What do the following numbers have to do with the Great War, County Durham and Durham Johnston?
888,246? 10.58 a.m.? 20%? 7.69%? 1 out of 466? 37 and 2 out of 3?
The above question has been central to our remembrance assemblies this week. The scale of the Great War can often be slightly overwhelming for students. The scale is difficult to grasp and the above numbers have helped to personalise the conflict and to make it understandable.
George Price was one of the 888,246 British men that died between 1914 and 1918. What makes his death sadly unique is that he was the last British soldier to die. His regiment had not been informed of the time and date of the Armistice and on 11th November 1918 he was sent out on patrol, opposite the town of Ville-sur-Haine. Accounts of his death vary, but he was shot by a German sniper at 10.57 and pronounced dead at 10.58 a.m. The most common explanation of his death was that he reacted to movement from a Belgian woman or family, believing them to be in danger. George Price was Canadian, but his family had roots in County Durham.
County Durham was hugely affected by the conflict, with large numbers of men joining the Pal’s Battalions formed by the Durham Light Infantry. Cities such as Belfast, Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester suffered heavier numerical casualties, but, proportionally, Durham suffered the greatest losses. 20% of all men over the age of 18 from died during the conflict, with a 7.69% loss of population recorded in Durham City between the 1911 and 1921 census. Of the 466 villages in County Durham, only one recorded no loss of life; all 5 of the men who fought from Hunstanworth (pictured below) returned home, but the other 465 settlements suffered losses.
The 37 men associated with Durham Johnston that were killed during the conflict came from a range of villages, towns and from Durham itself. They were from New Brancepth, Brandon, Langley Moor, Ushaw Moor and Esh Winning: from Crossgate, Neville’s Cross, Bowburn and Gilesgate; from Houghton, Hetton, Murton and Cornsay Colliery. Two of the men on our memorial were from Shincliffe, brothers Ben and William Moody. (William is pictured above). Their younger brother, James Moody, also fought on the Western Front, but survived after being wounded. The Moody brothers lost their Father in 1905 and were raised by their mother. They all attended the school when it was located in South Street. Conscientious and bright, they are present in the school archive as keen sportsmen and prize winners. William trained as an accountant and worked within the Education Department of the County Council. Ben and James trained as teachers; Ben moving to Hull and James being one of the teachers that founded Bownburn School. William and Ben died within a week of each other in heavy fighting around Arras in May 1917. Mrs Moody received two telegrams in quick succession informing her that 2 of her 3 sons had been killed. Large numbers of men died in the Great War, but each death had a personal impact, altering families and the fabric of the wider society. As one Year 7 student asked me on Tuesday, ‘How did she cope with the loss of two sons?’
Thursday’s remembrance assembly for 6th form students was attended by Bruce Kent, the person most associated in Britain with CND and the peace movement. He had been speaking at the Town Hall on the previous evening. Now 89, he spoke in an honest and forthright manner with the students about his reasons for supporting the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament from the 1950s onwards: about the absurdity of spending vast fortunes on nuclear weapons when other services are desperate for funding; the silence over arms sales to countries such as Saudi Arabia; the unquestioned role that charities play in shaping public discourse and the importance of young people actively trying to change the world. You may disagree or agree with many of those points, but it is good that students engage with those idea and understand that they can, actively, try to shape society. Bruce Kent also met with Year 7 students to discuss the 1980s film, ‘When the Wind Blows.’ He was an excellent example of long- term commitment, public service and stoicism; qualities demonstrated by some current politicians, but lacking in many others. I’ll finish by paraphrasing one of his comments to the collected 6th form: ‘Why are we always having remembrance ceremonies? Shouldn’t we focus on why wars start in the first place and stop them, rather than remembering those who have died. Surely we need to find out if problems can be solved by discussion before fighting.” It’s a rough approximation. He made the point much more effectively and I would like to thank him on behalf of all those who had the pleasure of meeting him.
A J O'Sullivan
One of our Year 13 students, Stefan Szablewski, recently visited Auschwitz. The visit was organised in conjunction with the Holocaust Education Trust.
In early 1932, two girls were born in Warsaw, Poland. As the girls grew up, they lived relatively similar lives. They both had the same arguments with their brothers. They felt the same curiosity about the world, the same sadness when someone upset them at school and the same excitement at being allowed to go out and play with their friends. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the two seven-year-olds felt the same fear when the Luftwaffe bombed Warsaw, and the same curiosity after the Polish surrender at seeing soldiers with eye-catching grey uniforms and a strange new language marching through the city. Neither of these two similar girls living their similar parallel lives ever did a single thing that we wouldn’t expect any little girl ever to do. There was however a terrible difference. In the summer of 1942, one of these now 10-year- olds was herded into a cattle truck, taken to Treblinka death camp, and murdered upon arrival in a gas chamber. Her name was Sara Zelikhowski. Her crime? To be born a Jew. The other girl was called Basia Czerniajew. She survived the war, came to England and lived a very happy life. She was my grandmother. There is no valid reason for why her life should have been any more valuable than Sara’s, or anyone other person killed in the Holocaust. There is no valid reason for why Basia deserved to see the world, to get married and to have children and grandchildren, and for why Sara did not. They were both human beings, as human as everyone who died in the Holocaust.
