Book now for our Open Day on 16 March

I have just returned from the Pre-Prep and Prep Valentines Disco, which was organised by the Parents and Friends Association. What an absolute ball I had dancing along with your daughters. Lots of fun was had by all and it was the perfect way to bring in the weekend. Our Sixth Form helpers were just wonderful and seemed to be having as much fun as the younger girls. Thank you to everyone who helped make the evening a success.

This morning’s themed assembly for Seniors and Sixth Form was led by Form 9D, who presented a fantastic assembly to celebrate Chinese New Year. The assembly today also featured a rather fetching and ornate dancing dragon, as you can see from the picture! As part of the celebrations, Robyn in Year 7 brought in some fortune cookies to share with her friends and classmates. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the year of the dragon. In Chinese culture, the dragon has significant symbolism and is revered. May I take the opportunity to wish all our Chinese families a Happy New Year. I hope the next twelve months are filled with power, strength, good luck and wisdom.

Mrs Wheeler and I have enjoyed meeting with our Year 11 girls over the last few weeks, to discuss moving into Sixth Form in September. It has been a real pleasure listening to them articulate their hopes and aspirations. We will complete our chats with all Year 11 by the time we break up on Friday. To minimise disruption to lessons, we have been conducting these before and after school and during lunch and break times. I have missed chatting to parents whilst being out at the gate at pick up and drop off, but will resume once we have finished meeting with the Year 11 girls.

On Wednesday we welcomed parents and girls in Year 9 into school for their Options Evening, as they prepare to make decisions on which subjects, they are going to study for GCSE next year. We look forward to supporting them through this process over the coming weeks.

Our Year 11 girls went on a visit to York on Thursday, to take part in Poetry Live. The trip was a great success with students enjoying seeing poets from their set text ‘perform’ the poems. They even had the current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, on stage bringing his poetry to life, to great applause from the large audience. During the Q&A, Isla S asked a searching question of poet Imtiaz Dharker, which impressed the poet and the English Team! Well done, Isla. However, it was during the lunchbreak that something extraordinary happened. I need to set the scene: there were well over 1000 students at the event, from schools of all sizes, state schools and independent schools. Students were allowed to go into the foyer of the building to stretch their legs during the break. It just so happened that there was a piano in the foyer. Chloe S couldn’t resist and hit the keys with aplomb! Talk about making friends and influencing people…she was soon surrounded by students from all backgrounds, fascinated by her incredible talent. Chloe played (quite literally) to her audience choosing Harry Styles’ songs – soon, there were students singing along mesmerised by Chloe’s talent at the piano! We are so proud of Chloe who brought everyone together. We all know that Durham High School is a special place, and this is just one of example of why!

Last night, it was lovely to see so many girls and parents in the Hall to hear from Projects Abroad, at the launch of our next Childcare and Community trip. Following a successful Philippines adventure last summer, we plan to visit Sri Lanka, in the Summer of 2025, where students will work with local communities as well as having the opportunity to participate in Netball fixtures and leading physical activities with local children. There were lots of excited girls, following the presentation.

Excitement is building amongst the cast of Evita and this weekend sees the rehearsal with the full band. Mrs Lonsdale and Mrs Lawrence-Wills are keeping me updated following rehearsals and they are delighted with how much the girls are embracing their roles. I am very much looking forward to seeing them all on stage after half term.

School Production – Evita

There will be evening performances from Thursday 29 February to Saturday 2 March at 7.30pm, with a matinee performance on the Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm. You can
book your tickets on the Gala website now.

Sport Update

On Saturday last week our U14 Netball Team took part in the Regional Schools’ Tournament at Sports Central. They played some outstanding netball, facing tough opposition and won 5 out of their 7 games. The girls finished in 3rd position which is a fantastic achievement. Player of the Tournament was Millie. Congratulations to you all!

On Wednesday, the U18 Netball Team played an extremely challenging and high tempo game against one of the Durham University Teams. Despite the loss, they worked with determination, and it was a great experience against such strong opposition. Player of the Match was Anna.

Also on Wednesday, we had a first for DHS Sport, as we entered four Year 7 teams into the Tyne and Wear Trampolining Competition. The girls had lots of fun and performed some excellent routines. Congratulations to all the girls on their preparation and their performances on the day. Special mention to Katie who was placed 1st in her category.

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 Upper and Lower Sixth pupils, staff, Governors and Old Girls who are aged 17+. Further details and booking information to follow shortly. We hope to see you there.

Governor Drop in

Following the letter sent to parents on Tuesday from the Chair of Governors, we are pleased to confirm that the advertised parent drop-in session will be held by Governors next Friday, 16 February, between 3pm and 4pm for Pre-Prep and Prep parents and 4pm and 5pm for Senior Department Parents.