Dates for your Diary
In the 1932 American election Franklin Roosevelt was challenging the incumbent, Herbert Hoover. The two men were encouraged to engage in debate. From a technological perspective, the most obvious place to do so was via the radio; 50% of American households owned a radio by 1932. Both men were encouraged to deliver radio messages that would be nationally broadcast. As the sitting President, Hoover decided to speak second; a logical choice as it afforded him the opportunity to critique and refute anything that Roosevelt might say. Both men were allotted a maximum of twenty minutes. Roosevelt began by outlining the policies that we now refer to as the New Deal. He spoke in a precise and clear manner for exactly 18 minutes and then stopped. After 30 seconds of silence many Americans checked the volume on their radios. After a minute they turned the radio off and on again. By 1 minute and 30 seconds many had changed the channel, or turned the radio off completely. When Hoover began his address the radio audience had been reduced by nearly 50%. Roosevelt is often referred to as ‘The Great Communicator’ and, like all those who communicate effectively, he knew the value of silence.
On Wednesday I attended the lower school public speaking competition, now in its 32nd year, which was very well organised by Mrs Scott and fully supported by the English department. The 1930s are often recalled as an ‘age of anxiety’ or a ‘dark valley’ in human history. Young people are often very perceptive regarding the public mood and the nature of the ten speeches on Wednesday would suggest that they see a parallel between the 1930s and 2018. The finalists shared their thoughts on the dangers of artificial intelligence (just because we can, should we?): racist attitudes; the beginning of a new dark ages with regard to how humans debase themselves to gain viewers on social media; how the lack of national resources for those with mental health issues represents a national tragedy; the cruelty of animal testing and the ways in which the media demonises particular groups to generate conflict. Each finalist had thought carefully about what they wanted to say. They used words in a structured, considered and precise manner. They had a clear understanding of what they wanted to convey; they set out to persuade, not to threaten or dominate. They understood the potential impact of the words and phrases that they were using because, ‘Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.’ That is very much against the trend of contemporary discourse. People often do not think carefully; they act impulsively and often use words to deliberately cause harm or offence. Sometimes this is intentional, sometimes not; but words develop a life of their own once they have been posted or shared. They linger after the situation has changed, or the people using them have matured and are embarrassed by their previous thoughtlessness.
These are societal problems and our young people need time and space to develop without being overwhelmed by the constant need to update, check, share, respond. All schools need to offer a structured response to this worrying trend. To address this we are making a slight change to our policy regarding mobile phones. At present mobile phones have to be invisible in our school building; as of September they will be invisible across the wider school site. This will bring us into line with other local schools, advice from the Department of Education and a range of psychological and medical studies that highlight the harm that can be caused when students spend too much time ‘on line.’ Good communication skills are essential in the modern world, but thoughtless or inappropriate examples can adversely affect and weaken society. Some of the greatest communicators in history have understood the importance of silence in certain circumstances.
“Let thy speech be better than silence. Or be silent.”Dionysius
DofE Bronze – Year 8 and 9
An assembly giving information about Durham Johnston’s Bronze DofE programme was given this week, and letters and application forms are available for pupils to collect from Mr Smith, Ms Clay and Mr Briggs. Students who wish to take part in the award programme should collect a letter and return to Reception by Friday 6th July.
Students in year 9 who did not register to take part last year are also welcome to join.
Information about Silver and Gold will be sent out in September.
If you would like further information, please visit www.dofe.org, or contact one of the DofE team via the school office.
Ms I Clay and the DofE Team
Durham CAS Hub
Durham Johnston School is a Computing At Schools (CAS) centre of excellence. As part of that Mr Garside and Mr Green from Consett Academy lead a CAS regional hub with the aim of supporting the teaching of Computer Science in the Durham Area.
This week we were very proud to learn that the Durham hub had won “Hub of the year” award at the CAS national conference. The award included winning £500 worth of robotics equipment to use across the region to inspire students and support the digital making elements of the Computing curriculum .
Mr Garside, Strategic Leader for ICT
Word of the Week
Beating Cervical Cancer
The HPV vaccine is being offered to all 12 and 13 year old girls in school in September 2018.
Please see the attached E letter which explains that the Childhood Immunisation Team is moving to electronic consent. Please note this form CAN be completed on smart phones and tablets.
Mrs J Coady , Attendance & Welfare Manager
Sixth Form Notices
Picnic in the Park
We held our very first 'Picnic in the Park' event last Saturday with the Big Band in the School grounds. The sun was shining and students performed a range of traditional Jazz standards and Fusion pieces to a large audience of family, friends and staff. The Big Band played extremely well and have gone from strength to strength since formation in 2015, rehearsing every Friday afternoon - many of the arrangements are professional standard and this is testament to their hard work. Picnics were enjoyed and there was even an appearance of a Spitfire flying overhead to mark 100 years of the RAF, just as we finished 'Moonlight Serenade', a 1940's classic - Glenn Miller would have been proud!
Mrs Anderson, Music Department
DJ World Cup
World cup fever has continued with the year 8 competition at Durham Johnston this week, each house have been chosen to represent a country and play fixtures against the other houses.
After 3 very close matches in the group stages meant that Mexico would play Peru for 3rd and 4th place and unbeaten Switzerland would play Argentina in the 1st and 2nd place final and become year 8 house football champions.
Mexico unfortunately were the unlucky team and finished in 4th overall earning 25 house points for Annand, meaning Peru were victorious and earned 50 house points for Kenny. The game was won 4-0 by Peru, the goals came from Louis Newman (2), Thomas Johnson and Will McAdam.
Today was the year 8 final with Switzerland against Argentina. Unfortunately, Argentina lost out to Switzerland in a very good game of football. The final score was 5-1 in favour of Switzerland. The goals came from Dominic McCabe (2), Charlie Hewitson, Kian Wilson and Jack Morris.
The Year 9 competition starts on Monday 2 July.
On Monday our Year 9 cricket team were playing Easington in the quarter-final of the County Cup. We batted first and scored 96 runs. It looked like a close game as Easington needed 24 from the last 5 overs but they had one good over going on to win with 12 balls to spare.
The cricket continued on Tuesday as our Year 8’s took on St Cuthbert’s in the Tyneside cup. This was a one-sided game as we scored over 150 runs in our 20 overs then restricted them to only 47. We now play St Leonard’s on Monday in the semi-final.
Also on Tuesday our Year 10 team were at Lanchester St Bede’s in the quarter-final of the County Cup. We batted first and scored an impressive 110 runs. However they also batted well,passing our total with 2 overs to spare.
The final cricket game of the week was a friendly against St Leonard’s for our Year 7’s. This time St Leonard’s batted first scoring 122. However on a very dry pitch and fast outfield we played very well eventually winning by 4 wickets.
Also on Wednesday was the U15 Tyneside tennis tournament which was being held at Durham Johnston. We started with a comfortable 6 – 0 victory against Dame Allan’s. We continued to win our matches to set up a final with Kings School. Again we proved too strong for them going on to win 5 – 1 to become Tyneside Champions.
Good luck today to our U13 and U15 girls rugby teams who are on Seaburn beach for a beach festival.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
Term and holiday dates 2018-2020