Teachers tend to accumulate vast amounts of paper during their careers.
They convince themselves that those training leaflets, Year 7 resources from 2004 and whole school initiatives for embedding Curriculum 2000 will be relevant and useful again at some point. During the past two weeks I have adopted a policy of ruthlessness; shredding and ‘streamlining’ the dusty folders that I have consistently failed to revisit. One of those shredded documents is an article from 2006 suggesting a variety of clear ways in which to be ‘Ofsted Outstanding’ in any lesson. Included amongst its helpful ideas it states the need to ‘be assertive’, ‘quicken the pace’, ‘plan mini-plenaries’ and to have ‘spare felt tip pens.’ All good advice in certain circumstances, but teaching is not a generic list of things to do. It is much more nuanced than that.
In 2008 I observed my first lessons as an Assistant Headteacher. Since then I have observed in excess of 400 lessons, both at Durham Johnston and in other schools, and still remember how revelatory those first observations were. As an experienced Subject Leader I had developed a good sense of effective teaching in History. Observing lessons in P.E, DT and Music made merealisethat there are many ways to be excellent and that one size never fits all; neither in terms of how teachers teach, or in how students learn.
As part of that first year of whole school observation I visited two Psychology lessons. The students were discussing and presenting on key revision case studies: Stanley Milgram’s study of obedience; the Asch Conformity Study from 1951 and Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith’s Stanford study relating to Cognitive Dissonance. All of which highlight the dangers of conforming to group thinking; whether regarding aspects of teaching based upon the aforementioned Ofsted article, or the vagaries of human behaviour. What was clear in both lessons was the detailed knowledge conveyed by the students, the excellent questions asked of them and the obvious desire to learn more from all those in the room. We are due to reintroduce Psychology as an A Level choice in September and hope that that our current year 11 students will take advantage of the opportunity to learn in a similar way. I certainly look forward to observing them do so.
Post-16 Progress Award
On Wednesday this week the school was presented with the Learning Plus UK Data Post-16 Progress Award.
Learning Plus UK analysed the results at A level and compared them with students' GCSE results to identify the schools with the best progress nationally between the two stages. This is always the fairest way to compare schools and reflects the hard work by staff and students which led to our excellent 2017 A level results.
Mr McArdle, Assistant Head (Director Post-16)
Year 10 mock examinations will take place from Monday 30 April until 10 May 2018. Please click on the link below for a copy of the timetable.
Sport Relief 2018
On Friday 23 March we will support this year's Sport Relief Campaign 2018 and will hold a non-uniform day. The donation requested from those pupils who would like to participate is £1.00. Please note that normal school regulations with regard to jewellery and make-up apply.
Students who travel by school transport should remember to carry their bus passes with them as usual.
UKMT Team Maths Challenge
On Monday we hosted the regional final of the UKMT Team Maths Challenge, welcoming teams of of Year 8 and Year 9 students from over twenty five schools from across the region. Following trials and training within school, Joseph Bennett, Peter Cook, Zoë Clark & Raymond Geng represented Durham Johnston in the challenge and despite some very strong competition finished in third place.
Intermediate Maths Challenge
On Thursday morning twenty of our students took part in the second round of the Intermediate Mathematics Challenge. Eighteen students, from Years 8-11, qualified for a place in the Kangaroo competitions following the first round in February. Two of our students, Harry Cookson and Peter Cook, earned themselves a place in the Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad.
We would like to congratulate all of the students involved for qualifying for these competitions.
Year 11 Subject Support Sessions
Please click on the link below for a timetable of additional subject support sessions provided for Year 11 students. Specific advice is also available from teaching staff regarding revision and students are encouraged to contact their teachers.
On Thursday, DJ’s Computing department took a group of gifted Year 9 girls to St James' Park in Newcastle for the annual girls in STEM event.
A fantastic opportunity for all involved – the girls created towers, wind turbines and their own perfume using scientific techniques. A range of speakers from the world of business and academia also took to the stage to answer questions from the audience.
Well done to everyone involved – superb work.
Miss Forbes, Subject Leader, Computing
Not only is today the 8th anniversary of our first Durham Johnston Tweet, but we also gained our 2000th follower.
It’s been great to see so many of our school community engaging with school life via this medium. The account is used to bring you up to date with the latest news, updates on school visits, sporting events as well as all the interesting things going on in classrooms around the school on a daily basis. If you aren’t following us yet, we urge you to do so: @durhamjohnston
Mr Garside, Computing Department
Just a reminder that digital leaders are trying to raise money for new equipment that will be used for their “Social Coding” initiative which started with an idea from our chief digital leader to encourage more girls to get into coding. The project now aims to get people from all backgrounds to try their hand at coding and see how fun and creative it can be. We believe that coding can be for everyone and we would like to remove the stereotype that it’s for “video gaming boys”.
To do this, we would like to raise money to purchase devices called “Pi-Tops” which are portable kits that would allow us to make better use of our Raspberry Pi devices which currently require a lot of set up time as well as lot of messy cabling. The Pi Tops would allow us to avoid the set up times and spend more time coding and creating as well as not being constricted to an IT suite.
Our target to purchase 10 of these devices is £1500 and we are looking for any people or businesses who might be interested in donating to this cause. We would be very grateful if you could help us spread the word and pass this on to anyone who you think might be able to help.
The project funding page can be found by following the link below:
Thank you in advance for your support
Mr Garside and the Digital Leaders Team
Man Versus Food
They came, they saw, the conquered…. Well most of them did!
