Preparation & Transition - Durham Johnston Sixth Form (September 2020 start)


Dear Year 12 (2020 – 2021) Students


Congratulations on your GCSE success; we are looking forward to working with you when you come back into school this week. 


In preparation for starting Year 12, I wanted to share some information about the start of term and how you can prepare for it. I hope you have all read Mr O’Sullivan’s letter of 17th August (click here to read again). If you haven’t read this yet, please do so, along with the Risk Assessment.


Preparation and Changes


ü  Academic preparation. For all of your Year 12 courses – review your GCSE and transition work, including lockdown work.    

ü  Routines.  Start organising / considering a routine for your working week – including regular review of earlier work. By establishing good habits early in the academic year, you spread the workload and deepen your understanding of content and exam technique.

ü  Changes to routines (Covid). In addition to the ‘normal’ social distancing, extra handwashing etc:

  • Lunch.  There will be limited access to catering – please bring food / packed lunch when possible.
  • Water.  There will be no access to water fountains – please bring your own water for each day.
  • Leaving / returning. During the school day, there will be no leaving and returning to the building e.g. Sainsbury’s at lunchtime. If you leave for an appointment, you should not return to school the same day.
  • Masks.  There will be times / places where you may want or be required to wear a mask.  Please make sure you bring a mask to school each day
  • Hand sanitiser. Please feel free to bring your own hand sanitiser.


We are very fortunate in Sixth Form that we have the benches outside, in the fresh air.  For the first half term at least, the weather is likely to be kind enough to sit outdoors for lunch.


Best wishes.


Mrs Lennon


Information for our Induction Conference (Thursday 3rd September) 


All students who are joining us for A level study from other centres should attend this conference (as discussed on enrolment and in your information pack).  To clarify arrangements for this day:


·         Please arrive in school in good time (by 8.45am) for a 9.00am start.

·         Dress code is non uniform.

·         We will provide a snack and water on this day, but please feel free to bring your own.

·         We aim to be finished by approximately 1.00pm.


Please do read the general Year 12 guidance above about the start of term too.


Please read the letter from the Admissions Team below.

Sixth Form Admissions Letter


1st July 2020


Dear New Starters,


We are missing the engagement we would normally have had with you at this time and are really interested in how we can best support you going forward. We are continuing to supply work, and communicate relevant information to you via the school website. 

Please regularly check: the front page, this New Starters area and your emails. Please complete the questions below.  Your answers will let us know how you are using your time and inform how we can help you keep momentum and engage in a range of activities that will ensure you have the best opportunities in the future. 

Mrs Lennon & Mr Wilbraham


Click here to complete the survey.



Induction Update, June 2020


Friday 26th June would have been our Sixth Form Induction day; we would have all been together in Durham Johnston to help you get an insight into academic and community life in our Sixth Form.  You would have spent time getting familiar with our building, routines, expectations and the places in our school for the exclusive use of A level students.  Additionally, you would have had taster lessons to inform your final subject choices.


In lieu of this day, to give you much of the same information, our current Year 12 Committee members, including our Head Student Team have put together a short video, which can be found at the bottom of this page. Students at DJSF don’t just study hard to achieve their academic potential; they immerse themselves in a range of student-led societies, our House system and Sixth Form Committee (which is the main forum for student voice). These extra and super-curricular activities help you meet new people with similar interests, develop transferrable skills that will advantage you in further study and employment – and of course – have a range of great experiences during your time with us. Our current Year 12 students have compiled their advice covering:

  • Thriving at Durham Johnston Sixth Form (academically)
  • Thriving at Durham Johnston Sixth Form (generally)
  • The best thing about studying….. (all our A level subjects)

Click here to read their advice!


I hope you enjoy watching and reading what Year 12 have to say.  As always, if you have any questions, get in touch:


Mrs Lennon

Head of Sixth Form


Durham Johnston Sixth Form is a school community of approximately 350 students.  We are proud of our traditional, academic ethos and our outstanding track record of A Level success, which has received national recognition.  We are an experienced and supportive staff team that has consistently proven successful in helping students to perform at their best, making the successful transition to university and the world of work.


Durham Johnston’s Sixth Form students exemplify the very best of our school community.  They work hard, achieve well and leave us as socially conscious, informed citizens.  Whether it be charitable work, sixth form committee, the impressive range of our student-led societies or the school’s House System, our students flourish in an environment that nurtures the development of their character, their independent decision making and their academic capability.


“What did you do in the Great War Daddy?” was a propaganda poster with the aim of raising volunteers in 1916.  It was also a question asked many times in the years after WW1.  In future interviews, you will likely be asked what you did during this challenging time period (spring / summer 2020).


It is easy to feel overwhelmed and a little lost so we thought a concise guidance / advice sheet (with some relevant links) might be helpful.  This aims to get you started and provide a focused and structured approach. Please remember the importance of a routine that includes a healthy balance between academic work + activity + good nutrition + adequate sleep.


Mrs Lennon (Head of Sixth Form) & Mr Wilbraham (Deputy Head of Sixth Form)



Detail (& some links)


GCSE Subjects.  You should have followed all of the guidance given / work set by your teachers for all GCSE subjects.  Obviously, for any courses relevant to your A levels of choice, keeping familiar with the course content is even more relevant and sensible.

A Level Subjects.   Abraham Lincoln said “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe” Preparation is key to success at advanced level study and this unusual time period gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in some meaningful preparation.

See the guidance below for any course you are considering studying at A Level – your teachers here are experienced at providing the right foundations for your success.

Transferrable Skills

Use this time to build up a range of skills that will be relevant to A Level study, university and future employment.  Most of the areas below are covered by ISC - follow the links to the left of the front page on this website, for the ones you are interested in learning more about.

Academic Extras

  • Academic writing is confidently uncertain – we will have an assembly on this cross-curricular area next academic year.  Also – look at this from UCAS
  • EPQs – an excellent way to develop your research, independent work and communication skills – provides evidence of 100 hours of independent work.  Every year a number of sixth form students complete this well respected qualification.  You could use this time to complete a relevant Future Learn course that introduces how to approach EPQs.
  • Oxford University resources for all Key Stages – including: Maths, English, Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science and an ‘All Subjects’ section – check out the ‘Curious Minds’ section.
  • LIBF (Relevant for all – help you make better financial decisions for the rest of your life). See the worksheets below.
  • MOOCS – Massive open online courses.  I like Future Learn courses. Brilliant, interesting and specifically designed to be followed remotely – have a look if there is something for you.
  • Reading / watching / on-line lectures / virtual work experiences – are becoming available all of the time – look for something relevant and of interest to you.

GCSE to A Level Transition Documents