1 December 2023

Image of Friday Bulletin

Dear Parents and Carers,

We have moved from autumn to winter quite rapidly this week. Christmas draws ever nearer too, with rehearsals for next week’s concerts taking place (Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th December) and the arrival of the school’s Christmas tree on Wednesday. I would like to pretend that heavy snowfall was the final piece of that seasonal jigsaw, but it is well known that teachers are programmed to actively dislike snow. This term ends with our Christmas Carol Service at Durham Cathedral on Tuesday 19th December, and we have written to all parents and carers today, via email, outlining our plans. There is a particularly important form relating to Year 7 students that we have asked families to complete so it is clear how students will make their way home after the service. We will also share information via email next week about this year’s Santa Run to raise money. This is always a positive time in school, and I will share more next week about how our students are supporting local charities for Christmas. To start that process, we have a non-uniform day on Tuesday 5th December. We think very carefully about such days, as it is important that we raise funds and awareness for different charities, whilst also ensuring that we are inclusive and continue to prioritise engagement and hard work in lessons. Please remind your child that it is essential that they bring all of their equipment and books as normal. Similarly, if they have PE on that day, they must bring their kit. We are committed to social justice and supporting those in need, but we also want students to maximise their educational and academic opportunities.

Finally, we are thrilled to have been informed that the Sunday Times has identified the school as their NE Secondary School of the year for 2023-24. Additional detail will appear in the Parent Power section of the Sunday Times this weekend and I will share more information in next week’s bulletin.

Have a good weekend.

Mr O’Sullivan  

Parental survey

A final reminder that our autumn parental survey closes today at 6.00pm.

We have emailed parents and carers with a link to the survey; if you have multiple children in the school, please feel free to complete the survey multiple times.

Mr Wright
Deputy Headteacher


What is my child learning?

In the Learning section of our website you can find guidance on what every student at the school is studying. As well as an overview of our curriculum and principles behind it, you can find an overview of each subject area.
You can also find a guide to the content being covered in every subject and how you can support your child for each half term here:
Year 7 | Year 8 | Year 9 | Year 10 | Year 11 | Year 12 | Year 13 


Examination Certificates


Year 11

Examination certificates for Year 11 will be available to collect from School Reception from 1st December.

You may either collect your certificates in person or authorise a representative (this could be either a member of your family or a friend) to collect them on your behalf. Please provide your representative with a letter, signed by you, authorising them to pick up your certificates on your behalf.

Certificates may be picked up from Reception between 9.00am and 3.30pm. You or your representative must check that all details are correct before signing for the certificates.

If there are special circumstances that prevent you from collecting your certificates and you do not have anyone who can pick them up on your behalf, then you should write to the Examinations Officer requesting that your certificates be posted to you, enclosing a fee of £4.50 to cover the cost of postage and packing.

Cheques should be made payable to Durham Johnston School.


Year 13

We will write to Year 13 students with a date to come into school to collect their certificates. Please note that correspondence will be sent to students’ family addresses, not university/college addresses.

Your certificates are important documents, it is your responsibility to store them safely. You will be required to produce them on many occasions in the future, particularly when applying for Further Education and when seeking employment.


Author Visit

Year 7 welcomed the author Andy Ruffell into school on Thursday 23rd November. He spoke passionately about the superpowers that everyone has and revealed that his were daydreaming and fidgeting! Andy spoke about his own time at school and how he, as a shy child, found his voice through acting and writing stories. Then he explained that his book ‘Lily Grim and the City of Undone’ was inspired by books like ‘The Hobbit’ and even TV programmes such as ‘Stranger Things’. But don’t worry, it is not quite as scary!  

Mrs L Clark
Subject Leader for English


F1 in Schools

The Design and Technology department runs an ‘ F1 in School’ STEM after school club and the teams from Year 10 ( Team Celeritas Racing) and Year 13 (Team Warp Speed) competed in the North East Regional final in Newcastle this week. The students have to set up teams, identify specific job roles, plan their time, complete research and development, and then design, manufacture and race miniature F1 cars. They also need to self-finance through a range of sponsors and sponsorship options. As in real Formula 1, they also must market and promote their team throughout all elements of their work including creating a website, social media accounts and marketing materials.

