In 1804 Beethoven was putting the finishing touches to ‘Sinfonia Intitolata Bonaparte’ when he received notice that Napoleon, a figure he admired for being both revolutionary and virtuous, had declared himself Emperor of France. Barely able to contain his rage, the composer shouted:
‘So he is no more than a common mortal! Now he, too, will tread underfoot all the rights of man and indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men and become a tyrant!’
Grabbing a pen, Beethoven strode over to his score and scribbled out the title so violently that he tore through the paper. Thenceforth, the work would be known simply as the Sinfonia Eroica, or the ‘Heroic’ Symphony. Based upon that example, it may be an understatement to note that music can provoke strong emotions. Napoleon, whether a tyrant in waiting or not, clearly saw the cultural value of music, commenting that, ‘music tells us that the human race is greater than we realise.’ Frank Zappa, a less significant historical figure, lamented that, ‘All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.’ Based upon Matthew Edge’s xylophone interpretation of the Vision On theme at Thursday’s Spring Concert, Napoleon was clearly right and Frank Zappa was just being grumpy and provocative.
The manner in which music elicits strong emotions is on my mind because I had the good fortune to attend the Durham Music Service showcase at The Sage on Saturday and the school Spring Concert on Thursday evening. Both were hugely impressive. At a time when music is perceived to be under threat in primary and secondary schools, it was fantastic to see so many students participating and such large and supportive audiences. The quality of musicianship has been superb, as has the enthusiasm of the performers. The Durham Signing Choir performing Troublemaker with obvious pleasure: the Durham Youth Orchestra’s wonderful interpretation of Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia; the excitement of Year 7 lower school musicians playing in their first Spring Concert and the poignancy of Year 13 students performing for the last time.
An enthusiasm for music has always greatly outweighed my actual ability to play proficiently, but I have been inspired this week to dust off the bodhrán and torture my family with poorly timed reels and jigs. If you already play an instrument, persevere. If you have never had the courage or inclination to play, start now. Music is for everyone.
And never kiss a dead nun, Mr Holmes.
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items include things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soft drinks and water bottles and food packaging.
Petroleum based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes to landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds it's way into the ocean. Although plastic will not biodegrade, (decompose into a natural substance like soil), it will break down into tiny particles after many years. In the process of breaking down, it realeases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply. The impact on wildlife is widely publicised.
Durham Johnston School is keen to use less single use plastic and move towards sustainable products and services.
We are currently reviewing the plastic used within our self-managed catering service. Whilst there are few affordable alternatives to existing plastic bottles for water and soft drinks, we expect more to become available as consumers, like us, demand the development of products.
We have already sourced alternative products to help us to remove one third of our single-use plastics. We expect to commence this, when new supplies arrive, by May 2018.
We have also sourced a reusable cup for students and staff to purchase, at no profit to the school.
We will continue to monitor and review and hope to replace all single use plastic in due course.
Helen Charlton, Director of Resources
We are delighted to announce that the total money raised from this year's non-uniform day for Sport Relief 2018 is a fantastic £1,316.22
Thank you to students, staff and parents for supporting the event again this year.
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.
Year 11 Mock Examinations
Year 11 have a further set of English and Maths mock GCSE exams which they will take in James Hall from Monday March 26th to Thursday March 29th.
Please click on the following link for the most up to date copy of the Year 11 Intervention Timetable, first published last week.
GCSE Science Books
Following an enquiry from from students in Years 10 and 11, the Science department would like to offer another opportunity to purchase CGP Science books for GCSE.
Depending on the course that your son or daughter is following, if you would like to purchase either the Triple Science or Combined Science publication, copies of the order forms are available below.
Please note that all forms must be handed in with the correct money on Monday 26th March.
Dr. Bolton, KS4 Co-ordinator for Science
Year 11 Geography Fieldwork
Mr Ray and Mrs Hardwick's Year 11 classes were out of school on Tuesday this week carrying out a river investigation at the River Browney. The students, working in groups, were tasked with collecting a variety of data which at times involved them working in the river itself.
The students worked very effectively and were mature at all times. Well done Year 11!
Mr Ray, Geography Department
FMSP Maths Feast Competition
On Tuesday afternoon, four of our Year 10 students travelled to the Sjøvoll Centre in Durham to take part in the North East Maths Feast. This is a challenging team competition organised by the Further Maths Support Programme and tests students' mathematical, problem-solving, team-working and communication skills.
The team competed against 17 other Year 10 teams from a range of different schools. Despite some strong competition they finished in first place with an incredible score of 90 marks out of a possible 92.
The Maths Department would like to congratulate all of the students involved.
Mr Sutcliffe, Maths Department
Latin Study Visit to Pompeii
Mrs Bothwell, Languages Department
Year 12 Higher Education Preparations
On Thursday this week over 40, Year 12 students attended an Oxford and Cambridge Universities conference in Newcastle. They attended talks on the subjects they are considering, how to apply, finance and careers, . This is in addition to the Preparation for Higher Education and Careers programme that all students attend once a fortnight.
