It is a privilege to be writing to you all as the newly appointed Headmistress of Durham High School. Much has been achieved whilst being Acting Principal and I look forward to seeing what great heights our Durham High School family will reach over the coming years. We have had a tremendous half term filled with many learning opportunities and fun alongside. However, we are all ready for some rest and down time. I hope you can all enjoy some quality family time over the half term break. Our next half term is one of my favourites with Remembrance Day and the build up to Christmas, with our Pre-Prep and Prep Nativities and our Carol Service at Durham Cathedral.
The week began with the eagerly anticipated Bake Off, with staff and girls across the school invited to take part. The variety of cakes, bakes and other treats on display was tremendous, and it is clear that a lot of time and effort went into the final pieces. A huge well done to everyone that took part. Senior Department awards will be given in the celebration assembly at the start of next half term. Congratulations to Mrs Lonsdale who won Star Baker for her lemon and raspberry cake and Miss Shoulder for her apple and cinnamon cake. Well-done to them both. Unfortunately my chocolate orange cupcakes didn’t make the cut. A special thank you to Mr Wall, one of our Facilities Technicians, who judged the competition. Using his past experience as a professional baker. He was helped by Mr Hall and between the they managed to sample 70 slices of cake. Mrs Smith reported that the endeavours of Pre-Prep and Prep Departments were of an excellent standard and surpassed previous years. She was very grateful for Mrs Beattie one of our parents and Mr Wall for their support in judging such a close competition.
It also was wonderful to be in the audience for two tremendous Scholars’ Concerts this week. They took place in our superb Drama Studio, with an array of talents on display. Senior Department pupils treated us to some beautiful singing, and instrumental solos including piano, harp, flute, French horn and violin playing, as well as very highly skilled performances in dance and drama too. A huge well done to all of the pupils and my sincerest thanks to Mrs Lonsdale, Mrs Lawrence-Wills, Mrs Crinson, Mrs Hawkins, Mrs Wildish and all the staff and volunteers involved, for helping to ensure both evenings were a success.
Show Racism the Red Card
There were important messages shared on Thursday by Upper Sixth during their Show Racism the Red Card assembly, which focused on everyone having equal worth and being deserving of respect, and that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated.
Black History Month
October is Black History Month (BHM). The theme this year has been ‘Saluting our Sisters’. It has provided opportunity for the High School to promote and celebrate female Black contributions to British society and to foster an understanding of Black History in general with our girls.
In Pre-Prep and Prep, we had an introductory assembly on the first Monday of October which included an overview of what BHM is and highlighted some key individuals from history who have influenced change. We then had class assemblies the following week. In Pre-Prep, we focused on Rosa Parks. We have been learning songs from Black Culture and have put up a display ‘Celebrating Sister’ in Junior Hall with influential black females and a brief description of why they are to be celebrated.
In Senior Department, we do not reserve the teaching of Black History to the month of October. We highlight such essential experiences throughout the year and seek always to further embed them into our curriculum. New displays have been prepared on this year’s theme of ‘Celebrating our Sisters’, which Years 7 and 8 will follow up after half-term. Of particular note, Year 9 will be concluding their work on the British Suffrage movement by looking at the influence of Sarah Parker Redmond. Our GCSE groups will consider the role of Doreen Lawrence in pursuing change to policing in Britain as part of their ‘Crime & Punishment through Time’ course.
Olivia’s Competition Success
A huge well done to Olivia in the Sixth Form, following a successful International competition in Belgium last weekend. She achieved a number of top three places across a range of classes, including a hugely impressive 1st place on Saturday evening. We would like to wish Olivia the best of luck again for this weekend as she travels to Dunkirk in France to compete again.
In a friendly Football match on Tuesday, the U15s played against Framwellgate Moor School. Despite losing 2-3, it was brilliant to see the progress they have made since their last game. There were outstanding performances from Aleeza, Linnea and Annabelle with Aleeza being awarded Player of the Match.
The U16 and U18 Netball teams played Whitburn Academy in friendly games on Wednesday. It was an excellent afternoon of Netball, with the final scores being; U18’s drew 18-18, U16’s won 21-18. Congratulations to all players.
Pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3 ran in the House Cross-Country Competition this week. The PE staff were very impressed with the effort and team spirit on display. Special mention to the winning Houses; Y4 Neville, Y5 Tempest, Y6 Tempest, Y7 Heath, Y8 Heath and Y9 Booth. The top three finishers in each year were:
Y2/3 – 1st = Safaa, 2nd = Amiya, 3rd = Maya
Y4 – 1st = Anae, 2nd = Zaria, 3rd = India
Y5 – 1st = Lucy, 2nd = Milla, 3rd = Sama
Y4 – 1st = Khadeeja, 2nd = Evie, 3rd = Heidi
Y7 – 1st = Anya, 2nd = Carola Elin , 3rd = Esmee
Y8 – 1st = Megan, 2nd = Isla, 3rd = Emily
Y9 – 1st = Millie, 2nd = Charlotte, 3rd = Emily
Return to school
A reminder that we are trialling a two-week October half term this year, and school will reopen to pupils on Monday 6 November 2023.