Schools & Education 2001 and beyond

2 March 2001

Don Wilcock, local historian and former teacher at Bowburn Modern School, died.

Born in Shildon on 7 January 1927, Don, after studying metallurgy at Durham University (at Newcastle), National Service and then teacher training in 1953-5, taught in London and Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset) before coming to Bowburn Modern School as Head of Mathematics. He retired in 1984.

His contribution to the Workers Education Association, Durham County Local History Society and many other NW regional groups was enormous. In 2000 he helped found the Cassop-cum-Quarrington Local History Society (later re-named “Bowburn Local History Society”).

(Sources: D. Butler (2003) “Don Wilcock”, Durham Biographies Vol. 3, Dur. Co. LHS, pp. 190-3; Also introduction by John Smith to Dur. Co. LHS’s Bulletin 67 (2004), which was dedicated to DW.)

August 2001

Peter Simpson, from Bowburn, a teacher at Greenfield Community and Arts College, Newton Aycliffe, gained long-desired recognition as a song-writer. Mr Simpson joined his first band, Geneva, as guitarist and songwriter in 1973. In 1977, he joined a covers band, Planet, playing about 600 gigs in two years and touring Germany, Holland and Belgium. After playing on the cabaret circuit for a number of years, he started another band, Larry and the Actors, with his brother, Paul, in 1985. Not long after that, in 1989, he decided to call it a day on rock ’n’ roll as a career and trained as a teacher.

In 2000, his school beat off 2,000 entries to win the national Song For the Millennium competition. The track, called “Don’t Let Tomorrow Be Too Late”, was recorded in George Martin’s Air Studio, in London, and pupils performed the song at the Millennium Dome. Then another composition penned by Mr Simpson won a Government contest to find a song about maths. Pupils recorded that song with S Club 7. Mr Simpson said: "We thought it was absolutely fantastic to win two national competitions back-to-back. It was amazing." Meanwhile a musical he wrote in 2000, Penmore Place, was shortly to be performed by a Manchester school.

(Source: N. Echo 6 August 22001 (

Spring 2002

Ofsted visited Bowburn Junior School to conduct a full inspection. The school passed with flying colours, with particular comments being made about strong leadership, excellent relationships and pupils who are extremely proud of their school.

“History was made” that year, headteacher Mrs. Lyons told Bowburn Interchange, when she “decided to have a campout on the school field. Over fifty children enjoyed barbecues, long walks, a pyjama party and bedtime stories in the Eurogarden. Teachers camped out too, with Head, Deputy and governors making sure everyone was safe by keeping watch overnight!”

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 20.)

28 September 2002

Ex-pupils of Durham Girls Grammar School, who attended between 1955 and 1960/62, held a re-union, 40 years on, at Mount Oswald, in Durham. Grammar school girls from Bowburn used to attend this school, and one of the re-union organisers was Janet Blackburn (née Napier), of Bowburn.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

December 2002

Planning permission was given, by Durham City Council, for the conversion of the former Tursdale School building into four houses. Work started in Autumn 2004.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 31.)

July 2003

Helen Whalan, nursery teacher and staff governor at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School, took early retirement.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 23.)

July 2003

Bowburn Junior School won the “Best Group Environmental Project” category in the 2003 Beautiful Durham competition, against entries by Waddington Street Resource Centre, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Sunderland Bridge, and St. Cuthbert’s Church, Old Elvet. (Judging took place in July; the results were announced in September.)

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 25.)

September 2003

Bowburn Junior School reported that SATs results had improved once again. The following percentages were achieved at Level 4 (with last year’s results shown in brackets): English 84% (58%); Maths 72% (67%); Science 84% (75%). Mrs. Lyons, headteacher, said this showed the School Improvement Strategy wass taking effect.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 24.)

November 2003

Bowburn Junior School held a “Shoebox Assembly”, when parents saw a mountain of boxes filled with toys and presents ready to be sent off to children in wartorn countries. At a Christingle Service in the Methodist Church, the offering was subsequently sent to the Children’s Society.

Meanwhilre, Year 6 pupils had arranged a raffle to raise funds, and children were filling sacks with old clothes, to raise money to help Mr. Mann and Mrs. Clarke to improve the school grounds.

In the middle of all this fund-raising, children in Upper and Lower School were preparing concerts. The highlight of the Upper School Concert, “Do you believe in Father Christmas” was the debut performance of Mr. Simpson’s new Christmas song, “We will worship Him”, performed by the “Simpson Singers”.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 25.)

December 2003

Children from Bowburn Junior School attended a Christingle Service in Bowburn Methodist Church, after which the offering was sent to the Children’s Society.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 25.)

February 2004

New Government funding arrangements for rebuilding old schools had been announced in 2003. There were fears that the academic standards of Bowburn’s “local” comprehensive secondary school, Durham Johnston, would give it low priority for replacement, despite it being split between two sites and having many of its buildings either outdated and in poor repair or supposed to be “temporary” demountable classrooms.

Lobbying pressed Durham County Council to look at other ways to find the necessary finance and it looked early in 2004 that this was being successful.

Chairperson of Durham Johnston Comprehensive Schoolʼs Governors, Roberta Blackman-Woods, told Bowburn Interchange: “We are very pleased that the County Council is taking the matter so seriously. They have now appointed a consultant to come up with new options. The schoolʼs Governors will first be able to consider these at its meeting in April.”

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 26.)

6 May 2004

The result was announced of a public inquiry into the proposed compulsory purchase, by Durham County Council, of land along the route of a new link road between the motorway junction at Bowburn and Wheatley Hill. The new road would take significant heavy traffic away from the road past Bowburn Infant & Nursery School. Compulsory purchase orders were confirmed.

It was another three years, however, before work commenced, as planning permissions needed to be renewed.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 28.)


Bowburn Infant & Nursery School had a website:

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 28.)


