15 March 2019

Dates for your Diary – Spring Term 2019

  • 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  (term 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

Engage the World, Change the World and the Prevalence of Twits

“Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.”

There is a whole industry dedicated to training and ‘developing’ newly appointed Headteachers. There are also a range of educational issues that you are compelled to have some form of opinion on, even if you feel that expressing a view  can be s little like holding forth on your lion taming technique to a roomful of gnarled Carnival employees with big cat scars. After a single visit to the Circus. When you were 12.

Some of the opportunities that present themselves can seem a little like an invitation to invest in time share with Gary Neville. They seem alluring, but you end up out of pocket and deeply disappointed. This was on my mind when attending a ‘Visible Learning’ conference recently. There were some fantastic speakers, hugely influential because of their research and long standing commitment to doing what works for students. However, when choosing my ‘workshops’ some of the jargon heavy titles  seemed a little daunting and unrealistic. Taking yourself too seriously is not very ‘British’, but as most of the speakers were Canadian or Antipodean, they are  exempt from that cliche. One of the sessions, that I initially avoided, had the subtitle ‘Engage The World, Change The World.’ This is laudable, I thought, but a little beyond my immediate control. It isn’t as if the world doesn’t need changing- Brexit, a decline in public discourse, an obsession with self, a lack of funding to maintain the social contract - but where and how to start?

To read the full article please click here.


Changing Lives

Today, Mr Digby and I accompanied a group of Year 10 and Year 11 students to Changing Lives to hand over cheques totalling £800.    Marc, a key support worker at Changing Lives was kind enough to show us round and he talked to the students about the work they do at the centre.  We also got to meet some of the residents who kindly passed on their thanks for our support.  

Over the past few months clothing, toiletries and sports equipment have been donated – these items are much needed and really appreciated.  I would like to extend that thanks to all who have contributed – you really are making such a difference! 

Miss Forbes - Senior teacher 


Computing News


We’re excited to announce that the week after next we will run our first ever Durham Johnston Hackathon. The idea is that students are given a week to produce a game either by themselves or in teams on a given theme. The theme will be announced on the first session on Monday 25th March. ICT3 will be available every afternoon between 2:45pm and 3pm for the students to work on their project but they can also continue work on this outside of school. Students can choose to their programming language of choice (Python, Scratch, App Lab etc)


Year 9 Students Create Mobile Phone Apps

Year 9 students have been making mobile phone apps in Computer Science.  Please click on the link below so that you can vote for your favourite app.


Mobile Phone Apps


Mr Garside - Computing Department


Giving Back Charity Day - Friday 22 March

On Friday 22 March we will hold a non-uniform day to raise funds for local charities.

This academic year the DJ House System’s focus has been one of “Giving back”.  The school plays a big part in the local community and we wanted to use this influence positively to make an impact.

Please click on the link below for further details.

Non-uniform day - Friday 22 March 2019


Durham Johnston App

Thank you to those that have downloaded the Durham Johnston App.  You may have noticed that there have been some issues with images not displaying, and notifications not coming through.  

A fix for both of these issues is due to be released by our provider next week.  We appreciate your patience.

Mr Garside, Strategic Leader for ICT


Latin Classics Quiz

Many thanks to the 13 Latin students from Year 8, Year 9 and Year 10 who gave up their Saturday morning last week to take part in the Classics Quiz at Newcastle High School for Girls.

This annual event is a fun opportunity to meet students from other schools in the area who share our passion for all things Classical.

Durham Johnston teams were placed 1st, 2nd and 9th out of the 20 Junior teams competing in the KS3 level; against stiff competition in the KS4 level, our Intermediate team was placed 11th out of 16 teams.

Special congratulations to Brooke Mackay, John Phillips & Lara van Hunen.

Mrs Bothwell, Languages Department


Parent Governor Vacancy

We currently have a vacancy for a Parent Governor and invite nominations from parents and carers to be submitted for the attention of the Headteacher by Tuesday 19 March.

