“Sir, I was completing my homework on Anti-Semitism in 1930s Germany and I found a website which said that the Holocaust didn’t happen. Is that a common view?”
A year 9 student asked me the above question at the end of a lesson. He waited until other students had left and was clearly a little nervous. The growth of Anti-Semitism in 1930s Germany and its historical antecedents has been a feature of the KS3 curriculum since I started at the school in 1997. Students gain a better understanding of the Holocaust if they can understand its origins. This is the foundation of good teaching. As is exposing students to extreme views, such as Holocaust denial. In the 1990s this involved taking extracts from books and an introduction to debate that was usually confined to university lecture theatres. Now that debate is presented as fact and it can be accessed privately online, without context. For every student that wants to discuss what they have read, there will be others that are confused or that accept information at face value. Google and a number of other social media platforms were criticised last year for the ease with which extreme views can be accessed and disseminated. 2017 also witnessed a 34% increase in the number of reported Anti-Semitic incidents in the UK. (1,309 separate incidents, in comparison to 960 in 2015).
Prejudicial views are best challenged with facts; facts and counter arguments. As part of Holocaust Memorial Week we have been providing facts and counter arguments in the school hall. On Tuesday Dr Marek Szablewski spoke to 6th form students about survival in the Warsaw Ghetto during1944. On Thursday and Friday sixth form students shared their experiences of visiting Auschwitz in assemblies for years 9 to 11.
There is an additional counter argument in the school hall. An irrefutable fact of the Holocaust. Captain Isidore Newman is one of 107 names commemorated on the school war memorial.
He was a student at St. Margaret’s primary school before transferring to Durham Johnston in the 1920s. A talented linguist, he went on to study at a language college affiliated to Durham University. The Newman family lived near to the Viaduct in the City; close to the Synagogue that was located on Laburnham Street. Of Russian Jewish extraction, they had moved to Britain because of anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia during the 1890s. Isidore qualified as a teacher and would probably have led a very ordinary life but for the outbreak of war in 1939. His linguistic ability brought him to the attention of the Special Operations Executive and in 1941 and he was selected for covert operations in Europe; completing two dangerous missions in France before being captured by the Gestapo. After interrogation he was transferred to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. On 7th September 1944 he was shot on the notorious ‘steps of death’ in the camp’s quarry, one of an estimated 105,000 people to be murdered there. In 1946 he was awarded a posthumous MBE for wartime bravery.
Students are bombarded on a daily basis with opinion presented as fact; extreme views presented as if they are moderate and reasonable. Isidore Newman’s murder at Mauthausen is a fact of the Holocaust. It did happen. It hasn’t been fabricated to construct a conspiracy theory.
Comment is free, but facts are sacred. Propaganda….by this means is hateful. Comment also is justly subject to a self-imposed restraint. It is well to be frank; it is even better to be fair.
C P Scott Guardian Editorial 1921
There has been an increase in the number of students being late into school during this term. Please can I take this opportunity to remind parents and carers that students are expected to arrive in school by 8.20 a.m. each morning and to be in their form rooms by 8.30 a.m. Students arriving later than 8.30 a.m., without a valid reason, will be issued with an immediate break time detention. Our school is situated on a busy road and traffic can often be heavy between 7.30 and 9.00 a.m. Therefore, please allow adequate time to avoid lateness. If your child walks to school, could you reiterate the importance of being punctual and that the school day begins at 8.20 a.m.
Option information packs for all Year 9 students have been posted home this week.
The pack contains the option form with the recommended pathway and two booklets explaining the option process and details of the different courses available. In addition, there is a letter inviting parents and carers to attend the Option Information Evening on 19th February at 6pm. This is an important opportunity to find out more information about the courses and ask questions to ensure all students make informed choices for their future studies.
Miss McFadden, Deputy Headteacher
Our Year 10 students are given the opportunity to attend a work placement in July during Wellbeing Week. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students as at Durham Johnston, our ethos is to ‘educate our young people with excellence and equity so that they may feel at ease in the world, ready for hard work and global citizenship’. We want our young people ‘to take their place among the best’ and ‘are committed to a curriculum built on the concepts and knowledge which will open all the doors in the world to our young people’.
