16th November 2018 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…

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9th November 2018 The Death of Marat

At half-term I was approached by a former student. We discussed what he was doing now and the time that had passed since he left Durham Johnston; he was a student between 2007 and 2014. As the conversation drew to a close, he said: “By the way Sir, I do still remember. He was in the bath because…

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2nd November 2018 “Nothing is here for tears, nothing but fair and well, and what may quiet us in death so noble.” Milton

On Friday 9th November 2018 we will commemorate those who lost their lives in the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries by observing one minute of silence at 11.00 a.m. The last post will be sounded in the Atrium at 11.00 a.m. and reveille will signal that the minute has passed at 11.01 a.m.…

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19th October Curriculum Versus Progress and Should We Be Happy With 95%?

We have had an excellent start to the new school year. We have welcomed Year 7 students from 37 different primary schools and Year 12 students from 18 different secondary schools. The majority of our Year 11 students have also made the step up to A level study at the school. They have settled in…

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12th October 2018 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’,…

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5th October 2018 The Importance of Culture

Durham Johnston’s 6th Cultural Festival begins next week and we are very proud of both its longevity and the varied nature of the activities and events that we have hosted in that time. We also act as a venue for the Durham Book Festival and this year both Dave Shelton and Kate Pankhurst will be…

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28th September 2018 - Rubbish!

The above photograph is from this year’s World Cup in Russia. They show Japanese supporters, ‘The Blue Samurai’, cleaning up discarded rubbish – plastic cups, bottles and food waste – from one of the stands in the Mordovia Arena after they had, unexpectedly, beaten Argentina in one of their group…

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21st September 2018 Trust. But Verify.

‘I don’t trust them, they’re kids.’

Is an interesting opening gambit for an article which is meant to outline the positive impact your school is having. But that is what Katharine Birbalsingh chose to do in an article published in the Times Education Supplement in July of this year. She is the…

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14th September 2018 Bat, Butterfly, Moth? Or Wolf Mask?

What can you see in the image above? What you see, theoretically, reveals quite a lot about your personality type. It is one of 20 images designed by Herman Rorschach in 1921 to indicate personality types and is still widely used. Rorschach was very interested in the art produced by psychiatric…

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7th September 2018 Big Picture, Small Details.

The above painting was completed by the Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1562 and is called ‘The Triumph of Death.’ It is a large, detailed painting and is also, clearly, quite disturbing. Not, therefore, the type of image that you would normally use to convey an uplifting message in the…

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29th June 2018 “Let thy speech be better than silence. Or be silent.”

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…

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22nd June 2018 All you Punks and all you Teds, Mods, Rockers, Hippies and Skinheads………*

I used to complete morning duty on the school yard with a world weary colleague in his late forties. He would survey the students as they came into school and say, each week, ‘Where have all the mods gone?’ His question always seemed to be a plaintive cry, bemoaning the lost tribes of the past;…

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