For further information and a copy of the nomination form please click on the link below.



Public Examinations 2019

Notification of Contingency Day
The awarding bodies have asked all schools to make parents, carers and students aware that they have designated  Wednesday 26 June 2019 as a ‘contingency day’ for examinations. This is consistent with the qualification regulators’ document Exam system contingency plan: England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The designation of a ‘contingency day’  within the common examination timetable is in the event of national or local disruption to examinations.  It is part of the awarding bodies’ standard contingency planning for examinations. 


Candidates must remain available until Wednesday 26 June 2019 should an awarding body need to invoke its contingency plan .

Ms L Gillham - Examinations Officer

Music Department Notice

Final Rehearsals and Spring Concert Times

Limited tickets are still available from the Music Department for both parts of the Spring Concert on Thursday 21st March. These are priced at £3 and £2 for concessions. 

Final Rehearsals

Monday 18th – 12.15  - 12.40  - Chamber Choir

Tuesday 19th – 2.45 to 3.45 - for Junior Choir, Junior Orchestra and Wind Band 

Wednesday 20th - 2.45 to 3.45 – for Senior Orchestra, Senior Choir

(Please note that the final rehearsal for Big Band was on Friday 15th after school.)

Thursday 21st March
Part I (6.30pm) will contain performances from Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir and Wind Band
Part II (7.30pm) will feature The Johnston Stompers, Senior Orchestra, Senior Choir and Chamber Choir.

Friday 22nd March – 7pm
No tickets are required for our performance of Andrew Carter’s choral work Benedicite. 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!

Free Folk Music Workshop
In partnership with Durham Johnston School, The English Folk Dance and Song Society are holding a workshop in School on Saturday 1st June. For more details please follow this link Youth Folk 2019, or visit the EFDSS website. www.efdss.org/youthfolk 

Mr E Holmes – Subject Leader for Music

PE Department News

On Tuesday our Year 7 football team were at Ferryhill for a league game. We started well and took control of the game by half-time, going on to win.  The highlight of the week was the performance of our Year 10 rugby 7’s team on Tuesday. They made to journey to Barnard Castle to take on the best schools in the County. We started with a tough game against the hosts. After a difficult start we produced an excellent game only to lose a close game. After that we went from strength to strength, winning the rest of our group games easily to reach the semi-final. In the semi-final we met Durham School who were strong favourites,  to reach the expected final against Barnard Castle. An outstanding performance by our team saw us beat Durham School to set up a final against Barnard Castle. We started strongly, scoring two early tries. However, we eventually ran out of steam to finish runners-up by one try. An outstanding achievement to finish as County runners-up.On Wednesday our U15 girls cricket team were at the Louisa Centre competing in the County indoor finals. We started with a  good 128 – 106 victory over Whi

ckham. We faced a very strong St Wilfred’s team next and unfortunately lost by 50 runs. Despite an easy 127 – 73 win in our final game we only finished runners-up in the group, so missed out on the final.

Rugby continued on Thursday for both the boys and girls. Our Year 8 boys 7’s team were due to be at Barnard Castle for the County finals. However, waterlogged pitches meant the competition was switched to Durham Johnston. It was an excellent afternoon of rugby despite the blustery conditions. We entered two teams and both teams played some great rugby to win 3 games and draw one between them. Our Year 7 girls rugby league team were at Belmont for a tournament. This was their first competitive rugby league game but they were outstanding, winning 6 out of their 7 games. They now go forward to the regional finals.

Finally, good luck today to our Year 7 boys basketball team who made the long journey to Helsby High School, Cheshire for an English Schools tournament, in a bid to reach the National finals.

Mr Hopper - Subject Leader for PE


Golf Success

Congratulations to Jack Crampton who won the Sharpley Tour in January with a fantastic round of 38 (3 over par) and was presented with a trophy for his achievement. We would also like to wish him best of luck for two competitions he will be competing in this weekend at Durham golf club, in an endeavour to qualify for the older junior team. 

Mr Kidd, PE Department

Word of the Week