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10th February 2023: Issue 39

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to the final newsletter of this half of term, a week in which our thoughts and prayers have been with the family of Emma Pattison, Head of Epsom College, and the communities of both Epsom College and Croydon High School following the tragic news from last weekend. We hope these school communities will find solace and strength together in the weeks and months to come.

As a community, we have also taken time this week to reflect on the horrific scenes currently unfolding in Turkey and Syria following Monday’s devastating earthquake. Our love and support goes out to those in need, as well as those within our JAGS family impacted by the disaster.

It has, as ever, been a busy time here at JAGS since I last wrote and I hope you enjoy reading our reports, from staff Strictly Come Dancing to the Year 13 A Level Art display. The music department have been here, there and everywhere, with the legendary PopFest evening followed by Choral Evensong at Queen’s College Cambridge, the Scholars’ Recital in the Guards’ Chapel, the Chamber Music festival and the Piano festival all within the space of a fortnight. What an astonishing array of opportunities for our young musicians! As you know, Peter Gritton retires as Director of Music at the end of this academic year, and we are delighted to announce that from September 2023, Mr Tommy Foster will join JAGS as Director of Music. Tommy is currently the Deputy Director of Music and Head of Instrumental Studies at Eton College, having been in post since 2014, and was previously Assistant Director of Music at St Mary’s School, Ascot. Tommy is a graduate from both the University of Glasgow and the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied timpani, percussion and orchestral conducting. Before entering the world of education, Tommy enjoyed a successful career as a freelance musician, playing for groups ranging from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of Ancient Music to the Heritage Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Tommy believes passionately in the transformational power of music for young people. Speaking about his appointment to the role at JAGS, he said: “I’m incredibly excited to be appointed as Director of Music at JAGS and to continue to develop the excellent work of Peter Gritton. I can’t wait to start making music with the wonderfully responsive and talented students and to work alongside the excellent musicians and teachers in the department.”

We will have plenty of time to thank Peter for his immense contribution to the musical life of our school before the end of the year, and we very much look forward to welcoming Tommy to JAGS in September 2023.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who recently participated in our travel survey. Your feedback is invaluable as we progress and plan for the future – the key findings from the survey will be shared in an upcoming newsletter, so please do keep your eyes peeled for those.

At this time of year our Year 13 students are working hard to prepare for their Mock papers after Half Term, and we wish them the best of luck in these exams. They are also receiving an outstanding range of offers for their choices of adventures beyond JAGS, including the 21 students who have received offers for either Oxford or Cambridge universities. To find out more, please do read our news update for information of the breadth of our students’ aspirations.

Wishing you all a very happy Half Term break,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 20 February – Pupils return from Half Term break
  • Tuesday 21 February – 7pm – Parent Speaker: Amy Forbes-Robertson
  • Wednesday 22 February
    •  1.30pm – Chapel Lunchtime Concert (Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich)
    • 7pm – UCAS Information Evening for Year 12 parents (VWA)
  • Tuesday 28 February – 7pm – Parent Speaker: Fiona Spargo-Mabbs OBE




Reporting Absences

A reminder to all parents to use this form to report absence in the Senior School due to illness or to request absence for appointments. This form can also be found on our Contact page.

Additionally, when informing a teacher of any health issues your daughter may be facing, please remember to cc or School Nurse team on Nurse@jags.org.uk






Chloe Lecuyer-Mayo,

Teacher of Art

I am delighted to have joined the JAGS Art Department this year, as we approach the second half of the Spring Term, I would like to say a big thank you to my wonderful department, students and all the staff who have welcomed me into life at JAGS.

Why did you decide to be an Art teacher?

I decided to train to teach Art because all I have ever wanted to do was talk about, think about and make Art. I love the atmosphere of the classroom and the constant inspiration that comes from being around creative and curious young people.

Who is your favourite Artist?

That is a very difficult question, I have many . . . but my Year 8 students will not be surprised to hear that 2019 Turner Prize winner, Tai Shani, is up there at the moment!


  • Continued . . .

    What is your favourite thing about teaching at JAGS?

    I love the sense of community at JAGS and how welcoming and enthusiastic everyone is. There are so many exciting activities and co-curricular programs for both teachers and students to get involved with, which has been a real pleasure.

    What’s your favourite lunch at school?