Why do we value work experience at Durham Johnston?
· It provides a good opportunity to gain useful skills and experience working with a range of people from all sorts of different backgrounds.
· It provides the opportunity to experience the everyday realities of working life.
· It helps students discover their abilities and limitations.
· It provides students with the opportunity to develop their communication skills with a wide variety of people
· It empowers students to take charge of their own futures.
· Students are able to demonstrate their skills to employers.
· It helps young people to learn about themselves and their strengths and weaknesses, whether they are a good communicators, do they work well in a team, and do they enjoy the work as much as they expected to.
· If it turns out that the job is not a good fit, then it is better to find out on a short placement than to embark on a full-time job.
This guidance was given to students this week:
1. If you are going to Battlefields trip, you only need to complete the ‘Work Experience Option Form’. Tick the box and hand back to form tutor. You do not need to take the other two documents unless you wish to arrange own work placement in holidays.
2. All other students take all three documents.
3. Read the information on the Work Experience Option Form. This will guide you through the process.
4. Any problems or queries go and see Mr Kennedy. Do not wait and do nothing.
5. If you can, go and speak to someone at the place where you want to arrange the placement. Making the effort always looks good to employers. Always be polite.
6. When you are ringing to speak to someone, be confident and interested in their place of work. Always be polite.
Please click on the links below for copies of both the Option and Placement forms.
Please note that All placements are to be confirmed to me no later than Summer Half Term (Friday 25thMay 2018). This is a long time away but students are to be proactive and arrange them as soon as possible. Other schools are also sending out work placement requests so if you leave it too late the place may be filled and you will end up doing a placement you don’t want to do.
Any information provided after this date may result in a placement not being approved. There are vetting and administrative procedures required before the placement starts which all takes time to arrange.
Any queries by parents or students are to be directed to me.
Mr Kennedy, Subject Leader for Guidance and Careers
Tuesday was International Safer Internet Day. Throughout the week students have been completing activities in their tutor group thinking about the negative issues surrounding the Internet. We asked students to consider what they would do when faced with range of difference scenarios that our young people come across online. Students were also to work together to think about how they could play a part in making the Internet a better place to share, collaborate and work.
Please spend some time talking to your children over the half term about how they use technology and discuss the apps they use. Perhaps even get them to show you how to use the filters on Snapchat!
Remember that we have a dedicated advice for parents section relating to E-Safety which includes apps to be aware of as well as links to various websites.
Our favourite website is the Internet Matters site which has interactive guides on how to set parental and security settings on a range of electronic devices.
Finally, please keep checking the Friday Bulletin where we regularly post news on the latest apps and websites, which we consider to be dangerous to our young people.
Mr Garside, Stragetic Leader for ICT
Creative minds, teamwork and logic featured in our Y7 lessons this week. Students needed to work collaboratively to design and create a map for their BeeBot. They also needed to record precise commands and work against the clock. Brilliant work Y7!
Miss Forbes, Subject Leader for Computing
Yesterday we received confirmation that some of our students have had their computer code run on the Raspberry Pi on the International Space Station (ISS) this month. Last term we invited interested students to come along to “Creative Coding Club” where our digital leader Rachel taught the students how to write Python code to control some of the sensors on board the ISS. The successful students will receive a certificate with details of when their code was run as well as the exact location of where the ISS was over the Earth.
We are also excited that when we Tweeted about this, we had another “like” from British Astronaut Tim Peak!
Computing Department and Rachel Ivory
Senior Team Maths Challenge Success
On Tuesday 6th February four of our sixth form students took part in the National Final of the Senior Maths Team Challenge in London; out of over 1300 teams that entered the competition, ours was one of only 86 to make it to the national final. The team took part in 4 rounds of mathematical challenges, as well as separate poster competition of the mathematics of bell ringing. I’m proud to report that our poster claimed third place in the poster competition, and the team would like to extend our thanks to Miss Brown for all of the help she provided as our bell ringing expert. The students all enjoyed the competition, and the prize winning poster is on display in the maths corridor.
