1 March 2024

Image of Friday Bulletin

Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome back to a new term. It’s a really important one in particular for Years 11 and 13, as Year 13 finish A Level courses and Year 11 sit important GCSE mock examinations.

There have been a considerable number of education themed news stories in the last two weeks. There has been debate linked to mobile phone usage and bans, online safety, inclusivity, funding, and the parlous state of the majority of school budgets, as needs change and funding doesn’t reflect the support required. I will share some thoughts on those issues in the weeks ahead. It’s not the job of school leaders to be political, but in an election year it is important that Headteachers and teachers advocate for children and encourage all political parties to think carefully about the social, economic, and cultural benefits of a positive and well-resourced education for all. That advocacy is very necessary, as is clearly suggested by the following reports outlining the difficulties faced by many young people:

ADCS Childhood Matters Position Paper

ADCS Childhood Matters Executive Summary

I would like to thank the parents who have shared those recent publications and for supporting our focus on social justice. The percentages in relation to childhood circumstances and experiences are deeply concerning.

We are currently working hard to deliver the best education possible given that context and, like all schools, are considering the operational realities of what we are able to deliver with the resources that we have. As part of that process, we are keen to get your thoughts and the focus groups that we have previously discussed are planned and ready to start, with the meetings scheduled for the week beginning 18th March 2024. Please sign up via the email that will be sent to all parents and carers. We are keen to work with as wide a group of parents and carers as possible to get your thoughts. Miss Forbes has just completed a similar student voice exercise with all form classes, so that we have the widest possible range of thoughts and opinions.

Have a good weekend.

Mr O’Sullivan

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


Careers and Guidance Department Notices

Please click here to view the latest Careers Notices.

Mr Kennedy
Subject Leader, Guidance


Music Notices

Junior Choir (Change of Date)

It was hoped that Junior Choir would be taking part in a joint performance of the Cantata 'Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo' on Saturday 9th March, but the organisers of this event have had to postpone this. We hope that this will now happen in the Gala Theatre on the evening of Saturday 4th May, but are currently awaiting confirmation of this. 

Spring Concerts

Rehearsals will continue as normal for the next two weeks; please find details of the arrangements for the week of the concert below:

Final Rehearsals

Monday 18th March - 14.45 - 16.00:

Rehearsal for Wednesday 20th (Concert 1). All members of Wind Band, Junior Orchestra, Big Band and Junior Choir must attend this please.

Tuesday 19th March - 14.45 - 16.00:

Rehearsal for Thursday 21st (Concert 2). All members of Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and Senior Orchestra must attend this please.


Wednesday 20th March – 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 21st March – 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.

Solo Opportunities

We still have a slot for a soloist in each concert, and the hope is that we can find solos that have a 'watery' theme. If your child has a piece they may be interested in performing, please would you ask them to see me as soon as possible.

Concert Tickets

Tickets are now available from the Music Department. They are £4 (Concessions £2). Payment in cash, or cheque payable to 'Durham Johnston School'.

Mr Holmes
Subject Leader for Music


PE News

On Monday, we hosted the Year 7 girls’ futsal tournament. It was excellent news as we played some great futsal to win the competition. They now join our Year 8 and Year 11 girls in the County Final in March at the Beacon of Light.

A busy Tuesday started with our Key Stage 3 and 4 boys’ and girls’ badminton teams travelling to Thornaby for the County Finals. It was an excellent day of high-quality badminton. Congratulations to our KS4 girls who won the competition and now progress to the North-East finals. All our other teams finished in the top three schools in the county.

Our Year 9 boys rugby sevens team were at Maiden Castle taking part in the county sevens finals. They produced some great rugby to beat Yarm School, Durham School, and High Tunstall. Their only defeat came at the hands of the eventual winners from Barnard Castle.

Our VIth Form football team hosted an unbeaten Whitburn School in the league. The team showed great determination to secure a hard-fought 3-2 win, despite falling behind twice. Two goals from Louis Brown and a wonder strike from POM Harry Stewart sealed the win.

Our Year 7 & 8 girls’ football teams were at Parkside for the next round of the CVL. Both our Pink and Red teams were victorious against the other schools. The only defeat for our Pink team was against our Red team who won 3-0 to win the competition.

Finally on Tuesday, our U16 boys’ basketball team made the long journey to Hexham to take on QEHS in the Tyneside Cup final. We started slowly but gradually took control in the second half, going on to become Tyneside champions with a 57 - 48 victory. Alex Hedley was POM.

On Wednesday, our Year 7 and 8 boys and girls Sportshall athletics were at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre for the County Finals. It was an excellent afternoon for Durham Johnston, as all four teams dominated the event to become County Champions.

Also on Wednesday, our U15 girls’ cricket team were at the Beacon of Light for the Area indoor cricket competition. We won all our group games comfortably to reach the semi-final. This was a one-sided game against St Bede's as we bowled them out for 20 runs. This set up a final against Oxclose, who we had already beaten in the group games. However, this time they got the upper hand, winning by 29 runs as we finished as runners-up. This however should mean we still qualify for the County Finals.

We were back at the Beacon of Light later that day as our Year 7 boys’ futsal team took part in the County Final against Cardinal Hume. Unfortunately, we had a poor start conceding two goals in the opening minute. We improved after that, and never gave up but gave ourselves too much to do as we finished runners-up after losing 5-1. Ollie Van-Winghem was POM.

Last night our Year 7, 9 & 10 football teams were due to host Bishop Barrington as the second half of the league season got underway. Unfortunately, they had to concede the Year 7 game due to lack of players. It was good news for our Year 9s who comfortably won 6 - 0 with POM Will Haselhurst scoring a hattrick. Finally, our Year 10 team secured a 4 - 2 with 2 goals from POM Alex Wright.

Also last night, our U15 girls’ football teams were at Parkside for their CVL. Our A team won all three games and our B team won one. Fantastic attitude from all the girls with some last minute changes.

Good luck this morning to our U13 and U15 boys’ and girls’ handball teams who were at Maiden Castle competing in the County Finals. The winners of each competition will qualify for the northern regional round next month.

Finally, we are looking forward to meeting our Year 8 & 9 skiers early in the morning (4.30am at Newcastle Airport!) to depart for what should be an outstanding week of skiing in Italy. Lots of snow forecast this weekend! Follow our progress on the PE twitter.

Mr Hopper
Subject Leader for PE