Ashlagh Walker and Katie Roberts, of Bowburn Junior School, won pen and pencil sets as prizes for designing an new logo (showing a handshake) and writing a new slogan (“Friends working together”), for the Bowburn and Parkhill Community Partnership. The school was also given a cheque for £100, towards play equipment.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)

June 2004

Michelle and Stacey [surnames not recorded] took part in the Great North Walk, raising £175 for Bowburn Junior School.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)

Summer 2004

The Weardale Railway Trust donated a Family Return Trip (2 adults and 3 children), on the Railway, for a raffle for friends of Bowburn Junior School. The money raised was to go towards play equipment at the school.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)

September 2004

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School continued to operate with 39 nursery places. The number had been due to be reduced to 36. However evidence was put to Durham County Council, proving the need for the higher number, and its earlier decision was rescinded.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 28.)

17 September 2004

Newcastle United footballer Peter Beardsley visited Bowburn Junior School to talk to the children, answer questions. He returned on 21 September to sign books, tee-shirts, balls etc.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)

13 October 2004

Bowburn Infant and Nursery School celebrate “the Big Draw”. Artist Sue Slack, from Pickering, worked with children, parents and staff on the theme of “A Vision of Our village”. The resulting sketches, prints and photographs of how they would like Bowburn to look in the future were later forwarded to Durham City Councilʼs project to regenerate Bowburn and Park Hill.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)

December 2004

Mrs. Lyons, headteacer of Bowburn Junior School, reported that 2004 had been “a year of giving for pupils, their families and staff”. The school had supported a number of charities, including the Samaritans, Children in Need and Durham Women’s Refuge.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 31.)

January 2005

Mrs. Carolyn Roberts became headteacher of Bowburn’s local secondary school, Durham Johnston Comprehensive, following the retirement of Richard Bloodworth. She had formerly been deputy head at the school, but left to become head of St. Hildaʼs CofE Comprehensive School in Hartlepool.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)


The former Tursdale School building converted into four houses. They were called School Close and first occupied in 2006.

July 2005

Twelve young people at Bowburn Junior School had a day out, as a reward for their 100% attendance record during the school year. They were Ashley Kirk, Emma Goodchild, Andrew Connor, Tim Grant, Ryan Hesler, Richard Hall, Grant Taylor, Todd Woodhead, Laura Magee, Cara Storer, Billy Hart and Thomas Nichol.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 34.)

8 July & 12 July 2005

The last Bowburn NUM Minersʼ Lodge banner, recently returned from Nottinghamshire, visited Bowburn Junior School, on the day before that year’s Durham Miners’ Gala. On the Tuesday after that, it visited Bowburn Infant School. It then went for final repair and conservation, before being hung permanently in Bowburn Community Centre, in March the following year.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 34.)


Mosaic pictures of vegetables were included on the footpath through the Parish Council’s Doorstep Green park area, formerly disused allotments, between Bow Street and Burn Street. The mosaics were commissioned from local ceramic designers after working with children at Bowburn Junior School to produce design ideas.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 36.)

19 October 2005

70 pupils from Bowburn Junior School went with 80 elderly residents and 25 helpers and school staff on a trip to Eden Camp in North Yorkshire. During the journey, the older ones told the children stories about the War years.

The trip was on of three events organised by the Bowburn & Parkhill Community Partnership, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, thanks to a £11,497 Lottery grant.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 35.)

October 2005

John Midgley, of Chippenham Designs, spent a day at Bowburn Junior School. Commissioned by the Bowburn Banner Group, he and his colleagues were going to make a new Bowburn banner in time for the 2006 Durham Miners’ Gala. He enthralled Year 5 children and collected ideas for the new bannerʼs design. The eventual design included a picture of the original Bowburn School – now the Infant & Nursery School.

So great was the childrenʼs enthusiasm that the Banner Group, which had obtained funding for the Centenary Banner Project from the Heritage Lottery Fund, decided to seek further funding, to create a second new banner – this time for the children themselves. An application for a Community Chest grant was successful and Bearpark Artists Co-operative subsequently worked in the school to produce a scaled down minersʼ lodge style banner, to join the full-sized one at the annual Gala.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 36.)

December 2005

Ofsted inspectors visited Bowburn Infant and Nursery School. Their resulting report made the school one of the very first in County Durham to be labelled “an outstanding school”. At the time of the inspection, there was an acting headteacher, Mrs. Cochrane, as the previous head, Sandra Whithnall (formerly Neasham), had left in July 2005 and the new head, Christine Ormerod, could not start till January 2006.

The school was again listed by Ofsted as “Outstanding” in 2006.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 38.)

April 2006

Helen Monro, world orienteering champion, visited Bowburn Junior School. She was helping the “Fun 2B Outside” programme to encourage fitness.


April 2006

Bowburn Junior School held a Fun 2B Outdoors day, organised by PE and Sport Coordinators Miss Rutter and Miss Lyons. All pupils took part in orienteering and problem-solving activities designed to encourage children to work together out of the classroom, get fit and have fun. World Orienteering champion Heather Monro visited the school to take part and presented every pupil with a signed photograph.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 38.)

22 May 2006

Thirty-seven children, aged three to seven, launched their first “walking bus”. They walked from Bowburn Community Centre to Bowburn Infant and Nursery School, accompanied by local County Councillor Mac Williams, head teacher Christine Ormerod, staff and parent helpers. Parents were encouraged to leave their cars at the centre and join in the short walk to school. A special assembly was held on Friday 26th May, at the end of national Walk to School Week, and the children received certificates to mark their achievement.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 39.)

30 June 2006

Bowburn Children’s Banner was unfurled by Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP, at Bowburn County Junior School.

