8 March 2019

Dates for your Diary – Spring Term 2019

  • Year 10 Parents’ Consultation Evening, Monday 11 March 3.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Non-uniform day to raise funds for local charities - Friday 22 March
  • 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)
  • Information evening for the parents of Year 12 students who are going on the Geography trip to Naples - Wednesday 24 April, 6.00 p.m.
  • Easter holidays – Monday 8 April to Monday 22 April  (terms ends on Friday 5th April and resumes on Tuesday 23 April – 2 weeks and 1 day)
  • Year 11 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 29 April 3.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.
  • School closed for May Day Bank Holiday - Monday 6 May


Mr O'Sullivan Writes


Jimmy Sime took the above photograph at the Harrow V. Eton annual cricket match in 1937. If you have seen it before, it was probably being used as form of symbolic short hand for Britain’s long standing issues regarding social class. I have read articles that use the image on subjects relating to private education, the interwar years, social justice, educational attainment gaps and ‘austerity.’ I have also used it the lessons where students have expressed anger at the image and have made a range of assumptions about its meaning and those featured. I’m sure that Jimmy Sime simply thought that he captured a good photograph, not that he had initiated a debate that would continue for decades.   Like all symbolic things, the reality of the image is quite different to how it is perceived. The ‘toffs’ were not high-ranking members of the establishment and suffered real difficulties; the ‘toughs’ all went on to become successful entrepreneurs and, in Jack Catlin’s case, a high-ranking civil servant. Issues around class and background are still highly divisive in Britain and we continue to make incorrect assumptions.

Please click on the following link to read the full article  https://www.durhamjohnston.org.uk/blog/category/mr-o-sullivan-writes


Drama Notice

The KS3 musical production this year is Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and performances will take place on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th of July.  We would like to open up the opportunity to all KS3 students, and not just those who attend drama club.


Auditions will be held next Thursday 14th March after school. If any student is interested and has not had a chance to get a copy of the script, they should see Mrs Wiggers in the Music department or Ms Ayrey, Subject Leader for Drama.



Better with a Sweater

We are proud to be able to display the poster below thanking the school for the money raised from the non-uniform day held in aid of Christmas Jumper Day 2018.  



Key Stage 4 Option Choices 2019-2021

The Options Information Evening took place on Monday 4th March 2019 and was well attended by parents and carers. The evening was an opportunity for pupils and parents to find out more about the courses available and the Options process. Links to Option booklets A and B and a copy of the form are published at the end of this item.

This is a very important term for Year 9 pupils as they make their subject choices for next year and is the start of a very important stage in their education. There will therefore be a further opportunity to discuss possible option choices on an individual basis with subject teachers at the Year 9 Parents’ Consultation Evening on Monday 25th March 2019. 

We are pleased to be able to continue to offer a wide range of subjects, including both GCSE's and equivalent qualifications, to accommodate the different interests and abilities of our pupils. If you have any questions relating to the options process, subject choices or combinations of subjects please feel free to contact me at school.

To support our planning for the academic year 2019-2021, all completed Options Choice forms should be handed in to Reception no later than Friday 29th March 2019.   

Option Form

Option Booklet A

Option Booklet B

R McFadden -  Deputy Headteacher


Maths Feast Winners

On Tuesday 5th March, four of our Year 10 students travelled to the Sjovoll Centre, Framwellgate Moor,  to take part in the North East Year 10 Maths Feast competition.

This is a highly competitive event organised by the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme and is designed to test problem-solving and teamwork skills.
The challenges involved a range of difficult problems where teams had to work together in order to solve both recreational and more traditional maths problems.
This included being given posters on an area of maths they had never seen before.  The students were allowed only 5 minutes to study them before attempting some related problems.

In total, 18 teams from all over the North East competed in the event and, after an excellent performance, the team from Durham Johnston came in 1st place.

Congratulations to the team!

Mr Sutcliffe - Maths Department


Music Department News

The 16th Annual Great North Big Band Jazz Festival

The Johnston Stompers (AKA Durham Johnston Big Band) made their external debut on Sunday 3rd March, taking part in the School Section of the above festival. As a relatively new band, they were up against several well-established school bands from all across the north of England. Their programme of Malaguena, George Gershwin’s Summertime, and the Dixieland classic Tiger Rag, was well received, with the adjudicators praising the consistency across the sections, the dynamic range achieved, and the quality of the solos. The trombones were awarded ‘Best Section’ in the class and were described as ‘solid and tidy throughout’. Congratulations to all ‘stompers’!

Spring Concerts – Thursday 21st March & Friday 22nd March
Tickets (available from the Music Department priced £3 and £2 concessions) are selling fast for Part I and Part II of the Spring Concert on Thursday 21st March. Part I (6.30) will contain performances from Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir and Wind Band and part II (7.30) will feature The Johnston Stompers, Senior Orchestra, Senior Choir and Chamber Choir. 

No tickets are required for our performance of Andrew Carter’s choral work Benedicite on Friday 22nd March at 7pm. This involves the massed forces of the Junior, Senior and Chamber Choirs who will reflect the works’ celebration of flora and fauna in their outfits! There are just two weeks of rehearsals left before the concerts, and it would be great to have full attendance at these to ensure the highest possible musical standards are achieved. 

