Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise



Friday Bulletin

Friday Bulletin Archive

2018 (34)

November (1)

October (3)

September (5)

August (1)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (2)

March (5)

February (2)

January (4)

2017 (42)

December (4)

November (4)

October (3)

September (5)

August (1)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (3)

March (4)

February (2)

January (5)

2016 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (2)

September (5)

July (3)

June (2)

May (4)

April (3)

March (4)

February (3)

January (4)

2015 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (3)

September (5)

July (3)

June (4)

May (4)

April (2)

March (3)

February (3)

January (3)

2014 (37)

December (3)

November (4)

October (4)

September (4)

July (3)

June (4)

May (1)

April (12)

February (2)

Dates for your Diary

  • Durham Johnston Festival of Culture 7 - 19 October
  • October Half Term Holiday - Monday 22 - Friday 26 October (1 week)
  • Year 11 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 5 November 3.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.
  • School closed - Friday 30 November - please click on following link for information regarding term and holiday dates up until July 2020 School term and holiday dates 2018-2020
  • Year 13 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 3 December 3.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.
  • Annual Carol Service - Friday 21 December
  • Christmas Holidays - Monday 24 December - Friday 4 January 2019


Headteacher's Letter

Are you more intelligent than a Chimpanzee?

Here are some facts: Paris is the capital city of France; Chimpanzees are native to Africa and Birmingham City won the League Cup in 2010. The last fact might seem a little surprising, but it is still an indisputable fact. It is the truth. There are other things that we often assume to be ‘facts’, but are actually things that we simply believe to be accurate. We feel that we are instinctively right and fail to do the research that would offer definitive proof. In his book ‘Factfulness’ Hans Rosling suggests that instinct can often distort the way in which we view the world. A key part of the book is based upon a multiple choice test, intended to identify how much, or little, people know about global trends. The questions are below. Have a go.


1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? 
A: 20 per cent
B: 40 per cent
C: 60 per cent

2. Where does the majority of the world population live? 
A: low-income countries
B: middle-income countries
C: high-income countries

3. In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has: 
A: almost doubled
B: remained more or less the same
C: almost halved

4. What is the life expectancy in the world today? 
A: 50 years
B: 60 years
C: 70 years

5. There are 2 billion children in the world today, aged 0 to 15 years old. How many children will there be in the year 2100 according to the United Nations? 
A: 4 billion

B: 3 billion

C: 2 billion

6. The UN predicts that by 2100 the world population will have increased by another 4 billion people. What is the main reason? 
A: there will be more children (aged below 15)
B: there will be more adults (aged 15 to 74)
C: there will be more very old people (aged 75 and older)

7. How did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last 100 years? 
A: more than doubled
B: remained about the same
C: decreased to less than half

8. There are roughly 7 billion people in the world today. Which map shows best where they live? (Each figure represents 1 billion people.)

Where do you think most people live?

9. How many of the world’s one-year-old children today have been vaccinated against some disease? 
A. 20 per cent
B: 50 per cent
C: 80 per cent

10. Worldwide, 30-year-old men have spent 10 years in school, on average. How many years have women of the same age spent in school? 
A: 9 years
B: 6 years
C: 3 years

11. In 1996, tigers, giant pandas and black rhinos were all listed as endangered. How many of these three species are more critically endangered today? 
A: all three
B: one of them
C: none of them

12. How many people in the world have some access to electricity? 
A: 20 per cent
B: 50 per cent
C: 80 per cent

13. Global climate experts believe that, over the next 100 years, the average temperature will: 
A: get warmer
B: remain the same
C: get colder

(The answers are at the end of this week’s items; a transparent ruse to get you to read the bulletin in its entirety). 

If you have failed to correctly answer most of the questions then don’t worry; you are in good company. At a series of important meetings and lectures Rosling asked the same questions of politicians, world leaders and the heads of global organisations. Those learned people all failed too. Why is the quiz so hard? It is because our instinct is to presume certain things to be true, often for negative reasons that contradict the evidence. Chimpanzees would perform more effectively because if A, B and C were written on 3 separate bananas they would select randomly; humans think they know the answer and therefore lean towards what they believe to be right. In addition to being wrong, the majority of people choose the most negative answers possible. Why is this? Rosling suggests instinct; a propensity towards negativity. To quote Mark Twain;

"A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots." It hard to retain a positive world view.Teachers, students and parents can all be guilty of this too. Rosling identifies 10 areas in which our instincts lead us to think negatively regarding progress. We are drawn to the idea that things are getting worse, when actually they are getting better. He outlines why humans often generalise, believe that extreme examples reflect the experience of the majority and that we expect things to be bad or to be getting worse. We believe that progress is a straight line, rather than a squiggle that can move backwards and forwards. We fail to get things in proportion, we don’t calculate risk accurately, think that a slow pace of change represents failure and often think that there is only one way to do or achieve something. We are also keen to blame others when things go wrong. All of these human traits manifest themselves in schools, as they do in any other community or place of work. As ever the challenge is to encourage teachers, parents and, most importantly, students to develop a more positive and analytical view. To do better than a chimpanzee.