    Very hard one, I don’t think I can pick. But I do love having a jelly with my lunch everyday!

    Thank you to my wonderful tutor group (8S) for putting together the interview questions!

Key Stage 3 Update

This has been a short but very busy Half Term.

KS3 have been able to get out and about on various trips. The Year 8s have been to Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Year 9 Linguists have enjoyed time at the BFI. The pasta workshop also proved to be a hit.

Lots of KS3 girls have been making the most of our enrichment ‘FURTHER!’ talks. The topics for these talks range from maths problems to parasites and they have been exceptionally well attended.

The Half Term break is an opportunity to relax and unwind. No work is set for KS3 and, therefore, it is a great time to get down to the library or to the bookshop and get some reading done.

Best wishes to all KS3 and have a superb holiday.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

Key Stage 4 Update

It has been a busy first half of this Spring Half Term. Year 11 returned to lessons after the January mocks, and they have now begun the exciting process of choosing which A level subjects they will study next year. As a celebration for all the hard work Year 11 have put in, we were thrilled to host the first Year 11 social event (a disco), run by our fantastic JPA – a brilliant evening was had by all, and we are so thankful for all the hard work that went into ensuring the evening was such a success. Year 11 also had a fantastic study skills session with Inner Drive, helping them to hone their study skills.

I also have to mention PopFest 2023 – what a fantastic evening that was! It was wonderful to see so many performers from KS4, with Asia and Maya in Year 10 winning the competition! Well done to all involved! A number of KS4 students are also going on trips this February Half Term, and we wish them all a marvellous and enriching time. As always, please do encourage your daughters to rest and relax during the Half Term break.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

Sixth Form section assemblies are always an excellent opportunity to celebrate positive news stories – and the last one was no different!

After an impromptu demonstration of amazing piano-playing talent in the VWA, by a shy and retiring Year 12 student, an assembly based on the theme of ‘taking responsibility’ ensued.

Through numerous examples of Sixth Formers fulfilling their potential and allowing others to flourish, students were encouraged to take responsibility for their progress in all areas of their school and personal journey within our community.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Contined . . .

    This may take the form of performances with the Alleynian Blues in Dulwich Village, Holst Choir at Queen’s College Chapel or at PopFest 2023.

    Or perhaps though representing JAGS at hockey, gaining fantastic offers from a variety of prestigious academic institutions, supporting each other through the offers process, showing their creativity in the LIGHTS OUT art show, convincing teachers to dance for charity and simply supporting each other through academic challenges.

    All of our Sixth Formers are showing the personal responsibility to maximise their potential, communicate effectively and contribute to the JAGS community.

    As the we head to Half Term, it is worth reflecting on the range of lectures students have received recently from essential ‘UNicook and clean’ and UCAS finance talks for Year 13 to Year 12 talks about applying for positions of student leadership (deadline Monday 20 March, 4pm sharp!).

School Strategic Development Plan

One year on . . .

It was a great pleasure to launch our School Strategic Development Plan in September 2021. Through the accompanying Our Vision booklet we distilled the thoughts of students, parents, staff and governors into exciting and ambitious plans for the next five years.

One year on, we feel it is a good time to share with you an update on our progress and our evolving plans.

Click HERE to find out more about the progress we have made.




PopFest 2023

On Friday 27 January PopFest 2023 took place in a packed Holst Hall.

In front of the glittering star cloth the evening began with a short set from Thursday Band after which 22 different acts cheered, charmed, thrilled and broke our hearts with a variety of pop songs, some with backing tracks and a good number with live accompaniment provided by the performers.

The adjudicator with the difficult job was renowned session drummer Daisy Palmer who, despite being the MD for Paloma Faith, announced that judging PopFest 2023 was the most difficult thing she had ever done!

Miss E. Corp, Deputy Director of Music


  • And the winners are . . .

    Daisy gave a special shout out to all those playing instruments in bands and for each other, including awarding Best Drummer to Marla, and had lots of wonderful praise and encouragement for the vocal talent on display.

    Coolest Vibe was awarded to Lillie, while Aisha achieved Best Stage Presence. Runners up were the powerhouse duo of Mimi and Tilly while the winners were Maya and Asia with their formidable acoustic rendition of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.




Our Year 13 Art students showcased their ingenious creativity and individuality at the incredible LIGHTS OUT exhibition.

