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It was a fantastic, and rather an emotional, occasion this week as we held our first in-person concert since 3 December 2019. It is certainly not easy to stand up and perform in front of an audience after such a long hiatus, but all of the pupils who took part in our Scholars’ Concert series, many of them performing publicly for the first time, were absolutely tremendous. You should be really proud of them all. If you missed it, or were not able to attend, the concerts will be available to watch again on our Facebook page early next week.

Sporting Success

It has been a tremendous week for sport in school, starting with the U14 and U16 National Schools Netball squads who successfully qualified for the regional round of the competition. There was also an incredible performance by the U19 Netball Team, who won all of their matches at the County Tournament earlier this week. This means that they have also qualified for the regional round of the National Schools Competition. Congratulations must also go to the U16 Hockey Team, who won the County Hockey Tournament on Tuesday.

Foodbank collection

It was another remarkable effort from our pupils this week, as our charity team handed over donations collected for Durham Foodbank. In total, 350 kilos of food items were given to the charity, which equates to 400 meals for local homeless and vulnerable people. Thank you for your support for this wonderful cause.

Year 5 Trip to York

Year 5 enjoyed a day trip to York last Friday to develop their understanding of Tudor lifestyles and buildings. The group visited Barley Hall, where they had a tour of a restored Tudor house, before moving on to look at some of the city’s other Tudor building, particularly in The Shambles. The girls were wonderful ambassadors for the school during their visit.

England Rocks – Maths Week competition

This week, pupils across Junior House, and Years 7 -8, have been taking part in a friendly times tables competition involving schools from across England, with prizes on offer for the classes that accumulate the most points. Well done to everyone who has taken part.

County Hockey call ups

Congratulations to the following girls who have been selected to play for the County Hockey teams at their relevant age groups: Millie S in Year 7; Grace C in Year 9; Darcy M in Year 9; Annabelle M in Year 10; Isabella E in Year 11 and Yasmin N in Year 11.

Remembrance Day

As a school community, Remembrance Day is an incredibly important occasion, as we remember those who lost their lives in war and honour those still serving in the armed forces. As with last year, it was a little bit different from our usual commemorations.

In the morning, we held a virtual assembly with music and prayers and then at 11am, pupils and staff gathered in the school quad as Rosalind C in Year 8 marked our two-minute silence with a poignant rendition of ‘The Last Post’.

Christmas Fayre

We are excited to be finalising plans for the upcoming Christmas Fayre, which will be taking place on Friday 26 November from 2pm – 4.30pm. The event will feature a Santa’s Grotto, refreshments, games, children’s activities, hoop a bottle, tombola and much more.

Donations of raffle and tombola prizes, bottles, chocolates, second-hand toys and books, and cakes and biscuits will be very gratefully received. Items can be dropped into Main Reception, but food donations should not be brought in until the day of the fayre. Thank you for your support.

Parents and Friends

Parents and Friends met earlier this week for their AGM and welcomed a new Chair and Treasurer. They are still seeking new members to join the group, including two parents to take on the role of Vice Chair and Secretary, respectively. If you are interested in volunteering for either of these roles, please contact [email protected] in the first instance.

Nine Lessons and Carols

We are making plans for the return of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is currently scheduled to take place on Wednesday 15 December at 2.15pm. We are currently in discussion with Durham Cathedral about their relevant Covid-19 entry protocols and will share further details about plans for the event with you in due course.

TikTok trend warning

We consider it prudent to pass on a note of caution about TikTok, following recent media reports about inappropriate content about teachers appearing on the platform. We are constantly reminding our pupils about the potential dangers of social media, and whilst this trend has not yet affected us at Durham High School, we wish to reinforce how seriously we would treat such an offence if a pupil were to post such content about a member of staff. Therefore, we respectfully ask all to remain vigilant and remind your child about the implications of them posting such content online.

Car Park Safety

Could we remind parents to be mindful of other vehicles and pedestrians in the car park at drop off and pick up times? We all have a responsibility to drive and park safely, especially during such busy periods, to ensure we help prevent accidents and keep our pupils safe. Please respect the car park’s speed limit, refrain from parking in the drop off bays and only use the designated accessible parking bay if you are a Blue Badge holder. Thank you.

Communication with school

Earlier in the term, we shared with you a Communication Protocol, which outlines methods of communication and the relevant channels for different types of parental queries. A copy is included again with this letter.

Parental communication is vital, and while we would never wish to discourage parents from communicating with staff, it is important to ensure that any queries you may have are dealt with in an effective and timely manner:

  • Emails and phone calls to staff will only be acknowledged, and responded to, between 7am-6pm, Monday to Friday during term time.
  • It may not always be possible for teaching staff to call back or respond to parents during the school day, as they will be teaching and carrying out other duties in school.
  • Administration staff are available to take messages and ensure your query is passed to the relevant person. Please do not be offended if they ask what your call relates to.
  • If you receive a missed call from school, please check your voicemail before calling us back. This will allow us to easily identify who was trying to get in touch with you.
  • If you wish to get in touch with your child about a change to pick up arrangements, please could we ask that you call before 3pm? It is often difficult to get messages to pupils after this time in advance of the end of the school day.

We hope this and the Communication Protocol prove useful to parents and staff, as it sets clear pathways and ensures that you are able to contact the most appropriate person to deal with your concern.