The teams worked hard throughout the day and interacted with a number of industry professionals and other schools. The first category was for the best Portfolio in all classes; Celeritas Racing was in the shortlisted three and won that award. The next nominations were for the Sponsorship and Marketing; both DJCS teams were again in the top three, but this one was not to be! The next award was for Best Pit Display in all categories with Celeritas Racing taking another win.  A fault in the specification of their car unfortunately excluded Celeritas Racing from winning the fastest car and Team Warp Speed the fastest reaction time. The final award in the Development class was for the top three teams; the top two would win an automatic spot in the National Finals in March next year and the third placed would have the chance to be named as a wild card early in the New Year. We’re delighted that Year 10 Team Celeritas Racing came in second, and so qualified for the National Finals, whilst Sixth Form Team Warp Speed finished third, and so wait to see if they have won a place in the finals. Congratulations to all team members:

Year 10: Team Celeritas: Jessica G, Benjamin C, Daniel A, Beatrice S, Leo B &  Aoife E-W

Year 13 Team Warp :  Vibhas C,  Andy Z,  Piotr S, Steve K, Max F &  Ben A.

Both teams would like to thank their sponsors for the financial and technical support they have given. If any other local organisations would be interested in collaborating with them and helping them in the next stage in their journey to the national finals, please do contact the school.

Mr Glover
Design and Technology Department


Sixth Form Super-curricular Programme


We were delighted recently to welcome Emma Gaudern of EMG Solicitors in to speak to prospective law students, and would like to thank her for her insightful, engaging and inspirational seminar on ‘life as a lawyer’. She explained her education and career pathway that has led her to found and manage her own firm of solicitors. She gave insight into the experiences she has had during her 24 years of practising law and the types of case that she has undertaken. Her presentation outlined aspects of her ‘court of protection work’ in addition to both Emma’s client and business management. The question and answer session at the end of the seminar was especially fascinating and centred on the range of ethical dilemmas in modern law. Well done to the 14 Sixth Form students who engaged fully in this insightful opportunity and thanks once again to Emma for her time and the high standard of learning experience she provided for the students.


Mr Wilbraham
Head of Sixth Form


Careers and Guidance Department Notices

Please click here to view the latest Careers Notices.

Mr Kennedy
Subject Leader, Guidance


Durham Johnston Christmas Concert 2023


Monday 4th December - 14.45 - 16.30:
Rehearsal for Wednesday 6th (Concert 1). All members of Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Big Band and Junior Choir must attend this please.

Tuesday 5th December - 14.45 - 16.30:
Rehearsal for Thursday 7th (Concert 2). All members of Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and Senior Orchestra must attend this please.


Wednesday 6th December – 19.00-20.15:
Concert 1 – James Hall. This concert will include performances by Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Big Band, Junior Choir & Soloists. Please could pupils be here by 18.40, in school uniform.

Thursday 7th December – 19.00-20.15:
Concert 2 – James Hall. This concert will include performances by Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Senior Orchestra & Soloists. Please could pupils be here by 18.40, in school uniform.

Concert Tickets

There are still a few tickets left for each concert, available from the Music Department. They are £4 (Concessions £2). Payment in cash, or cheque payable to 'Durham Johnson School'.

Rehearsals in the week beginning Monday 11th December

There will be some rehearsals in this week, mainly for those groups performing in the Cathedral Carol Service. Please click here for more information about these. 

Mr Holmes
Subject Leader for Music


PE News

It has been a very busy two weeks since the last update.

On Friday 17th November, our Inter and Senior boys swimming teams travelled down to Birmingham in preparation for the English Schools National finals which took place on Saturday at the Commonwealth pool. After a restful night we arrived as one of only a handful of state schools, ready to compete. There were 24 teams in every event & over 2000 teams entered this competition initially. Our Senior boys made it to the grand final of the medley relay and were 7th in the country! They just missed out to Greenhead College for the President’s award (best state school medals) but what that means is that we were 2nd best state school in England, which is outstanding. They were 14th overall in the freestyle relay.

The Inter boys also produced amazing swims and were 15th in the Medley relay and 12th overall in the freestyle relay. All the boys were a credit to themselves and school, and above all that many of them swam their personal best times on the day showing  they really did put everything out there to compete as well as they possibly could. A great achievement for a school who don't even have a swimming pool!

