22 March 2019

Dates for your Diary – Spring Term 2019

  • 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

Love hasn't got the word in motion

I got home from school on Tuesday and chose to post a number of things online. Ongoing issues regarding Brexit provoked my first tweet. I had watched an interview on the news with a member of the Cabinet, who was criticising John Bercow’s actions on a third meaningful vote. I found the MPs personal account to tell him that he was ‘….a useless idiot, a clown....’ and ‘…that you should be ashamed of yourself.’ 

I then added the following comment to a Facebook page dedicated to a local supermarket chain that I use on an infrequent basis. 
‘Your service is shocking. Why can’t you employ people who know what they are doing? You are paid a fortune, but you can’t even stock the biscuits that I want when I visit your store. One of your ‘colleagues’ informed that they might have some new stock in soon and to check back. When? It isn’t good enough, I want a clear date and time. Has anyone else had trouble getting biscuits in this store? Let me know and we can organise a petition.’

In between regularly checking my phone to see if I had any likes, or to see if my petition request was gathering momentum, I fired off a short message to a news article from daily newspaper, which appeared in the comments section. The article identified a number of must have men’s’ wardrobe items for the summer of 2019.

 ‘How dare you give advice on fashion when you are dressed like that? Did you get dressed in the dark? Brown shoes and blue trousers? Be serious. It is outrageous that you have been given the time and money to write this article. It’s embarrassing.’ 
I did not actually do any of the above things. I have no interest in social media and rather read a book or spend time with my family. To be very specific, when I had finished work on Tuesday I watched ‘Harry Heroes, The Full English’ and, surprisingly, felt myself willing Matt Le Tissier to lose weight and being moved by Paul Merson’s struggle with addiction. I didn’t tweet, comment on closed forums or add my thoughts to the cesspit that is ‘the bottom half of the Internet.’ Did you? If so, were you negative or critical? Were you angry?

Please click here to read the full article

Will Brexit Have an Impact on the English Language?

Will Brexit have an impact on the English Language?  Will certain languages and dialects die out?  Do men and women talk differently?  Is Global English a positive thing?  Is language acquisition inbuilt, or do we learn it from those around us?    Is written accuracy more important than creativity in the Primary Education system?  These are just some of the current issues talked about in A Level English Language lessons around the country. 

On Wednesday (20/03/19) English Language students from years 12 and 13 embarked on a day trip to Emmanuel College to attend a talk by renowned linguist, David Crystal, OBE. 

Crystal, having written numerous linguistic books over the years, shared his personal thoughts and expert views on a number of thought-provoking topics, which students have to cover within their A-Level syllabus. There were 3 exciting talks including: “The meaning of grammar”, “Child language acquisition” and “The future of English-ES” – all of which gave students excellent examples and facts which they can quote in their own work.
Overall, it was an excellent day out which ended with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get autographs and pictures with the legend himself - something the students and, in particular, Miss Ayrey had great fun doing. 

Katelyn Shearer, Year 13


Year 9 Languages Visit

A group of students took a day out of school and travelled to the Tyneside Cinema to participate in a number of activities.

We watched a French film called Ma vie de Courgetter and it was good. Afterwards we answered some questions about the film and completed some grammar activities. We also had to prepare a character summary of a selected character and then shared them with all of the other schools there.

Overall, it was a brilliant day.

Liam Thomson, Year 9


Parent Governor Vacancy

We have received six nominations for the parent governor vacancy and will now hold a ballot.  Letters for the attention of parents and carers, together with ballot papers and envelopes for return have been issued to students in form time this morning. 

Papers can be returned by post, or given to students to hand in at Reception.before close of business on Friday 29 March.

The outcome of the ballot will be published on the website in the week beginning 1 April 2019.