The banner had been produced by Barrie Ormsby and Romy Chafer, of the Bearpark Artists Co-ooperative, who had worked closely with children at the school to create the designs and, to some extent, the banner itself. The banner was paid for by the Bowburn Banner Group, thanks to a grant from the Bowburn Community Chest. The new banner was first paraded at the Durham Miners’ Gala on 8th July, with the village’s Centenary Banner.

Bowburn Interchange no. 39.)

9 July & 15 July 2006

Children from Bowburn Junior School carried the new Bowburn Children’s Banner, first through Bowburn and Durham City on Miners’ Gala Day, and then round Beamish Museum, at a children’s gala organised by the museum.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 41.)

July 2006

All schoolchildren of Bowburn and Parkhill, up to the age of 16, were presented by the Bowburn & Parkhill Community Partnership with a commemorative medal, as part of the village centenary celebrations.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 37 & 41.)

July 2006

Mrs. Kathleen Nelson retired after thirty years as school cook at Bowburn Infant School.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 38.)

30 October 2008

The A688 Wheatley Hill to Bowburn link road was opened by Rt. Hon. Paul Clark, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, assisted by Courtney Lowe, Robert Wilson and Alex Lynn, from Bowburn Junior School.

The first section, between Byers Garth and Cassop Moor, had been open for use since June. The final section was formally opened by cutting a tape near the new Park Hill roundabout.

The new road completed a final link between west Durham and the A19 near Peterlee, as well as from the A1(M). But it had been campaigned for for many years as a by-pass for heavy traffic past Bowburn Infant School.

(Source: MS; DCC leaflet re opening; Bowburn Interchange no. 49.

Autumn 2006

Bowburn Junior School received £1,500 to develop a Cook It club. It was one of 19 schools in County Durham to do so. The clubs looked at planning balanced meals, cooking on a budget and food preparation.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 41.)

November 2006

Children from Bowburn Infant School, with their teachers and members of the Bowburn & Parkhill Community Partnership, planted bulbs in the green at Prince Charles Avenue and children from Parkhill planted bulbs in the planters and around the shrubs at Parkhill.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 41.)

21 November 2006

Enabling work began at the upper site of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, at Crossgate Moor, to begin a programme that would lead to a new single site building opening in 2008. A planning application for the new building was submitted in December.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 41.)

Spring 2007

Bowburn Infant School Year 1 teacher Lucy Short visited Kisumu, in Kenya, as part of the Connecting Classrooms Project. She went with a teacher from Forest-of-Teasdale and Villa Real. They took pieces of work that children had done in class and Lucy brought back letters from the children of Kisumu.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 42.)

24 May 2007

A meeting of the Cabinet of Durham County Council was due to consider admission arrangements for Durham Johnston Comprehensive School when the school’s new single site building was complete in 2009. Consideration was, however, deferred.

Fears had been growing that children from Bowburn might lose the right to attend what had been the village’s local secondary school since Landsdowne School closed in 1975. That right had been automatic due to promises made at that time, and had been reinforced by a “nearest school” rule, as Johnston’s lower school site at Whinney Hill was the nearest to Bowburn – while the Crossgate Moor site was not. It was thought that the County Council’s “assisted transport” rule would continue to make Johnston Bowburn’s local school. However recent legislation had cast doubt on the future of school transport.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 43.)

June 2007

Bowburn Infant and Nursery School welcomed three teachers from South Africa. They taught the children about South Africa and sung some beautiful African songs.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 44.)

Summer 2007

A group of children from Bowburn Infant School’s Year 2 visited the Balfour Beatty site for the groundbreaking ceremony, prior to the start of work on the new link road to Wheatley Hill, which would bypass the road past the school.

Children at the school took part in a poster competition, designing posters about the dangers of building sites and how to keep safe. Representatives from Balfour Beatty judged the competition and presented prizes at a school assembly.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 44.)

24 September 2007

Construction of the new Durham Johnston Comprehensive School began. It was due to be finished by April 2009, then the existing buildings would be demolished.

Johnston was the first school in the county to be developed as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. £29 million was planned to be spent on rebuilding the school and improving facilities.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 44 & 45.)

December 2007

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School issued an appeal to local residents for memories, photographs and participation in a proposed celebration, in 2009, of the school’s centenary.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 45.)

December 2007

Richard Walsh, Chair, Bowburn Junior School Governors, issued an appeal for new parent governors.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 45.)

28 February 2008

Bowburn Co-operative store, in Prince Charles Avenue, was officially re-opened, after a radical refurbishment, by four children from Bowburn Junior School and three from the Infant & Nursery School.

Olivia Haigh, Jamie Hurton and Kimberley Scott were accompanied by Mrs. Julie Worrell, deputy headteacher of Bowburn Infant & Nursery School. With Mrs. Lynne Lyons, headteacher of Bowburn Juniors, came Keaton Allen, Joy Grimes, Rachel Moody and André Pickering – all “Triple A’s”, having a 100% attendance record this term and a first class record for work and attitude. Rachel is also a “Blue Bander” – one of ten especially helpful pupils.

Each school was presented with a cheque for £100 by the store manager, Louise Faghy, who was accompanied by other members of staff, Bev McClurg, Fiona Fullard, Jamie Clarke, Elizabeth Hall and Louisa Cook, and by Rhonda Smith, The Co-operative Group’s Operations Manager, based at Birtley.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 46.)

March 2008

A report was published on how the first £72,000 had been spent from the £100,000 Community Chest, which had been set up from the £1.9m in the Bowburn Community Investment Fund – the so called “Bowburn Regeneration Pot”, (This had been set aside in 2005 by Durham City Council from the proceeds of selling housing land in Lawson Road to the Durham Villages Regeneration Company.) The list of grants made included £5,000 to Bowburn Infant & Nursery School, £4,998 to Bowburn Junior School and £5,000 to the Friends of Infant School.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 46.)

