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17th March 2023: Issue 41

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, following a fortnight where we have celebrated the huge talent at school through both our Performing Arts show and our Multicultural Evening. Both were fantastic occasions, full of vibrancy and joy, and we are very grateful to all participants and organisers for bringing the community together in this way.

We also heard fantastic news that our Year 11 Biathlon Team are National Champions! This is an incredible achievement and huge congratulations to Isobel, Megan and Zoha for their commitment to running and swimming at extraordinary speeds – we are very proud of you.

In addition, Year 7 ventured out to London Zoo, where amidst all the excitement they were involved in our wildlife photography competition. Congratulations to Rishika, Iris and Eliska for submitting the Commended, Highly Commended and Winning entries. I was to be found in the Holst Hall last Friday judging the Year 9 entries to the volcano modelling competition. What an extraordinary array I was faced with … edible volcanoes, crocheted volcanoes, Lego volcanoes … judging was almost impossible and I do believe the future of volcanology is in safe hands here at JAGS.

Add into the mix our Y10/12 students being treated to an immersive day learning how to ‘Write on Art’, our music scholars performing at St Bride’s, our Year 10s marching through the frost and rain across Southern England on their Bronze DoE and you will get a taste of the full and vibrant flavour of life in this wonderful community. And not forgetting that our Year 7s are at Hindleap Warren for their three-day residential trip as you read this … there will be more on this in our next edition of the newsletter!

With best wishes

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Thursday 23 March – Trip to Madrid for Years 12 and 13
  • Saturday 25 March – Year 10 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Training Weekend
  • Thursday 30 March – Year 12 A-level Geography trip to Snowdonia
  • Friday 31 March – End of term service VWA
  • Friday 31 March – Term Ends
  • Monday 24 April – Summer Term begins




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






Natasha Feaver

Teacher of Geography

I am so pleased to have joined the Geography Department at JAGS. I was initially drawn to JAGS because it is such a diverse, welcoming and kind community. I really love the emphasis that we put on co-curricular as I passionately believe that what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside the classroom.

Since joining, I’ve had the pleasure of running the Year 7 Eco Club activities. After a tour of the Botany gardens led by Mrs Rendel, our Eco Club decided they would like to help increase the biodiversity of the area by creating some sustainable bird feeders. These are now proudly hanging in the Botany gardens! I am also helping out in the PE department which I am really enjoying as sport was always something I had a keen interest in during my time at school.

  • Continued

    Whilst there are quite a few to choose from, a highlight since being here has been seeing the amazing array of volcanoes that our Year 9s created as part of a homework project for this term. The materials used ranged from sushi and cake to paper mâché and soil!

    I previously worked at an Academy in Tulse Hill as Curriculum Director of Humanities and Assistant Principal of Personal Development. I studied BA Geography at Exeter University and I love to watch documentaries on the natural world. I am so looking forward to continuing to share my passion for Geography with the students and staff here.

Key Stage 3 Update

KS3 have been in full performance mode for the past few weeks. We had an exceptional display of talent on show at last week’s dance show. The House Dance was a wonderful opportunity for girls from across the key stages to come together to produce collaborative pieces bursting with energy and enthusiasm. We are still awaiting the results but it’s going to be a very close-run thing.

Last night, we saw the return of the spectacular Multicultural Evening. The corridors of JAGS sparkled with light and colours as the girls came to school in clothes from their home cultures. It has been wonderful to see the girls stopping off to read all of the post it notes in the foyer. We are truly blessed to have such a vibrant and diverse school community and it was a pleasure to be able to celebrate this with so many girls in the VWA last night.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

  • Continued

    On Wednesday, there was excitement in the Botany Gardens when JAGS alumna Ruth Cousins and Sarah Webley from the South London Botanical Institute came to give a workshop on succulents. As part of our sustainability and wellbeing goals across the school, we are working hard to grow as many healthy plants to put around the school and it is fantastic that so many of these will have been born and cultivated on site.

    Year 7 are off to Hindleap Warren this weekend and we will report back on our adventure when we return.

Key Stage 4 Update

In section assembly this week I spoke to Years 10 and 11 about the importance of knowing our true selves. I am constantly struck by how being at JAGS allows so many of our students to celebrate who they are, and the multitude of co-curricular activities which our students get involved in, go a long way to demonstrate how vibrant and diverse our school community is.

Last weekend, a number of our Year 10s took part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition, battling the elements and spending two nights under canvas during a rather frosty and wet March. They did amazingly well, and I have had such glowing feedback from the staff who accompanied them.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

  • Continued

    Meanwhile we enjoyed last week’s dance show – what an extraordinary set of performances and wonderful to see different year groups coming together and being part of some spectacular dance pieces. The Multicultural Evening last night was similarly fantastic and, as always, great to see a number of different members of KS4 taking part.

    Finally, I must extend my huge congratulations to our Year 11 Biathletes, Isobel, Megan and Zoha who were crowned National Champions in the National Schools Biathlon finals. I am beyond proud of their success.

