Head's Letter to Parents
We have had a very good spring term, with many of our students achieving great success and recognition academically and in music and sport. The school has featured in The Sunday Times, Tatler and has won a national award for achievement at A level. That success does not, however, tell the full story of the daily improvement made by a large number of our students. Whether it is castle making in History, greater fluency and a wider vocabulary in languages or a better understanding of weighing ingredients in food technology, the vast majority of our students make incremental progress on a day by day basis. For every musical performance or sporting success, there is a smaller, individual success in the classroom.
This is important because we have completed the second of our three terms. Years 11 and 13 are within 6 weeks of leaving and the start of the annual exam period. It is important that they revise thoroughly and take advantage of the resources and guidance offered by their teachers. We also know our Year 7 students very well now and have started the process of transition for other key year groups: we have started the induction process for the 266, Year 6 students who have accepted places for September 2018; we have written to their parents, and the Head Teachers of the 34 primary schools from which our new students are drawn. Year 9 have chosen their options and we are planning their curriculum and preparing them for GCSE study. Year 11 are preparing for exams, but also to join our 6th form. We have worked very closely with Year 11 to offer good advice and we are pleased that so many of our students have chosen to stay with us. For those students leaving, we want to ensure that they have been well prepared for future study or employment and we wish them every success for the future. Our Year 13 students are preparing for exams that will allow them to access a wide variety of universities and professions. We regularly acknowledge the achievement of certain students and groups, but it is the day to day progress of all students that underpins the school’s ethos and success.
On that point, there are a number of things that I would like to share with you regarding the school’s ethos. We work very closely with our students so that they understand the importance of high standards. On occasion, concerns are raised about the actions of a small minority of students as they make their way to and from school. We cannot monitor the behaviour of students during these times, but will always investigate concerns if they are raised. Could I ask for your support in this matter? We explain the importance of good manners and politeness to students with regularity and the impact of anti-social behaviours on others in and beyond the school community. We also let students know that poor conduct reflects badly on both the school and their families. It would be very helpful if all parents could support us in this, as good manners and polite behaviour begin at home.
In a similar way, could parents support the school over the Easter holidays by upholding our policy on uniform? If you are replacing any items of uniform over the Easter period, could you please make sure that they conform with the guidance set out in the Uniform Policy published on our website. Some students have asked about acrylic nails and piercings and I want to be clear that, as referenced in a recent Friday Bulletin, neither are allowed at Durham Johnston for reasons of health and safety. Students wishing to have their ears pierced are advised to do so at the very start of the summer holidays. Our attention to detail, regarding these issues, is based upon the need for students to arrive in school ready to learn and work collaboratively with all members of the school community. Poor interaction caused by uniform infringements or unacceptable behaviour is detrimental to students learning and their future success. I would like to thank all parents and students who fully accept this and who work so effectively with the school for the good of our wider community.
Your support is greatly appreciated.
Have a good Easter break.
As one of the winning teams in the North East regional "Euroscola" competition, our group of five students from Durham Johnston had the opportunity to spend a full day in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, alongside students from almost all other states in the EU, totalling around 600 participants.
The day began with a Q&A session with a Spanish MEP in the impressive hemicycle, where it was interesting to hear not just the questions of students from different countries, but also the translation of the entire session; you can listen to simultaneous interpretation through the built-in headsets. After this, we moved into the cafe areas for lunch and the "Eurogame", for which we had to form teams of students each of different nationalities and fill out a quiz written in the various languages of the EU. Once this was finished, all the students were split into six large “working groups”, each about a hundred people, to discuss a topic and suggest policies to improve the current issues. Our students were in the teams debating security in the EU and youth employment in the EU. The debates were held in English, which was a shame for our language skills but at the same time allowed us to take an active part in discussing the issues and feeding back to the Chair and Spokesperson. The day ended with a plenary voting session in the hemicycle, where each of the six groups presented their conclusions and all students used the button voting system (very popular with our group) to support or disagree with the ideas. As a final conclusion, the Eurogame final was held with the four highest scoring teams, one of which included our own group member Andrew Hunton!