March 2008

Harry Holder, teacher, died. He had become a metalwork teacher at Bowburn Modern School in 1958 and went on to become deputy head of Landsdowne School. He ran the photographic society and compiled a unique photographic record of school events. He was a member of Durham City Photographic Society and was made honorary president.

Mr. Holder’s wake, at Bowburn Hall on Friday 14 March, was a celebration of his life through an exhibition of his photographs. It was attended by family, friends, former pupils, colleagues and members of the Photographic Society.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 46.)

9 August 2008

Lucy Short, former class teacher at Bowburn Infants School, married Dr. Alan Cooper at St. James’ Church, Castle Eden. They met whilst students at Durham University.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 48.)

September 2008

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School was inspected by Ofsted, as a result of which it was judged to be “Good with several Outstanding features”.

Later that term, after three years’ work, the school was awarded full International School status. It was awarded a certificate and a commemorative trophy at an awards ceremony in London.

In October, Mrs. Trish Gelder and Mrs. Julie Borthwick visited South Africa, as part of the school’s involvement in the British Council’s “Connecting Classrooms” Project.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 49.)

11 September 2008

Joyce Heslop, caretake of Bowburn Junior School, retired, after 30 years service, having originally started as a cleaner at the secondary school.

Headteacher Lynne Lyons, who described this as the “end of an era”, said: “Joyce looked after everyone, always putting herself last. I have nothing but praise for the caretaker who became a true friend. Joyce has been the heart of our school for many years. Every day, through rain, hail or shine, she has been the first to arrive and the last to leave. Joyce has been our mother, carer, friend. She has supported us in difficult times, provided a shoulder to cry on for many of her colleagues, and just been a true friend to us all. We will miss Joyce immensely, no one more than myself.”

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 48.)

12 December 2008

Bowburn Junior School Carol Service held a carol service in the new Christ the King Church.(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 49.)

December 2008

Ernie Mann, deputy headteacher at Bowburn Junior School, retired after working at Bowburn for 33 years, and being Deputy Head for the last 20. Headteacher Mrs. Lyons said: “Families will remember how kindly Mr. Mann has treated generations of Bowburn children. He has always had a firm but fair approach, always listening to both sides of every story, and dealing with issues with great sensitivity. He has been a positive role model for generations of Bowburn children.”

Paul Soler was appointed the new deputy head.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 49.)

9–15 February 2009

Seven visitors from South Africa and Kenya were in Durham, observing educational practice at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School and another school in Stanley.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 50.)

March 2009

The new Durham Johnston Comprehensive school building opened. Students in the upper school (years 9 and above) moved into the new premises from the beginning of the summer term. The current years 7 and 8 then joined them from the Whinney Hill site in September, as did the new year 7.

Meanwhile the admissions criteria for the new school were still not finalised. The closure of the Whinney Hill site meant that the new school was no longer the nearest secondary comprehensive school to children living in Bowburn and Park Hill. Commitments made when the re-organisation was made, however, had been thought to guarantee that the new school was being built for children from Bowburn, as well as other areas. Durham County Council’s first attempt to re-word the admissions criteria, in order to achieve this, had been rejected, however, in 2008, by the independent Schools Adjudicator. A fresh attempt was now being considered and the County Council Cabinet was expected to make a decision on 26th March.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 50.)

26 March 2009

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School held a school reunion and Party Day, to celebrate its Centenary.

It also organised a series of activities throughout the school year, September 2008 – July 2009. These included children working with local artists, children working with members of the local history group to create a time line, commemorative items being made throughout the year, a history themed fun day for the whole school, burying a time capsule in the school grounds, children performing an “old time music hall” event and a Harvest Festival.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 46, 49 & 50.)

About May 2009

Bowburn Junior School won the Durham City Primary Schools’ Football Cup in an end of season match at Maiden Castle.

The team had been led by Tamlyn Lyons, Sports Coordinator, and coaches from Bowburn Youth Football Club.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 51.)

11 May 2009

Durham Johnston School U13’s Girls Football team became the Northern Champions in the English Schools Country Cup Regional Final, beating West Kirby Grammar School for Girls 2-1, at Tranmere Rovers football ground in Birkenhead. To get to the final they firstly became County Cup Champions and then won three rounds in the English Schools Cup. Seven girls from Bowburn – Selene Heslington, Katie Roberts, Paige Roxby, Cara Scorer, Rachel Scott, Shannon Smart and Jade Wilson – were part of the team.

Two days later, they played South Holderness Technology College, the Midlands Champions, in the National Semi Finals, at Rushden and Diamonds Football Club. The score was 2-2 at full time, and there were no further goals in fifteen minutes of extra time. Sadly the girls then lost 4-1 penalty shoot-out.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 51.)

15 May 2009

Durham County Council Cabinet agreed new rules for admissions to Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, to take effect from September 2010. This listed a number of “Feeder Schools”, including Bowburn Junior School, whose pupils would have precedence over those attending any other schools in the county, if applicants exceeded places available.

(The new rules were later overruled by the Schools Adjudicator. See 15 July 2009.)

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 51.)

10 July 2009

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School held a party, as the final celebration of Bowburn School’s Centenary – almost exactly 100 years after the school opened on 12th August 1909.

The weather was perfect. So in the morning the Nursery children enjoyed a picnic on the green and in the afternoon the Infant children tucked into a Street Party for their lunch.

Cllr. Brian Myers, the Chair of Durham County Council, congratulated the school on its 100th Birthday and officially opened the Centenary Garden. Vice-Chair of the Council and local councillor, Mac Williams, and other local Councillors Jan Blakey and Dennis Morgan were in attendance.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 52.)

15 July 2009

The independent School’s Adjudicator’s announces that he had rejected Durham County Council’s Cabinet new rules for admissions to Durham Johnston Comprehensive School (DJCS), to take effect from September 2010. This had listed a number of “Feeder Schools”, including Bowburn Junior School, whose pupils would have precedence over those attending any other schools in the county, if applicants exceeded places available.