Sixth Form Update

With an important and extremely positive Year 13 Parents’ Evening, charity events, important RSE talks from It Happens Education and the continued coverage of new lesson material in both Year 12 and Year 13, amongst other activities, the past fortnight could be considered the ‘engine room’ of the term (or indeed academic year). The Sixth Form community has been so busy!

Collaboration, talent and application has also resulted in a wondrous Performing Arts Show – both on stage and in tech support – and a magical Multicultural Evening last night. The organisation of which was spearheaded by the Head Girl team, Carlotta and Beulah. With delayed UCAS responses in this cycle versus the past, Year 13 are still receiving a wider range of university degree offers at a variety of prestigious institutions and we continue to be very proud of them, their offers and the sensitive and self-aware manner with which they share their news.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Individual Successes

    A collective spirit of effort and fun has been matched by individual successes in a variety of different spheres. These are mentioned in the regular ‘Weeksy’s Weekly’ bulletin for the Sixth Form Community, but deserve wider recognition too. In Fencing recently, Amelie (Year 12) placed 6th and 4th in the Junior individual and Junior team competitions respectively, and in the European Championships 2023 in Tallinn, Estonia.

    Thalia (Year 12) has been awarded a place on the prestigious CERN Particle School Competition trip this summer.

    Viola (Year 12) won a large and prestigious regional round in a piano competition run by EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association). And finally, among her many other achievements this year, Esme (Year 13) has been awarded a place on the prestigious ISSI programme at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, this summer.

    Well done to them all!

  • Women’s Aid Fundraising

    Finally, Caitlin (Year 13) and Caoimhe (Year 12) are participating in a bold effort to row a marathon for charity on rowing machines placed in the JAGS Quad on Thursday 30 March. Their aim is to row through the day to raise money for Women’s Aid which is a national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. Please find a link to their JustGiving page HERE.

Multicultural Evening

Multicultural Evening returned to JAGS last night, with pupils treating parents and staff to a spectacle of food, music, dance, and art from around the globe.

The weeks of preparation were evident in the dazzling performances and the fashion show representing traditional dress from each and every continent.

Congratulations to our pupil-organisers for putting together another brilliant show which raised an incredible £1,600 for the Disasters Emergency Committee.

We can’t wait to do it all again next year!




International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, an important whole school assembly was staged exploring the struggles many women around the world continue to face and how as a society we can embrace equity.

A special thanks to Miss Braybrook and all of the JAGS staff who contributed to the powerful short film shown at the end of the assembly.

Steps were also taken across the school to mark the occasion, with beautiful window displays at both the Senior and Junior schools, as well as a wonderful display in our library highlighting texts for pupils to further explore issues raised.




Let’s Face The Music

Parents and staff were treated to a wonderful evening of song and dance as the annual Let’s Face The Music performing art show returned to our Prissian Theatre.

The show featured stand out performances from pupils in Years 7 to 13 and provided a first outing for our new dance company Encore.

It also marked the return of the House Dance Competition for the first time since 2019 and the sold-out crowd were blown away by the exciting range of styles on show from our pupils.

Thank you to our Drama Department and our talented pupils (both on stage and behind the scenes) for putting on such an amazing performance!


Holst Charity Day

A huge well done to our brilliant student organisers for orchestrating the Holst Hall Charity Day and raising £592.81 for Endometriosis UK.

Pupils staged a Senior School mufti day, cake sale and closely-contested Teacher Lip Sync Battle.

Special thanks to participating staff members for their enthusiastic performances and our (forgiving) pupils for providing the rapturous reception they deserved.

History of Art


Year 10 History of Art Society discussed Ai Da’s visit to the House of Lords.

The android Ai-Da, which is claimed to be the world’s first ultra-realistic AI robot artist, was questioned by a committee in the British parliament last week.

The politicians from the Communications and Digital Committee in the House of Lords asked the robot – named after the 19th century computer pioneer Ada Lovelace – about the relationship between artificial intelligence, robots, and the arts.


JAGS Singing Festival

Last Monday evening, about 50 solo singers ranging from Year 7s to 13 participated in the JAGS Singing Festival. This is an event which we hold every year as an outlet for those who learn singing in individual singing lessons and who wish to share their passion with like-minded people. Our four singing teachers had not only coached the performers over the previous months but were in support throughout the evening as piano accompanists. We were joined by special guest and professional singer Kate Royal who gave insightful feedback and advice to the singers. As it happens, Kate was once a pupil at JAGS Prep and so it was wonderful to welcome her back!

Peter Gritton, Director of Music

  • ‘Whistle-stop tour through the ages’

    The musical styles ranged from Renaissance lute songs, to Baroque arias and then through to Romantic songs and those from musicals via character songs by the likes of Gilbert & Sullivan and Noel Coward – a whistle-stop trip through the ages!