Last Tuesday, our U14 and U19 girls’ basketball teams made the journey to Manchester to take on Trinity High School. They are one of the best basketball schools in the country, and proved too strong for us in both games. It was, however, great experience to play against teams which included England Internationals.

Also on Tuesday, our Year 7 boys’ rugby team played St Leonard's in a friendly. This was an excellent match played in a great spirit which we won.

Our Year 7 girls’ football team took part in the BASFA tournament at Sedgefield. The team won all their pool games and the semi-final. They faced St John's in the final and after a tense game, we won 4-3 to become champions.

To complete a busy Tuesday, our Year 10 girls’ futsal team took on Bishop Barrington in the area futsal final. We battled hard but eventually lost 7 - 4. Leah Arthur was POM.

On Wednesday, our Year 7 & 8 netballers travelled to Durham High for our local derby. Honours ended even, as our Year 7's lost 21-3 and our Year 8's won 14-4.

It was a first loss of the season for our U19 boys’ football team against Whitley Bay High in the National Cup. Despite dominating possession for large parts of the game we couldn't find a goal, eventually losing 1-0.

Our domination of local cross-country continued on Wednesday as our teams travelled to Framwellgate for the Area Championships. The senior races were cancelled due to the waterlogged course. The other results were as follows:

Year 7 boys - 1st and Area Champions (winning by nearly 100 points)
Year 7 girls  - 1st and Area Champions
Junior boys - 1st and Area Champions
Junior girls - 3rd
Inter boys A team - 1st and Area champions.
Inter boys B team - 2nd
Inter girls - 1st and Area Champions

Congratulations to Henry Engelhart, Ben Beale, Grace Carter and Will Jardine who won their race to become Area champions.

This Monday, our U14 boys’ and U19 girls’ basketball teams travelled to Queen Ethelburga's School, York, for English Schools matches. Our girls produced some outstanding basketball and coped extremely well with a very vocal home support to win the game 54 - 25. Our boys had two games and lost their first game to the hosts by 30 points. However, we then faced St Aidan's, Harrogate and dominated the game to win 40 - 21.

On Tuesday, our Year 8 boys’ basketball team were at Sedgefield taking part in the BASFA tournament. Our A team won all their games to become Area champions. Our B team won 3 games and lost 2 to finish 3rd.

Our Year 11 girls’ futsal team faced Bishop Barrington in the area futsal final. After a close game we won 8-5 to become champions. POM was Rohana Paudyal who scored 4 goals.

Also on Tuesday, our Year 7 boys’ rugby team travelled to Parkview for a tournament. They started with a victory against the hosts. We only lost 1 game to a strong team from St Aidan's to finish 2nd

On Wednesday our U18 boys’ rugby team made the short journey to Durham School for a friendly match against their Seconds. This was an excellent game in which we dominated the first half. Despite a second half fightback by Durham School, we recorded a comfortable 53-17 win.

Also on Wednesday, our Year 9 girls’ futsal team faced Woodham in the Area final. Unfortunately, a more experienced Woodham team won 5-1. Goalkeeper Sascha Wang was POM.

Last night our Year 10 boys’ basketball team were at Dame Allan's for the Tyneside Schools tournament. Also last night, our U13 and U16 boys’ and girls’ table tennis teams were at Hurworth School competing in the county finals. We will bring news of these results next week.

Good luck today to our Year 11 football team who take on Emmanuel College in the County Cup. Our Year 9 rugby team also play Emmanuel in a friendly. Our Year 7 girls’ football team were scheduled to compete in a tournament at Downhill today, but this has unfortunately been cancelled due to the weather.

Finally, good luck this weekend to our Junior and Inter boys cross-country teams who are travelled to Woodbridge School, Suffolk to compete in the English Schools National Finals. They are ranked in the top 10 schools in the country going into this event.

Mr Hopper
Subject Leader for PE


We have also been asked to share the following:

Road Safety Team Update

We have been asked to share an update by Durham County Council’s parking and road safety team in relation to some traffic related issues in the Browney area. They have asked that parents and carers driving to the area to drop off and collect children accessing school buses to be mindful of the highway code and to avoid blocking access for local residents.