Mr Patterson, Maths Department
Our year 7 students all took part in a day of varied cultural activities to celebrate Chinese New Year. They had the opportunity to make lanterns, bracelets, shrimps and masks as well as decorating plates and creating fantastic blow paintings.
Mr Hu, one of our Mandarin teachers organised this exciting day and was helped by Mr Li, Mrs Ma, Mrs Rowe and Mrs Sun.
Mrs Wood, Subject Leader (MFL)
Year 12 geographers braved the freezing conditions this week to complete a day of fieldwork in Newcastle upon Tyne. Students were investigating how people’s lived experience varied between different areas, exploring differences between the population demographics, economic activity and perceptions of each area.
Ms Colquitt, Subject Leader for Geography
On Thursday 22nd February from 3pm until 4pm students have an exciting opportunity to attend a session with Dr Claire Horwell and Dr Ed Llewellin, volcanologists from Durham University. The session will be in Geography Room 4 and any students who are interested in the event can obtain more information from Mrs Hardwick. The session will be particularly useful for students who are studying geography at GCSE or A Level but any student with an interest in the field is more than welcome to attend.
Mrs Hardwick, Geography Department
Word of the Week
Max and Harvey Edmundson have achieved great success over the past year in the British Karting Championships. Their success has led to involvement in the advanced Super One championship in 2018. The boys, in years 8 and 9, will be competing in a number of high level races, on larger and harder grids. Both students have gained an excellent understanding of mechanics and the need for team work. The school is very proud of their achievements and wishes them every success in future competitions.
So we were back with a new and re-vamped Date Me Out! First lunch saw the original Blind Date format with several of our KS3 students looking for love! “The ONE” was selected and off they went to the Isle of Simons café!
Second lunch saw our own twist on Take Me Out, but here at DJ we leave the lamp on! One went for bromance, the other for romance.
Over 750 students packed out the hall, all contributing the show and to charity.
Thank you so much to everyone involved, we have raised almost £400 for charity and the House Fund.
Miss Forbes & The House Leaders
Music Department Notices
Thursday 22nd February.
Chamber Choir sing Evensong with University College Chapel Choir in the Tunstall Chapel, Durham Castle. Rehearsal at 16.20 and Service at 17.30. Please would those wishing to attend the Service, be seated by 17.25. The best way into the Tunstall Chapel is through the black door at the foot of the castle clock tower.
Because of this, there will be no Senior Orchestra on this day.
Saturday 4th March
DJ Big Band will perform in Great North Big Band Festival (School Section). Timings TBC.
Tuesday 13th March
French Horn day at Framwellgate Moor School.
Thursday 22nd March
School Spring Concert ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. More details after half term.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
Durham Johnston staff room was transformed on Wednesday for a cake-eating extravaganza, all in the name of charity! To coincide with our student's house teams charitable work, staff baked a yummy array of sweet treats to raise money for The British Heart Foundation as part of their 'Heart' campaign in the month of February. £164.37 was raised in total and, of course, staff walked around School with just that extra bit of vigour to burn off the calories!
Mrs Anderson, Music Department
I must start this week by congratulating our U14 girls football team on an outstanding achievement on Tuesday in the quarter-final of the English Schools Cup. They took on St Wilfrid’s School, Blackburn and came from 2 – 0 down to take the game into extra-time and penalties. They held their nerve to win 5 – 4 and therefore have reached the National semi-finals. Well done to all the girls concerned.
Our Year 7 girls football team also had success in the English Schools Cup on Monday as they beat Kingsmeadow School 3 – 1 to reach the last 16 schools in the country.
Also on Tuesday our Year 7 basketball team were at Framwellgate for the final round of the Area CVL. Belmont withdrew so it was only a game with the hosts. It was close in the first half but an excellent third quarter saw us build up a comfortable lead which we held eventually winning by 12 points.
