Head's Letter to Parents
The Easter holidays always provide an opportunity to catch up on books received as Christmas presents that I intend to read immediately, but never get around to. An example is ‘All Out War.’ A number of students had also recommended that I read Tim Shipman’s overview of Brexit. It is an excellent, well written book that suggests a number of telling things about class, status and the British education system. This is best summarised by the opening paragraph of Shipman’s introduction. Just before David Cameron entered Downing Street in 2010 he met with an old friend from Eton. In conversation the anonymous friend remembers the following conversation:
‘Isn’t it odd that by the next time I see you, you will be the prime minister?’
The friend asked whether he was ready, whether Cameron felt up to the job. With the insouciance that became his trademark, Cameron replied, ‘How hard can it be?’
Like England in 1805, Cameron clearly expected. It is very easy to fire class-based barbs at David Cameron and other, privately educated politicians. So, I have, by using the above photograph from 1987 of the privileged Bullingdon Club, of which Cameron was a member. However, there were a number of articles published in March and April based upon the research of Robert Plomin and Emily Smith-Woolley, both of King’s College London on the importance of innate genetic ability, socio-economic factors and the type of school that people attend in influencing academic achievement.
They make for interesting reading when considering a number of the main figures to have influenced political discourse in recent years.
There are a significant number of caveats attached to the research, but it is interesting to view it in light of Sathnam Sanghera’s article in the Sunday Times on 14th April 2018. If people are never given a chance, how can we assess how much potential they have? Unlike David Cameron, Sanghera attended Cambridge University. He grew up in Wolverhampton and is from a large, working class Indian family. He identifies a number of often cited issues associated with Oxbridge. In 2016 more offers were made to students from Eton than those on free school meals nationally. There are eight times as many students from the London suburb of Richmond at Oxford than there are from Salford, Hartlepool, Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Stoke combined. All of which tends to suggest that Sanghera’s English degree at Cambridge was the exception, not the rule. He suggests that the aforementioned discrepancies have nothing to do with innate ability, but with culture and expectation. Maybe it is hard to develop a ‘trademark insouciance’ in Wolverhampton or Hartlepool. Maybe there are other things to be getting on with.
His article concludes with a quote from the parent of a prospective Cambridge student. “We are at the bottom, hoping, and they are at the top, expecting.” Expectation is relevant to education. There should be an expectation of fairness and equality of opportunity. If we only hope for those things at a national level, then they are clearly not being provided.
Year 10 Mock Examination Timetable
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 Intervention Timetable
Please click on the link below for details of lunchtime and after-school support session available to Year 11 students.
Many thanks to all those parents who have sent in a deposit for this trip in October. We have enough students to make the trip viable, so the second instalment of £100 is ude now. It is not too late to sign up. Any other students who are interested in joining the party should see Mrs Bothwell as soon as possible.
This week we were very excited to have our digital leaders and in particular Rachel featured on the official site for the organisation “Code Club”.
The article features Rachel who is our head digital leader who has been a fantastic role model for girls at Durham Johnston School and inspiring them to try their hand at coding.
Mr Garside, Computing 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 23 March 2018.
We have been contacted by a family who were 'rescued' by two of our sixth form students during a medical emergency earlier in the week. A car, with its horn sounding, pulled over, close to two of our Year 13 students who were on their way home. In the car was a three-year-old boy had suffered a seizure. Cressida Appleton, one of of the students involved, and fortunately, first aid trained, removed her own coat and placed the child on it, in the recovery position. At the same time, Lauren Donaghy, the other student, took charge of another passenger in the car, a three-week-old baby, whilst calling the emergency services. An ambulance quickly arrived to deal with the situation. The family have expressed their deep gratitude for the practical help and emotional support proffered by our students.
We are not surprised by our students' action, but very proud.
Another outstanding year of results for our students in the Intermediate Certificate in Personal Finance with the LIBF. 65 Year 13 students have been studying financial capability modules in:
Well done to all.
Mrs Lennon, Head of Sixth Form
We were pleased to receive two lovely letters of thanks received from fund raising activities at the end of last term. The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital NHS Charity wrote to thank us for the donation to the Ward 10 fund which will go towards helping medical and nursing staff maintain their high standards of treatment and care. The County Durham Foodbank wrote to thank us for the wonderful amount of food collected. We are pleased to know that the food collected will make a real difference to a person or family somewhere in County Durrham.
Evensong – Monday 23rd April, Durham Cathedral, 17.15 – 18.00
Chamber Choir will be singing Choral Evensong in Durham Cathedral next Monday. Rehearsal in the quire at 15.50 and all are welcome to attend the service. Please be seated by 17.05 and the service will be over by 18.00 at the latest.
Music tuition during study leave for years 11, 12 and 13
During study leave pupils are more than welcome to come into school for instrumental/ vocal lessons and they need not be in school uniform if they are on site for this sole purpose. If they are unable to attend lessons, please would you be kind enough to encourage them to inform their teacher, in order that this time can be reallocated.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
PE Department News
A busy week as the football and basketball seasons come to a conclusion and the start of the summer activities.
On Tuesday our U16 basketball team took on Kinga Academy, Pontefract in the “last 16” of the English Schools Cup.
We started very well scoring 30 points in the first quarter. We controlled the game after that going on to win 72 – 45 and reach the National quarter-finals.
Also on Tuesday our Year 10 football team played Woodham in a cup match. They also started well taking an early lead before going on to win 3 – 1.
On Wednesday there was a great turn out for Year 7 cricket trials as 36 students turned up. After an excellent practice a team was selected. Good luck to them as they play their first game tonight – a friendly against Castleview School.
On Thursday an incredible 70 girls turned up for rounders practice – selecting teams is going to be a real challenge with some many keen and talented girls. Also yesterday our u16 table tennis team were at St Leonard’s for the Tyneside tournament. We are still waiting for official results but it looks likely we finished runners-up after losing our final game to Biddick.
Finally last night our Year 7, 8, 9 & 11 football teams were taking on Sedgefield. Sedgefield always have strong teams and last night proved no exception.
Our Year 7 team won 5 – 2, but there were defeats for our other three teams. The final league games take place next week with all our teams still near the top of the table.
Excellent news for Joe Hugill, a member of our Year 9 team, who over the Easter holidays represented Sunderland AFC in the U14 premier league international tournament and they managed to beat Chelsea on penalties in the final. The tournament included all the qualifying category 1 academy teams such as Man City, Chelsea, Aston Villa, West Ham etc and also international teams such as Ajax, Bayern Munich and Villarreal so it was a very prestigious tournament to play in. It was outstanding for Sunderland Academy to win something they had never come close to in the past. Joe scored 3 goals in the tournament to be his teams top scorer.
Finally, a reminder that the parents. meeting for the Malaga sports trips this summer is taking place on Tuesday in James Hall starting at 6.30pm.
Mr Hopper. Subject Leader for PE
The Under 14 girls' football team have finally got a date for the National Final. They will face Blenheim High School on Wednesday 23rd May at 11.30. The match will be streamed live on the esfa YouTube site. More details to follow.
Mrs White, PE Department
Boys' Football Fixtures and Match Reports 2017-2018
Holiday and Term Dates
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up until summer 2019.