1 March 2019

Dates for your Diary – Spring Term 2019

  • Year 9 Options Information Evening for parents/carers and pupils, Monday 4 March 3.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 10 Parents’ Consultation Evening, Monday 11 March 3.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 9 Parents’ Consultation Evening, Monday 25 March 3.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Spring Half Term week, Monday 18 to Friday 22 February 2019 (term ends on Friday 15 February and resumes on Monday 25  February)
  • Easter holidays – Monday 8 April to Monday 22 April 2019 (terms ends on Friday 5th April and resumes on Tuesday 23 April – 2 weeks and 1 day)


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to thank you for your support since my appointment as Acting Headteacher in January 2018.  On Wednesday 13th February 2019 I was appointed to the role of substantive Headteacher on a permanent basis.  I have been a teacher at the school for 22 years and in that time have represented the school as a History Teacher, Subject Leader for History, Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher. I have always tried to make the learning experience an enjoyable and engaging one for all students and have stressed the need for all members of the school community to be considerate and to treat others with kindness. Students who leave the school at the age of 16 or 18 should look back on their time at the school positively and should remember how well they were equipped for the next stage of their lives. 

I will write to all parents and carers in the coming weeks to share with you our plans to maintain the school’s current high standards and to consult upon ways in which we can improve further. I look forward to serving our students and the local community effectively in my years as Headteacher at Durham Johnston. 


Mr O’Sullivan 


Is it ethical to laugh at another man's mule?

I’ve learned a lot from Clint Eastwood. For example, how hard it is to keep track of the bullets that you may have fired when in a comparatively stressful situation. Never to laugh at someone’s mule. Why Harry Callaghan is known as ‘Dirty Harry.’ If I want to play the game, then I need to know the rules. That tough ain’t enough and never to stand on the right side of a well-trained orangutan. It is probably acceptable to share that, as a callow first year (Year 7 for younger readers), my friends and I used to re-enact scenes from Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name trilogy on the schoolyard. No one wanted to be Lee Van Cleef, everyone wanted to be Clint. Or Bruce Lee. 


To read the full article please click here


Climate Change Exhibition

To read the full article please click here


Form Time Reminders to Students in Years 7 - 11

As we begin the second half of the academic year, we have used form time to remind pupils of some school rules which are important for safeguarding.  We welcome parental support in reminding children of these procedures which exist to keep our pupils safe and well.

Pupils who become unwell during the school day

If the event that a pupil feels unwell they must report to their usual lesson. The class teacher leading the lesson will make a decision in the best interest of the pupil.   We have impressed upon pupils that their class teacher has a serious responsibility to know the whereabouts of each pupil during the course of a lesson. This is very important, especially if a child is unwell.  If the class teacher judges that further action is necessary and that school needs to inform a pupil's parent or carer, then they will do so in accordance with our school procedures.  These procedures exist to protect pupils and to avoid unnecessary anxiety for all parties. We have reminded pupils that they must not use their phones on the school site. 


Stretchy skirts, leggings and jeans are not part of Durham Johnston's uniform. We are aware that many shops sell items marked as school uniform that do not conform to the school's uniform policy. Please do not put yourself to additional expense buying items which will have to be returned. Pupils who arrive at school wearing incorrect uniform will be provided with loan uniform to change into or they will be educated in isolation.


Pupils should be on our school site and ready to report to their form class for registration by 8.25am. Contact with a pupil's Form Tutor is crucial for a successful start to the school day as this is where important notices are communicated and new opportunities are shared. Pupils also engage in planned activities and appropriate welfare and preparation checks are made for each tutee. Assemblies may take place during this period. Please encourage your child to be punctual and impress upon them the importance of timekeeping. If a pupil is late to school this is logged on their pupil record and a breaktime detention will be issued to them for that day. If a pupil is late to a lesson, they will be required to make the up the learning they have missed from their own time, at the convenience of their member of staff.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Mrs Bell, Assistant Headteacher