Mr McArdle, Director of Post-16
Raising Money for New Equipment
With just over three days remaining at the time of writing we have raised £165 of our £1500 target. This means that we have reached our minimum target and are able to purchase one of the Pi-Top devices. A huge thank you to those who donated the money. We are very grateful and we promise to make good use of the device across the school to help us with our social coding project.
If you do still feel able and willing to donate to this cause, the link can be found below
Mr Garside and the Digital Leaders
Word of the Week
Tuesday's house event focussed on a challenging Kahoot Quiz. With hundreds signing in to test their general knowledge skills, playing against their peers to win house points!
Incredible knowledge and lightening reactions times saw representatives from Kenny and Annand take the top prize!
Excellent effort quizzers!
Miss Forbes, Mark Humphries & The House Leaders
A group of 9 students from Years 8 – 12 have just completed an 8-week Introduction to British Sign Language (BSL) course.
The dedicated students attended classes every Friday after school and learned a variety of useful signing skills including: Introductions/Greetings, Numbers, Finger-spelling, Colours, Family, School, Travel/Places and Questions. Sonia, our trainer from DEAF Fellowship, praised the students dedication and excellent progress.
Students will receive their certificates shortly - well done to all!
Mr Smith and Ms Clay
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 March.
Easter Concert 2018: I Can Sing a Rainbow
The musicians of Durham Johnston performed a kaleidoscopic programme of music last night to a packed James Hall. The school ensembles, along with several soloists and smaller groups presented a colour-themed evening of music, with contributions ranging from crimson petals, red boots and yellow submarines, through green onions, green rain and a blue tango, all the way to fields of gold, and some truly musical gold from the leavers, whose customised rendition of Spandau Ballet’s classic brought the evening to a joyous, if rather emotional conclusion.
Many thanks to all performers, not just for last night, but for the dedication and commitment over the course of the year. Last night represented many hours of rehearsals, practice and planning, but it was a truly marvellous evening displaying the wealth of musical talent at Durham Johnston.
The summer term sees a break for most of the performing groups. Lunchtime activities will continue after Easter, and there will be some rehearsals for both Chamber Choir and Big Band, but otherwise planning is underway for next year’s concert schedule and repertoire. However, topping last night’s technicolour spectacular will be difficult!
Chance to sing at the BBC Proms
If your child is a member of Senior Choir or Chamber Choir and you think that they would be interested in auditioning to sing with a North East based choir that will be performing in the BBC Proms this year, please find more details by following the this link. http://sagegateshead.com/youthchoiracademy/bbc-proms-north-east-youth-choir/
Please note that the closing date is next Wednesday morning.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
The North-east Disability Sports Awards were held at the Ramside Hall on Monday. The PE department were nominated in the education category. We were the only mainstream secondary school nominated and although we didn’t win we received a special commendation for our work with disability sport.
On Tuesday our U16 basketball team travelled to Gosforth trying to reach the last 16 schools in the country in the English Schools Cup. This was an excellent game with only a few points between the teams throughout the match. With only 4 minutes to go we took a decisive lead going on to win 60 – 52. We now take on Kings Academy, Pontefract after Easter for a place in the national quarter-finals.
On Wednesday our VIth form football team were playing Parkview in the semi-final of the Senior Knockout Cup. We took an 1 – 0 lead and dominated the first half. However Parkview took control after the break going on to reach the final with a 3 – 1 victory. We will get a chance for revenge on Monday when we play them in the final of the league cup.
On Thursday our Year 7 and Year 9 basketball teams were at Newton Aycliffe Leisure for the county finals. Our Year 9 team played some excellent basketball to remain unbeaten and win to become County Champions. Our Year 7’s lost a close first game to Woodham (who went on to win) before winning the rest of their games to finish runners-up.
Also yesterday our Year 8 rugby team travelled to Barnard Castle for the county 7’s tournament. We have a tough draw taking on Durham School in the first match. We never gave up only losing by 1 try. A victory against Conyers saw us finish 3rd in the group and just miss out on a semi-final.
The second day of Durham County School Games has been taking place today.
Excellent news from the Sportshall Athletics where our Year 7 boys and girls teams both won to become County Champions. Unfortunately our Year 8 boys team was badly hit by injury and illness. Despite this they performed well to finish runners-up.
At the table tennis our U15 boys table tennis team started well winning our first two games. We only had one defeat all day eventually finishing runners-up.
Also we had 2 teams competing in the U19 County dodgeball finals. After an excellent day of competition our A team beat Durham VIth form centre in the final game to remain unbeaten and become County champions. Our B team also performed well finishing in 8th place.
Finally Mustafa Tameme and Lucian Sturmey have been competing in the Boccia finals as part of a joint team with Trinity School. They had an excellent competition eventually finishing runners-up.
Congratulations to Year 11 student and elite rower Ellie Hall. After a very successful 5k race in Boston in February at the GB trials, Ellie has since been invited to GB camp in Nottingham next Tuesday (27th). Ellie will spend 3 days working with elite coaches. This is a fantastic achievement for Ellie as although she has rowed for approx 4 years now in crew boats, she has only rowed in a single scull since April 2017 and currently makes her the fastest girl in the region on the water.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
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.
Boys' Football Fixtures and Match Reports 2017-2018
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up until the summer holidays 2019.