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14th December 2022: Issue 37

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter – our final newsletter of 2022 and sent from a very wintry JAGS! As ever, it’s a delight to review all the activities that have kept us so entertained for the past fortnight, with the Christmas Winter Wonderland, Christmas lunch and (West End standard) staff pantomime to name but a few.

Huge thanks go to the Music and Drama departments at this exceptionally busy time of year. The senior production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was sensational, and the spirit of ensemble that shone through the whole event made it such a memorable evening. Congratulations also to those students who performed in Me and My Girl at Dulwich College; there were wonderful performances from all involved in a very entertaining production. Our Southwark Cathedral Christmas concerts showcased the breadth and depth of musical talent across the school, made all the more special by the spectacular surroundings. Well done to all involved, both on stage and behind the scenes.

Please do see my separate End of Term letter which contains further updates on news and developments from across the school.

It just remains for me to wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and we very much look forward to seeing all our students back in school on Monday 9 January 2023.

With best wishes

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 9 January – Spring Term begins
  • Tuesday 10 January – 5.30pm – Year 8 & 9 Japanese Trip to Barbican
  • Tuesday 17 January – 7pm – Year 10 In The Wing production, Prissian Theatre


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






Grant Monk,

Teacher of Economics

What were you doing prior to JAGS?

I came to teaching late having had a fairly diverse career in finance and business. I started with a mining firm in investment appraisal – analysing whether or not to invest in sometimes multi-billion dollar projects. I’ve also worked in investment banking (in mergers and acquisitions), advising on utilities (water, electricity and gas) and in natural resources.

At the other end of the scale, I’ve been involved in a number of business start-ups, so bring a diverse range of business experience.

What made you decide to be a teacher?

I wanted a change, but one that would fit with my family life. I have worked as a sailing instructor and a water polo coach on the side, and knew I’d enjoy teaching. Tying my children’s school holidays with my holidays was an added benefit.

What made you choose JAGS?

I was lucky to have been placed at JAGS as part of my teacher training, and had very much enjoyed my time here then. When a position became available it was a no-brainer.

What do you hope to achieve at JAGS?

I enjoy bringing real world experience into the classroom and hope to contribute in that way. I also want to help establish water polo as a popular and successful sport at JAGS!

Key Stage 3 Update

This is the first time that I have been here for the end of the Autumn Term and I can honestly say that it has been a truly special and magical time here at JAGS. KS3 students have been given so many opportunities to celebrate as form groups and with their friends in the wider year group.

Winter Wonderland brought a little bit of Christmas Magic into the Holst Hall last week. It was lovely to see all of KS3 having such fun with the hair tinsel, guess the name of the sausage dog and the pictures of teachers as babies! I hardly got any of them right!

Year 7 have been taking part in Carol Services and special events and it is great to see so many of Year 7 in Bel Canto this year. They sang beautifully during both the Southwark Christmas Concert and end of term service at St Barnabas.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

  • Continued . . .

    Year 9 were lucky enough to be included in the Stemettes and Siemens Energy STEM inspiration event and they have been busy creating designs for the app competition.

    Year 8 trudged over to Dulwich College in the snow on Monday afternoon to take part in a Christmas quiz designed by Mrs Totten and Mrs Rose. A superb time was had by all. Congratulations Team 1 for coming away with the victory.

    All that remains is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a relaxing holiday.


Key Stage 4 Update

The final weeks of the Autumn Term have been as busy as ever for KS4.

Musicians from across Years 10 and 11 gave stellar performances at the Southwark Christmas Concert. All pupils involved performed beautifully against the striking backdrop of the cathedral.

Elsewhere, Year 11 pupils shone during last week’s run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream shows in the Prissian Theatre. A number of them also performed brilliantly in Dulwich College’s Me and My Girl!

Year 11 have also taken important steps in preparing for next summer’s GCSEs and completed the first round of mock exams. Every pupil should be proud of their hard work and dedication.

Finally, a huge congratulations to 11K who were crowned the ‘Kindest Form’ for completing the most random acts of kindness this term.


Sixth Form Update

“So this is Christmas, And what have you done…” – well the Sixth Form community has accomplished really rather a lot this term, as previous newsletters have highlighted.

The weeks leading to the Christmas holidays always feel like the busiest of the year!