House News

To read about money raised for local charity Changing Lives please click here

To read about money raised in this week's Date Me Out event please click here


Music Notices



Congratulations to Chamber Choir for singing Evensong in Durham Cathedral on Monday Evening. Despite some difficulties during the rehearsal, when the organ blower malfunctioned, they sang very well indeed and their sensitive performance of the anthem, composed by Mrs Holmes, was a highlight for by several members of the congregation. Many thanks to those parents and colleagues who came to support Chamber Choir. It was noted by one of the Cathedral’s Clergy that we are the only state school who sing Evensong regularly in the Cathedral and we were invited back next year. 

Concert Tickets 
Please note that tickets for the  School Concert on Thursday March 21st are now on sale in the Music Department. 

Musical Examinations
Many pupils will be sitting performance examinations over the coming weeks and in order to leave site for these assessments they need a note in their planner, which either I, or their form tutor can sign, and then they can collect an off-site pass from reception. If this is the case for your child, you should also expect to be hearing a little more practice over the coming weeks.

Exciting Opportunity for advanced Orchestral Players 

Applications are now open for the 2019 Opera North Orchestra Academy. 
The Opera North Orchestra Academy is an immersive orchestral training programme for outstanding young musicians age 14–19 Grade 7+ from across the North of England. Held at the University of Leeds, participants have the unique opportunity to work directly with the musicians of the Orchestra of Opera North in side by side rehearsal, sectional coaching sessions and rehearse under the guidance of an internationally renowned conductor.  Designed to complement existing local youth and school orchestra memberships, the immersive week will see young musicians connect with like-minded peers and gain an insight into working with a professional orchestra.
Auditions will be held at Opera North in Leeds on Saturday 27 of April, with applications closing March 25.

All information can be found at: https://www.operanorth.co.uk/whats-on/opera-north-orchestra-academy/

Mr Holmes – Subject Leader for Music


PE Department News

On Tuesday the second half of the league football season started as our Year 7, 8 & 9 teams hosted Bishop Barrington. There were straight forward victories for our Year 7 and 8 teams who won 6 – 3 and 4 – 1 respectively. The Year 9 game was the match of the night, as we looked in control winning 4 – 1 with only 10 minutes to go. However a great fight back from Barrington saw the game end in a 4 – 4 draw.

Football continued on Wednesday as our Year 7, 8, 9 & 11 Futsal teams travelled to the Beacon of Light for the County finals. All four teams produced excellent performances to finish in the top 4 teams. However the best performance came from our Year 8 team who reached the final only to finish runners-up after losing to a very strong Tanfield School team 4 – 2. Also on Wednesday our U18 rugby team made the short journey to Durham School to compete in the County 7’s finals. The standard here is always extremely high and this year was no exception. We started with a difficult game against the hosts, and eventual champions, losing 3 tries to 1. We never gave up and continued to play so excellent rugby against the best schools in the county eventually finishing in 6th place.

On Thursday our U18 basketball team were playing Heaton Manor in the “last 16” of the English Schools cup. We started slowly and were 2 points behind at the end of the first quarter. However we took control after that going on to record a comfortable 85 – 49 victory. This now puts us into the National quarter finals where we face a “basketball academy team” from Myerscough College, Lancashire next Thursday. Also on Thursday our Year 8 football team were at home against St John’s in the cup. This was a very close game. We conceded a first half penalty and despite our best efforts to find an equaliser we lost 1 – 0.

Today our cross-country teams have been competing in the County finals at Emmanuel College – the final event of the season. As area champions we were representing Durham Central against the best schools in the County. We produced some outstanding performances to achieve the following amazing results:

Year 7 boys – 1st and County Champions
Year 7 girls – 1st and County Champions
Junior boys – 1st and County Champions
Junior girls – 1st and County Champions
Inter boys – 1st and County Champions
Inter girls – 2nd and runners-up
Senior boys – 1st and County Champions

These are the best set of results ever achieved by one school at the County Championships.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


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