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11th February: Issue 24

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter as we reach the end of this half of term. The weeks really have flown by since we returned in January.

It has been lovely to see Year 8 and Year 11 parents at our recent Parents’ Evenings, following our webinars for A Level and GCSE options. Our musicians have had a busy fortnight, with a vibrant PopFest showcasing entries from across all year groups, followed by Compline at Keble College, Oxford, a Chamber Music Evening, a delightful lunchtime performance in Christ’s Chapel and our annual Piano Festival. Our Year 13 drama students performed two spellbinding exam pieces, whilst our athletes have continued with successes across a whole range of fixtures. Add into the mix our House Events, most recently Desenfans’ Charity Day, along with all the other speakers, events and clubs and it seems that half term has come at just the right moment to recharge our batteries!

Covid Update

We continue to see a number of cases spread across the senior school year groups, and Sam Payne, Deputy Head Pastoral, has been in touch with parents across different year groups when the pattern of cases suggests increased testing might be beneficial within that cohort. Our mitigations remain sensible, and we have retained the wearing of face coverings in corridors and communal areas. We will review this decision at the start of the next half term and update you accordingly. We remain, as ever, grateful for your support. Please encourage your daughter to continue with her twice weekly testing during half term. Positive cases should be reported to the NHS as usual. Please inform the school using the Absences Reporting Form if your daughter tests positive thereby impacting the date that she can return to school following the half term break.

Founder’s Day

We have been excitedly working through an outline of plans for our Founder’s Day celebrations at the end of the summer term. We will share further details at a later date, but please do put into your diary that our formal Year 13 Leavers’ Event will be held in school on Thursday 30 June from 16:30 onwards, and Year 13 parents are most welcome to join us. Founder’s Day is on Saturday 2 July and, in a change to the pre-Covid routine, the provisional timings are from 09:30 to 14:00. Students in Years 7 to 10 and Year 12 will be expected to join us for the morning, and parents are most welcome too. As per the normal routine, there will be a half day holiday on Friday 1 July for the senior school students from lunchtime.

Lost Property

When pupils lose their belongings at school, lost property is taken to the Pupil Reception in the first instance – it will stay there for a week and then is taken to the Lost Property store in the basement. Students are welcome to visit the store on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Rec with our Pastoral Assistant. We regularly collect lost property from around the school, sort it and return it to form rooms. If your daughter loses any of her belongings, please do encourage her to retrace her steps and to speak to her form tutor or Head of Year if she has concerns. Thank you for ensuring that all pupil belongings are clearly named as this helps us to reunite items with their owners as quickly as possible.

GCSE and A Level Exams

Following our letter to Year 11 and Year 13 parents on Friday 4 February, the pre-release information for GCSE and A Level exams was made available on Monday 7 February. If you have any questions relating to this, please do contact Laurence Wesson, Deputy Head Academic. We wish our Year 13 students the best of luck in their Mock Exams which take place immediately after half term, and I hope they will find a healthy balance over half term between sensible preparation and some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy half term holiday,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 14th to Friday 18th February – Half term holiday
  • Monday 21st February – Year 13 mock exams begin
  • Monday 21st February – Parents ‘Meet the Visiting Music Teachers’ from 17:30

Reporting Absences

A reminder that the system for absences has now changed in the Senior School. Please use this form to report absence due to illness or to request absence for appointments. This form can also be found on our Contact page.

Teaching & Learning

Alice Mollison

Assistant Head Teaching and Learning

I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting a range of lessons over the last fortnight where students have been undertaking creative and practical work. Included here are a selection of photos from DT, Science, Geography, First Aid and PE. It is always lovely to see our students enjoying their lessons so much!

Here are some of the other exciting things that have been taking place in school over the past couple of weeks:

PE celebrate diversity and inclusion in sport

The PE Department were inspired this week, following the brilliant assembly given by Ellie Simmonds on 31st January. During their PE lessons, pupils have been learning more about Paralympic sports, including blind tennis and blind goal ball.

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    Imogen, Year 9: “Both blind tennis and goal ball require you to listen to a bell inside the ball to determine where it is. Overall it was extremely interesting to learn more about these sports and helped us to understand how difficult these sports are and how talented Paralympians are.”

    Eunice, Year 8: “Learning about these sports really demonstrated to us the importance of teamwork. They also taught us a lesson that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

    Thank you to the PE Department for planning and organising this series of thoughtful and engaging lessons.

Raising awareness of online safety

On Monday our digital leaders gave a balanced and informative assembly on online safety.

Josephine in Year 9 told me that she really enjoyed talking to everybody about being safe online and it was useful to have the live Year 8 audience in the VWA. Josephine felt that one of the most important tips was to ensure you are safe when meeting people online,  as they are not always who they say they are. Ava, Year 9, explained how their guidance on what to do if you feel uncomfortable online, (using the block and report controls) was a very important part of the assembly. It was also wonderful to hear that Emily feels that being a digital leader is amazing!

Earlier this term all of our teaching and support staff heard a brilliant online safety talk from Karl Hopwood, followed by a short online course, to ensure that the whole school community works together to raise awareness and understanding of online safety.