Sara’s death wasn’t just ‘bad luck’. It was the result of scapegoating, degradation, venomous malice and premeditated mass murder. Last month I had the privilege to visit Auschwitz with the Holocaust Memorial Trust, where I saw first-hand the chilling vestiges of the intolerance that led to Sara’s death. The moment we start looking for reasons to degrade people, to tell them that they’re not worth as much as others, to look down on them because they’re not the same as us, whether it be because of religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality or even political values, that is the moment at which there is potential for things to spiral into the malevolence and rabid hatred of genocide that we saw in the Holocaust, in Rwanda, in Bosnia, in Myanmar. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone. But we must be aware of crossing the line from legitimate disagreement into thinking that we are superior to others. We can’t rely on those in power to suddenly ‘create’ tolerance. We need at a local, personal and individual level to take the initiative and to try to be as tolerant, understanding and open to difference as we possibly can.
Last Tuesday 6th November students from Years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 participated in the UKMT Senior Mathematics Challenge in James Hall. We are pleased to report that 59 of the students won either bronze, silver or gold certificates in the competition, with 12 students earning places in the next round of the competition: the Senior Mathematics Kangaroo.
Mr Patterson, Maths Department
Human Geography Fieldwork
This Wednesday and Friday our Year 11 geography students have been collecting data in Durham to help them research what the biggest challenge is that the central business district is facing. The students have worked fantastically and collected data effectively, whilst behaviour has also been exemplary.
Well done year 11!
Mr Ray, Geography Department
On Wednesday this week, our Year 13 English class went to see Othello at the Northern Stage in Newcastle. We all enjoyed the opportunity to see the text we have been studying brought to life on stage by a dynamic cast.
Unlike the productions we have studied in class, the production was a modern take on Othello. Shakespeare’s work was interpreted in an extremely unique way, choosing to focus on the issues of religion and race, perhaps in an attempt to relate a nearly 400-year-old play to issues that continue to prevail in society today. Though the dialogue remained true to the text, modern costumes, minimalist setting and modern music helped to define the Othello (in the programme’s words) as a ‘Moor for our time’.
Though watching the play was a rewarding and useful experience for our studying of Othello, the discussion provoked by the production was equally, if not more so, insightful. Though many us enjoyed the attempt to modernise Othello, with the choice of current crude drinking songs and use of modern music coupled with outrageous actions helping to define the debauchery of Cyprus by modern standards. Equally the use of minimalist setting was on the whole viewed as effective, especially in the use of lighting to echo the emotions of the characters. However, discussion of Desdemona’s death scene where she was strangled on a yoga mat, after having mediated with her iPhone still in hand, did leave many of us unsatisfied. Furthermore, many of us also found a few of the character choices puzzling, with the older, noble Othello played by a young, fresh-faced actor and the cunning and slimy Iago’s performance lacking passion. However, what was agreed on by the class was the performance of Emilia who is often overlooked but, in this production, stole the show with the performance of her final monologue.
Overall, we loved having the opportunity to see radically different and modern take on Othello, despite finding ourselves feeling perhaps in doing this much of Shakespeare’s original meaning was lost.
Rhian Goddard, Year 13 English Literature student
Children in Need Campaign 2018
Many thanks to the students, parents and staff for their generosity in supporting the school's fund raising in aid of the Children In Need Campaign 2018. At the first count this morning the total money raised stands at £1,370 with the anticipation of more to come late.
Friday November 30th - 15.45 - 16.15
Johnston Brass and several Durham Music Service ensembles will be performing at a Neville’s Cross Community Association Christmas Event at Sheraton Park.
Saturday December 8th – 14.00
Junior Choir, Johnston Brass and selected soloist perform in a Christmas Concert at North Road Methodist Church.
School Christmas Concert – Thursday 13th December, James Hall.
First Half (6.30pm) to include Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir and selected soloists.
Second Half (7.30pm) to include Big Band, Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra, Chamber Choir and selected soloists.
Tickets for each part of this concert may be purchased from the Music Department. For further details please see last Friday’s Bulletin.
Celebrations Evening – Monday 17th December – 18.00 to 18.45pm
Big Band provide musical entertainment in the school atrium as pupils and their supporters arrive.
If any pupil would like to play or sing a solo in either the concert on December 8th or December 13th please would they see me in the near future.
James Etherington Musical Award
Durham Johnston Pupils who are grade 6+ standard on voice or an instrument are invited to enter the James Etherington Music Award. The closing date for entries is 12th January 2019. For more details please follow this link. https://www.thejamesetheringtonaward.org/
If your son or daughter is entered in the Autumn session for either an Associated Board or Trinity College examination and you feel that they would benefit from some extra support in developing their aural skills in preparation for the exam, please do encourage them to book an aural training session with a member of the music department.