He ruled that DJCS must have the same admissions criteria as those for all other Community Secondary Schools in the county, for the next three years.

This meant that, after a school’s places had been allocated first to looked after children and, second, to children with siblings already in a given school, then the rest would go to those for whom it was the nearest school (measured by the shortest walking route – not necessarily along roads). For Bowburn north of the A1(M), that was to be Gilesgate, and for Park Hill it was to be Tudhoe Grange.

(As it turned out, both those schools were to close within a few years, meaning a further change of Bowburn’s “nearest schools”.)

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 52.)


Two years after links had been formed between Bowburn Infant & Nursery School and South Africa, the school obtained funding from the British Council to make partnerships with other schools in Europe.

The Comenius Project included schools from 31 countries. In Bowburn’s case, partner schools had been found in Ghent, Belgium, and Oslo, Norway, with which there would be shared activities and visits over the following two school years. Trish Gelder, the school’s International School Co-ordinator, visited the Oksval Kindergarten, at Nesoddtangen, near Oslo. Then, in October, seven teachers from the two European schools came to Bowburn, where they spent several days observing at Bowburn Infants.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 53.)

Autumn 2009

Year 6 teachers at Bowburn Junior School asked pupils, parents, friends and local companies to get involved in a project to improve mathematical ability, and also behaviour and motivation. They aimed to raise £5,000 money to buy Nintendo DSs with brain training software. These would be used for a few minutes each morning and afternoon. Pupils in other years would be able to use the DSs in Golden Time – the period set aside on Friday afternoons to reward achievements during the week.

The “office ladies” offered, from their own fundraising efforts, to contribute one DS for every one bought by pupils’ and families’ fundraising. A number of fundraising activities in school were planned. Oak Tree customers had already raised £160 when the project was reported by Bowburn Interchange in December.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 53.)

October 2009

Bowburn Junior School promoted firework safety before Bonfire Night with a poster competition – thanks to Glenn Prince, funeral director of the Sherburn Hill branch of Co-operative Funeral Care, who donated the prizes. One winner from each of the first three year groups, chosen by Mike Syer from Bowburn Interchange, received a spectacular art set. The winners were Ethan Peadon (Year 5), Gemma Barber Year 4) and Aimee Chamberlain (Year 3).

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 53.)

9 October 2009

Bowburn Junior School won the 2010 award for the best Primary School Contribution to PE and School Sport in County Durham. At the County Durham Sport Annual Awards Dinner, held at the Ramside Hotel, the award was presented by Jeff Brown, of BBC Look North, to the school’s Sports Coordinator, Miss Tamlyn Lyons.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 53.)

19 November 2009

Judge Langan rejected an application by parents to obtain a High Court judicial review of the School’s Adjudicator’s ruling which had overturned Durham County Council’s decision to make Bowburn Juniors one of seven “feeder” schools for Johnston.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 53.)

17 December 2009

Bowburn Junior School children performed a carol service at Christ the King Church.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 53.)

Early 2010

Parents of Year 6 children received secondary school place offers for the following September. Many in Bowburn were disappointed. Of the 42 children due to leave Bowburn Junior School in the summer, 37 had applied to go to Durham Johnston Comprehensive School. Only 23 were successful. Six were offered places at Framwellgate Moor, instead. Four were offered Gilesgate, two Tudhoe Grange and two Belmont.

The followed the School Adjudicator’s decision to overrule Durham County Council’s proposals to retain Durham Johnston as Bowburn’s local secondary school, after all of that school moved to a new single site at Crossgate Moor.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 54.)

Early March 2010

Two members of staff from Bowburn Infants & Nursery School visited Edugo Lourdes-Meerhout in Ghent, Belgium as part of the Comenius Project. Year 1 teacher, Miss Deborah Scott, and HLTA, Mrs Sandra Green, spent several days in the school as guest of Madame Lut Bousard, Principal of the school.

Staff from Bowburn’s other partner school, Oksval Kindergarten in Oslo, were visiting Ghent.

Nursery School Year 1 pupils took part in a Dance Festival at Deerness Leisure Centre and their chosen song was Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Starfish class performed a dance from Lilo and Stitch called Hawaiian Rollercoaster.

Bowburn Infants & Nursery School Year 2 Sharks class visited Sunderland’s Stadium of Light as part of their Creative Curriculum project on Healthy Living. Their visit started with a guided tour of the stadium. A picnic lunch was followed by a session in the Stadium of Light classroom/ computer suite. There, they were taught about healthy eating, using games and computer programmes.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 54.)

Spring 2010

Miss Deborah Scott and Mrs Sandra Green, teachers at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School, were guests of Mme Lut Bousard, Head of Kleuterschool Edugo Lourdes-Meerhout, in Ghent, Belgium. They spent time with the children and enjoyed sharing English songs and rhymes with our Comenius Project partner school.

Mrs Christine Ormerod, headteacher, and Miss Vicky Tait also made a Comenius visit to the other partner school, Oksval Kindergarten, in Oslo, Norway.

Kasia, the Expochef, visited Bowburn Infants. She cooked rocket, cucumber, celery and strawberry salad, mackerel fishcakes and fruity rice delight, and filled the children with enthusiasm for trying new, healthy fruits and vegetables.

Staff and pupils raised money for the Haiti Disaster Fund by spending a day in fancy dress. The children were delighted to see Batman in the office, Bob the Builder in the classroom and a Sumo wrestler ring the bell.

Seahorses and Starfish (Year 1) spent a morning singing Calypso and playing instruments as part of a Caribbean Workshop.

Sharks (Year 2) spent an energetic morning at Sherburn Sports Centre. Students from Durham Johnston School helped them with fun orienteering, hoop games, team building exercises and blindfold “find your partner”.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 55.)

