22 November 2019

Dates for your Diary - Autumn Term 2019

  • Ski trip 2020 - information evening for parents - Tuesday 26 November 5.45 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. in James Hall
  • INSET - Friday 29 November - SCHOOL CLOSED
  • Year 13 Parents' Consultation Evening, Monday 2 December 2019, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 9 Options Evening, Monday 13 January 2020, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 9 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 20 January 2020, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 12 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 3 February 2020, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 7 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 2 March 2020, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 8 Parents' Consultation Evening - Monday 23 March, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
  • Year 10 Parent' Consultation Evening - Monday 27 April 2020, 4.00 - 6.00 p.m.


Sunday Times UK Comprehensive of the Year 2019-20

Durham Johnston Comprehensive School has been chosen by the Sunday Times as their UK Comprehensive School of the Year. Each year the newspaper produces its Parent Power survey outlining the most successful state and independent schools in the country. In 2017 we were identified by the newspaper as their most successful North East state school and we are delighted to  have now been chosen as the recipient of their prestigious national award for 2020. In explaining why Durham Johnston has been chosen they commented that: 

“Barely 50 grammar schools achieved better A-level results than Durham Johnston last summer, a beacon of educational excellence and a flag bearer for the comprehensive school ideal. The best sixth-form results in the school’s history this summer saw more than half the A-levels taken secure A* or A grades and 56 children gain AAA or better. 

It is little wonder that it recruits at sixth form from across County Durham from both the state and the independent sector, while its intake at 11 from the immediate local area is socially mixed and covers a broad academic range.  Children do well at GCSE and most stay on to sixth form. 

Outstanding sport and music, plus a wealth of other outside activities led by committed staff mean this is no examination factory. There is a strong commitment to social justice and tolerance that help make Durham Johnston the standout state school in the northeast and one of the very best in country.”

We are thrilled to receive such recognition for our school community, but also appreciate that there are a number of things that we are working to improve and that there are many more opportunities that we can provide for our students. School staff, students and their families work together very successfully and that is at the heart of our longstanding success. Our ethos is based upon academic excellence, acquiring knowledge, public service and a belief in social justice. We want all of our students to succeed regardless of ability or social circumstance and are proud that The Sunday Times has acknowledged the school’s work.  

We will publish the full article next week. 

A J O’Sullivan 



How goes it with our children? 

There has been a significant focus in recent years on the cost of education and it is apparent to all that education has been underfunded in recent years, to the extent that the majority of schools have struggled in some way. Teaching staff, resources and, somewhat worryingly, days within the school week have been cut in order for some schools to stay afloat. If you are looking for a measure of how some people must value the nation’s children, then that is a development that far outweighs the stories of Headteachers buying resources or cleaning toilets. All political parties are now indicating that they will spend lavishly, even those who imposed those very cuts in the first place. However, other people are capable of writing much more eloquently about the true picture of educational funding than I will here. 

Please click on the following link to read the full article.




International School Award Presentation


On Tuesday the Head Student Team collected the award for International School status from the British Council in recognition of the international enrichment opportunities in our curriculum.

Mr McArdle, Assistant Headteacher


Code Clubs 

Code Clubs for students in Years 7, 8, 9 and GCSE/A level code clubs have begun!

The club for students in Years 7 and 8 will run during first lunch on Thursday in IT3 where they will be the opportunity to practice using the Micro-Bits / Raspberry Pi's / Scratch or even Python!

For students in Year 9,  there will be a session after-school on Wednesday (2:45 p.m.  – 3:45 p.m. ) where they can learn how to Hack Minecraft!

For GCSE and A-level students who want the opportunity to practice coding or need help with coursework or projects,  there will be a session running during Thursday lunchtime (1:00 p.m. -1:45 p.m.).

If students require further details they should call along to see me.

Mr O'Connor, Business and Computing


Christmas Appeal 2019

As part of our Christmas appeal for 2019 will be supporting the young carers gift appeal and feeding families.  This way they will both receive a significant contribution towards their cause.

Information is with tutors and house reps will collect their “tag” on Wednesday – the form will then work together to make Christmas a little brighter for those in need.

I’m sure you will agree, two incredibly worthwhile causes - with a little time and planning we can really help to make a difference this Christmas.

Thank you for your support.

