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This week, we were absolutely thrilled to receive the published version of our latest Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Inspection Report, which was carried out in October 2022.

The school has been judged as ‘Excellent’ across all areas, both in terms of pupils’ academic and other achievements, and pupils’ personal development. We also succeeded in fulfilling every standard examined during the Regulatory Compliance Inspection, where each standard is simply ‘met’ or ‘not met’: there is no evaluative judgement in the report beyond this.

The report commented that “Pupils make excellent progress and achieve highly in both academic and other areas”, that their “attitudes to learning are outstanding” and that they “make an excellent contribution to the life of the school, the local community and the world beyond.” The report also praised the “high quality of teaching” and the “excellent relationships” that exist between pupils and staff.

We are so proud of our staff and pupils for their continued efforts and achievements, and they are a testament to this tremendous result. The final report cited countless real-life examples of what makes this school such a special place and I would encourage you to read it in its entirety. The published report is available on our website.

Christmas Fayre

We officially launched the festive season at Durham High School today, with another fantastic Parents and Friends Christmas Fayre. It was wonderful, as always, to be able to welcome parents, pupils and our wider community into school for an afternoon with so many fun activities. Stalls included many games and prizewinning, popcorn, tombola, a raffle, and, of course, the opportunity to meet Santa himself.

A huge thank you to Mrs Powell and the Parents and Friends for organising such a tremendous event. Our thanks also go to our parent and pupil volunteers, staff, the Prep choir, the Old Girls’ Association and all the external stallholders for their support.

Sport Update

Senior Department

Last weekend Netball teams competed in the County round of the National School’s Competition.  The U16 team finished third after an extremely close game against Whitburn, where they lost by one goal in the last few seconds of the match. The team effort was excellent and the girls should be very proud of their performance.  The U14 side had a fantastic tournament winning all their matches by significant margins.  They will now compete at the Regional round in January.  Very well done to all the girls involved.

Darcie in Year 6 took part in a dance competition at North Durham Academy on Sunday, where she came a tremendous first place. She now only needs two more wins before she moves into the Championship section for slow dance.

At the District Cross-Country Competition on Tuesday, 21 girls competed across the various age groups.  the Year 8 and 9 combined team finished in 3rd place, with the Year 7 team, and the Year 10 and 11 combined team, finished in 5th.  Special mention to Millie in Year 8, Darcy in Year 10 and Holly in Year 11 who, based on their individual performances, were selected to represent Central Durham at the County Cross Country Competition in January.

The U18 Hockey team played against Yarm on Wednesday. They had a great afternoon but despite some exciting passages of play they were unable to secure a win. Congratulations to Isabella our player of the match. Good luck to the U15 Hockey team, who have a match against Queen Ethelburga’s tomorrow.

Pre-Prep and Prep

The U11A Hockey team played excellently at the Durham High School tournament held at Maiden Castle this week. There were some very competitive matches and lots of goals. The U8 and U9 teams also hosted Dame Allan’s on Wednesday and played lots of brilliant Hockey. Well done to all girls on their efforts.

Lion King – Sunderland Empire

We are delighted to have secured tickets to see The Lion King at Sunderland Empire Theatre on Wednesday 29 March 2023. This is an excellent opportunity for pupils in Year 1 – 13 to attend a live theatre show and will be a lovely end to the spring term. The cost of the trip, including transport, will be in the region of £40, which is significantly below the ticket’s regular retail price. A reminder to complete the form on School Gateway by the end of today to give consent for your child to attend the trip.

Nine Lessons and Carols

This year, our Nine Lessons and Carols Service will take place in Durham Cathedral on Wednesday 14 December at 2.15pm and we warmly invite you to join us for this celebration. The service will involve pupils from Year 3 – Year 13, who will be transported by coach to the venue.

A reminder for parents to please complete the form on School Gateway by the end of today to let us know whether your child is to be dismissed from the Cathedral or needs to return to school to access Homework Club or School Transport. This is so appropriate arrangements can be made. In Pre-Prep, the school day will run as normal. After School Care will be available although there will be no extra-curricular activities. Please collect girls in Nursery-Year 2 as normal.

York Trip for Year 5

Year 5 had an excellent trip to York on Wednesday 16 November. They all enjoyed the excitement of travelling by train and learning about lots of fascinating Tudor history. They visited The Shambles, Barley Hall and St Mary’s Abbey, as well as seeing The Minster, Guy Fawkes’ Birthplace and the City Walls.

Sustainable Christmas Pledges Competition

The Eco-Schools Committee is running a competition asking pupils and their families to take one action this Christmas that has a positive social and/or environmental impact. ​Ideas may include: contributing to a food bank, buying local produce for Christmas dinner, using recycled wrapping paper, getting a real Christmas tree from a sustainable forest or buying plastic-free crackers.

We would like pupils to bring in a piece of evidence to show the action they have taken, for example a photo or a receipt, and they will then be given a bauble to hang on our Sustainable Christmas Pledge Tree. The competition opens on Thursday 1 December. The form group with the most baubles by Wednesday 14 December will be the winner. Good luck.

Illness Reminder

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting commonly affects children and staff in schools, and can be caused by a number of different germs, including viruses, parasites and bacteria. Infections can be easily spread from person to person, especially in younger children.

If your child develops symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhoea, and to prevent further cases in school, we would strongly recommend that you keep them at home for at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting. This is national guidance, supported by Public Health England.

Reporting Absence

Please could we remind parents to ring school before 9.30am on a morning to report an absence? We have a 24-hour absence line and it would be extremely helpful if you could report any symptoms when leaving a message, rather than just letting us know that your child is ill.

Author Visit

The English Department welcomed author Sarah Moore Fitzgerald this week, who is promoting her new book, The Shark and the Scar. Sarah is a professor and associate vice president at the University of Limerick in Ireland and has published several books in both fiction and non-fiction. Pupils in Year 6, 7 and 8 attended Sarah’s talk on Wednesday and were able to secure a signed copy of her new book

Jazzy Jar Competition

A huge congratulations to the winners of this year’s Jazzy Jar competition in the Pre-Prep and Prep Departments:

  • Early Years – Thea
  • Year 1 – Amiya
  • Year 2 – Hattie
  • Year 3 – Isla
  • Year 4 – Milla
  • Year 5 – River
  • Year 6Y – Isabella
  • Year 6X – Zarah

The Women of Art – Lecture

As part of our ongoing Artsmark journey and the generation of our curriculum in the Arts, we are keen to involve parents and families in the methodology behind our projects. We are committed to providing our students with a wide-ranging Arts curriculum that reflects the skills necessary for all career paths and our aim is to inspire them with the artistic context that shapes our creative world.

Mrs Sneddon-Brown, who is a lecturer on Art History outside of school time, will be holding another informal lecture on The Women of Art on Thursday 1 December in the Main Hall at 6pm. No prior knowledge of Art is needed and it is open to students, staff, parents or indeed anyone who may want to learn more about the history of art. We hope to see you there.