May 2010

Bowburn Juniors had a surprise visit from the Ofsted inspectors, after which it was judged a Good School. The school scored 2 (“Good”) in 24 out of the 27 categories in which it was assessed, 1 (“Outstanding”) on two and 3 (“Satisfactory”) on only one – pupil attendance.

“We are absolutely delighted with the report”, said Mrs Lyons, headteacher. “We were particularly thrilled to get an outstanding for ‘Keeping Children Safe’ and for our sport/PE/ healthy lifestyles”.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 55.)

Summer 2010

While on a course about “Developing 21st Century Schools with a European and International Heart”, Mrs. Michelle O’Connor and Mrs. Trish Gelder found themselves taking part in a world record dance bid. All delegates joined in The Big Dance 2010.

Mrs. Ravinda Cheema spent a day in school sharing her love and enthusiasm of Indian Arts. She did simple Indian craft with children in Nursery then wowed everyone with her energetic traditional Indian dance routines.

Miss Vicky Tait led a special assembly to launch Friendship Day. Staff acted out scenarios. A pupil from each class was chosen as the Best Friend of the class and each winner won a special bear. Nursery and Reception classes joined together to make a Friendship chain. Years 1 and 2 made Friendship bracelets and designed a Friendship Stop for the playground.A huge Thank You to all the parents and children who made our Summer Fayre a sell out in record time! Over £600 was raised for school funds in half an hour!

Students from Durham High School for Girls entertained the children with their Jack and the Cleanstalk pantomime with a difference. The moral of this tale was food hygiene and the children joined in with a rousing song about washing your hands before eating.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 56.)

July 2010

Deputy Head Mrs. Julie Worral left to enjoy an early retirement, after a long and happy career at Bowburn Infants. Miss Claire Noble was appointed to replace Mrs. Worral and started teaching in Reception in September.

Miss Catherine Shorten left to take up a new teaching position in Cambridge.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 56.)

September 2010

Year 2, Year 1 and the Early Years Departments at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School held Numeracy Workshops for the parents of their classes.

A new whiteboard and projector was fitted in the school hall.

The More Able and Talented (MAT) children spent a day working with writer and storyteller, Adam Bushnell. Helped by Mrs M. O’Connor, the small group of children, taken from all sections of the school, were inspired to create their own Artwork and Stories, and their own Super Pets and made clay models. After the assembly, the children’s parents were invited to meet Adam and see what the small group had achieved during the day.

The whole school took part in raising £181 during the Jeans for Genes charity day.

Sharks, Yr2, spent an enjoyable day at the Oriental Museum, Durham. As part of their Creative Curriculum topic on Egypt, they visited the Egyptology department of the museum, where, led by museum staff, they saw displays and took part in art and craft and role play sessions.

As part of our Comenius Project, the whole school spent a day learning about Norway. Art, Craft, Literacy, Geography and PE were all included.

Work began on a huge tile mosaic in the entrance corridor, helped by Les Watts and his assistant. The theme of the artwork was Bowburn Infants & Nursery School highlighting the school and the grounds, the clubs, its place in the community and its International connections.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 57.)

September 2010

Luke Ridley, 17, won the Durham and Chester-le- Street District Young Coach of the Year award. He was coaching the development team of Bowburn Youth FC and helped his grandfather, Martin Ridley, with coaching at Bowburn Junior School.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 57.)

Autumn 2010

A Magazine Club started at Bowburn Junior School, run by Mr Wilby. From March/April 2011 onwards, Bowburn Interchange included regular extracts of “Newsflash”, produced by members of this club. A paper version was sold at the school’s Tuck shop and the school office. More pages were put on-line, on the school websitet: http://www.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 57 & 58 [& subsequent issues].)

Autumn 2010

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School started to have a permanent presence in Bowburn Community Centre, with a display on one wall in the Lounge.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 57.)

Autumn 2010

Mrs Caroline Costello and Mrs Karen Draper spent a week visiting Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s partner in Oslo, Oksval Kindergarten. Hosted by Mrs Tone Omdal, they spent time in the Kindergarten working with the children and visited the local primary school.

Bowburn Infants & Nursery School hosted six teachers from Edugo Lourdes-Meerhout, Ghent, Belgium and three from Oksval Kindergarten, Nesoddtangen, Oslo, as part of our Comenius Project. The visitors, who stayed in Durham, were very impressed by the school, the standard of education, the courtesy and behaviour of the children and the warm welcome they received here.

Seahorses class from Bowburn Infant & Nursery School visited Stowell Street in Newcastle as part of a China topic. They looked around the Chinese Supermarket and had lunch in one of the restaurants.

On Pudsey Bear Day, the children wore an assortment of yellow clothing, instead of the usual red uniform, and raised £176.32 for the 2010 Children in Need appeal.

Mike Syer, of the Bowburn Banner Group, visited Dolphins class to give a presentation about the heritage of the Bowburn area, in particular its links with coal mining.

The Christmas Carol Concert, the EYFS version of “The Little Blue Star” and KS1 version of “Mary’s Knitting” went ahead, slightly later than planned because of an early winter snow fall.

As part of their Creative Curriculum topic on World War 2, Sharks visited the DLI Museum in Durham. The staff there showed a video about the Home Guard and evacuees before the children were shown artefacts and memorabilia, and tried on uniforms from the Home Guard, Air Raid and Fire Wardens, WAAF and Welfare. The children then spent time in the World War 2 room where they sketched some of the exhibits and explored the museum.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 57 & 58.)

Autumn 2010

Durham County Council proposed new school admission arrangements for September 2012, based on a formula involving both what a pupil’s nearest school was and how far away that was. If this suggestion was adopted, some one living nearer to the school applied for does not necessarily get precedence over some one who lives further away. That would depend on how far away their nearest school is, too. The deadline for responses was 16 January 2011.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 57.)