Also on Tuesday our U16 Futsal team were at Bishop Barrington taking part in the Bishop Auckland tournament. They finished runners-up after only losing one game to a strong team from Staindrop.
On Wednesday our U16 rugby team were due to be taking part in the county finals at Darlington RFC but the competition was postponed due to the weather.
Also on Wednesday our Year 7 5-a-side team were at Soccarena taking part in the north-east finals. The standard was very high but we never gave up eventually finishing in 4th place in the north-esat – a great achievement.
Finally on Wednesday our year 9 Futsal team were competing in the Tyneside finals at Parkview. Unfortunately we had a slow start, drawing and losing our first two games. After that, we won all our matches without conceding a goal to finish in second place to the hosts, despite beating them 3 – 0 in our final game.
Last night we were hosting the Year 8 netball tournament. It was an excellent evening of high quality netball, despite the poor weather, in which we ended up in 3rd place after losing a close game 3 – 2 to the eventual winners Durham High.
Also last night our U19 Futsal team were at Heworth taking part in the Tyneside tournament. They produced some excellent football to win the tournament to become Tyneside Champions. This included an amazing comeback against the hosts. We were losing 5 – 1 at half-time and fought back to claim the title with a 6 – 5 victory.
Finally good luck tonight to our U14 boys and U15 girls rugby teams were are at Kingston Park taking part in a festival as a warm-up for an England U20 international against Wales.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
On Thursday night, our U19 boys travelled to Heworth Grange for the annual Futsal competition. We faced an eager Park View side for our first game and the team played some excellent stuff and won the game 5-0 with Tom Bolton keeping a clean sheet in his futsal debut. Conversely, in our second fixture we started very slow and conceded 5 goals in the first half against a very strong Heworth Futsal Academy. The boys started the second half much better and a couple of early goals and team spirit was high, followed by an audacious goal from Fergus Hawes to give us a glimmer of hope. The team defended bravely and at 5-5 with one minute to play, a goal from an unlikely source Nikolai Krokhin to secure an amazing comeback and to be crowned U19 Tyneside Futsal Champions. Well done to Tom Bolton, Fergus Hawes, Richard Adair, Nico Goeta, George Daglish, Nikolai Krokhin.
Mr Kidd, PE Department
The girls' football teams have had a great couple of weeks with all ages competing in the English schools tournament. The U15 team played in gale force conditions against Crompton House School. Unfortunately the team were just too strong and we were defeated 7-3. However to get through to the last 16 in the Country is a fantastic achievement.
The U14 team played in the quarter final this week in a blizzard. After going 2 goals behind against St Wilfrid's from Blackburn they fought back to get 2 - 2. The team kept their nerve and won 5-4 on penalties. The U14 team now face a school in the semi finals. This is an amazing achievement and we are all very proud.
The U12 team beat Kingsmeadow 3-1 this week taking them though to the last 16 in the country. They face Ponteland over the next few weeks. This is shaping up to be another excellent team.
As always we need to thank Mally our football coach who gives up hours of time to help the teams develop.
Mrs White, PE Department
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up until the summer holidays 2019.
Bridge maintenance and barrier works are planned to take place at A167 Neville’s Cross Bridge during February half term and Easter holidays.
Essential maintenance is needed on the bridge expansion joints to ensure the bridge remains safe and effective for the thousands using it every day.
To minimise disruption Durham County Council have planned the works to take place during the February half term holiday Friday 9 until Monday 19 February, when traffic is lighter. Some delays are likely at peak times and we recommend people allow extra time for their journey. The works will take place in three phases, and one lane will be closed during each phase of the works to prevent the need for a road closure.
Our planned working hours are 7am until 7pm and access will be maintained for emergency vehicles throughout the works.
Further works to the bridge safety barriers are scheduled for the Easter holidays 29 March until 16 April.
Full details and information on the current situation can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/nevillescrossbridge.