The day was overall a very busy and lively experience, and we certainly came back with more knowledge about the workings of the parliament and the MEPs. Not only that, but the time spent in Strasbourg was extremely enjoyable, with a chance to try the local cuisine "flammkuchen" and "choucroute", and a morning spent exploring the area.
Overall, we had a fantastic trip with many opportunities to participate in the parliament. Thank you to Mrs. Wood for joining us on the visit and for knowing the way around Gare du Nord.
Year 10 mock examinations will take place from Monday 30 April until 10 May 2018. Please click on the link below for a copy of the timetable.
Year 11 Intervention Timetable
Please click on the link below for details of lunchtime and after-school support session available to Year 11 students when school re-opens after the Easter holidays.
50th Royal Society of Chemistry UK Olympiad
A few weeks ago, four Year 13 pupils and three Year 12 pupils entered the 2018 Chemistry Olympiad, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Incredibly, every single entrant from our school scored high enough marks to be awarded a medal. Two pupils achieved the bronze medal, two pupils the silver medal and three pupils were given the gold medal! An absolutely incredible result!
Furthermore, one of the entrants from our school, Matthew Edge, scored one of the highest marks in the country! The result is that Matthew has been invited to the next round of the Olympiad. The next round involves a residential at the University of Cambridge at the beginning of April. Then, following the residential, a group of four pupils will be selected to represent the UK at the International Chemistry Olympiad – hosted in Bratislava and Prague, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Thus, Matthew has a very realistic chance of being chosen to represent the UK! Which is absolutely amazing!
The Chemistry department would like to express our congratulations to all of the participants for their fantastic achievement in this year’s UK Olympiad and to wish Matthew the best of luck ahead of the selection weekend in Cambridge.
Dr Clay, on behalf of the Chemistry Department
In addition to our longstanding relationship with St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham we are excited about a new connection. On 28th March, a dozen Year 12 students visited Willowburn Hospice in Lanchester. They met with the management team and saw the hospice in operation.
Year 12 students will be volunteering at the hospice from the summer term. We are excited about this new link with another worthwhile, local charity.
Anyone interested in the work of the hospice should follow this link:
Mr Wilbraham, Deputy Head of Sixth Form
Following the last House fundraising event, we are proud to support two very courageous young ladies. Isabel suffered with scoliosis for many years, her operation was successful and she was given expert care from Ward 10 at the RVI, Newcastle. Isabel has very nobly decided to donate her allocation to the hospital.
Lauren will be travelling to Germany for her operation and is currently raising money for this. Her donation from us will support this cause.
Two fantastic girls who have battled through some difficult times. Both, incredibly worthy choices.
Further details of Lauren’s campaign can be found here:
Miss Forbes and the House Representatives
Ms Colquitt and Mrs Hardwick's Year 11 classes were out of school on Tuesday this week carrying out a river investigation at the River Browney. The students, working in groups, were tasked with collecting a variety of data which at times involved them working in the river itself.
The students worked very effectively and were mature at all times despite the weather conditions! Well done Year 11!
We were privileged to have a guest speaker with us after school on Tuesday. Professor Harriet Bulkeley from the department of Geography at Durham University delivered a lecture on Climate Change. The students found the lecture engaging and interesting and it helped to support the work they do in lessons. Thank you to all who attended.
Mrs Scott, Geography Department
Please could parents whose children are in Year 11 please ensure that they are using the 'Active Learn' online revision tasks (pupils have their own passwords for access) together with any revision booklets that they have been sent home with.
Students should be using these revision resources alongside their revision plans.
Mr Howarth, Science Department
Music Dates for the Summer Term
Evensong – Monday 23rd April, Durham Cathedral, 17.15 – 18.00
To commemorate St George, Martyr and Patron of England, Chamber Choir sing Choral Evensong. Rehearsal in the quire at 15.45. All are welcome to attend the service. Please be seated by 17.00.