November 2010

Visitors came from Oslo and Ghent to Bowburn Infant & Nursery School as part of the Comenius Project, after Mrs. Trish Gelder visited the school’s partner school in Ghent, to plan the second year of the project.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 56.)

19 January 2011

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School took part in a World Record attempt for the largest simultaneous dance (multiple locations) by the School Sports Partnerships. Following a video broadcast, everyone copied the steps to the song, “I like to move it”, along with schools all over the County.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 58.)

16 March 2011

More than 60 people attended a public meeting at Bowburn Community Centre, called by John Denning, of Shincliffe, who urged local parents to help set up a new Free School in Durham. Mr Denning said areas south of Durham, including Bowburn, Shincliffe, Langley Moor and Browney, were poorly served by the five secondary schools in Durham, having much less real choice than families living in the city centre. The steering group currently has seven members, including Mr Denning, the Lead Proposer, and two of the other speakers at the meeting, Morag Cummings, of Durham City, and Craig Robinson, of Spennymoor. They want a school free of central and local government control, accountable only to its board of governors, its parents and OFSTED. They had so far considered four possible sites: the old Whinney Hill School, part of Houghall Agricultural College, Old Shire Hall and the old Durham City baths, in Elvet.

The group was aiming to open the new school with 100 Year 7 students, though starting with some in Year 8 as well was not ruled out. That would build to a school of 500, with the addition of a sixth form to be considered in due course.

All being well, they hoped to obtain £200,000 in time to appoint a headteacher in December, in order to open the new school in September 2012. The group expected strong support from the Government and significant help from the New Schools Network and its founder, Rachel Wolf, a former adviser to Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. They were also supported by John Burn, the founder and former head of Emmanuel College, in Gateshead. Addressing the meeting, he said he believed a new Free School in Durham could be as successful as Emmanuel.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 58.)

Spring 2011

Rachel from Pets At Home came to visit Bowburn Infant & Nursery School. She spent time with the children sharing her expertise in the handling, and looking after, of small animals.

Caroline Gregory and Sarah Rogers from Bowburn Dental Practice came to visit the younger children in school, to provide the children with information regarding good oral hygiene, the importance of good brushing and how it will benefit them.

After the half term break, Sharks Y2 class, returned to their newly repaired and refurbished demountable classroom.

As part of our Chinese New Year celebrations, the year of the rabbit, Kasia and John from Expochef, came to show the children how to cook, and eat, healthy Chinese food. Dr Chun-Chao Chiu, from the Forge, came to share his artistic talents. The children were shown how to make an Origami rabbit and some Chinese calligraphy.

In its newest International Project, the school, thanks to funding from the British Council, took part in a Global Schools Partnership with The Gladstone Academy in Thimi, Nepal. During half term holiday week, Mrs Fay visited the school, near Kathmandu, to formulate a project between the two schools.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 58.)

Spring 2011

Accompanied by staff and helpers, the children from Starfish and Seahorses in Bowburn Infant & Nursery School spent an exciting day at Beamish.

Glynn Fidgeon, from Destination Judo, came to give each class at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School a taster session in Judo.

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School held a sponsored sports event, on a cold, miserable day which didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the children. Arranged by Mr Soppitt and Mrs O’Connor, each class took part in a series of events, including relay running, hurdle, throwing a beanbag, taking a standing jump and bouncing the basketball. Over £1,100 was raised for school funds.

To help raise money for Comic Relief, children and staff at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School paid a donation to the Red Nose Day fund and spent the day dressed as Pirates. £212-89 was raised for the charity.

Minnows class at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School took part in the Innovations PE Festival. Accompanied by Bamse, their visiting bear from Norway, and Active Alfie, the Innovations mascot, they took part in lots of activities from parachute games to yoga.

This term’s Friendship Day at Bowburn Infant & Nursery School was inspired by Miss Tait’s and Miss Ormerod’s visit to our partner school in Ghent, Belgium. A special assembly started with the staff acting out a story about Jip and Janneke being helpful and sharing. The children found this highly amusing but very thought provoking, as follow up work in the classroom proved.

As part of its Comenius Project, the whole of Bowburn Infant & Nursery School took part in activities based on its partner school in Belgium. The day started with a special assembly, where Miss Ormerod and Miss Tait shared their experiences and photographs from their recent visit to Edugo Loudes-Meerhout, in Ghent. Each child was given a Rat’s Nose to eat – traditional jelly sweets enjoyed in Belgium – and tasted “real” hot chocolate, patiently made by Mrs Costello for each child in the school.

As part of their RE lesson, Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s Sharks and Dolphins visited Durham Cathedral to learn more about St. Cuthbert. Elizabeth, the Education Officer at the Cathedral, told the children about St Aidan and the life of St Cuthbert. Children dressed as monks and bishops, and lit candles at the shrine to St Cuthbert. While there, the school received a very precious compliment from a visitor to the Cathedral, who remarked that our children were very well behaved, quiet and respectful of their surroundings.

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s Minnows and Shrimps spent a day at Tweddle Farm, where they saw, fed and touched a variety of animals, including sheep, goats, ponies, pigs and an albino hedgehog. The visit also included tractor rides, a play area and a picnic lunch.

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s Dolphins class were chosen, as part of a Dance Festival, to perform a dance, Pirates of Bowburn, on the stage at the Gala Theatre in Durham. With an assortment of (safe) weapons – hooks, swords, cutlasses and blunderbusses –they won a certificate for the Best Use of Props.

A new mural was created in the Bowburn Infant & Nursery School entrance hall. Each child in the school designed a tile depicting life at the school and the surrounding area. Nursery and Shrimps did hand prints for the border. Mr Les Watts then painted the background and attached the tiles to the wall.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 59.)

