20 January 2021

January 2021                       

Dear Parent/Carer,

Key Stage 4 Option Choices 2021-2023

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 your child’s education. As a school, we are pleased to be able to continue to offer a wide range of subjects, including both GCSEs and equivalent qualifications, to accommodate the different interests and abilities of our pupils. To support your child in deciding which subjects to study in Years 10 and 11, there will be a progress update, a Virtual Options Information Event and a Virtual Parents Consultation.

To support our planning for the academic year 2021-2023, the deadline for submitting option choices will be Friday 26th February 2021.


Progress Update Report

The Year 9 progress update will be issued on Tuesday 26th January 2021. This will be sent to both parents/carers and students via email and will also be available to view on the SIMs parent app and the SIMs student app. Given the importance of the Year 9 report in guiding students with their option choices, this report will not take into account the transition period to remote learning at the start of this term. Due to disruption and circumstances beyond some students’ control, this period may not be a true reflection of a student’s performance in a subject. The report will reflect students’ work ethic and progress from September to December 2020.

As a school, we have worked hard to maintain as high quality a curriculum as possible for all our students and are pleased to have been able to offer our Year 9 students their usual suite of subjects this year. It should be noted, however, that some practical subjects have had to amend their curriculum given the restrictions and this may be reflected in students reports compared to previous years.

Should you have any concerns about your child’s current progress in any subject, these can be addressed either at the Virtual Parents Consultation or by emailing school@durhamjohnston.org.uk.


Virtual Options Information Event

The Virtual Options Information Event will be available on the school website from Wednesday 27th January 2021. This will be an opportunity for students, parents and carers to find out more about the courses available and the options process. Students will make their option choices using SIMs options online this year and detailed information on how to use this platform will be provided on the Virtual Options section of the website.

In order to access and approve your child’s option choices, you will need to be registered for the SIMs Parent App. Full details on how to register are available on the school website https://www.durhamjohnston.org.uk/e-learning/sims-id.

If you have any questions relating to the options process, please contact us at options@durhamjohnston.org.uk.


Virtual Parents Consultation

There will be a Virtual Parent Consultation for Year 9 on Monday 1st February 2021. Appointments will be available across both a morning session from 8.45-10.45am and an afternoon session from 2.00-6.00pm. Each appointment will be 4 minutes in length. The event will be hosted via the SchoolCloud online video conferencing system which can be accessed by following this link: https://djcs.schoolcloud.co.uk/. Details on how to register and use the system are included in the documents you will find at the end of this letter. The appointment system will be accessible from 10.00am on Wednesday 27th January and will close at 12.00 p.m. on Saturday 30th January. Please note appointments must be made in advance.

Due to the nature of the online format, there is a limited number of appointment slots for each staff member even with the significantly extended times above. Our staff are dedicated to supporting our students however, given the breadth of the curriculum offer in Year 9, for a few subjects it is not physically possible to offer every parent an appointment. In order to provide the best possible support to students with subjects they are considering choosing next year, and to maximise appointment length, we have prioritised appointments for these subjects based on the options survey students completed last half term. Should your child have changed their mind and now be considering a subject they indicated previously they were not at all interested in, please contact the school and we will do our best to facilitate an appointment with an appropriate member of staff.


In order to ensure that you do not miss any important information, please can you contact us at school@durhamjohnston.org.uk if you are not receiving any emails from the school to check we have an up to date email address.


Yours faithfully,

Mrs R McFadden

Deputy Headteacher

Year 9 Virtual Parents Consultation