Mr O’Sullivan 


Festival of Culture 2018

Our annual Festival of Culture, in conjunction with Durham Book Festival for Schools, started on Tuesday 9th October with a visit from Helen Stephens, author and illustrator of How to Hide a Lion at School.

Over 150 primary pupils visited to hear Helen introduce the newest instalment of the best-selling series: How to Hide a Lion at Christmas.  Helen drew a range of illustrations while the pupils drew alongside her, guided by images on our huge screen.  Helen also provided a private illustration workshop for Durham Johnston GCSE Art students.

On Tuesday afternoon pupils from 2 other visiting schools as well as 100 Durham Johnston pupils enjoyed Dave Shelton, comic creator, writer and illustrator, talking about his career and his new book The Book Case – An Emily Lime Mystery.  Whilst offering advice to aspiring young writers, Dave also provided a private question and answer session for Durham Johnston GCSE Art pupils.

On Wednesday morning we were delighted to host award-winning poet Imtiaz Dharker to Durham Johnston for a ‘Morning of Poetry’.

The event was a sell out and was attended by pupils from eight schools as well as 150 Durham Johnston YR 11 English pupils.  The audience were delighted that Dharker both read and answered questions about her poem The Tissue which is currently being studied for GCSE.

Kate Pankhurst, author and illustrator of the number-one best-selling children’s book Fantastically Great Women who changed the World wowed an audience of over 250 primary aged pupils on Wednesday afternoon. 

Members of the audience were thrilled to dress up as some of the characters from the book including Boudicca and Noor Inayat Khan. Kate then drew an illustration of a suffragette whilst the audience drew alongside her and pupils were delighted to take their own artwork home!

Our thanks go to staff of Durham Book Festival and New Writing North, without whom our literary events would not be possible.

Part of the focus of the 2018 Festival of Culture is the centenary of the Great War and next week pupils will be given the opportunity to ‘experience the food of the trenches’ in a WW1 themed lunch on Wednesday 17th October 2018.



Festival of Culture Events Team


Spooktacular Event

Please click on the following link for details of the Pumpkin Carving Competition to be judged at next Friday's Spooktacular event on Friday.

Pumpkin Carving Competition


Online Safety Newsletter

Please click on the link below to read our latest monthly Online Safety Newsletter for parents and carers. This month our newsletter focuses on the online games Roblox and PUGB as well as advice on live streaming and a new screen time feature on iOS12. 

Online Safety Newsletter - October 2018


Kids' Lit Quiz 2018

Pupils in years 7 and 8 recently completed a 50 question, Kids' Lit quiz.  A huge 'well done' to the following 8 pupils who have been selected out of 530 pupils to represent Durham Johnston in the Kids' Lit Quiz in Newcastle next half term.

Year 7:  Sofia Liden, Favio Skeates, Valentine Cooper

Year 8:  Anaita Mavlonazarova, Thomas Moles, Ellie Hooper, Annisa Baker, Toby Llewellin.

Mrs Walton, KSE English Co-ordinator


Hello Yellow - World Mental Health Day 10 October 2018

Our Young Minds group meets every Monday lunchtime in SS3.  To raise awareness regarding the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing, they invited every sixth form student to write their ‘Top Tip for wellbeing’ on a piece of yellow card – this has been turned into bunting and adorns our Sixth Form Area.

Sara Drummond-Curtis and Doria DeSouzaEtchells, who run the group said:

“It is great to see so many people doing something as simple as wearing a little yellow to raise awareness and show support to those who might be dealing with mental health issues. I hope that after today people who may suffer from mental health issues realise they are not alone and that there are people to support them!”   


Well done to everyone involved.

Mrs Lennon, Head of Sixth Form


RSE Event for Years 10 and 11

RSE Off-Timetable Event 18th and 19th October

Members of a team from outside agencies who specialise in the delivery of RSE are coming to school to work with our young people on the following days:

Thursday 18th October – year 11

Friday 19th October – year 10

The team will address issues raised as priorities in our student consultations this year. We hope this will educate and enrich the wellbeing of our young people. Please click on the following link for a copy of the information letter.  Should you wish to contact us regarding this event or to exercise your right to withdraw your child, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr Blake (2nd in guidance and careers)



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 15 October 2018.