From experiments with light and space to collages and paintings, each students’ originality shone throughout.

Society Spotlight

Eco Champions

JAGS is brimming with a diverse range of co-curricular groups and activities for our pupils to enjoy, many of which are created and led by the pupils involved. We wanted to celebrate these societies and clubs which so enrich the fabric of our school life.

This week, we have our Eco Champions. 

In total, there are 10 Eco Champions working across JAGS to help embed our five pillars of sustainability; Energy, Travel, Waste, Internal Infrastructure and Natural Environment.

The pupils previously played a pivotal role in our successful Eco Week last term and are constantly exploring new initiatives to improve sustainability at JAGS.

Below our Eco Champions introduce themselves, reveal the projects currently under way and their exiting plans for the future. 



  • Energy (Grace & Shreya)

    “Hello! My name is Grace and I am part of the Energy pillar. I applied to become an Eco Champion after growing tired of seeing the sad facts about the state of the environment repeated on the news cycle. I really wanted to help change that!

    “At the moment, I’m working on recycling old folders in order to save as much paper as possible. I’m not sure what the future holds but I will be exploring the potential use of digital notice boards.” Grace, Year 8

    “I put myself forward for the position of Eco Champion as I believed it was an important role to partake in and ties in with one of the most prevalent issues in modern society.
    While I represent the Energy pillar, many of the ideas and initiatives interlink with the other pillars.
    “I am keen to explore how JAGS as a whole reduces its energy usage through better insulation and using more efficient (LED) lighting wherever possible.” Shreya, Year 11

  • Travel (Kathleen & Orna)

    “Hey! My name is Kathleen and I am part of the Travel pillar. I applied for this particular role because cutting back on our CO2 emissions will help to make a difference and I would love to see this small change impact on a larger scale.

    “My current project is to find a way to ensure all school journeys are carbon neutral. We are also creating a walking bus and making this accessible to younger children and younger siblings. The ‘bus’ would make multiple runs from accessible areas around Dulwich and in turn hopefully cut down carbon emissions from short car journeys.” Kathleen, Year 10

    “Hi! I’m Orna and I’m one of the Travel reps! Currently, Kathleen and I are working towards creating a walking bus for the younger students in our community, to reduce traffic around school and Dulwich Village. For future projects, I would like to collaborate with the other Eco Champions on reducing air miles in the products that the school buys – for example, working with the Waste pillar to buy food grown locally.

    “I’m extremely passionate about the environment; I’m part of London School’s Eco Network, and I chose the Travel pillar because I think travelling in a more sustainable way is a quick and easy way to help the planet, so I want to facilitate the transition to making JAGS more eco!” Orna, Year 12

  • Waste (Demi & Selina)

    “Hi, my name is Demi and my pillar is Waste. I am currently working on cutting our paper waste down by as much as possible, for example by reducing worksheets that are unnecessarily used in lessons.
    “My motivation for becoming an Eco Champion was the realisation that it is possible to function at school while using less paper.” Demi, Year 8

    “Hey! I’m Selina, and I’m one of the waste reps! Currently, Shreya and I are working to set up a Vinted or Instagram account to easily sell second hand uniform and clothes to prevent them from being thrown into landfill.

    “The main reason I applied to be an Eco Champion is my passion for geography and the environment in general. I wanted to be involved in the process of becoming a more eco-friendly school and help improve habits as we work towards an eco-conscious attitude.” Selina, Year 11

  • Internal Infrastructure (Kayla & Chelsy)

    “We are hoping to work more closely with the JAGS kitchen to help make more locally grown and seasonal food available at lunch.

    “Both of us are passionate about improving sustainability at the school and applied for the role because we wanted to do all we could to help.

    “Future plans will see us getting more students involved with sustainable projects and helping to create content for the JAGS website which highlights the work done by Eco Champions.” Kayla & Chelsy (Year 7) 

  • Natural Environment (Elle and Shivi)

    “Hi, my name Elle and I am an Eco Champion for the Natural Environment. I am currently working to start a natural plant wall on the PE block. I was inspired to become an ambassador due to my love of all things eco, especially getting in touch with nature through taking my dog for walks in the park.” Elle, Year 8 

    “Hi! I’m Shivi and I’m part of the Natural Environment pillar!  Currently, I am working to get house plants installed in our form rooms to make our classrooms greener and more colourful!  I became an Eco Champion because I wanted to make a difference for our school! Shivi, Year 7

Find out More

Holocaust Memorial Day

In the week leading to Friday 27 January, a series of special lectures and assemblies were staged across JAGS to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2023.