Families Action & Feeding Families Christmas Appeal

Miss L Forbes, Senior Teacher and Subject Leader,  Business & Computing


Support Services Open Day

New College Durham is holding a Support Services Open Day on Saturday 30th November from 10.00am - 12.00 noon. This event is for students looking to study on our further education or higher education programmes, as well as for parents and carers, school staff and careers advisers. 
The event will provide an opportunity to find out more about the extensive range of support available to students (both FE and HE) studying at New College Durham. Visitors will have the opportunity to talk to staff, as well as have a look around their fantastic facilities.
There will be a wide range of support on offer, which is individually tailored to fit students when they need it, including students who have an EHCP, SEN plan, or need support with transition. 
Further info: https://www.newcollegedurham.ac.uk/news-events/events/support-services-open-day/ 
Mr Kennedy, Subject Lead for Careers and Guidance



Are You Worried About the Spiralling Costs of The Prom?

I organised the first Year 11 Prom a number of years ago at Durham Johnston.  Now, it is bigger and better than ever.  However, the cost of Prom has rocketed, and often parents feel pressure to spend a fortune on clothing for one night.  One of my Year 13 pupils told me that she spent £400 on the dress alone!   When I asked if she now felt the money was wasted, the response was yes.

I have teamed up with a group of Sixth form students, two representatives from charities, and we are going to host our first ever Year 11 Prom fashion show.
The pre-loved dresses on sale have been donated, have been worn once, and will be at a fraction of the price to elsewhere. The average cost will be £30-£40.  All money raised will be split between the four charities the representatives are working for.  

The fashion show will be held on Friday 13th December, 3.30-5.00, in James Hall.  Pupils can purchase tickets from me in Room En5 for £1.  The cost of the tickets is to cover nibbles, drinks and prom related raffle prizes for the evening.
Finally,  if you have an evening dress, accessories or shoes you would like to donate, please send them, via your child, to EN5.

Prom Fashion Show

Mrs Walton, English Department 

Ski Trip 2020 Reminder

Please remember there is a meeting for all 2020 skiers and their parents on Tuesday 26th November in James Hall at 5:45.
It is important to attend as there is a lot of vital information to give out, including travel information and meeting the staff accompanying each trip.

See you there

Mrs Hopper, Ski Visit Co-ordinator


PE Department News

On Tuesday our U13 girls cricket team continued their indoor season with an away match at Framwellgate. We maintained our unbeaten run with a straightforward 72 – 48 victory. We now need to beat Framwellgate B team in our final game to win the competition and qualify for the County finals.

Also on Tuesday our Year 7 football team travelled to Macmillan Academy in the 4th round of the English Schools Cup. Despite dominating possession we struggled to score and went into the last 10 minutes of the game level at 1 – 1. However a penalty from Cole Carter and a late goal from Ethan Brown saw us win 3 – 1 to reach the 5th round and the last 64 schools in the country.

On Wednesday our U13 and U15 girls' rugby teams were due to be competing in the county finals. Unfortunately the event was cancelled at the last minute. However Harton School travelled to us for an U13 friendly match. We are a very strong team and this was their first match so it ended up in a very comfortable victory for our girls.

On Thursday morning Framwellgate were hosting the Area Cross-Country Championships. This was another outstanding cross-country competition for Durham Johnston as we won 7 out of the 8 races:

Year 7 girls – 1st (Evie Peart 1st and Area Champion)
Year 7 boys – 1st (Cole Carter 3rd)
Year 8 & 9 girls – 1st (Charlotte Dillon 1st and Area Champion)
Year 8 & 9 boys – 1st (Noah Glanville 1st and Area Champion)
Year 10 & 11 girls – 1st (Erin Keeler-Clarke 1st and Area Champion)
Year 10 & 11 boys – 1st (Peter Cook 1st and Area Champion)
VIth form boys – 1st (Henry Johnson 1st and Area Champion)

An amazing 43 of our runners finished in the top 16  in their race to qualify for the County Championships in January.

League netball matches continued last night as our Year 7 and 8 teams took on Choristers. Both were comfortable victories as our Year 7’s won 32 – 1 with Libby Clark player of the match and our Year 8’s won 19 – 8 with Kaelyn Jones player of the match.

Our Year 9 team were also at home against Hermitage. We won this game easily with an impressive 26 – 0 score line. Lucy Pinkney was player of the match.
Finally good luck today to our U16 basketball team who have travelled to Wakefield to take on Kettlethorpe School in the English Schools Cup.

Mr Hopper, Subject Leader for PE


Whole School Literacy
What do a triceratops, a tricycle and a trilogy all have in common? No, it is not the start of a really bad joke, rather the answer is this week’s word root: ‘tri’ meaning three. Most people are familiar with ‘trio’ meaning a group of three, or a ‘trident’ having three prongs, but did you know that a ‘trilemma’ is like a dilemma, but with three possible solutions?

Mrs Clarke, Whole School Literacy Co-ordinator