Book for our Open Day on 1 October

Today is International Day of Girls and Women in Science, a United Nations-designated day to celebrate the role of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Durham High School is an institution that prides itself on its excellence in promoting STEM and STEAM, which includes the arts as well as the sciences, I feel conflicted about the day in itself.

I am a massive supporter and advocate, whilst at the same time, I am sad that this it is still necessary to commemorate such a day because it indicative that the gender gap in science and technology still exists across the globe, and, to a lesser extent, even in the UK.

I have written before about the androcentric view of history that I received at school back in the 1980s and it was the same with science; the celebration of female scientists in school only stretched to a project on Marie Curie in primary school. Nowadays, thankfully, students learn about the women of Bletchley Park, whose decoding efforts helped break the Enigma Code, and females such as the brilliant Katherine Johnson, an American woman of colour who worked for NASA on the moon landings, and who become immortalised in the wonderful film Hidden Figures. Katherine Johnson’s career at NASA saw her help launch the Apollo Lunar Module, the Space Shuttle and the Landsat satellite.

Thank goodness, many inroads have been made for women, but there is still a long way to go before true gender-equality in the sciences and computing will be achieved. Still, it is a consolation that we have made massive progress since my own Physics teacher told me in 1984 that Physics was not for girls. I wish he could see the wonderful young women, and now not-so young women, whom I have come across in my career, who have now trained as aeronautical engineers, computer analysts and nuclear physicists, amongst many other STEM professions!

Darcie elected to Youth Parliament

We were delighted to hear on Monday that Darcie in Year 10 has been elected to represent County Durham as a member of the UK Youth Parliament. The UK Youth Parliament is an organisation consisting of democratically elected members aged between 11 and 18. The parliament has 369 members, who are elected to represent the views of young people in their area to government and service providers.

Poppy’s swimming success

Congratulations to Poppy in Year 6, who has qualified for the Northumberland and Durham County Swimming Championships this weekend. She will be competing in the 11-year-old 100m backstroke event and it will be her first time in an Olympic-sized pool. We are sure this will only be the start of her ambitious journey. Good luck Poppy.

 

Additional Closure Day

A reminder that the school will be closed to all pupils and staff on Monday 28 February 2022. This is in place of the additional Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday, which falls during May half term. The school will reopen as normal on Tuesday 1 March 2022.

Non-Uniform Day

Next Friday will be a non-uniform day in exchange for a £2 donation, with money raised going to the:

• Eco-Schools Group, who are looking to sponsor an endangered animal, make bat and bird boxes and plant a ceremonial tree, with a plaque to recognise that the Woodland Trust donated over 200 trees to the school to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee

• Disasters Emergency Committee, who are focusing on the work of Penny Aid, providing food packs, hygiene kits and shelter to locations difficult to access following earthquakes and floods, and Action Aid, who are supporting girls to continue their education following a natural disaster.

School Production

We are delighted to be returning to the Gala Theatre on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 March 2022 for our annual musical performance. This year, we will be staging the iconic musical Anything Goes. This wonderful show promises to delight and entertain as we follow the antics and the trials and tribulations of these loveable characters. With tap dancing sailors, hapless gangsters and more than one set of star-crossed lovers, anything could happen! Tickets can be purchased from the Gala Durham website.

Uncover Engineering

Uncover Engineering is a free residential course pilot from the University of Oxford, which helps girls in Year 10 to discover what it is like to be an engineer. The course allows pupils to combine skills and explore a rewarding subject that will prove useful in everything. At the same time, participants will get a glimpse into university life, giving them a head start for when thinking about the future. You can find out more by clicking here.

Communication

A reminder that we break up for half term at the end of the day on Friday 18 February 2022. There will be nobody monitoring telephone calls after 6pm that day until we return on Tuesday 1 March 2022. If you have an emergency to which you need to contact the school, please email enquiries@dhsfg.org.uk and somebody will get back to you as soon as they can.

Covid-19 Update

We noted with interest the announcement from the Prime Minister this week of the intention to bring forward the date for the ending of all Covid-19 legal restrictions in England. This includes the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19, though it is expected that some advisory guidance will remain in place. The Government is expected to set out a “Living with Covid” plan when MPs return from a break on Monday 21 February. We will write to parents before we return to school after half term, with details of what any changes means for pupils in school.

In the meantime, it is vital that pupils continue to follow the rules of testing and isolation, when presenting symptoms and/or testing positive for Covid-19. If you present any of the symptoms associated with the virus, you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. If you test positive, either by Lateral Flow or PCR, you must self-isolate. A reminder that the legal default for self-isolating remains 10 full days. You may be able to leave self-isolation after 5 full days if certain conditions are met. For example, if you produce two negative Lateral Flow Tests on consecutive days from day 5, you can end your isolation early. Please read the guidance in full here.

We would also strongly encourage pupils to continue to carry out twice-weekly Lateral Flow testing on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Test results should be reported to NHS Test and Trace at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result and also to the school using the online form.