Modern Languages students get competitive

Our MFL students have also been very busy preparing for their UK Linguistics Olympiad and Spelling Bee this week. Older students competed in the first round of the Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels, while all of Year 7 entered the Breakthrough level. Year 7 students were also busy in the second rounds of the French and Spanish Spelling Bees on Wednesday. The top three students from each class will compete for a place in JAGS’ teams for the regional stages. Well done to everyone who took part and good luck to those who will be taking part in the next round!

Key Stage 3 Update

This half term has been a busy one for the students in KS3. There have been many opportunities for them to represent JAGS in sporting fixtures and musical events. It is wonderful to see the return of trips and events that have not been possible for almost two years and it has given us all a taste of the potential adventures to come.

All Year 7 students, as part of their MFL carousel, learn about Linguistics and on Wednesday they were entered for the breakthrough Level of the United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad.  Individually or in pairs they had to solve linguistic data problems in Swedish, Budhi and Italian. It was fantastic to see them putting their linguistic ability to the test with such enthusiasm! Girls from Year 8 and above were invited to participate in UKLO Round 1 which took place on Thursday from lunchtime.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of Key Stage 3

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    On Thursday evening, Ms McDonald from the Drama department took a large group of Year 8 & 9 girls to Drury Lane to see ‘Frozen’. The greatest challenge for the students was being asked not to sing along with this spectacular show – I could definitely hear plenty of voices during ‘Let it Go!’  The general consensus what that this show is the best stage performance many of them had ever seen and it was clear to see our Drama department, and particularly our lighting designer, furiously planning the next JAGS Drama production to rival this West End extravaganza.

    Over Half Term it is really important that everyone gets chance to rest and recuperate. The students are not set any specific holiday homework, but we would like to encourage them to read and enjoy the time to relax with a good book. Head down to a local library or curl up on the sofa at home and enjoy the chance to lose yourself in literature.

    Wishing you all a very Happy Half Term.

Key Stage 4 Update

It’s been three weeks now since the mock examinations ended and Year 11 have thrown themselves back into lessons with enthusiasm and purpose. This week they enjoyed a study skills session with the team from Inner Drive – here they were reminded about good revision techniques, which was incredibly well-received and will be of great benefit to them as they approach the GCSE examinations.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

  • Meanwhile Year 11 are beginning the process of making A Level choices and we look forward to meeting with each student individually to discuss their sixth form aspirations. It was fantastic to meet with both parents and students at the Year 11 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday.

    Members from both Years 10 and 11 took part in the annual Pop Fest: well done to all our superb performers, and Year 10 enjoyed another visit from our Y13 JAMHFA team. We are hugely grateful for the time spent together.

    I hope that everyone enjoys a well-deserved half term break with plenty of time for rest and relaxation.

Sixth Form Update

If I had to sum up the Sixth Form community in a single word at the moment it would be impressive! Year 13 students are taking the upcoming mocks in their stride, working away whilst also helping others in a multitude of ways. Year 12 students are embracing volunteering, mentoring and leadership opportunities and all members of the community are an inspiration to each other, and us all. Not a day goes by without positive messages about Sixth Form students around the school, whether they are working hard in the library on their studies or participating in one of the many co-curricular opportunities, such as Popfest!

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

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    With mocks coming up in the week after half term, Year 13s have understandably been focusing on them. However they have also enjoyed several lectures. Last Thursday they heard an insightful talk from Olly who founded Shivia – a charity that works to empower women in India. Not only did they hear about the work of the charity but also about different opportunities within the charity sector and how they can place themselves in a good position to become involved.

    Many Year 13s were also involved in the Subject A Level Fairs last week. Running across two lunchtimes, the Head Girls and Subject Prefect team created the opportunity for Year 11 students to find out more about taking the different A Level subjects.

    Year 12 students have been no less busy. They have attended lectures on job applications and an overview of the UCAS process, set within the context of the all-encompassing Higher Education and Careers programme which caters for lots of different potential futures. An exciting point in any Year 12’s life is the realisation that they will very soon find themselves at the top of the school and with that position comes a certain degree of responsibility and the chance to demonstrate leadership. We enjoyed speaking to the students about the various positions of Student Leadership for which they can apply, from the Head Girl team, to School Prefect, House Captain and Subject prefect, not to mention the invaluable position of student mentor. Applications have already been submitted and we eagerly await the rest by the deadline of 21 February. They have a tough act to follow but we are sure that they are up to the task and wish them all the best of luck in their applications.

    Wishing everyone a happy and restful half term!


It was a joy to be able to host Popfest again at the end of January. It was a fantastic night of music, with so many incredible performances. A huge well done to everyone involved.

Read more about the evening


It’s been a busy few weeks for our MFL Department with workshops, competitions and the first Year 7 Spelling Bee competition!

At the end of last month, students studying Russian took part in a workshop run by a well-known folk group IZBA. The group taught our students a Russian Christmas dance and a traditional Christmas song. They also learnt about how Orthodox Christmas was traditionally celebrated in Russia. Pupils enjoyed the interactive nature of the workshop and dressing up in traditional costumes.