Summer 2011

Two Durham University student teachers from Hong Kong, Samantha and Veronica, spent a week working in Bowburn Infant & Nursery School Nursery and Reception classes.

As part of their Exploring Islam Week, Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s Sharks and Dolphins visited Durham University Mosque. Sharks and Dolphins led a special assembly for interested parents and repeated it for the whole school. Nursery, Minnows and Shrimps based a day around an Islamic story called The Tiny Ant. Seahorses and Starfish concentrated on art work. Dolphins and Sharks went to each class to help the younger children and to tell them about their trip to the Mosque.

Michael Freeman, an artist/performer, from The Forge, came to Bowburn Infant & Nursery School. His theme was “Exploring sound through recycled materials” as all his instruments were made from unwanted rubbish. They ranged from drums made from enormous plastic containers to a xylophone made from old keys suspended from a wire coat hanger.

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s application for funding from the British Council, to follow on the Comenius Project from September 2012 until July 2013, was accepted. Plans were made to form a partnership with schools from Belgium, Germany and Latvia.

Minnows, Shrimps, Starfish and Seahorses had a day at Adventure Valley.

You Tuba Band, a band of professional musicians from London, brought their assortment of instruments to Bowburn Infant & Nursery School, to perform “Tuba Bears Picnic”. The musicians, Chris, Richard, Hari and Jules, were assisted by Dell who was the evil dancer.

The Summer term Friendship Day was a huge success. Kaydan Girling (Shrimps), Coral Metcalfe (Minnows), Mia Lynn (Seahorses), Joseph Taylor (Starfish), Liam Rumney (Dolphins) and Georgia Hart (Sharks) were awarded the term’s Friendship Bear for being kind, helpful and a good friend to everyone.

The sun shone brightly on a fantastic Sports Day! Shrimps, Minnows, Starfish, Seahorses, Dolphins and Sharks, all in coloured teams, worked together on the various sporting activities. Mrs Hodgkiss was in charge of the Hoops. Miss Noble oversaw the Egg and Spoon relay. Mrs Foster’s activity was the foam javelin throw. Miss Scott was in charge of the Beanbag toss and Miss Tait’s activity was the Obstacle course. The winning team was the White team, ably led by Mrs Lane. All the children received certificates and ribbons for their outstanding athletic skills.

The annual Summer Fayre raised £594 for the School Fund, from a raffle and an assortment of stalls. Shrimps and Minnows had a splashing time with their Summer Water Fun. Miss Tait and Miss Noble got well and truly soaked!

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 60.)

September 2011

For the second time, Bowburn Infant & Nursery School was awarded the Full International School Award by the British Council. The award was valid for three years and was given in recognition of the many International activities that the school takes part in during each school year. Miss Ormerod and Mrs Fay attended the Awards ceremony in Newcastle to accept the award, on behalf of the school.

Bowburn Infant & Nursery School’s new Comenius Project began with a visit from staff from each partner school. Mrs Lieve Penders from Diepenbeek in Belgium, Mrs Kristina Bernane from Prikulu in Latvia and Mrs Gaby Walden and Mrs Claudia Filitz from Dusseldorf in Germany, spent a week visiting the school. Bowburn’s International School Council members presented the visitors with gifts, including story books, CDs of English songs and rhymes and a framed print of Durham Cathedral. Mrs Trish Fay visited the school in Dusseldorf in November.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 61.)

Autumn 2011

Year 2 pupils at Bowburn Infants & Nursery School, helped by Mrs Fay, formed an “E Team”, which led an assembly for the whole school and School Governors, on how to reduce our carbon footprint. Tracey Dornan, OASES Senior Education Officer, had helped staff and the E-Team to be aware of saving energy all round school.

As part of their project on Egypt, Sharks class visited the Oriental Museum in Durham, where sessions were led by Educational Officers, John and Sarah.

As part of its Global Schools Partnership work with its partner school in Nepal, the whole school celebrated a Nepal Day. Mrs Fay showed photos taken during her recent visit to Gladstone Academy in Thimi, Nepal. Each class then went to learn about Nepal in a variety of ways. We hope one day to welcome the Principal of Gladstone Academy, Mr Binod Koirala, to Bowburn.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 61.)

16 October 2011

The whole of Bowburn Infant & Nursery School took part in The Big Draw. Everyone drew a picture representing Friendship on a small Post It note, which were mounted and displayed in the Art Gallery at the DLI Museum, Durham.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 61.)

October 2011

Miss Tait left Bowburn Infants & Nursery School at half term, to work in another school. Miss Flynn arrived to take over in Dolphins class.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 61.)

November 2011

Bowburn Junior School triumphed in the 7-a-side Durham City School Sports Partnership League. The Year 5 and 6 players had been unbeaten in six weeks of league games and friendlies, and won all bar one game. (In one game, Alfie Pearn, playing in goal, didn’t touch the ball once!) Yet the League championship still went down to the very last fixture. Bowburn were set to meet the second placed team, Durham Choristers, playing on Durham Johnston school fields. They had to avoid defeat in the match to win the League. A tense 1-1 draw made them champions.

Paul Soler, Deputy Headteacher, thanked Martin Ridley for coaching the team so effectively. Lynne Lyons, Headteacher, said: “Bowburn has a proud tradition of footballing excellence. I am delighted that our young people are continuing to do so well.”

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 61.)

December 2011

Mrs. Lynne Lyons, headteacher of Bowburn Junior School told Bowburn Interchange that the school had introduced “Rainbow lessons”, to raise achievement, particularly in literacy and numeracy. These were held every day, with teachers preparing extra activities to help pupils remember important things that will help them to make progress. The County Council’s Head of Achievement Services, David Ford, said: “Well done, everyone! Your hard work is paying off - you must be very proud of your success!”

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 61.)