Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed some precious family time over Christmas and your daughters have had a good rest, ready to embrace the opportunities that the Spring Term will bring. It has been lovely to talk to the girls and hear about the wonderful things they got up to during the break.
We started the week by welcoming staff back for a staff professional development day, where the focus was the use of technology in the classroom and exploring the growing role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Immersive Learning in education. It provoked high levels of inspiration and enthusiasm. I’m sure the girls will enjoy the activities the staff have been planning.
On Tuesday, all pupils returned to school, with those in Year 11 and Upper Sixth starting their Mock Examinations. We understand the worries and stresses that come with any exams, but we are delighted with the determination with which pupils have approached this week and we wish them luck for the remaining examinations next week.
On Friday 19 January, we welcome our internal and external Year 6 girls into Senior Department for the 11+ Entrance Examinations. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Year 6 and Year 11 parents last term and look forward to meeting with the girls individually as part of their transition to Senior Department and Sixth Form, over the coming months. If you haven’t been able to arrange a meeting as of yet, and would like the opportunity, please contact school and Mr McGee will arrange this for you.
We are absolutely delighted with the most recent Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) awards released this week, for pupils in Upper Sixth. The EPQ is a qualification which is equivalent to 50% of an A-Level. Graded A*–E and worth up to 28 UCAS tariff points. Congratulations to all five entrants, who all achieved at least a B grade. Special mention to Juliette and Esme, who achieved A* grades, with Juliette achieving 100%. She is one of three girls in the Upper Sixth cohort to get the maximum number of marks, with the other students receiving their grades in Summer 2023. Across the whole year group, 57% of the grades were A*, with 86% A*-A. Well done to all involved in this tremendous achievement.
Following the Christmas break, I am looking forward to meeting more girls to celebrate their fantastic achievements in school. There are already 13 girls in Senior Department booked in to come and sign the Excellence Book, and I cannot wait to hear about the wonderful things they have been nominated for.
Artist in Residence
We are delighted that former pupil and skilled embroiderer, Emma Hardy, has returned to school this academic year as our Artist in Residence, sharing her talents and knowledge with girls during lessons and clubs.
Emma has her own studio space within the large Art Department at Durham High School, where she also supports Mrs Sneddon-Brown and Mrs Sutcliffe.
You can read more about Emma’s role at DHS in this Northern Echo article.
School Production – Evita
We are excited to be returning to the Gala Theatre in Durham in 2024, for our annual performance, which this year will be the Tony-winning classic, Evita. The multi-award-winning musical features countless unforgettable songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, including the anthemic, Don’t Cry for me Argentina.
Productions of Evita have been performed all over the world, including performances in Austria, Spain, Mexico and South Africa. A major 1996 film adaptation starred Madonna in the title role and Antonio Banderas as Che.
There will be evening performances from Thursday 29 February to Saturday 2 March at 7.30pm, with a matinee performance on the Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm. Details on how to book will follow shortly.
Outdoor Tots is a great way for girls and boys aged 1-4 to have fun, exploring the natural world in a safe and stimulating environment. Our sessions for this half term start on Monday and take place in our wonderful outdoor learning environment in the Forest Area of the school grounds. Sessions run every Monday morning, from 9.30am – 11.00am, during term-time.
Places are limited and booking is essential. Tickets are £5 per child (1-4). Additional siblings (1-4) are £2.50 each and any accompanying under 1s are free. You can prebook a place
by clicking here.
Food Hygiene Inspection
The kitchen was subject to its annual food hygiene and standards inspection this morning. This is a scheme which inspects all food premises to ensure that the public is protected and that legal standards are maintained. We are thrilled that, once again, we were awarded the maximum food hygiene rating of 5/5 stars. Congratulations to our Thomas Franks Catering Team for their continued hard work.
Following feedback from prospective parents, our next Whole School Open Day will be taking place on Saturday 16 March 2024 from 10.00am – 12.30pm. This will replace the one in June.
Please share the details with friends and family, so they can come and see for themselves, the wonderful things we offer at the High School. They can book their place by clicking here.