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16th June 2023: Issue 45

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, at the end of a glorious week of summer weather. We remain very optimistic that this weather will continue for all our key events this term! I wrote just before Half Term with the initial outline and timings for our Founder’s Celebrations; plans are in full flow and we will confirm full details with you all through a separate communication in good time.

In sitting down to write this introduction, I did my usual reflection of the fortnight that has passed. Trying to summarise it proves almost impossible, given the wealth of activities that have taken place. I will leave it to the reports contained in this newsletter to elaborate on it all, but my thanks to all the staff who give so generously of their time to embed these opportunities into the life of our school. Here goes with a whistle-stop tour since Half Term: Year 7 enjoyed their time at Rochester, Year 8 enjoyed the thrills and spills of Chessington, Year 9 have been out surveying on their Geography Field Trip, and also took us on a tour around the world of Charles Dickens through their Stage Door production. It was an incredible evening of interactive and immersive theatre which also led to the audience occupying parts of the theatre that are rarely seen! A huge well done to all involved front and back stage. Year 10 have finished their assessments, and well done to them all for the maturity they showed in their first GCSE style experience; they have since enjoyed a wonderful Sports Day and have also competed in their first Regatta on the river this week. The Year 10 artists now head off to St Ives for their residential study trip. Year 12 Biologists worked hard on their residential field trip to the Field Studies Council in Shrewsbury, and an additional good luck to our Year 12 students representing us in the Foundation Schools’ Big Ned festival of public speaking this evening. We have also enjoyed sports fixtures, including a Cheerleading fixture, and a super SSLP (Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership) event looking at the future of AI in Chemical Engineering.

Not forgetting our parents, it was super to welcome Year 8 parents online for our parents’ evening on Thursday, and we look forward to seeing Year 10 parents on Wednesday 28 June. Thank you to our wonderful JPA for all their support to organise our combined social events with Dulwich College over the past fortnight; Year 8 enjoyed their barbec with Dulwich College and we hope that our Year 9 students enjoy their quiz this evening.

Casting our minds back to the empty schedule of the Covid days, it’s joyful to reflect on the vibrancy and excitement that our full co-curricular programme brings. This will only be enhanced by the exciting new collaborative space that the Holst Hall project will bring in September 2023. We are two weeks into the project and our community has quickly adapted to the new routes and routines in place for the second half of term.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 19 June – Year 12 Trip to Bletchley Park
  • Tuesday 20 June – Year 10 Geography Trip to Eynsford
  • Tuesday 20 June – Thursday 22 June – Year 7 and 8 perform Frozen (Prissian Theatre, 7pm)
  • Monday 26 June – Year 13 Life Beyond JAGS Day
  • Tuesday 27 June – Year 13 Leavers’ Day
  • Wednesday 28 June – Year 10 Parents’ Evening
  • Thursday 29 June – Thursday Night Live!
  • Saturday 1 July – Founder’s Day





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





Key Stage 3 Update

KS3 pupils seem to be dashing here, there and everywhere at the moment. I have been so impressed with their involvement in so many co-curricular events over the last few weeks. We have seen outstanding Drama performances from the Year 9 Stage Door team, excitement around the Junior Production of Frozen, Interhouse Sport, French Pen Pal collaboration afternoon, a trip to Chessington, SSLP Debating, Further!, and Dulwich College (DC) Collaborations. It is a wonderfully frantic and jam-packed time of year!

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

  • DC Collaborations

    The DC Collaborations are in full swing and we have enjoyed the Year 7 Film Night, Year 8 barbecue and Year 9 Quiz Night this month. Next week, we will be taking the whole of Year 7 and 8 over to Dulwich College for the 2nd of our academic collaboration days. It is lovely to see the girls reconnecting with their working partners both socially and in their organised activities.

  • Dickens

    Last Wednesday, I attended the most fantastic and immersive Dickens production, put together by our dedicated team in the Drama department. Written by Miss Brook and co-directed by Miss Valentine and Ms McDonald, the Year 9 actors put on the most exciting and enthralling production. I felt transported back to mid-nineteenth century grimy London and it was such a thrill to meet some of my favourite (and feared) Dickens characters. Congratulations to all involved in this production. It was truly superb!

  • School trips

    We have been so blessed with good weather recently and this has made for successful and sunny school trips. Year 7s went off to Rochester and the Year 8s had a fun day out at Chessington. After their hard work during the KS3 exam season, these moments outside of the classroom are fully deserved.

Key Stage 4 Update

A huge well done to our brilliant Year 10s for completing their end of year assessments!