Big Band – Picnic in the Park, Saturday 23rd June, Durham Johnston School, 12.00 -13.00
A chance to hear Durham Johnston Big Band play in the open air. No tickets required.
DJ Music Festival – Friday 29th June, James Hall
Class 1 (Grades 1-3) – 18.00
Class 2 (Grades 4-5) – 18.45
Class 3 (Grades 6+) – 19.45
More details available after Easter. No tickets required.
Music for a Summer Evening – Friday 6th July, James Hall, 19.00.
An informal evening of music making for Y13 leavers and their parents and friends. Tickets will be on sale after June half term.
KS3 Celebration Evening – Monday 9th July, James Hall, 19.00
Big Band and finalists from the DJ Music Festival to provide entertainment during the celebrations.
Mr Holmes, Subject Leader for Music
PE Department News
On Monday our Year 9 basketball team were at St Cuthbert’s for the Tyneside finals. We lost our first game against the eventual winners from St Cuthbert’s but a comfortable victory against Emmanuel College saw us finish runners-up.
On Tuesday our Year 7 Futsal team were at the North-east finals having already won the County title. This was an excellent afternoon of football at Sports Central, Newcastle. We performed very well eventually finishing in 4th place.
Also on Tuesday our Year 10 football team took on Whitworth in the league cup. This was an excellent game which we won 5 – 3.
To complete a busy Tuesday our U14 girls football team were playing St Bede’s in the County Cup semi-final. A close game ended 1 – 1 but we dominated extra–time going on to win 4 -1 to reach the County Final.
On Wednesday all our cross-country teams were at Emmanuel college for the County finals. It was an incredible County championships for Durham Johnston as we achieved the following results:
Year 7 boys – 1st and County Champions
Year 8 & 9 boys – 1st and County Champions
Year 10 & 11 boys – 1st and County Champions
Year 12 & 13 boys – 1st and County Champions
Year 7 girls – 1st and County Champions
Year 8 & 9 girls – 1st and County Champions
Year 10 & 11 girls – 2nd place
Year 12 & 13 girls – no race as no schools had a team.
After school on Wednesday it was the turn of our Year 11 basketball team to travel to St Cuthbert’s for the Tyneside finals. This time we beat the hosts in our first game but lost our final game to Gosforth to also finish runners-up.
Our Year 7 futsal team were also in Tyneside Cup action on Wednesday at Parkview, also finishing runners-up to the hosts.
Finally, on behalf of the PE department, can I wish everyone a Happy Easter as we get ready for the start of the tennis, cricket, athletics and rounders seasons on our return.
Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE
On Monday evening, our U19 boys won the league cup down at Maiden Castle against a strong team from Park View Football Academy. The game was very tight throughout the 90 minutes with both sides having chances to score. With the score at 0-0, the game had to be decided by penalties. We were triumphant after the shootout and James O’Neill scoring the winning penalty for Durham Johnston.
Congratulations to Tom Bolton, Nikolai Kronkhin, Alex Finnigan, Matt Pinkney, Jonny Langley, Joe Blackbourne (captain), Fergus Hawes, George Daglish, Josh Clifford, Dan Ferguson, Max Blaxbourne, James O’neill, Liam Graham, Sol Tones and Nico Goeta.
Mr Kidd, PE Department
May I remind parents that the 3rd instalment for next year's ski visit is due by 2nd April which falls on Easter Monday. It is possible to extend the deadline until after the Easter break if necessary. I would therefore be grateful if all instalments could be handed in to me, no later than the 16 April. The amount due is £144 and cheques should be made payable to "Durham Johnston School".
Due to the change of the date of the 2nd ski visit next year, current Year 7 pupils have been provided with a new indemnity form and an explanatory letter. Please could I request that parents complete and return the new indemnity forms to me as soon as possible.
Boys' Football Fixtures and Match Reports 2017-2018
Please find below a link to the list of term and holiday dates up until summer 2019.