Mr Holmes , Subject Leader for Music
Sixth Form Societies 2018
Sixth Form students have the opportunity to join our extensive range of student-led societies which meet regularly during lunchtime and after school each week.
We tell students "Not something here for you? Start one"
Please click here to see what societies are currently offered.
Interview Support Workshop
Last Friday, 30 Year 13 students from Durham Johnston attended an Oxbridge interview support workshop present by an admissions academic from Wadham College, Oxford. This was an excellent session where students participated fully, asked pertinent questions and were given helpful advice by Catherine, the visiting academic. We were also pleased to welcome 10 guest students from neighbouring school, who also made an excellent contribution to a very successful twilight session.
Mr Wilbraham, Deputy Head of Sixth Form
This week we would like to celebrate the amazing work of Year 13. The two examples shown are representative of the skill and dedication of our students.
The drawing is by William Mansell 13AK and the painting is by Anna Simon 13UA
Mr Devlin, Subject Leader for Art
PE Department News
On Monday our Year 8 indoor cricket team, continued their season with a trip to Framwellgate. We batted first and scored a solid 60 runs. Framwellgate needed 8 runs from the last over to win and got the winning run with one ball to spare.
On Tuesday our Year 7 girls basketball team made the long journey to Trinity High School, Manchester in the English Schools Cup. We started nervously against a very big team. However as our confidence grew we took a 6 point lead into half-time. We continued to play well in the second half going on to win by 8 points to go top of the North of England group.
The U14 girls football team faced their toughest battle on Tuesday in an away fixture at Easington Academy in the County Cup. We always knew this was going to be a strong team, with many academy players and a Sunderland player on the team. However the girls from Durham Johnston, as always, fought their very hardest and played some of the best football we have seen.
The game ended 1-0 to Easington knocking us out of the Cup. All of the staff and supporters commented upon what an excellent match it had been.
Also on Tuesday our Year 10 exam PE students hosted the primary Sportshall athletic event in our sportshall. All of the students had training prior to the event and acted as great role models for the younger children throughout the morning. Each school praised the leaders for their enthusiasm and commitment to the role. Feedback from members of the School Sports Partnership team and one of our local primary schools can be seen below.
" I just wanted to say thank you for hosting yesterday's primary sportshall athletics event - the venue and leaders were fab as always. I've had high praise from Alan at St Margaret's saying 'I thought this morning was excellent and the sports leaders were particularly strong this year. Can they be used at the Durham final?'. "
On Wednesday our U14 netball team travelled to the Beacon of Light for a County tournament. This was an excellent day of high standard netball. We progressed to the semi-final where we met Durham High. This was another outstanding game which we just lost to Durham High who went on to win the competition.
Also on Wednesday our Year 7 football team were at home to St Cuthbert’s in the Tyneside Cup. They proved too strong for us going on to win 4 – 1.
Yesterday was a very busy day as during the morning we travelled to Framwellgate for the Area cross-country championships. Our runners produced some excellent performances. We are still waiting for official results but it looks likely that we won 5 or 6 of the 8 races. Congratulations to the following who won their race to become Area Champion: Sam Mason, Charlotte Dillon, Sam Terry, Sam Gibson, Erin Keeler-Clarke, Ben Horsfield and Laura Cookson.
Later during the afternoon we had 23 rowers who had qualified for the County Indoor rowing finals which took place at Maiden Castle. This was another very successful evening as we dominated the competition with 18 of them qualifying for the north-east finals. We also won 6 out of the 12 races with the following becoming County Champions: Tabby Barry, Elise Lambert, Tom Pfetscher, Dylan Swinburn, Ella Sampson and Adam Morris.
Also last night our Year 7 & 8 netball teams were at home in league games against Choristers School. We played very well winning both games comfortably with the Year 7’s winning 11 – 3 and the Year 8’s 13 – 1.
Finally good luck tonight to our U13 girls football team who are at home against Easington in the County Cup.
A free Christmas event on your doorstep! Nevilles Cross Chrismas Festival based at Ustinov college on Friday 30 November 15:00 - 18:30. Please come, and please do register your interest on the Facebook event too! (Donation required)
Featuring 'Johnston Brass,' Durham District Wind band and the Durham Music Service Flute choir
Hot food, (Churros, Pizza) SERVED TIL 7PM!
Live music, (Durham Johnsons Brass band and Durham Music Service)
Dancing LED stickmen
Free face painting and bling bar
Illuminate festive characters
A lantern parade to St Johns Church (free lantern to decorate)
Candlelit Choir at Church (17:30 - 18:00)
Free mince pie, treat and hot drink at church.
This event is 100% volunteer-led, the event is designed to promote community cohesion and give you a chance to feedback on how to make NX more exciting and interesting.
Capital equipment purchased for the event will be available to the local schools and community group to use free of charge.
Following last year's pilot event we started a gardening, knitting and world kitchen club.
Funding by County Durham Community Foundation and the Big Lottery.
Please click on the link below for updated information on extra-curricular activities offered during 1st and 2nd lunch and after school.