Come and play at one of our Outdoor Tots sessions

Friday mornings are always a delight at The High School. Pre-Prep and Prep Departments have their celebration assembly, highlighting successes over the week and Seniors and Sixth Form come together for a themed assembly. Today Form 9H presented a fantastically informative assembly focussing on Safer Internet Day, which takes place on Tuesday next week. They drew our attention to the issues surrounding Fake News and AI generated images and how to be aware that all images and news stories are not as they may first seem. They suggested ways the girls might be critical consumers of the Internet and think before posting a story or reposting one written by someone else. They articulated their message in an interactive and informative manner. Great job girls, and well done to all who contributed behind the scenes, researching the content and putting the presentation together. I shared a little bit about how we as staff, on our INSET Day on 8 January, had focussed on use of AI in the classroom and the positive way this can be used to enhance learning.

At Durham High, every day is a learning opportunity and this goes for staff as well as our girls. On Monday evening, the Senior Department teachers and Head of Pre-Prep and Prep Departments, came together to take part in a Dyscalculia Workshop led by a Specialist Teacher of Dyscalculia. The aim was to raise awareness of this learning difficulty and provide some strategies to support girls in class to access their learning. It was lovely to welcome parents of our Upper Sixth girls into school on Wednesday evening to discuss progress following their mock examinations. We had many smiling faces, testament to the hard work and commitment they had invested in the run up to the exams. I look forward to welcoming Year 11 parents and girls on Monday for Parents’ Evening, and Year 9 parents and girls for their Options Evening on Wednesday.

Congratulations to all Year 6 girls and external candidates who have been in school for our 11+ Sports Scholarship interviews this week. The PE Department have told me how wonderful it was to have such interesting conversations with the girls about their sporting achievements and watch them demonstrate their skills. All Scholarships for Year 7 entry will be released on National Offer Day (1 March, 2024). Sixth Form Scholarships will be released before February half term.

Next week marks Children’s Mental Health Week. At the High School, we take Mental Health very seriously and foster a community where children can talk about Mental Health problems and know how to recognise when their own, or their peer’s positive mental health might need a boost. To mark Children’s Mental Health Week, we will be switching things up in Tutor Time, encouraging positive mental health activities such a mindful colouring and House singing to release those much needed endorphins. We will also have a silent disco in the main hall as part of our extracurricular programme.

On Friday, next week, the Newsletter may be sent a little later on, as instead of writing my letter, I will be dancing away with our Pre-Prep and Prep girls at their Valentine’s Disco, organised by our Parents and Friends association.

Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) success for two school musicians

We are so proud of all our Music Scholars, but this week we are shining the spotlight on two in particular – Rosalind and Isabel – who both have places on the CAT training programme at The Glasshouse International Centre for Music (previously, The Sage, Gateshead). Flautist Isabel is taking three ABRSM Grade 8 music exams in the coming months, while French Horn player Rosalind is a member of the Young Sinfonia, a high-quality youth orchestra linked to the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Read more about their story on our school website.

Online Safety Talk

On Wednesday, we held a Parent Talk focusing on Online Safety where local PCSO Annabelle Chambers shared advice and information as to how we, as staff and parents, can best ensure the safety of our children when using online devices. It was an informative session. Thank you to the parents who attended – it is always good to have you in school. If you have any questions or require advice in this field, PCSO Chambers has kindly allowed us to share her email address with you, which is: [email protected].

Sport Update

The U11 football team played in a football festival on Wednesday. They play brilliantly and grew in confidence as we played several games. All girls had an amazing time and were starting to play as a team. The player of the tournament was awarded to Mila for her many saves and positive attitude throughout. It was fantastic to have two teams representing DHS at the U12 Area and District Netball Tournament this week. Well done to all players and huge congratulations to the Yellow Team who won all their games, winning the tournament. A special mention to Player of the Match for the Yellow Team Zarah, and to Ginny, who was Player of The Match for the Green Team.

It was also a great afternoon of Netball for our U11 and U10 teams today against RGS. It was lovely to see all teams showing determination and teamwork on the court. Special mentions to the Players of the Match: U10 Blue – Mariam, U10 Red – Alba, U11 Green – Evie and U11 Yellow – Lucy.

School Production – Evita

As you will know, we are excited to be returning to the Gala 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. 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. You can book your tickets on the Gala website now.

Advertise in the programme!

We would like to offer you the opportunity to advertise in the A5 colour programme for Evita at the Gala Durham. The cost of placing an advertisement is £200 for a full page
and £100 for a half page. If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please email Mr Hall at [email protected] to confirm details. Advertising space is limited and allocated on a first come first served basis, please get in touch as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Outdoor Tots

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. Sessions run every Monday morning, from 9.30am – 11.00am, during term-time. 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.