Students have completed; practice and real university interviews, UCAS form submissions, huge volumes of academic study, impromptu Unifrog quizzes, team sports fixtures, feats of individual sporting success (well done to Ivanna and Amelie in Year 12 for competing in ballroom dancing and fencing respectively, both being placed very highly at an international standard), Christmas-themed scavenger hunts and the Sixth Form Christmas challenge, to name a few activities…

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Christmas Challenge

    A very well done to Year 13 whose talent, creativity and volume marginally eclipsed the wonderful efforts of Year 12 to win the best Sixth Form Christmas Challenge contest ever!

  • On stage . . .

    In the midst of all of this, the House Captains and their colleagues arranged engaging and fun assemblies and events for charity. This included persuading teachers to supply their baby photos and then get pied for the privilege!

    Elsewhere the Head Girl team and other student leaders chaired student discussions and trained up to become JAMHFAs (James Allen Mental Health First Aiders), while Year 13 Subject Prefects organised an opportunity to discuss A Level subjects with Year 11.

    We are very grateful and appreciative of all in the Sixth Form community for their contributions to school life, once again showing how ‘leaning in’ to your local community benefits wellbeing and happiness at all levels.

  • Wishing you a Merry Christmas

    The Sixth Form management team of Dr Parrish, Mrs Allan, Ms Barnes and I, are continually impressed by the fortitude, enthusiasm, intelligence (both academic and emotional), spirit and, above all, kindness of our students. Each and every one of whom deserves a fantastic rest during the holiday period.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Ho Ho Ho!

Southwark Christmas Concert

JAGS has been holding its Christmas Concert in Southwark Cathedral for over a decade, and the magic of this beautiful setting never fails to enthral us.

As ever, our Christmassy repertoire was all performed so beautifully by our young musicians.

Bel Canto and Chorale were joined by Prep Senior Choir in an additional afternoon KS2 & 3 performance: our junior choirs performed their separate carols whilst also coming together for audience carols, robustly accompanied by senior instrumentalists from String and Symphonic Wind Orchestras. The latter ably assisted Concert Orchestra Strings in a classic Sleigh-Ride by Leopold Mozart.

A few hours later, we moved on to the evening performance, featuring Bel Canto and Chorale again but including Holst Choir and Madrigalists with their own musical Christmas treat.

Continued below . . . 

Peter Gritton, Director of Music 

  • Continued . . .

    The SSLP Recorder Consort (Charter North, Dulwich College, Alleyn’s and JAGS) gave its inaugural performance and Symphonic Wind Orchestra had its own Christmas music to perform after all the accompanying earlier in the day.

    We delivered a final 150th anniversary tribute to Vaughan Williams with renowned baritone Johnny Herford fronting the line-up in Fantasia on Christmas Carols. As ever, we were joined by our adult choir, JAGS Choral Society.

    The evening would not have been complete without Symphony Orchestra performing Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, followed by a rousing communal rendition of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The whole school is unbelievably proud of our Drama Department’s spectacular production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A simply astounding show and a real treat for all those who came to the run of performances at our very own Prissian Theatre.

Staff and students alike put in weeks of hard work – evident in the breathtaking acting on show and the incredible costume and set design which were made entirely from recycled materials!

Society Spotlight

Charity Club

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 the Charity Club.

The club plays an active role in school life to help raise money and supplies for charities close to home and further afield.

In recent weeks it organised the annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition and the wildly popular Winter Wonderland.

Below Eleanor (Year 11) explains why being part of the club is so special: 

  • Eleanor

    “I know JAGS is a very influential school, regularly fundraising and donating to charity. We are very privileged to be in a scenario where we can help charities and others. I wanted to participate in helping JAGS contribute to our community.

    “I enjoy the events such as the bake sales, trips and whole school activities but my favourite part of charity club is working with younger years and discussing their ideas.

    “It’s a fantastic experience where you learn life skills: entrepreneurship, teamwork and decision-making.

    “My favourite fundraising event has been raising money and resources for the foodbank during harvest. I particularly enjoyed campaigning to year groups and organising classes so they all knew what they should bring. It was extremely rewarding to then watch our school’s hard work be handed directly over to the foodbank.”

  • Fundraising this year . . .

