17 May 2024

Image of Friday Bulletin

Dear Parents and Carers,

We always think very carefully about the shape of the year for our students, and we have made significant changes for May 2024. We hope that these long-planned changes are beneficial for our GCSE students in particular.

We have shared personalised exam timetables for Year 11, and it has been excellent to see them accessing additional support via carefully timed l lessons and bespoke revision sessions. We have refined last year’s planning and our phased intervention, support and revision has been received very positively by students. Could I please ask the parents of Year 11 students to continue offering encouragement at home, to make sure that your child takes advantage of opportunities provided by the school and, importantly, that they behave in a mature and sensible manner at school. Our teachers are providing extra sessions and support for Year 11, and behaving positively, and acknowledging that support should be a given for all students in the year group.

Year 13 are also revising and preparing for exams and a large amount of informal support is being given by teachers. Next week there are several important exams for both year groups, and we hope that the benefit of working hard until the final exams in June is obvious. Year 13 had their leavers’ ball on Friday 10th May, which was a great success. Thank you to the sixth form team and committee for organising such an enjoyable event. Year 11 have their leaving day on Friday 24th May, and we are looking forward to sharing memories of their 5 years at Durham Johnston and encouraging them to both work hard and look after themselves over the half-term week.

This week we received an update on the Year 11 students that left us in 2023 and are proud that all but one of the 268 students that left last year are currently continuing with their education or are in employment. Whilst one student not engaged in education or work is one too many, we also take encouragement from so many taking positive steps after leaving Year 11. We have also carefully planned guidance and opportunities for Years 9 and 10, with detailed careers guidance for Year 9 as they chose their options in the spring term and work experience moving from July to May for Year 10. We have always organised Year 10 work experience for the end of the school year, but felt that moving it to an earlier point in the calendar would allow greater time for students to both reflect and plan for Year 11 more effectively. At the time of writing, 95% of our students have high quality work experiences places organised for next week, and we have also arranged intensive careers support and opportunities for those who will stay in school. We have careers taster days, hobbies, and new activities for all students to try in the summer term to build upon our wider personal development work. Trying new things is hugely important, as it offers different perspectives based upon actual experience. This point was echoed very strongly in one of our parental focus groups and we used that feedback to plan for the summer.

The school’s ethos has always been based upon opening doors for students and supporting their next steps. Those opportunities can come from succeeding in exams, by gaining experience of a certain type of work or trying something new things. Public service and social justice are also pivotal to the development of children at Durham Johnston and the recent changes that we have made will benefit all members of our community, regardless of their circumstances. We also hope they will aid society by helping our students to gain the experience, qualifications and rounded personalities that will allow them to function positively within society in the future.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

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


Year 11 Maths Revision Session - Reminder

The GCSE Maths Paper 2 exam takes place on Monday 3rd June. The Maths Department is offering an extra revision session during the half term holiday to support students, on Thursday 30th May, 9am-12pm. Further details have emailed directly to parents and carers, along with an electronic form to complete to indicate that a student wishes to attend.

Mrs Urwin
Subject Leader for Maths


Music Notices

Tuition from Durham Music Service over the coming weeks

Year 11 and Year 13 are still encouraged to attend instrumental/ vocal lessons and they need not be in school uniform if they are just on site for this sole purpose.  If they are unable to attend lessons because of exams or revision sessions, please would they be kind enough to inform their teacher in order that this time can be reallocated.

15th Durham Johnston School Music Festival

The annual school music festival will take place on the evening of Friday 28th June. There are three classes over the course of the evening and this performance opportunity is open to those who take music lessons outside school, as well as those who receive tuition in school from Durham Music Service. For details of how to enter, please follow this link.

Music for a Summer Evening

Year 13 musicians, their family and friends are invited to ‘Music for a Summer Evening’ on Thursday 4th July at 7.00pm. This is an informal ‘cabaret–style’ event taking place in the Cafe, where pupils and staff entertain their guests whilst they enjoy drinks and a light buffet. It is an opportunity to say ‘goodbye’, and ‘thank you’ to the leavers for all their commitment to extra-curricular music over their years at Durham Johnston School. The musical items usually have a more light-hearted feel to them than in the traditional school concerts, and I already know of some special items lined up for this year! In the past contributions have ranged from Noel Coward and Flanders & Swan to Joni Mitchell and Radiohead. For more details, please follow this link.

Mr Holmes
Subject Leader for Music


PE News

This has been a very busy and successful week as the football and basketball seasons draw to a close and the summer sports get into full swing.

On Monday our U13 girls’ cricket team were at Sedgefield CC taking part in the Chance to Compete tournament. We lost our first game to Egglescliffe but then won all our other matches to reach the final where we faced Egglescliffe again. They batted first and we restricted them to 47 runs. We then produced an excellent batting performance to win the competition scoring 93 runs.

On Tuesday, all our athletics teams were at Monkton Stadium competing in the first round of the English Schools Cup. All our athletes performed very well. We are now waiting to hear which of our teams have qualified for the regional round after half term.

Four of our boys then rushed straight back to school to join the Year 8 football team travelling to King James for the League Cup final. This was a close game throughout. However, a goal from Josh Smith and a hattrick from POM Henry Burns saw us claim the trophy with a 4-3 victory. That completed the double as they have already been confirmed as league champions.

The U15 girls’ cricket team were due to play their Chance to Compete tournament on Wednesday however the weather meant it had to be postponed.

Two football matches did go ahead. Our Year 7 team faced Parkview in the semi-final of the Tyneside Cup. We produced some outstanding football to dominate the game, going on the reach the final with a 3-0 victory. Ollie Van Winghem was POM.

Our Year 9 team were also playing Parkview, this time in the Tyneside final. We started well taking a 3-0 lead. However, they fought back to 3-2. We held our nerve in a tense last 15 minutes to win the trophy 4-2. Will Haselhurst was POM. They have now completed the treble with one more final next week the quadruple is possible.

Yesterday afternoon our Year 7 & 8 basketball teams travelled to Sunderland to face St Aidan's in the Junior NBA play-offs, hoping to reach the finals in June. Our Year 7 team played first and started strongly. The result was never in doubt as we won 43 -18 to reach the finals. Brodie Squares was POM. The Year 8 game was much closer. Both teams struggled to score and with less than a minute to play there was only 3 points between the teams. However, we couldn't find another basket as we lost 22-19. Manos Mylonopoulos was POM.

Straight after that, our Year 7 football team were at King James taking on Sedgefield in the League Cup final. They were the only team to beat us in the league, so this was always going to be a close game. We took the lead in the first half playing some excellent football. Unfortunately, we conceded two second half goals to finish runners up. Another chance of success next week as we play in the Tyneside final.

Good luck today to our U15 cricket team who are at Durham City CC playing Whickham in the Tyneside Cup.

Mr Hopper
Subject Leader for PE

We have also been asked to share the following:

Durham’s Voluntary Community Sector Alliance Newsletter
Please click the link above to find information about a wide range of support available for young people and families.