History Of School
JAGS is the oldest girls’ independent school in Greater London. Perhaps we get our dynamic, all-embracing approach to education from our founder James Allen. His distinguished portrait bears the inscription:
Skilful as a Skaiter; a Jumper, ATHLETIC and humane
Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift began in 1619. James Allen was visionary; in 1741 he founded Dulwich Reading School in the centre of the village with the aim of teaching local boys reading and arithmetic, but also, unusually for the time, to take girls and teach them ‘to read and sew’. In 1886, the school moved to 22 acres of beautiful new ground on East Dulwich Grove.
Innovative thinking continued when Dr Lilian Clarke arrived in 1895 as our first science lab was built. She pioneered botany teaching, setting up the Botany Gardens in 1896, where girls still work today. Music was already firmly embedded within the curriculum, however it soared with the arrival of Gustav Holst as music teacher in 1904.
Right up to the present day our approach to girls’ education, music and the community has set new boundaries and we are proud of this continuing tradition of innovation.