Music Notice

‘Flora & Fauna’

This year’s spring concert took as its theme, the wonders of the natural world. There was a huge variety of repertoire to be heard in James Hall on Thursday evening. From Big Band’s Birdland, through a rousing Wind Band Lion King medley, the haunting strains of Vivaldi’s Winter from Junior Orchestra and Chamber Choir’s Seal Lullaby, to a rumbustious Senior Orchestra finish with the theme from Jurassic Park, and plenty more besides. The Y13 leavers (adorned with floral garland and ties) thanked the Music Department over the years for the opportunities available to them to make music together, and they sang their thanks with a specially personalised vocal offering! Mr Holmes, Mrs Holmes and Mrs Wiggers would like to congratulate all the performers for their splendid music making and for creating a tremendous atmosphere in both parts of the concert.

Continuing the theme, the massed choirs of Durham Johnston School will perform Andrew Carter’s ‘Benedicite’ this evening at 7pm – a joyous and colourful choral work celebrating the natural world. 

Rehearsals for Junior Choir, Junior Orchestra, Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra, Chamber Choir, and Wind Band are now at an end for this academic year, and will resume in September. Big Band will be continuing with some rehearsals, and more information will follow regarding these. 

Mr Holmes - Subject Leader for Music

PE Department News

Rugby success has been the highlight this week. On Monday our Year 7 team were at Horden RFU competing in the County Plate finals. After an excellent afternoon of rugby we remained unbeaten winning all three games to claim the trophy.

Rugby continued on a very busy Tuesday as our Year 9 team travelled to Barnard Castle for the County 7’s tournament. We had a tough draw taking on the hosts in our first match, losing a good game. We then won the rest of our group games to finish second in the group setting up a semi-final with Durham School. We scored an early try and played some excellent rugby but just couldn’t hang on in the second half, eventually losing a close game. An excellent achievement to be the best state school. Also our Tuesday our U15 girls Futsal team travelled to York University for the Northern Regional Futsal finals. After an excellent day of high quality Futsal our girls needed a victory in their final game to finish in the top two and therefore qualify for the National Finals. However despite our best efforts we couldn’t find a win and therefore finished in 3rd place. Our U14 girls basketball team were also taking part in a tournament at Hartlepool VIth Form college. This was a boys competition, however our girls outplayed most of the other teams to reach the final against St Hild’s. We took an early lead and were winning with less than a minute to go when a final free-throw for St Hild’s saw them beat us by 1 point.

Finally on Tuesday we had 18 of our rowers competing in the North-east indoor finals at Maiden Castle. It was a great achievement to get so many rowers to this stage. All the rowers produced excellent performances with many finishing in the top 4. Congratulations to Tom Pfetscher from Year 8 who won his race to become North-east champion.

The rugby continued on Wednesday as our U16 team were at Billingham RFU for the County Shield final. In perfect conditions they played great rugby to win all their games to become champions.

On Thursday our U14 girls basketball team made the long journey to Woodhey School, Bury in the “last 16” of the English Schools Cup. This was an excellent game played in a great spirit. We were 9 points behind at half-time, however a late fightback in the 4th quarter saw us reduce the deficit to only 4 points with 3 minutes to go. Unfortunately we couldn’t find another basket eventually losing by 10 points.

Also, on Thursday our VIth form football team were taking on St Robert’s in the quarter-final of the cup. Unfortunately we could only field an under-strength team due to a university convention and they proved too strong for us winning 7 – 0.

Good luck tonight to our Year 11 football team who are at home in the semi-final of the County Cup against St Joseph’s.

Finally, excellent news regarding Joe Hugill from Year 10 who is part of the Sunderland academy. He played against Liverpool U15 last Tuesday night in a round of the Under 15 floodlit cup and Sunderland won 4 - 1 with Joe scoring all 4 which meant they progressed into the next round against Man City. Joe played Man City this week in the Northern semi-final of the floodlit cup and after a very tough game came out with a 2 - 1 win with Joe scoring the first goal and working very hard for the whole game. The team now progress to the final in the next few weeks.

Mr Hopper - Subject Leader for PE


Ski Visit 2020

Please could I remind parents and carers whose children are going on next year's ski trip, that instalment 3 -  £146.00  is due by the 5th April.  If paying by cheque, please make payable to Durham Johnston School.

Mrs Hopper - PE Department


Word of the Week