This year’s theme, as set by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, was Ordinary People.

A Senior School assembly was held to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, while Sixth Formers also attended a virtual tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau and webcast with survivor Ruth Posner BEM.

A special thank you to Mrs Lewis for organising such powerful and thought-provoking talks and lectures.

To hear pupils’ thoughts and experiences from the week click HERE.



Taverna Trastevere trip

Pupils from Years 10 & 12 enjoyed a visit to the amazing Taverna Trastevere for an authentic Roman lunch.

In recent weeks, pupils used their knowledge and understanding of Italian to develop a series of questions for owner Nicolas Vaporidis. They had a great time putting their skills to the test, covering his successful acting career (including of course ‘Notte prima degli esami’) and the lifelong passion for food which led to him opening the restaurant.

A special thanks to Nicolas for the delicious food and being so generous with his time!

  • Pasta making workshop

    Last week, Year 9 pupils studying Italian also enjoyed a fun-filled pasta making workshop.

    The event was so well-attended staff were forced to upgrade the venue from our kitchen to the dining hall to make space for all of the eager pupils.

    A wonderful event which provided an opportunity to increase their understanding and appreciation of traditional Italian techniques, recipes and culture.

  • BFI Trip

    On Thursday 9 February, 60 Year 9 students studying French attended a French Film day at the British Film Institute on the South Bank.

    The conference was about the Holocaust and Occupied France during the Second World War.

    Students participated in a number of engaging activities around film clips, and also watched a thought-provoking film on Jewish children fleeing occupied France to Switzerland.

Linguistics Olympiad

‘Well done to all our Year 7 students who entered the National UK Linguistics Olympiads on Wednesday 8 February. The students entered the competition individually or in small groups and tried to work out the linguistics problems given in Gilbertese (an Austronesian language), in Umbrian (an ancient language form the Italian town of Gubbio), and in Jam Sai (a language spoken in Mali and Burkina Faso). We had the highest number of entrants in Year 7 for the breakthrough stage and the Olympiads organisers were impressed with the fact that so many of our students took part.

We now await results and are hoping for many certificates celebrating the achievement our skilled Year 7 linguists!

Mr Roussel, Teacher of French and Spanish


Desenfans Charity Day

Staff and students brought the glamour for the Desenfans Charity Day with a special teachers’ edition of Strictly Come Dancing!

Four sets of teachers battled it out – treating pupils to a dazzling dancing display. Not to do things by halves, staff donned costumes complete with healthy doses of sequins, sunglasses and leather.

Behind the scenes videos played before each dance, revealing the hours of dedication put in by the brave volunteers. However, on the day there could only be one winner . . . .

Congratulations to Mrs Roberts and Mr Roussel for stealing the show with an incredible routine sound tracked by (what else?!) ultimate crowd-pleaser ‘Dancing Queen’!

The final total is still being totted up but keep your eyes peeled for an update in future newsletters.


Careers and Higher Education Day

On Wednesday, Year 12 enjoyed an exiting day looking ahead at their future options with a dedicated Careers and Higher Education Day.

A personalised programme included core sessions, such as an ‘Employability’ talk from guest speaker Johnny Rich and advice on navigating the UCAS process.

And more specialised sessions focusing on: Oxbridge, Law, Art Foundation, overseas universities and exciting work experience opportunities.

Pupils praised the schedule of events for increasing their understanding of potential next steps, answering their questions and passing on useful, tangible advice.

  • SSLP

    We were also delighted to (virtually) welcome JAGS alumna Sydney Lo back for a brilliant careers talk, So you want to be a Scientist? 

    After an exciting placement year with an Oxford immunotherapy company, Sydney is now in her final year of Biotechnology at Imperial College London.

    Thank you Sydney for giving such an insightful talk!

Co-curricular Clubs

Computer Society and Computing Club

Programming enthusiasts from the Computer Society and Computing Club are hoping to soon see their code run in space after entering the European Space Agency’s Mission Zero Challenge.

Pupils were tasked with writing a simple program to take a reading from the International Space Station’s colour and luminosity sensor, and use it to set the background colour in a personalised image astronauts will see as they go about their daily tasks.

