“Sweet May hath come to love us, Flowers, trees, their blossoms don; And through the blue heavens above us, The very clouds move on.” Heinrich Heine.

Many folklore customs have their roots planted firmly back in the Dark Ages, when the ancient Celts had divided their year by four major festivals. Beltane, or ‘the fire of Bel’, had particular significance to the Celts as it represented the first day of summer. It is still celebrated today, but we perhaps know Beltane better as May Day.

May Day is usually marked on 1 May, with current festivities including Maypole dancing, singing and cake. It is also a spring holiday in many European cultures, with this year’s Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom taking place this coming Monday, 2 May.

School Ball

The Parents & Friends are delighted to see the return of the Durham High School Ball next week. The rainforest-themed event will be taking place on Saturday 7 May from 7pm in The Bishops Suite at Ramside Hall. The Ball is for all members of the school community, with parents from all year groups invited, as well as Year 12 and 13 pupils, staff, Governors
and Old Girls who are aged 17 years old and above.

The annual event, which was last able to take place in May 2019, is a wonderful occasion which will allow us to finally come together as an entire school community and celebrate the wonderful efforts of our pupils, staff and parents throughout the last two years. The aim of the evening is to raise money for the Parents & Friends, who do fabulous work for the benefit of all pupils at Durham High School. Today is the final day for booking, so please visit bit.ly/dhsrainforestball as soon as possible to choose your menu options and pay for your tickets. We really do hope to see you there.

The Reach Next Generation Summit

The Reach Next Generation Summit will be taking place at Teesside University on Saturday 14 May 2022. The Summit is open to all girls who are 11-15 years old, and will be hosted by Reach co-founder Sarah Stirk of Sky Sports in partnership with North Yorkshire Education Services.

There are two ways to attend the Summit, either in person at Teesside University or via a live stream. It will be very much a workshop and discussion format to help girls think about their futures in the ever-changing world that we all now live in.

They will be discussing body positivity, STEM, social media, human rights, health and nutrition, money management and careers in business. You can reserve a free space for your daughter at reachnextgeneration.com.

Parents and Friends Donations

We are extremely grateful to our wonderful Parents and Friends committee for the work that they continue to do in raising money for the benefit of all the pupils at Durham High School.

Their most recent big purchases have been a tepee for the Junior House Forest School Area and a donation towards a new fitted kitchen for the Sixth Form diner. This part of a wider refurbishment of some areas of the school, with the Sixth Form section of the library and the Sports Hall changing rooms also undergoing renovation over Easter.

Easter Sporting Successes

A huge well done to Darcy in Year 9 who competed at Whitley Bay in the North East Youth Development League (NEYDL) Athletics on Sunday. She achieved 1st place, scoring a new PB of 34.39m. She is currently 6th in the UK in her discipline.

In equestrian, Olivia in Year 11 recently returned from Blue Chip Championships at Hartpury College, where she qualified for the 1m 25 Karma Performance Championship. She made it to the final, eventually finishing just outside the placings in 12th. In Rugby, congratulations must also go to Mae in Year 9, who has been selected to play for the U15 County Squad.

Also, during the Easter break, Isabella in Year 7 had a wonderful experience at the Irish Dancing World Championships in Belfast. She placed 117th in the world in her solo competition, out of 75,000 dancers that went for qualification in her age category, and she was a member of the U13 Ceili team which finished in third place. Well done to all girls on their tremendous achievements.

Catering Success for Heidi

Following on from our ‘Team of the Year’ win in last year’s competition, we were delighted to hear of another success for our wonderful team at the Thomas Franks Awards. A huge congratulations to Heidi Langer, who won ‘Catering Assistant of the Year’ at the Thomas Frank Awards 2022. Heidi is an integral part of our catering team and very much deserves this accolade.

Music for a May Evening

You are warmly invited to join us for our Summer Concert, which will take place on Tuesday 10 May in the Main School Hall at 7pm. The programme will include music performed by soloists, Senior Chamber Choir, Middle School Choir, and our orchestra, rock band and swing band.

Tickets, which include refreshments, cost £3 for adults and are free for children, and can be purchased from Dr Hardy in the Music Department. Demand for tickets is always high and in order to comply with safety regulations we are not able to exceed the hall’s seating capacity, so you are advised to buy your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Summer Engineering Courses

The Smallpeice Trust has availability on virtual and residential engineering courses for Year 9 pupils in the summer holidays. Their exciting, hands-on courses explore the wide range of career paths open to young people, with support from industry experts. Attending a course will help to map out your next steps and fuel your passion for engineering. Please visit the Ignition Events page for more information and details on how to apply.

Chamber Choir at Choral Evensong

The Senior Chamber Choir will be singing as part of the Choral Evensong at St Oswald’s Church, Durham on Sunday 8 May at 6pm. All parents, friends and family are warmly invited to attend the service.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Year 11 (Silver level) and Year 12 (Gold level) pupils were out on their practice DofE expeditions over the Easter holidays. The weather was on their side with the perfect combination of sun and rain, to lift spirits and test the equipment. Pupils were also able to camp as part of their expeditions, which is the first time in three years that this has been possible as part of the programme.

Singing for The Queen

Durham Cathedral are running an exciting project to create a one-off choir to sing at their special service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. Children in Years 4 to 8 inclusive are invited to apply to join the Platinum Choir of 35 boys and 35 girls to sing a piece of music by local composer Will Todd at the service on Saturday 4 June 2022 at 3pm.

Those involved will need to be available for a workshop on Saturday 21 May 2022 between 11am and 1pm. Applicants need to be children who already sing in a choir of some sort, and they will need help from a choir director or singing teacher if they are successful in joining the choir. This is because they will be required to learn the notes of the piece they are going to sing. Please visit the Cathedral website which has more details and an application form to complete.

COVID-19 reminder

A reminder that the new isolation guidance for symptomatic children and adults is as follows:

  • Adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.
  • Adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious.
  • For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice is 3 days.

More information on the symptoms to look out for; what you can do to help stop the spread of infection; what you should do if you need to leave your home when you have Covid-19; and what to do if you are a close contact of someone with a positive test result are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/people-with-symptoms-of-a-respiratory-infection-including-covid-19.