Come and play at one of our Outdoor Tots sessions

It is an absolute pleasure to be writing this letter to you on International Women’s Day, which is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The theme this year is “Inspire Inclusion” and at Durham High we foster a sense of belonging and relevance amongst our girls. Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of what do here, and all girls are empowered to understand and value women’s inclusion, so that together we can shape a better world.

It is fitting that it is also National Careers Week, and today girls in Year 7-10 and Lower Sixth took part in a series of workshops led by Equans, who are a leading provider of technical services, regeneration and energy services. The purpose of the day was to broaden the horizons of our girls to the various career opportunities in the industry, including architecture and quantity surveying, helping to debunk the common myths of careers in construction.

On Tuesday, girls in Pre-Prep and Prep took part in their Careers Day, where pupils (and staff) were invited to come into school dressed as a chosen career. From doctors, vets and fashion designers, to zoologists, chefs and film stars, there was a diverse range of careers on display. Girls also had a careers talk and took part in some classroom-based activities, including Year 6, who were putting their job interview skills into practise!

In last week’s newsletter, we showcased photographs from the opening night of Evita, led by Team Lloyd at Durham’s Gala theatre. We hosted the Mayor and Mayoress on opening night and they were speechless at the level of professionalism of our whole production. The fantastic standard of performance continued throughout the weekend, with the tremendous talents of Team Webber also wowing the audience. The Lord Lieutenant of Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon came to watch our final performance and she wrote “My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed “Evita”; it was absolutely splendid. The production challenging and so well executed. I’m conscious of the time it takes to bring such an excellent production together and the dedication, hard work and enjoyment of both staff and pupils was clearly evident”. We look forward to welcoming Mrs Snowdon to Durham High in May, where she will meet the whole cast and crew and have a tour of our wonderful school.

I am so proud of each and every person who has been part of the production of this show both on, and behind the stage. Thank you for being involved and for your dedication and commitment. We are very grateful to all our parent and staff helpers who supervised and worked back stage. Thank you for being part of the show. It was a real privilege to see each of the four performances and the whole company have done the High School proud! Enjoy the photos below of Team Webber. Special thanks to Mrs Lawrence-Wills our Director of Music and Mrs Lonsdale our Director of Drama. I wonder what’s on the cards for next year’s performance?

My congratulations this week, not only go to the production and cast of Evita, but also to Pupils in Year 9, 10 and 11 who took part in the Intermediate Maths Challenge. The girls performed brilliantly, achieving 16 Bronze certificates, 8 Silver certificates and 5 Gold certificates. Congratulations to all of the girls that took part for their efforts, and a special mention to Safiyyah in Year 11, who achieved ‘best in school’.

A special mention must also go to our Early Career Teachers (ECT), Miss Shoulder, Miss Coulson and Miss Collinson, who underwent their ECT assessment visit on Tuesday. The Independent Schools Teacher Induction Panel assessor was very impressed with all our ECT’s and the level of induction and support they receive from their Mentors, Mrs Middleton, Mrs Slane and Dr Alvey. Well done to everyone involved. It is wonderful to see them flourish, from being Newly Qualified to proficient teachers learning their craft.

This half term, we are again collecting Easter Eggs for Feeding Families. Donations do not have to extravagant – you can purchase for as little as £1.00 in some places – but it will make a huge difference to those children in the region that would not otherwise receive a gift this Easter. Donations can be dropped off at Main Reception by Wednesday 20 March. Please label them as Feeding Families so they don’t get mistaken for the Easter Quiz raffle.

Finally, I am delighted to announce that following a very rigorous interview process, Mrs Middleton has been appointed as Deputy Headteacher, with immediate effect. The Vice Principal position has been vacant since I was appointed as Headmistress, so it will be wonderful having a Deputy in post. Mrs Middleton will continue to work closely with myself, Mrs Hall and Mrs Hopper to ensure the smooth running of Durham High.  I’m sure many of you know that Mr Priest is retiring at the end of the year.  Mrs Wildish has been appointed as Head of Maths and Computing in Senior Department from September. Mrs Wildish has been working alongside Mr Priest, shadowing the role, and we are sure she will continue to build on the excellent work of the department under Mr Priest’s leadership. We will be advertising for a Maths Teacher in the near future. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will continue to be delivered through school.

Elevate Study Skills and Parent Workshop

You may remember that that in November, Year 11 and Upper Sixth girls took part in Elevate Study Skills workshops in the run up to their mock exams.  Girls in Year 7 – 10 and Lower Sixth will have their session on 20 March, 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.

There is also an Elevate Parent Workshop at 4.00- 5.00pm in the Main Hall on 20 March.  The session will cover:

  • How parents can help their children effectively manage their time
  • How parents can help their children become motivated and stay motivated.
  • The different types of work students should prioritise across the year to maximise results.
  • How parents can help children work effectively with technology whilst minimising distractions such as social media sites.

