won the cup last year. However we raised our game to play some outstanding football going on to win 3 – 1 and reach the National English School final. This is the first time Durham Johnston has had any football team in a National final. The PE department would like to recognise this achievement and purchase a new football strip for the girls to wear in the National final.
If anyone would be interested in sponsoring this kit and getting their company logo on the shirts then please contact me in the PE department.
Also on Tuesday our Year 7 basketball team were at St Aidan’s, Harrogate competing in the final of the English Schools north-east group.
After a close first half they took control eventually going on to beat us by 30 points. Still an excellent achievement to finish second in the north-east.
Finally on Tuesday our U16 futsal team were competing in the finals of the Tyneside tournament. They reached the final before losing an excellent match 4 – 3 to St Robert’s to finish runners-up.
On Wednesday our Year 9 football team were at Gosforth Academy in the semi-final of the Tyneside Cup. We never gave up but they were an excellent team and we eventually lost 3 – 0.
Football continued on Thursday as all five football teams were due to play Bishop Barrington. They conceded the Year 9 game and we comfortably won all 4 other games by the following scores:
Year 7 won 5 – 0
Year 8 won 4 – 0
Year 10 won 7 – 1
Year 11 won 10 – 2
Finally good luck tonight to our Year 7 girls' football team who are at Ponteland High in the last 32 schools in the English Schools Cup and our Year 10 basketball team who are Gosforth in the final of the Tyneside Cup.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
The U14 girls' football team played in the semi-finals of the National cup on Tuesday afternoon against last years winners St Ivo School from Huntington. The girls played a brilliant game, working together as a team. Erin Jacques had the best game we have seen with numerous saves with her hands and feet. The team went ahead early with a fantastic goal from Emily Salmon. Just before half time we let a silly corner in when we lost concentration. The second half was a dream to watch with another goal from Emily and a great goal from Ellie. Every member of the team played well and worked hard for each other. The whole squad deserve their place in the National finals in May.
Holiday and Term Dates
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up until the summer holidays 2019.