Johnston v’s Food saw huge support from our school community and superb effort from our contestants! There were some stand out stars in the chicken nugget and hotdog eating contests – unbelievable techniques.
Please click on the links below to see a selection of photos of the event.
Thank you to everyone who supported the event. Monies raised will go towards the house fund, scoliosis charities and our local foodbank.
A Kahoot Quiz take place during both lunch periods on the 20th March. The quiz, using Kahoot is open to all year groups and will test students general knowledge. There is no cost to enter, but students need 3G on their phones and a little bit of data. No need to sign up - just turn up!
Please click on the link below for further details.
Miss Forbes & The House Leaders
Please see below for the dates for this year's study visit to Austria and the return visit of students and staff from our Austrian partner school, Gymnasium Bad Ischl.
Study visit: 28 June - 7 July 2018
Partner school visit: 4 - 10 October 2018
We send our greetings to staff and students of our partner school and are looking forward to meeting them in June.
Miss Schwaiger, Languages Department
Two of our dance groups performed in the Feet First show for secondary schools at the Gala theatre this week. Both groups performed their ballet routines beaufiully and were a credit to the school.
Mrs White, PE Department
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 19 March.
Durham Music Service ensemble performances at The Sage.
Good Luck to all DJ pupils who are members of the Local Authority Ensembles and who will be performing in The Sage tomorrow (Saturday 17th March) as part of the Durham Music Service Showcase. There will be free performances for passing members of the public taking place on the concourse from 12.15 until 18.25, so please do call in and listen if you are passing. The formal concert is in Hall One at 19.00 and tickets may be purchased from the Box Office. Please follow this link for more information. http://www.sagegateshead.com/event/durham-music-services-showcase/
Spring Concert – Thursday 22nd March, James Hal - I can sing a rainbow.
First Part (6.30pm) to include Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir and selected soloists.
Second Part (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’.
Tuesday 20th – 2.45 to 3.45 - First Part Rehearsal. Wind Band, Junior Choir and Junior Orchestra.
Wednesday 21st – 2.45 to 3.45 – Second Part Rehearsal. Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra and Chamber Choir. Please note that the final Big Band rehearsal will be on Friday 16th March.
In keeping with the ‘rainbow’ theme of the music, performers may substitute 1 item of the school uniform for a bright, block colour alternative.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
Congratulations to all KS3 students and Technical Theatre Crew involved in the drama production on Thursday 15th. They truly persevered so that the show could go on!
Advance notice that Technical Theatre club continues as normal on Tuesdays , but drama club is now on Thursday only. There will no longer be a session on a Wednesday after school.
Miss Ayrey, Subject Leader for Drama
PE Department News
On Tuesday our VIth form football team travelled to Harton in the semi-final of the League Cup. They are a very strong team who haven’t been beaten this season. It turned into an excellent game which we won 4 – 2. This included a Joe Blackbourne hatrick. We now play the winners of St Joseph’s and Parkview at Maiden Castle on 26th March in the final.
Also on Tuesday the weather caused the cancellation of the Year 10 County rugby tournament.
The Y11 County rugby finals did take place on Wednesday. The top schools in the county produced some excellent rugby throughout the afternoon and we finished in 3rd place after losing our final game to the eventual winners from High Tunstall.
Also on Wednesday our U13 girls football team were at home playing Houghton Keiper in the quarter-final of the County Cup. They were a very strong team and despite a battling performance and a late goal they won 3 – 1.
On Thursday our U14 girls basketball team took on Holy Cross School from Lancashire trying to reach the last 16 schools in the country. It was a close game throughout. With 2 minutes to go we were only 3 points behind but despite several attempts we couldn’t find another basket losing by 3 points.
Also on Thursday our Year 7 rugby team were at Ryton competing in the County 7’s tournament. In freezing weather we produced some excellent rugby winning our first two games before losing a close final match against Yarm School.
Finally on Thursday our Year 7 & 9 football teams took on Parkside in league games. Our Year 7 team had a comfortable 5 – 0. The Year 9 game was much closer and a last minute goal from Joe Hugill saw us draw 2 – 2. This was also a cup game so we had to play extra time. With 45 seconds to go and the game heading for penalties they scored to win 3 – 2.
Finally good luck tonight to our Year 11 football team who are playing Parkside in the league and our Year 7 girls basketball team who are at Greenfield for a friendly match.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
Congratulations to Lauren Etchells in Year 9 for coming 2nd in the Scottish National Indoor Athletics Championships 300m event. This is an excellent achievement, very well done Lauren.
Congraulations to our U15 girls' cricket team who came third in the Indoor County Cricket Finals on Wednesday. They played two games, lost one, and won on game by 20 runs.
This is an excellent achievement and high quality cricket was played by all 4 teams.
Mrs Hopper, PE Department
May I remind parents that the 3rd instalment for next year's ski visit is due by 2nd April which falls on Easter Monday. It is possible to extend the deadline until after the Easter break if necessary. I would therefore be grateful if all instalments could be handed in to me, no later than the 16 April. The amount due is £144 and cheques should be made payable to "Durham Johnston School".
Due to the change of the date of the 2nd ski visit next year, current Year 7 pupils have been provided with a new indemnity form and an explanatory letter. Please could I request that parents complete and return the new indemnity forms to me as soon as possible.
Mrs Hopper, PE Department
Bronze Expedition April 2018
All students who have signed up to undertake their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition in April 2018 must ensure one section is logged as completed on eDofE by next Friday, 23 March.
Duke of Edinburgh Team
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up until the summer holidays 2019.