There have been more than 20 entries from JAGS and successful applicants will be announced in May.

Good luck to all those who have submitted codes – with the hard work you have all put in we know there won’t be any two-byte entries!

Chess Club

The Chess Club faced off against Westminster Under School in the home leg of our National Schools Chess Championships qualifier.

While it wasn’t our day, congratulations must go to the visiting team for taking the victory. The Chess Club is looking forward to levelling the score in the away fixture after Half Term!





Botany Gardens

On Thursday, the South London Botanical Institute dropped off an exciting delivery – their succulent plants collection.

The wonderful selection of plants will be kept in our Science labs over the coming months whilst the SLBI have their buildings refurbished.

We are delighted to have the opportunity to look after the plants, learn about them and potentially propagate them too.

Ms Webley, SLBI education officer, will visit in March to lead a workshop for our pupils on propagating succulents.

JAGS and the SLBI have been close collaborators for over 100 years – with our legendary Botany teacher Lillian Clarke even becoming a Fellow of the SLBI in 1912!


Spanish Society

Year 10 members of the Spanish Society visited our wonderful library to complete a 30 minute retrieval activity which saw them using the library catalogue to search for Spanish fiction.

Not only did everyone leave the library with a great book to dive into and refresh their working knowledge of the catalogue system, a display was produced to inspire other pupils to explore the wide array Spanish literature in the library.

Our Library Team are looking forward to hearing pupils’ feedback on the books!



As the first half of the Spring Term draws to a close it has been another busy period of Sport here at JAGS – including a number of firsts for the school:

Water Polo

Following on from our first ever water polo fixture, we now have our first ever water polo victory. Our U13s beat Croydon High 3-2. The team are now working towards the ESAA U13 Water Polo Championships, held at Alleyn’s School on Monday 20th March.

Follow the links below to learn more about pupils’ successes:

Michael Golding, Director of Sport


  • Hockey

    Well done to our Year 8 A and B who performed very well and showed great cohesion in a tournament held at Thomas’s Clapham. The A team finished 3rd overall, whilst the B team finished 6th. A very young 1st XI travelled to play Ibstock and came away with a very creditable 2-2 draw.

  • Tennis

    For the first time ever, we have entered the LTA Youth Year 11 – 13 Knockout tennis competition. The team consisting of; Emily, Hana, Sophie and Sofia progressed to the second knockout round, defeating Sutton High School 10-2. The next round is away at Claremont Fan Court School and will be played the week after Half Term.

  • Netball

    Our U12 A-C netballers travelled to Eltham College and put on a magnificent display of high-quality netball, winning two and drawing one of the three matches played. Our U13s then had a similarly productive evening against Alleyn’s School coming away with four wins from four fixtures for our A-D teams. The U16 comfortably beat Colfe’s School to progress to the next round of the Plate Competition. The best game of the fortnight was played on Thursday evening, as the U13A team won a thrilling match away at Gordon’s School by 35 goals to 34. The Surrey Preliminary Tournament was unfortunately postponed and we will be able to update results in the next newsletter.

  • Swimming

    A mixed team of Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils travelled over to Colfe’s School to participate in a friendly gala. The Year 7s performed incredibly well, winning the girls section and our performance overall was good enough for second place on the night. We are looking forward to the Year 7 – 11 gala at Colfe’s in the week after Half Term.

  • Cross Country

    A very busy couple of weeks for our Cross Country teams. Firstly, we competed in the London Schools Cross Country Championships, with both our Junior A and Intermediate age groups coming away as the best girls’ school in London for those age groups. Even more impressively, we had eight pupils receive letters of selection for the English Schools Cross Country Finals, which are held in Nottingham in March. Well done to those pupils who received selection letters.

    The rearranged Southwark Schools Cross Country Championships took place earlier this week and in the U13 age group, we finished 1st and 2nd, as Florence and Ines completed a JAGS domination. Ten pupils from Year 7 and 8 finished in the top 12 of their age group and therefore qualified for the London Schools Cross County Finals, which are held at Avery Hill Park, Eltham, again in March.

    Lots to look forward to for the Cross Country teams!

  • Football

    Mrs Tappenden won her first competitive match as the U14A team beat Woolwich Polytechnic School for Girls 2-0, to progress to the next round of the Sister n Sport Cup.

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