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    On Wednesday lunchtime, we held the French and Spanish Y7 Spelling Bee Round 2 School Final. The winners of the previous round from each class fought for a place in the regional finals. The standard was very impressive and it was great fun. Congratulations to Avanti, Grace, Zahraphina and Zoë who are the four finalists.

    It was also the first round of the UK Linguistics Olympiad this week, with all Year 7 pupils having been entered for the Breakthrough Level of the competition. The Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels for older pupils also took place and we will keep you updated on their progress.


Since our last newsletter, Geography students have enjoyed two lectures from guest speakers.

Patrick Gibbs and Flavia Franco, trustees of the Favela Foundation, came in to talk to Year 10 Geographers about life in South American Favelas. You can read more about the talk here.

Dharshini David, economist, broadcaster, journalist and former JAGS student came in to talk to Year 9 about some of the concepts and issues they have been studying in her book The Almighty Dollar. You can read more about her talk here.


Ellie Simmonds Assembly

It was an honour to welcome Ellie Simmonds OBE to speak at our assembly last week. Ellie is a four-time Paralympic champion and is the holder of a number of world records.

Ellie spoke to the JAGS community about her amazing journey to Paralympic success. She also gave students her tips for coping and excelling when under stress or pressure.


Year 12 students volunteer at Pre-Prep School

Since the end of the Autumn term, students in Year 12 have been volunteering to help at our Pre-Prep School.

Students have either been assisting in lessons, or helping in the computing room each week. Georgie, who has been assisting in Pre-Prep computing lessons, said, “ I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the Pre-Prep so far. Every Monday lunchtime, Hannah and I meet the girls in the computing room for an online drawing activity. Each week the girls use a different section of the programme so that they can experiment with a range of online art and progress their computing skills at the same time.”

You can read more about their experience here.


The Houses have had a quiet term, but it’s all ramping up now!

Kicking off with the Intermediate Maths Challenge competition, Desenfans followed up with a great day of raising awareness and funds for the Gift Wellness Foundation, fighting against period poverty. We painted period poverty protest posters, hosted a bake sale to raise funds and collected sanitary products for the Trussell Trust foodbank in Peckham. So far, with your help, we’ve raised over £800 and collected 280 sanitary products for the foodbank. If you would like to make any donations you can do via this link.

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    Applications for our new House Captains have opened and we’re looking forward to hearing from some strong student leaders to take our houses into the next academic year.

    With Senior House Music, House Debate, MFL Dance Challenge, Science poster competition and Clarke’s big charity day coming up after half term – there’s a lot to get excited about!


What a great end to this half term for sport at JAGS! We have had lots of little wins, some emotional losses and some brand-new sports and skills learned this term.

A small number of our JAGS swimmers had the privilege to speak with Ellie Simmonds, Paralympic gold medallist last week which inspired the PE department to teach our students more about Paralympic sports; goalball, sitting volleyball, blind football and blind tennis. They have really enjoyed expanding their subject knowledge on the sports that are available for visually impaired and disabled athletes.

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    In netball, our U15 and U16 teams had got through to the quarter finals in the Cup and SNS Plate respectively. The Cup is the biggest competition and the Plate is for the teams that have lost in the first round and get another chance to play competitive netball. Unfortunately, neither side won but we are incredibly proud of their efforts this season! Miss Smith said, “The Year 10 team have been so committed to their training and their progress has been outstanding, analysing their performance after every match. These girls deserved to have won! However, you learn more from losing than winning and we will take as much from this experience as we can! Next year we’ll be at the top. For the U15 team to reach the last 8 in the country is really impressive. I could not be prouder!”

    Also, the U12 and U13 teams played some fantastic netball at the Surrey Prelims hosted at Croydon High School and both sides played well enough to qualify for the finals day.

    Our Year 7 E and F netball team had their first ever competitive fixture against Alleyn’s. This team have trained so well and it was so great to see them playing a competitive fixture.

    Congratulations to the U12 hockey team for winning the Thomas’s Battersea hockey tournament and to the U13s who came 2nd in their tournament.

    We have also had some amazing performances at the London Schools Cross Country event from our JAGS pupils. A special mention to Florence, Megan and Ines for finishing top three of their age groups!

    In other news, Year 8 pupil Delyth was a finalist in three events and a silver medalist in her age group category for the 50m freestyle in swimming at the Kent County Championships. Congratulations Delyth, what a great achievement!

    Our swimming squads travelled over to Caterham School to compete with Dulwich College in our first ever collaboration swim event, it was a great experience for our pupils, and we are looking forward to working with DC in more aquatic events in the near future!

    Furthermore, there is exciting news for our Senior rowing team who have been trained by the Rowing specialists at Dulwich College and have officially been accepted for affiliation in order to compete under ‘British Rowing’. The pupils have worked extremely hard this term and it has been amazing to see the progress the team has made from September. We look forward to the upcoming fixtures this year.

    We are extremely proud of the dedication and passion from all our pupils towards their sports, and we hope to continue their love for sport as we head into the spring term.

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