Mr E Holmes – Subject Leader for Music

PE Department News

An excellent week in which we competed in two National quarter-finals and one team reached a National Final. On Tuesday the U15 girls football team faced Haslingden High School, Lancashire in the quarter final of the National Cup. The team worked hard throughout, but illness and injury, and a very strong Haslingden team defeated us 4-0. Still a great achievement to reach the last 8 schools in the country from hundreds of entries. Also on Tuesday our boys football teams travelled to Sedgefield for league games. It was a difficult evening. Our Year 7 team were winning 1 – 0 with 5 minutes to go but conceded 3 late goals to lose 3 – 1. Our Year 8 team also lost 7 – 2. Our Year 9 team did secure a 2 – 2 draw. The final game was a 5 – 2 defeat for our Year 10s. In addition, U13 & U15 girls rugby teams travelled to West Hartlepool RFU for the County finals. Our U15 team played some very good rugby to finish in 3rd place. Our U13 team did even better. They played some excellent rugby to remain unbeaten throughout the evening. In a thrilling final game we scored a late try to draw with Dene School and become County Champions. Well done to all the girls.

On Wednesday our U13 girls cricket team played in the County Finals (having won the Area competition to qualify against Framwellgate Moor & St Leonard's). On Wednesday 6th. There were 9 teams in the tournament, broken down into 3 pools of 3 teams. Match one against Whickham was a win by a significant amount of runs, however having fielded well against Whitburn (a notoriously strong cricketing team) we lost that match by 32 runs. We had a long wait to see if we would be the best runners-up out of the 3 pools. The winners of each pool would be in the semi-finals and the 4th place taken up by the best runner up.
It turns out our total of 178 runs was not good enough, because Fram scored 198 runs altogether in their group. Our girls played outstanding cricket with every single bowler delivering fantastic balls and Lucy Hetherington shining throughout. However all 5 bowlers were very impressive, as was our wicket keeper Jessica Khan. The batting was also high quality, it's such a shame that the system meant we could not progress any further, especially as we Area champions over the team that eventually did get through. Of course we wished them luck and Framwellgate ended up 4th in the County, so well done to them.

Our Year 11 football team travelled to Staindrop on Thursday for a League cup semi-final. The took control in the first half and went on to reach the final with a 3 – 0 victory. Our VIth form football team also played a friendly against St Leonard’s. This was a very good game played in an excellent spirit with St Leonard’s eventually winning 3 – 2.

Our second National quarter-final of the week took place on Thursday as our U19 basketball team took on Myerscough College from Lancashire. They are a basketball academy and favourites to win the National Finals. We played some excellent basketball and never gave up. We were only 3 points behind in the third quarter but ran out of steam in the final few minutes going on to lose 90 – 81. An outstanding achievement to reach the last 8 schools in the country.

English Schools basketball has continued today as our Year 7 boys and girls teams have been at home playing Ellesmere Port High School.
The boys played first and it was an excellent game. The match was close throughout but we kept a small lead going into the last quarter. Several late baskets saw us claim an excellent win. This puts us top of the Northern group with 3 matches to go. The girls then took over and in another excellent match we completely dominated the game. At the point of writing,  we are winning 44 – 2 with 15 minutes to play. The team now go through to the National Finals Day in May.

Finally some excellent news of sporting success from outside of school. Year 9 student Owen Hall competed in a composite quad with Durham School last weekend at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta trials at Cambois. Their boat won the category of Junio 14 boys coxed quads and therefore they qualify to go to Peterborough finals in April to represent the Northern region. 

Also two students from Year 7, Louisa Scott and Grace Newton competed in a National Cheerleading competition in Blackpool last Saturday and won overall grand champions with their cheerleading team Durham City Allstars. They have now qualified for an international final in Orlando, Florida in May 2019 competing against some of the best teams in the world.

Mr Hopper - Subject Leader for PE


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Huge congratulations to Year 7 pupil, Faith Milburn who won three gold medals at a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition. Faith fought very experienced fighters and one girl was a Gracie Barra ambassador.  Faith won by an arm bar and when fighting the more experienced Faith won by points, Faith’s opponent was two belts above, which is an outstanding achievement. 

Mr Kidd -  PE Department

School Benevolent Fund

The County of Durham School Benevolent Fund provides grants for families living within the County Durham area to purchase school shoes and coats for children in Primary and Secondary School.  Applicants must be in receipt of one of the benefits listed in the guidance notes which can be downloaded below.   Evidence of the benefit must be sent with the application form to:

Mrs A Overfield
Thornhill Primary School
Thornhill Gardens
County Durham
DL4 1ES.

For guidance please refer to the reverse of the application form or telephone 01388 772906 for further information.

Application Form and Guidance Notes
Mrs J Coady -  Attendance & Welfare Manager


Word of the Week


Local History

If you have an interest in local history, you might like to to read about the work of the charity, Dream who are working on a number of projects in the area.

To find out more, please click here.