We try hard to make sure that all of our students are confident about joining us. For those joining us in Year 7, once we know the names of the students who have applied successfully, we start to work quickly with primary schools to manage the transition process. We have an experienced transition team and endeavour to use the knowledge that primary schools have about each individual pupil to help with our planning. In our form classes, we work hard to get a good balance between children from different primary schools, girls and boys and children with different talents and abilities to reflect the comprehensive nature of the school. We have 270 young people in every year and they are in 9 tutor groups, therefore, our ability to be flexible is rather limited. We emphasise to our new students that they will retain friendships from primary school, but will also have the opportunity to make new friends. Durham Johnston is a large comprehensive school and our size is a key strength; all of our students get the chance to make friends with people from a variety of backgrounds and they will always find people who share their interests.
We try to make sure that more vulnerable children have extra support. This may be provided by a member of staff from the Learning Support department and Pastoral Team. Young people with special educational needs are assessed by our Head of Learning Support Mrs Davies and then carefully placed into the most appropriate form group classes. Most needs are met in secondary school this way, augmented by some withdrawal from classes to help with basic skills, such as a phonics programme.