This question has been integral to my time as a teacher, both in the classroom and as a school leader. I have asked the question of almost every class that I have taught, because a significant aspect of history relates to the nature of change, whether revolution or reform. The British Empire, the French, Russian and American Revolutions. They all involve deconstruction; old system being dismantled and broken down. Taking things apart is great fun as the images above suggest; putting them back together is a more worrying proposition; it is easy to identify what doesn’t work, but not what might make things work more effectively. Many revolutions take wrong turns into extremism because destruction is easier than modification or reconstruction.
Deconstruction can be cathartic and of huge symbolic importance. The Berlin Wall was shoddily built in August 1961 and gleefully knocked down in 1989. Some things should be destroyed. The destruction of Palmyra and the damage done to the Bamiyan Buddas were acts of ideological vandalism; iconoclasm at its worst.
If taking things apart was confined purely to the history classroom, than life would be much more straightforward. As a school leader I have gone through three significant changes to the exam system. Some of which was clearly necessary, others aspects based upon political expedience or the ideological conviction of different Secretaries for Education.
We have recently been making a number of appointments and, as part of the associated lesson observations, I have spent time with a retiring colleague who has led one of our departments very successfully for a number of years. He is a model of calm professionalism and we were discussing the future of the department and he expressed his wariness of ‘reckless optimism’ and the compulsion to change things too quickly without a clear understanding of the possible consequences. As a 16 year old he had joined the Merchant Navy and had been sent to sea. He was given a small cabin below deck and began to unpack. Being a fastidious type, he noticed that the wall of his cabin had a large number of screws, nails and beer mats randomly affixed. He removed each in turn so that the wall looked presentable. That night he was beset by creaks, groans and grating noises as the cabin walls moved. He spent the rest of the week trying to put all of the items that he had removed back into the correct places. Don’t take things apart unless you know how to put them back together. The sailors that he was replacing had known what they were doing; they had done things for a reason. Change what is necessary, keep what works. His story reminded me of the constant mantra of another experienced colleague. Every time we discussed a possible change he would comment, ‘Is it sustainable?’ If you do it now, will it still be possible to do it in a week? A month. A year? If not, take care. Recent governments have been keen to undo and take apart, we will see in the summer if their new system is an improvement. If it is sustainable. Has it been put back together effectively?
A J O’Sullivan
Year 11 Intervention
Please click on the link below for the latest intervention timetable.
We are also running Maths and Pizza revision sessions which will take place the night before each of the maths papers. Please click on the link below to read a copy of the letter that has been distribued to students.
Please click the link below for important information regarding the forthcoming public examinations
The leaflet provides students with details of exam regulations during the examination period, dates when examinations results will be available to collect, dates when certificates and coursework can be collected and details of post-results services deadlines.
Students in Years 11, 12, and 13 will be provided with a printed copy of this leaflet.
We have received the following information from Durham Police regarding online safety which we would like to share with parents and carers.
We would like to take the opportunity to remind parents about some online dangers faced by our young people. Apps and websites can be a great tool for youngsters to find out about the world, but some areas of the internet are not always safe for children. Our children are sometimes called “Digital Natives” - they are growing up in a world surrounded by social media, they seem very comfortable when adults are sometimes much more nervous of the technology. Children are naive, they are still learning about the world and sometimes they can be taken advantage of by predatory adults.
Durham Police have once again been involved in an investigation where school children may have potentially been exploited so, to try and prevent any re-occurrence, we would like to suggest the following:
Advice on setting up Parental Controls is available from www.internetmatters.org by following the parental controls links. Alternatively, the NSPCC have teamed up with O2 to provide free support on setting up controls which is available by ringing their helpline on 0808 8005002
Mr Garside, Strategic Leader, ICT
Thursday was a very proud day for our DofE Team. Ms Clay, DoFE Co-ordinator, received an invitation to the Gold Awards Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to see past students being presented with their Gold DofE award.
Completing a Gold award is always a huge achievement, and it was lovely to be able to celebrate this achievement with so many young people. The sun shone as brightly as the smiles from the students and proud parents, and it was a very good day!
Over the past three weeks a group of our year 7 students have been completing their entry for the annual Help A South African School competition. The competition aims to develop their understanding of the country and the crucial role of the farming industry. The students have worked exceptionally, hard as you will see from their entry above. We wish them the best of luck!
Mr Ray, Geography Department
Year 7 have been working hard to research the sacred Abrahamic texts, The Torah, The Bible and the Quaran. Students have been very creative in the presentation of their work and have produced some beautiful and informative projects.
Miss Smith, RE Department
Word of the Week
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 Monday 21 May 2018
Thank you very much to colleagues at County Durham Sport for supplying our National finalists with water bottles, bags and t-shirts in preparation for their trip to the final at the Madjeski Stadium next Wednesday 23 May at 11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. Troph e the mascot is allowed to join us!
Below is a link to watch the game live and support the team if you are able to.
Mrs White, PE Department
PE Department News
Congratulations to our U16 basketball team who were in Manchester last Saturday taking part in the National finals. We took on St George’s Academy from London in the semi-final and after a slow and nervous start we played very well, actually outscoring them in the second half. However we never made up for the start losing by 30 points. Still a great achievement against the team who went on to become national champions. In the 3rd / 4th place off we took on County Upper School from Bury St Edmonds. It was a similar story as we lost by a similar score against a very tall team! Well done for reaching the National finals and finishing 4th in the country.
On Monday our U15 cricket team were at Hartlepool CC competing in the National Twenty20 event. Unfortunately they lost a close quarter-final to High Tunstall.
Also on Monday our Year 7 boys and girls rugby league teams were at St James Park for a tournament. They both performed very well winning all their games
On the evening our U13 boys and girls tennis teams were both taking part in the county finals. Our boys won 6 – 0 to become county champions and our girls finished runners-up to Durham High.
On Wednesday it was the turn of our U15 boys to play in the County final and it was great news as they won 5 – 1 to also become County Champions. Our Year 9 cricket team won a very close County cup game on Wednesday beating Parkview in a sudden-death over after the scores were tied.
Athletics this week was also good as both our Junior boys and girls won the first round of the English Schools Cup. Our Inter teams both finished third.
The U15 county pentathlon was at Monkton yesterday. We are still waiting for official results but it looks likely that Emily Salmon won the event to become County Champion.
Mr Hopper - Subject Leader, PE
Extra Curricular Activities
Term and holiday dates up until summer 2020