PE Department Notices

On Monday our Year 7 basketball team travelled to Emmanuel College for their first game. It was an excellent performance as we dominated the game going on to win 46 – 2. Also on Monday our Y11 football team were at Manor School, Hartlepool in the English Schools Cup. They started well and took control in the second half going on to win 7 - 2. Our VIth form football also played on Monday taking on Southmoor in the league. They continued their excellent start winning  6 – 3. Finally to complete a successful evening our Year 7 & 8 netball teams both had victories against Hermitage. The Year 7’s won 12 – 4 and the Year 8’s won 29 – 1.

On Tuesday our cross-country teams travelled to Preston Park, Stockton for the 1st round of the English Schools Cup. This was an outstanding afternoon of running for Durham Johnston as we won all four races. In the Junior girls race we scored the best possible score as our girls finished in the first four places, with Charlotte Dillon winning the race. In the Junior boys we finished in the first three places with Sam Terry winning the race. This means that all four teams now qualify for the north-east regional round which takes place at Stewart Park, Middlesbrough on Saturday 10th November.

Also on Tuesday our U13 table tennis teams were at Belmont for the Area tournament. Both teams played very well with our A team reaching the final against St Leonard’s. This was an excellent match which ended 4 – 4. It went to games count-back with St Leonard’s just beating us. However both teams qualify for the County finals which take place in March.

On Wednesday our U13 and U15 girls rugby teams were at West Hartlepool RFU for a county tournament. Both teams played very well with our U15’s winning all their matches. The U13’s won two and only lost one game. Good news is that both teams now qualify for the County finals after Christmas.

Also on Wednesday our Year 7 & 8 netball teams were playing a local derby against St Leonard’s. They continued the success from Monday as they won both matches with the Year 7’s winning 10 – 6 and the Year 8’s 16 – 4.

Thursday was a very busy day with 4 football matches, 5 netball matches and a swimming gala. The Year 8 & 10 teams travelled to High Tunstall, Hartlepool in the County Cup. The Year 10’s played some excellent football to progress to the quarter-finals with a straightforward 4 – 1 win. The Year 8 game was much closer and finished 1 – 1. A dramatic penalty shoot-out followed which we eventually won after 14 penalties, thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Harry Alderson.

Our Year 7 team were at Heworth Grange in the Tyneside Cup. They also played very well going on to win 6 – 2. Our only defeat came for our VIth form team who lost a close match 4 -1 to St Robert’s.

Our Year 10 netball team started the evening with a close defeat to Hermitage, losing 2 -7. This match was followed by 4 games against Emmanuel College all of which were comfortable victories: Year 7 won 16 – 0, Year 8 won 20 – 0, Year 9 won 16 – 2 and Year 10 won 5 – 0.

During the afternoon 25 of our club swimmers took part in the NE division 200m relay competition, each team swam an medley relay and a freestyle relay. We had teams in each age group apart from senior boys. Schools from as far as Leeds and Alnwick participated at Freemans Quay swimming pool in a really exciting gala. All of Durham Johnston's teams were excellent, however our senior girls were presented with a bronze medal for their performance in the medley relay; Rosa Pollard Smith swam the backstroke leg, followed by Emily Power swimming the breaststroke, Leia Davison the butterfly and Naomi Erlebach the 50m freestyle. Well done for a fantastic achievement, being 3rd best in the whole of the North East.

Finally good luck tonight to our Year 8 rugby team who travel to St Johns’ for a friendly match.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Jiujitsu Medalist

Massive congratulations to Faith Milburn (Y7) on winning a Silver medal in Jiujitsu, she was competing in Wolverhampton against opponents who have have had lots more experience. This silver medal means Faith is second best in Europe for her age and weight.

In addition, Faith has also won a gold medal in Glasgow, meaning she is number one in Scotland. This is a massive achievement as Faith has only been competing for five months and defeated opponents who were grey and black belt, which usually takes three years to achieve.

Mr Kidd, PE Department


Quiz Answers

1: C, 2: B, 3: C, 4: C, 5: C, 6: B, 7: C, 8: A, 9: B, 10: A, 11: C, 12: C, 13: A


Football Match Reports Link

Football Match Reports


Term and holiday dates 2018-2020

School term and holiday dates 2018-2020