Come and play at one of our Outdoor Tots sessions

What another action-packed half term! I can’t believe how much we have fitted in, in less than 5 weeks. This week’s edition of our newsletter showcases what a fun filled, action packed week we have had and how we enrich our curriculum at the High School, to give the girls every opportunity to maximise their learning and development, celebrate their successes and balance hard work with community fun and play. It is good to smile, laugh and be together.

I’m sure you have enjoyed seeing the social media posts, celebrating the amazing work and the girls who have produced it, in the Excellence Book Awards this half term. It has been wonderful meeting the girls, enjoying juice and cookies at break time together and hearing them enthuse about the work they were nominated for, or their outstanding contributions to the life of Durham High. You can read more about them below. Well done to all of those nominated. I look forward to the delights next half term brings.

We had a tremendous evening at Ramside Hall Hotel last week, as we came together to celebrate the sporting achievements of our Year 5 to Sixth Form girls over the last year. It was the first year of inviting Year 5 and 6 girls, and it definitely made the event even more special. The sports reports given by our girls were beautifully presented and highlighted the diverse plethora of sports our girls are involved with. I was so proud of each of you presenting, everyone who came on stage to receive their awards and each member of all the teams we have fielded this year. Congratulations to you all and thank you for your commitment to Sport at DHS!

We were thrilled to have Alex Dewar, former Triathlete and multiple Invictus Games medallist, as our guest speaker for the Sports Presentation Evening. Alex spoke of being the “master of your fate and captain of your soul”. This was evident in his personal journey, where the importance of sport, strength and resilience were crucial in overcoming his adversities. Inspirational words for us all to hold onto. Thank you to our PE Department who go over and above to support the girls and the sporting life of our school. It was a fantastic evening. Thank you also to Ramside Hall Hotel for their excellent hospitality.

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the Year 5 and 6 Music concert. It was a delightful afternoon and so wonderful to see how much the girls have grown in their confidence and abilities since our concert last year. Thank you to Mrs Booth and our Peripatetic Teachers who prepared the girls for their performances. Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who came to support.

On Wednesday, girls in Year 7 through to Year 10 and Lower Sixth took part in Elevate Study Skills workshops, building on the sessions they took part in last year. The date of the session is positioned to allow girls time to put the skills into practice for their revision in the lead up to School Exam Week in May. Thank you to those parents who attended the Elevate Parent Workshop afterwards – I hope that you found it a helpful experience.

Thank you to all of you who came along to the Upper Sixth Parents’ Evening on Thursday. It was lovely to see so many of you, and I know that staff wholly appreciate your support in what is a crucial time for your daughters ahead of their internal and external exams.

What an absolutely fantastic night we had on Friday at the family Easter Quiz and Bingo night. Thank you to our DHS Parents and Friends Association, especially Mrs Powell and Matthew, our fantastic quiz masters, for putting on such a fun filled evening. It really was great, although I can safely say that end of term exhaustion did not aid mine and Mrs Middleton’s performance. We were however, delighted to win the escape room round.

Thank you to everyone who donated eggs and prizes and to those parents and your friends and family who joined us. We look forward to the next one.

Also on Friday, Nursery and Reception Spring Term’s topics were rounded off by a trip to Hall Hill Farm to learn even more about animals and their homes. Great fun was had by all, and I have been reliably informed that the girls asked some intelligent questions of their guides.

I’d like to send a huge thank you for all of the very generous donations of Easter Eggs for Feeding Families, which were collected this week. We have donated 267 eggs to children across the County who will really appreciate them this Easter.

When we return, we will be counting down to our 140th anniversary with our Annual School Ball on Saturday 27 April at Ramside Hall Hotel. Make sure you buy your tickets (details below) for what is always a fun-filled evening! I look forward to seeing you there.

Due to requests for part time working from September, we have job vacancies for Head of PE and Sport and Head of Physics to fill. We are delighted that both Dr Alvey and Mrs Slane will continue to teach at the High School but they will both be big shoes to fill as amazing Heads of Department. Mr Butt, Head of Computing, has secured a promotion as Data Manager across a large trust in Manchester. We will be sad to see him leave the High School but know he has wanted a role like this, so wish him well when the time comes. As a result we are advertising for a Head of Computing from September.

Due to the increase in curriculum time for English and Maths, we also require a Part time Teacher of English and a Part Time Teacher of Maths. The jobs will be live on our website and national recruitment sites over the coming days. Please do spread the word amongst your networks, so we can recruit the highest calibre replacements. We had an excellent field for our Maths and Further Maths job to replace Mr Cartmell who is retiring at the end of the year. We were delighted to appoint an excellent Mathematician who is experienced at teaching KS3, GCSE, A Level and Further Maths. Not only did he excel at interview but his lesson was phenomenal and he scored top on the pupil panel choices! More information to follow regarding this appointment soon.

We ended the Spring Term with Easter assemblies in both Senior Department and Pre-Prep and Prep. We focussed on the Easter story and the symbol of love and humility. This was then followed by our celebrations where we acknowledged the many achievements that have occurred in all subjects since Christmas. In Senior Department, we ran out of time as there were so many to present, so we will begin next half term with all the House Point certificates and badges and reports from our Sixth Form Prefect Team.

May I wish you all a very Happy and Holy Easter, and we look forward to welcoming girls back to school on Monday 15 April.

Excellence Book

It has been another bumper week of Excellence Book signings. It is always a pleasure to meet with girls across Senior Department, who are nominated and celebrated for the fantastic contributions that they make in all aspects of school life.

