24 May 2024

Image of Friday Bulletin

Dear Parents and Carers,

This half-term has passed very quickly and has been one of change for all of our students. Whether that has meant starting their exams, completing work experience, or simply experiencing the school differently with changes to teaching classrooms, lunch with different year groups, or having more space with year groups out of school. Keeping two separate lunchtimes during this final term has been good for staff and students alike and it will feature as part of our review of what has worked and what improvements may be needed as we plan for the next academic year. That is an essential part of our work in the final 7 weeks of term. Whilst September may seem quite a long way away, our planning is already very focused.


In February I wrote to you to share that we had taken the first steps towards the possible formation of a Multi-Academy Trust with Belmont and Framwellgate Schools. We have been in discussions with both schools since that update and there has been considerable progress, with phase one of the new Trust’s development planned for January 2025. That will involve Belmont and Framwellgate taking the first step initially, with Durham Johnston’s School Governors and Leaders recently discussing the possibility of joining at ‘phase two’ of the project. We were always very keen to involve primary partners too and it is exciting that Bowburn Primary School are now strongly involved and intend to join as part of the initial trio of schools that will work together. There is a real hope that other primary schools will be keen to collaborate in the future and, like Durham Johnston, are considering taking part as the Trust grows. When I wrote to you on 9th February, I explained that we would take our time, consult all stakeholders, and join at a time that was appropriate for the good of our school community. We will continue to have discussions with the other schools in the central Durham area and Governors and Senior Leaders will share any important developments in the coming academic year as we consider our next steps.


Thank you for your support during this half-term and for so many kind and thoughtful messages. I would encourage all students with exams in June and July to revise, spend time with their families and friends and to get the balance right between working hard, relaxing and staying healthy. Getting fresh air is always important too and, whilst there may have been heavy rain this week, things can only get better in June and July.


Enjoy the holiday and that upcoming change in the weather.


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


Wellbeing Update

We offer a half-termly update where we share information about resources available to support the wellbeing of both students and parents and carers in the wider community. Please see the links below for more information:

Community Family Hubs Activity Programme

Details of CAMHS Drop Ins at Family Hubs

Brandon Family Hub Summer Programme

Chester-le-Street Family Hub Summer Programme

Durham Area Disability and Leisure Group Newsletter


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


Bank of England Visit

On Thursday Dr Catherine Mann from the Bank of England visited the school to speak to our Year 12 students. Catherine spoke to the students about the Bank's mandate, current UK Economic position, forecasting and recent interest rate decisions, as well as an engaging insight into her role and career to date. Students gained a real insight into the interest rate setting decision-making process as Catherine is one of the nine Members of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and will be voting on the Bank rate of interest again in June. Gaining an understanding of how the MPC processes and interprets a vast amount of information and data to make just one decision that suits the whole of the UK was fascinating. She shared visual data regarding interest rates, inflation and GDP, and her analysis prompted some very considered questions from the students on the impact of the interest rate decision on different regions, the potential impact of the upcoming General Election and the ongoing productivity problem in the UK.

Catherine also shared her own career journey which has included working in both academic, public and private sector organisations including the White House, the Federal Reserve, the OECD and Citibank. Catherine did not just inspire our students, but also demonstrated how their studies will open many international opportunities for them. Our students were engaged throughout and discussing the issues raised on their way to their next lesson!

Catherine turned a very complex issue into an engaging and accessible talk to build our students' knowledge and future aspirations. The school would like to thank Dr Catherine Mann and Dr Mauricio Armellini for taking the time whilst they were on a busy tour of the North East to speak with our students.

Mr Everett
Social Sciences Department


Careers and Guidance Department Notices

Please click here to view the latest Careers Notices.

Mr Kennedy
Subject Leader, Guidance


PE News

The football season concluded on Tuesday as both our Year 7 and Year 9 teams took part in finals. Our Year 7 team faced St Thomas More in the Tyneside final. We started slowly and went 1-0 down but were kept in the game by some outstanding goalkeeping from Ashton McIntyre. We equalised before half-time and that proved to be last goal of the game as penalties were needed. We held our nerve as it went to sudden death, winning 6-5 to become champions. This was a great team performance, but POM went to Ashton McIntyre.

It was more straight-forward for our Year 9 team who were at King James taking on Wolsingham in the League Cup final. We took an early lead and went on to win 8-1 with Archie Jones and Zack Smith joint POMs. That concluded an incredible season for our Year 9 team who have completed the quadruple - League, League Cup, Tyneside Cup and Bishops Cup. Well done to all of them.

Cricket and tennis matches on Wednesday were postponed due to the heavy rain but tennis did go ahead on Thursday as our U13 boys and girls teams hosted Barnard Castle. Both teams had comfortable victories as our boys won 6 - 0 and our girls 5 - 1.

Hopefully our Year 7 cricket team are going to Newcastle today to play Dame Allan's School in a friendly. Fingers crossed the weather holds for them.

Mr Hopper
Subject Leader for PE