    Since September the club has:

    • Hosted a food drive and donated 172.18kg of food to the Southwark Foodbank.
    • Held a bake sale which raised £106.80 for victims of the Pakistan Floods.
    • Organised the Winter Wonderland Christmas event in Holst Hall to raise money for the Little Village, with the final donation total still being totted up!


Botanical Inks Workshop

Our wonderful botanist Mrs Rendel led the Chemistry Society and KS3 Art Scholars through a fascinating botanical inks workshop.

They concocted an array of natural inks using onion skins, oak gall, turmeric, nettles, cochineal and many more then manipulating the colours with ferrous sulphate and alcohol.

A fabulous mix of science and creativity and thoroughly enjoyed by all involved!


JAGS students should be proud of their efforts so far in the Hans Woyda Maths Competition.

Special thanks to Mr Hodgkins and Mrs Hamidzadeh for training the pupils and accompanying them to matches.

The Hans Woyda Mathematics Competition is an annual contest held between 64 London schools. Each team consists of one pupil from Years 9, 11, 12 and 13. Teams complete to solve difficult maths problems under timed conditions.







It has been a busy few weeks for our pupils studying Russian.

Along with their normal studies, Year 9 enjoyed a trip to Mari Vanna in Knightsbridge to taste classic Russian/Soviet cuisine cuisine.

The restaurant is famous for its elaborate design which reflects the decades of communal flats which were the everyday living conditions for millions of Soviet people in the past.

Last week, pupils were able to indulge their creative side while learning more about Russian history and culture during a Russian Matryoshka doll workshop.


The JAGS Careers Department has once again been extremely busy this Half Term helping organise a series a valuable networking events and work experience to help our pupils as they contemplate their next steps.

Follow the tabs below to hear more from staff and students about what’s been going on:

  • Law Society

    “In Law Society we were very grateful to be joined by Evie Suer, a JAGS alumna who studied Law at Bristol and graduated with a first this year. She provided an invaluable experience, offering advice on personal statements, university recommendations, and her opinions on the Law modules offered at university.

    “She also provided extremely useful advice on preparation for the LNAT for those still waiting to sit the exam and general university advice that was very applicable to us all. I found the session to be very helpful and we are all so thankful to Evie for giving up her time to speak to us.”

    India, Year 12

  • Creative Networking Event

    Sixteen students from across Years 11 to 13 were invited to attend the Creative Industries and Media Networking Event at Dulwich College.

    The Creative Industries are worth £116 billion a year to the UK Economy and employs over two million people, with vacancies growing at three times the UK average.*

    More than 30 industry professionals were available for students to speak to about their career and opportunities in the sector.

    “The event was an insightful and interesting opportunity to meet professionals in careers I’m interested in. Being able to meet so many different people with very different positions was very helpful. As the creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK it was really useful to learn how a career like that would manifest.” Abi, Year 13

    “The networking event was very helpful because it allowed me to learn about a sector that I have had very little contact with in the past. It has always seemed like quite a scary sector (because jobs are mainly freelance, etc.) but it was interesting to learn that it is actually the fastest growing industry in the UK right now. Also, it was nice to see that at the end of the day all these impressive people with impressive resumes weren’t intimidating at all. It also helped me with my networking skills which is something I don’t often get to work on.” Claudia Y13

    *statistics from the Creative Industries Council/Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport, Dec 2020

  • Morgan Stanley

    For our Year 12 lecture on Monday 28 November, we welcomed Leon Grenyer, Head of European Multi-Sector and Portfolio Manager on the Multi-Sector Team at Morgan Stanley.

    In addition to the Year 12s, we also invited students from the Year 10 Economics Society to attend along with Mr Monk. Anna in Year 13 also joined to speak about her experience on the Morgan Stanley two day Step In Step Up insight event that she attended during the February half-term and encouraged current students to apply for the next Step In Step Up event in February 2023.

  • Credit Suisse

    “On Friday 14 October, I had the pleasure of being able to shadow a Managing Director at Credit Suisse as a part of a Future Female Leaders program.

    “I found this event extremely invaluable as it gave me a real hands-on insight into the investment banking industry and a look into how important firms such as Credit Suisse are for our economy.