On their first day back this week, they got to experience a day in the Sixth Form, which included attending lessons, a scavenger hunt and the chance to listen to a panel of current Year 12 students reflect on their experiences. It was a wonderful day and we are so grateful to the Sixth Form team for putting the programme together. Year 10 also enjoyed their annual Sports Day this week and the weather could not have been better!

GCSEs are still taking place but the end is now very much in sight. To all our Year 11s, enjoy your incredibly well-deserved rest when it comes. We are so proud of you!

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

Fun times continue to roll in the Sixth Form community. On the Friday before Half Term the House Captain team corralled the year group into running the Big House Bash for the whole school. It was a fantastic event, with much fun, laughter and community-spirit.

Since Half Term, plenty has been occupying everyone, from the Biology field trip, to Classics trips to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, to the Future of Chemical Engineering and AI event with SSLP partner schools, as well as continued lessons and Life Beyond JAGS Higher Education and Careers discussions. A massive well done to Year 12s Poppy and Lizzie for their entries in the Peterhouse Kelvin Science Essay Competition (respectively, winning and being one of only eight ‘commended’!).

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Year 10 Taster Day

    We also welcomed Year 10 into the Sixth Form community for their Taster Day. After experiencing some taster lessons, they heard from a recent alumna – many thanks to Alex Barrington for coming in to school to talk about her Sixth Form and post-JAGS journey – and from a Year 12 student panel who answered some wonderful questions with mature and sensible responses. They also competed in a Sixth Form Scavenger Hunt – congratulations to the winning teams Heidi, Lilly, Paula and Thea, and Karla, Izzy, Eliana and Sora (prizes to follow!). The Year 10s also found the time to enjoy pastries for breakfast, toast at Rec and a ‘Year 13 Leavers- style’ lunch experience. The volume of positive feedback suggested that a great time was had by all; informative and engaging. A massive thank you to all involved.

  • Final week of exams

    Year 13 students continue to impress by the way they have approached their A Level exams – organised, mature, considerate and punctual! Only one more week left to go now!

  • Year 13 events

    We look forward to seeing them back in school on Monday 26 June for their Life Beyond JAGS day, and Tuesday 27 June for their Leavers’ Day which will be packed full of enjoyable and memorable events.

  • UCAS Next Steps

    As Year 13 prepare to say goodbye to being students at JAGS, Year 12 start to focus on their futures next week as we support them through the UCAS application process through the UCAS Next Steps day on Wednesday and the personal statement writing workshop on Thursday.


A huge well done to everyone involved – both on and off stage – in the fantastic Year 9 production of In Dickens’ World.

Pupils shone bright throughout the immersive and ingenious show with their incredible performances while the high-quality costumes and sets transported the audience back in time!






Ashmolean Museum

On Tuesday 13 June, the Classics Department took Year 10 and 12 students of Classical Civilisation and Greek to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to visit its major exhibition Labyrinth: Knossos, myth and reality.

This is the first UK exhibition to focus on the site of Knossos, and it includes finds from the Ashmolean’s own Sir Arthur Evans Archive. Students enjoyed studying a range of artefacts, including; frescoes, pottery, ancient texts and metalwork, alongside modern responses to the Labyrinth myth.

Saltanat Hanif, Teacher of Classics

  • Enduring myths

    The exhibition encouraged students to think about the connection between the ancient site of Knossos and the enduring myth of the Labyrinth, and Theseus and the Minotaur.

  • Catch-up with Classics alumnae

    After visiting the exhibition, students explored the stunning range of artefacts from the Greek and Roman galleries at the museum and also had the chance to meet and talk to two of our 2022 JAGS Classics alumnae, Anna and Flora, who are at the end of their first year at Oxford University, studying Classics and Chemistry respectively.

    Flora and Anna gave students a valuable perspective on life after JAGS and the benefits of Classics alongside STEM subjects. All in all, an enlightening and enjoyable day in lots of different ways.


T.S Eliot Tour

On Thursday 6th June, as part of their A Level English course, 21 Year 12 English students went with a Blue Badge Guide on a guided tour of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.

Beginning at Blackfriars Underground Station we went, as the poem does, up Queen Victoria Street, then

up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

Matthew Edwards, Head of English 

  • Continued . . . .

    Passing by Lloyds Bank, where Eliot worked for eight
    years as a clerk in the Colonial & Foreign Department, we
    heard the different voices of the poem – snatches of
    Wagner, ragtime, French and German – and concluded

    where the walls
    Of Magnus Martyr hold
    Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.

    Unlike the commuters in the poem, we walked in sunshine, not looking at our feet, but at the stones of the City where Eliot had walked and worked and formed the greatest poem of the twentieth century.