Refreshments will be provided and afterwards, you will receive an e-guide which includes hints, practical tips and resources to help you to support your child through their studies and examinations.

If you are able to attend, please complete the form on School Gateway (under ‘Payments’) so that we can anticipate numbers.

 Sports Presentation Evening

A reminder that the extended deadline is fast approaching to book your tickets for Sports Presentation Evening 2024 on Monday 18 March. Pupils and parents will enjoy a meal and celebrate the sporting achievements of pupils from Year 5 up to Upper Sixth at Durham High School. The evening will be held at Ramside Hall Hotel and the presentation of awards will take place during the meal.

This year we are delighted to announce our guest speaker to be Alex Dewar, a former Triathlete and Invictus Games medallist. Alex was selected as Team Captain for the Great Britain Invictus Cycling team and also took part in the UK Swimming team in 2018. He is a true inspiration and it will be wonderful to hear his incredible story.

During the evening, awards, colours and prizes will be given out to pupils who have achieved sporting success, not only in school but outside of school as well. Every pupil is very welcome to attend the evening. We encourage all who are actively involved in sport at school to attend to support their friends, fellow team members and to celebrate their own achievements in sport. Ramside Hall Hotel will be welcoming us from 6.00pm for a 6.15pm start. We look forward to welcoming you.

Prep Swimming Gala

On Wednesday, pupils from Year 4,5 and 6 competed in their houses in the Prep Swimming Gala at Freeman’s Quay. The event was a great opportunity for the girls to showcase their swimming development and support one another. Tempest were named champions in a closely contested competition with a record-breaking time by Zaria in the Year 4 breaststroke. Well done, to all girls who took part.

Sports Update

The U12 Netball Team played in the Mowden Hall U13 Tournament on Wednesday. This was an opportunity for the team to challenge themselves against tough opposition.  They played very well throughout the afternoon winning games against Mowden Hall B team and Ovingham Middle School. Matches against Mowden Hall A and Dame Allans were closely contested, and the girls showed great determination.  Congratulations to all the players.

Year 4 Roman Day

Year 4 had a great day on Friday with their Roman-themed activity day. They learned Latin commands to help train as legionaries and then took part in a playground battle – with modern-day safety rules of course!

They played Roman Numerals Bingo, made a Roman recipe, dressed up, learned a song about Roman life and then played lots of different Roman-themed games. They also used their crafting skills to make their own fabric ‘bulla’ with a good luck charm inside. A lot of fun was had by all!

Summer Camps at Durham High School

We are delighted to be partnering with Kings Camps to offer activity camps for 5-17 year olds at Durham High School this summer. Since 1991, Kings has offered week-long programmes with a focus on being active and having fun. Kings Camps are here this summer to make school holidays enjoyable and memorable.

The Multi-Active programme is designed for 5-14 year olds, with activities running 8.15am to 5.30pm. The amazing Red Tops kick off each week with a whole camp warm up, group games and activities. Throughout the week children enjoy core sports sessions, as well as active games and activities that foster friendships and learning. Each week ends with the Kings Games – an opportunity for families to see what their children have been up to.

For 15-17 year olds there is the Rookie Academy, which is a programme that provides practical coaching and work experience as well as participation in sport with like-minded friends. Rookies work alongside the Red Tops, many who go on to work for Kings and is a great addition to Records of Achievement, and a perfect start for a career working with children. The sessions at Durham High School this year will run from 5-9 August, and 12-16 August. For dates, prices and to book, visit the website or call Kings Camps Membership Team on 01142632160.

Parents and Friends Easter Quiz

Tickets for the Easter Quiz Night are now on sale and can be bought by clicking here. It’s always a fun night for all the family! Quiz, bingo, fun games and an Easter egg raffle. Tickets must be bought beforehand, by Tuesday 19 March. You can arrange your own team of up to 8 people or we can group people together on the night. Snacks are included in the price of your ticket but please bring your own drinks (glasses will be provided). We would be very grateful for any donations of Easter Eggs (no nuts please) by Tuesday 19 March to be left at reception. This is outside of the Egg collections for our Feeding Families appeal. Thank you.

Annual School Ball

The School Ball is back for 2024! Join us for the Journey to Atlantis Ball on Saturday 27 April at 7pm at Ramside Hall Hotel. This wonderful evening is for all members of the school community, with parents from all year groups invited, as well as Lower and Upper Sixth pupils, staff, Governors and Old Girls who are aged 17+. This year, tickets cost £50 for students and staff (early bird offer £45) and £65 for parents and friends (early bird offer £60).

So, come and help us celebrate our 140th birthday and join our Sixth Form pupils who are leaving Durham High in the summer for new adventures. You can book your place easily online by clicking here.