    “The staff who organised the event and generously gave up their days to introduce participants into life at Credit Suisse were very warm and welcoming and the tour we were given of the trading floor was an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget!”

    Fareedah, Year 12

  • Unifrog

    In keeping with our commitment to provide students with outstanding careers guidance and tailored support when choosing their next step after school, JAGS is now using Unifrog; an award-winning, online careers platform to support the Higher Education and Careers programme.

    Ms Brookes and Mrs Allan, supported by Year 12 Careers Committee members Jimena and Caitlin, launched Unifrog with the Year 10 students on Thursday 8 December. This means that all students in KS4 and KS5 now have a Unifrog account and can access a wealth of resources to help them develop their interests and explore future opportunities. Students can also record activities and skills on the Unifrog platform and can easily refer to this when applying for work-related opportunities or starting their UCAS application.

  • STEM Inspiration Event

    On Tuesday 13 December, Year 9 students joined the Stemettes and Siemens Energy STEM/Engineering Inspiration event.

    The online event started with a keynote from Siemens Energy about the opportunities available in their industry, what they look for in employees and what it is like to work at a global company.

    This was followed by a group activity where teams combined their innovation and creativity to design a Green Energy app.

    The final part of the morning included presentations from role models working at Siemens Energy who talked about their career journeys and what they wished they had known when they were at school.

    The session ended with a panel Q&A where students could ask questions about the different entry routes into the industry including university and apprenticeships and about the benefits of doing a year in industry or taking a gap year.


Congratulations to the JAGS Chess Team following their qualification for the second round of the English Chess Federation’s National School Championship.

On Wednesday 30 November the Chess team went to Kings College School, Wimbledon for the English Chess Federation U19 School Teams Championship Qualifier. The matches consisted of six games and whichever team won the majority, won the match.

“We all played three games and everyone won at least one. Overall, we managed to win two out of three matches and because of this, we qualified for the National Competition! It was an incredible experience and we were all delighted that we got into the National ECF competition that will happen next calendar year!

“Thank you so much to Dr Larski and Mr Hodgkins for organising our participation!

Arabella, Year 8






The past couple of weeks have seen the second round of Inter-house sport take centre stage in the world of PE. This Half Term pupils have represented their Houses to compete in Hockey, Swimming and Table Tennis. The standard of competition was incredibly high and, as always, it was fantastic to see the pupils trying their hardest across the range of sport.

Follow the links below to find out the winners:

Michael Golding, Director of Sport




  • Inter-house results

    Year 7

    Hockey – Bettany
    Swimming – Clarke
    Table Tennis – Holst
    Overall Year 7 winner – Holst

    Year 8

    Hockey – Bettany
    Swimming – Desenfans
    Table Tennis – Clarke
    Overall Year 8 winner – Desenfans

    Year 9

    Hockey – Clarke
    Swimming – Bettany
    Table Tennis – Bettany
    Overall Year 9 winner – Bettany

    Year 10

    Hockey – Desenfans
    Swimming – Holst
    Table Tennis – Holst
    Overall Year 10 winner – Holst

  • Leavers’ Hockey fixture

    The Sixth Form pupils faced off against Alleyn’s last week in the annual leavers’ Hockey match – The TKB Cup .

    The game signals the end of the Hockey season and provides a fantastic chance to round off seven years of friendly rivalry.

    Unfortunately, Alleyn’s emerged narrow winners in this fixture, but the match was very competitive and played in a fantastic spirit.

  • Cross Country

    One of our biggest achievements so far this term happened last weekend as 12 of our top Cross Country runners set off for the National Finals at The Grammar School, Leeds.

    The Junior (Year 7 and 8) and Senior (Years 11-13) teams had comfortably qualified at the Regional Finals in November and were hopeful of running well and being among the top schools.

    On the day, the pupils ran superbly and were a credit to both themselves and the school.

    The Junior Team managed to finish 5th overall in the country and the Senior Team went one better than that, finishing 4th and narrowly missing out on a 3rd place finish.

    Well done to all the pupils who participated.

    Junior Team: Florence, Ines, Martha, Honor, Emilie and Izzy.

    Senior Team: Megan, Zoha, Phoebe, Eva, Myfanwy and Trinity.

    A special mention to Louise, who despite injury, travelled with the team and provided good captaincy and lots of morale for the weekend.

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