Future of Chemical Engineering and AI

We were delighted to welcome Dr Dmitry Lapshin to JAGS this week for a lecture on the Future of Chemical Engineering and AI as we played host to our fellow SSLP schools. Starting with a history of chemical engineering and its applications to our everyday lives, it was clear this is an area of science with huge potential! We then focused in on CO2 emissions, and the use of carbon capture as a potential solution. Current technology is based on the use of chemical absorbers – an everyday example is the silica beads you find in small packets in shoe boxes. These can be used as an improvement to existing absorption technology. There are, however, hundreds of thousands of potential molecules which can be used, and these would take many hundreds of years to test in the lab. This is where Artificial Intelligence comes in to play!

Louise Hussein, Teacher of Chemistry



  • Continued . . .

    The robot ‘reads’ the research papers, and uses ‘computational screening’ to narrow down possible promising candidates of absorbers using molecular modelling. The robot can explain how to synthesize these molecules in the lab, and it would even be possible for the robot to predict its physical and chemical properties. The idea that chemists can be replaced by robots may have upset Miss Hussein a little, but was certainly an exciting prospect for the future of science!

  • The ENSAMBLE Project

    Dmitry introduced students to The ENSAMBLE Project, an opportunity to try out real-life scientific research using coding. JAGS students and ENSAMBLE alumnae Esme, Lizzie, Poppy and Rosie (having previously completed the project) gave their glowing recommendations! A number of students are already keen to sign up, so watch out for more information to come.

  • Research workshop

    The workshop element of the morning gave a taste of this style of research, and focused on exploring the behaviour of water under different conditions. By coding data from density and temperature experiments, we discovered water’s unusual behaviour; its density actually initially increases with temperature before decreasing: its solid form is less dense than its liquid form. Although this is a simple experimental analysis, it is clear that using a computational approach to code data, run simulations and work through the scientific process is an excellent multidisciplinary approach for making scientific discoveries.

    Thank you to all involved!

Debating Competition

“On Thursday 8 June, our team of Year 7 beginner debaters took part in the SSLP debating tournament against seven other schools from across the borough.

“During debates with two teams of Year 9s we acquired many useful skills which helped us to win our third debate! The motion was about building a civilisation on Mars. We were on the opposing side and used a range of strong points to help us argue our case, ultimately giving us the win.

“Points gained in previous rounds meant we reached the final against a team of Year 12s from The Charter School. We competed in front of all other teams and debated for the motion of enforcing a universal language, which was a tough side to argue. Finishing a close second, our team received silver medals.”

Kayla (Year 7)

Religious Studies & History

Trip to Rochester

On Tuesday 6 June, the Religious Studies and History departments took Year 7 on a trip back in time to visit Rochester Cathedral and Castle. Students took part in activities and tours around both historic sites to help bring their studies of the Medieval world to life! Despite the slightly grey and windy weather, students threw themselves into the day and showcased the very best of JAGS behaviour. We hope the students enjoyed themselves and found their visit enriching and enlightening.


Computer Science

European Astro Pi Challenge

As we bid farewell to the current Academic Year and the European Astro Pi Challenge 2022-23, the Computer Science department are thrilled to share the remarkable achievements of our students. That is the development of successful code that contributed to scientific experiments on the International Space Station.

Their mission was to design and create programs for Astro Pi computers that include cameras and sensors, specially designed for space exploration.

We are excited to announce that 25 successful candidates will receive certificates showcasing the exact coordinates of the International Space Station during the execution of their programmes in May 2023. This recognition highlights the significance of their contributions and serves as a testament to their hard work, computational skills and determination.

Zubin Sachdev, Teacher of Computer Science

  • Skills for Life at JAGS

    We are thrilled to announce that Navieinaah (Year 12) has successfully advanced to the final round of the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) UK & Ireland Championship 2023. This remarkable achievement not only reflects Navieinaah’s dedication but also brings great pride to the Computer Science Department. With a staggering 30,000 students participating from across the UK & Ireland, Navieinaah emerged as one of the 30 finalists who have been invited to take the MOS Certification Exam in June.

    The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship is a global competition that evaluates students’ proficiency in Microsoft Office applications.

    We applaud Navieinaah for her exceptional skills and wish her the best of luck as she progresses towards this exciting milestone. This accomplishment truly exemplifies the success fostered by Skills for Life programme at JAGS, reinforcing our commitment to empowering students and nurturing their talents.



On Thursday, JAGS Library hosted students from Alleyn’s and Dulwich College for the annual Carnegie Quiz. Mixed teams answered five rounds of questions based on this year’s Carnegie Medal shortlist. Team Apocalypse carried off first prize with a huge 82 points, while  I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys was voted Best Story by those in attendance.

Well done to all the participants and special thanks to our Year 12 Book Clubbers, Angelina and Fareedah, for all their help with not only the quiz but our Book Club meetings throughout this year.

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