Zoe, Carola Elin, Edrina, Rayah, Kate and Roza were all nominated for creating outstanding posters on Shakespeare for an English project. Isabella, Izzy, Lara and Robyn were nominated for their achievement, hard work and accomplishment in Art.

Zarah was nominated for producing an outstanding poster on Shakespeare for English. Maanashi, Lucy, Mille and Alexis were nominated because they produced some fantastic homework for Religious Education, focused on the sanctity of life. Yasmeen received a nominated from the MFL Department for running an Arabic workshop to a large group of interested linguists in her lunch hour.

Kate and Carola Elin created 2 pages of a fully notated piano duet that they had written, based on the planet Mars for a composition project in Music. Rebecca, Joy and Nada were nominated for producing fantastic research projects in RE, focused on the sanctity of life. Rebecca and Joy created a poster and Nada produced a video.

Charlotte was nominated for an excellent Speaking and Listening assessed speech in English. Millie’s nomination was for being extremely supportive with one of her peers during the House Lip Sync Competition. Alexis, whilst reading independently over several months, compiled a vocabulary list and looked up the words she did not understand with a view to learning them and expanding her vocabulary. Amelia’s nomination was for her dedication and commitment to the musical life of the school, and in particular for her latest, but also final performance at the Scholar’s Concert.

French Trip

Pupils in Year 9 and 10 headed off to France late Monday evening for an early Easter trip. Their excursions will include a tour of Boulogne old town, a visit to a Goats Cheese Farm and a day trip to Rouen. The group will be staying at the Château de Chantereine, which looks amazing! My enormous gratitude to Mrs O’Neill, Miss Hill, Mrs Hawkins and Mrs Docherty for accompanying the girls on the trip. Keep an eye out for updates on social media over the next few days.

Charity Donations

We were thrilled to welcome Erin from St Cuthbert’s Hospice to present the charity with a cheque for the fundraising achieved by pupils in Pre-Prep and Prep before Christmas. As part of their Santa Run, girls (and staff!) raised a tremendous £1632.05, which will go directly towards providing free care and support to people with
life-limiting illnesses, people approaching the end of life and people that are bereaved. Fantastic effort!

Sport Update

On Friday afternoon girls in Year 5 and 6 had an Allstars cricket session provided by Durham City Cricket. The girls loved the opportunity to prepare for the start of their cricket season after the Easter holidays. Alex was a great role model, and we are excited for more opportunities for Durham City Cricket to coach the girls in other years.
Congratulations to the U10 Netball Team who reached the semi-final of the Newcastle High School Invitational Tournament on Monday. It was a brilliant morning and the girls showed great resilience. Well done to our player of the Tournament, Milla.

Year 3 Egyptian Cooking

The girls in Year 3 recently took part in an Egyptian cooking day, where they made Egyptian bread, three different flavours of hummus and ful medames (a bean dish). They also made their own jewellery and headdresses to wear during the ‘feast’, where they tried all of the dishes they had made.

Poppy Swimming Success

There was more success for Poppy at the weekend, with 4 medals and 3 new North East Region Long Course Championships (NER) times. In total, Poppy now has 10 NER consideration times over freestyle, fly, backstroke and individual medley. The NERs are planned to take place over two weekends in April and May. Good luck, Poppy!

Year 5 Beamish

The girls in Year 5 travelled back in time to the Victorian era when they visited the school at Beamish. They discovered that the teachers were strict and that writing with ink is very messy! In the town, Lucy was accused of stealing sweets – luckily the police officer believed us when we said it was a case of mistaken identity!

House Singing

Girls across the school took part in our annual House Singing competition yesterday afternoon. From Nursery to Sixth Form, it was fantastic to see pupils across the school come together on stage and show off their musical talents! Mrs Hall, Mrs Hopper and Mrs Hill had a very tough decision to make, however, congratulations went to Neville who were crowned House Singing winners.

Rana’s Frozen Performance

Rana (centre) was recently involved in performing in Frozen with her Drama school. She was a fantastic Ana and also took part as a member of the ensemble. Well done, Rana!

Teacher Taskmaster and ‘I’m a Teacher Get me out of Here’

As part of our fundraising for Comic Relief and Humanitarian Aid, we held a Teacher Taskmaster on Friday, with staff taking part in a series of tricky challenges. Congratulations to Mrs Lowery and Mr Coates who were the winners. As you can see, they were rewarded with a fantastic piece of silverware! Thank you to Dr Alvey and his Upper Sixth Form, our Interact Team and all the teachers who were great sports for being part of such a fun event.

Later in the afternoon, we also held a surprise ‘I’m a Teacher, Get Me out of Here’ for all of the girls in Senior Department. Well done to the staff involved, especially Mrs Sneddon-Brown for her talented scripting and creativity and all the staff who were fantastic sports!

Pre-Prep and Prep Sponsored Walk

Girls in Pre-Prep and Prep ended the term with a sponsored walk around the local area. Sponsorship money raised this year will be donated to NSPCC. The children have benefitted from their informative workshops recently, and indeed over many years, with the charity and it is only fitting to financially support this worthwhile charity in return.

Netball Camps at Durham High School

We are delighted to announce Netball camps are returning this Easter. The camps provide high quality Netball coaching to girls Years 3-6, regardless of their ability or which school they go to. Miss Cartwright and Miss Coulson will be running these sessions at Durham High School.

Activities will include games, group drills, individual player development and plenty of match play. The emphasis will be on fun and game understanding. The sessions will run on Tuesday 2 April and Wednesday 3 April, 9:30-3:30. For more information email [email protected].