    The human voice is unlocked when conditions are right and when there is no element of competition, which is why the JAGS Singing Festival felt like a safe place to express oneself – an unfettered festival of song! For the performers, Kate Royal came across as a like-minded person who understands what it takes to stand up and sing a song from the heart – and usually by heart!

  • ‘Tradition set to continue’

    What was so obvious throughout the evening was how much the performers seemed to grow in front of our eyes in terms of confidence, standing and delivering with feelings of risking everything in the moment, benefiting too from observing others going through the same process.

    This was the fifth Singing Festival since its inception in 2019 and looks like a tradition set to continue.

Society Spotlight

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 James Allen’s Mental Health First Aiders (JAMHFA).

The team play an important role in everyday life here at JAGS through their bi-weekly seminars and, having completed mental health training, serve as an extra layer of pastoral support across the school

Below Trisha (Year 12) explains why she wanted to become a mental health first aider and the great work being done at JAGS:

  • What attracted you to the role?

    I wanted to become a JAMHFA leader because I have a particular interest in mental health, especially with younger children. I am hoping to become a doctor, and so I feel like this role provides me with those vital, transferable skills I need to communicate with younger children about an issue which is often overlooked in comparison to physical health by the medical industry. I especially loved the training day – as I learnt a lot about different types of mental health illnesses and how to approach each one with the ALGEE method (see below). I found this extremely useful for day to day life.

  • What aspects do you enjoy?

    I enjoy the fact that any of my friends can now come to me if they need any advice or help, and I can actually help them to a degree, without just giving meaningless advice. I like the fact that I’m doing some sort of good every time someone approaches me – whether that be my friends or girls in other years etc. I also like our biweekly seminars – they are quite fun!

  • Advice for pupils thinking of joining?

    I would say that being a JAMHFA member is quite a big, important role – so to any student considering it, I believe that they should really have that passion and really want to do the course – before actually applying.

  • Plans for the future

    In the future, I want to be a doctor – and so I know I will be able to bring these skills that I have gained as a JAMHFA member with me throughout my future career – especially as focus on mental health is growing every year, and it is slowly but surely being destigmatised!

  • What is the ALGEE method?

    MHFA uses the acronym ALGEE as a tool for providing mental health first aid.

    It stands for:

    1) Assess risk
    2) Listen non-judgmentally
    3) Give reassurance and information
    4) Encourage appropriate professional help
    5) Encourage self-help and other support strategies


Illuminated Manuscripts

In Art, Year 8 students have been busy working on their Illuminated Manuscripts Project – recycling unwanted scarp paper into works of art.

Ms Lecuyer-Mayo has been collecting unwanted scrap paper since September, which pupils blended up into pulp, before breathing new life into the material.

A fascinating process! Pupils will now draw and paint on their manuscripts – we can’t wait to see the final product!


In Classics, our Year 8s were tasked with putting together presentations on some of the great women throughout classical history – and they did not disappoint!

They produced a series of creative and informative guides to figures such as Cleopatra, Dido, Boudica and more!


Year 9 Volcano competition

Our talented Year 9 Geography pupils’ incredible volcano models have been on display all this week in Holst Hall, drawing admiration from across the school and sparking fierce debates over which should take home the top gong.

Pupils’ individuality and creativity truly shines through, and they should all be proud of the hard work they put into their homework project.

The models will be judged across three criteria; accuracy, creativity and geographical detail. Winners for each category will be announced in the upcoming end of term assembly, as well an overall winner.

Good luck to all those taking part!




Exploring Christianity Residential Trip

“The Christianity trip was lots of fun – we all became closer with each other and with God. We focused on how God loves us no matter what, and by the end of the trip, we all felt even more connected to Him. Dr Lee made this a very fun experience for everyone, and we did a lot of fun activities such as long walks in the fields, table football in the barn and tennis-rounders. The owner of the barn, Andrew, was very accommodating and made us feel all at home. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience that we recommend everyone to experience!”

Alice and Shayona (Year 9)



Duke of Edinburgh East Grinstead expedition

Pupils and staff embarked on a very chilly expedition to East Grinstead, braving temperatures as low -5C and downpours galore.

Despite the biting cold and soggy conditions, all of the girls performed amazingly and spirits remained high throughout!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year (7)

On Monday 6 March, Year 7 embarked on a fun trip to London Zoo to learn more about animals’ habitats and how some species become extinct.

They were challenged with taking the best photos they could for entry into the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year (7) competition.

It was so difficult to choose the top photos from all of the wonderful entries. Well done to everyone that took part , and special mention to:

  • Rishika (Commended)
  • Iris (Highly commended)
  • Eliska (Winner)

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

Congratulations to the joint JAGS / Dulwich College Cadet team which claimed third place in the National AST Competition last weekend.

The team, split between six JAGS and seven DC students, was one of 15 teams which travelled RAF Halton, Oxfordshire, to compete.

While the day started at 0600 and ended around 2030hrs, the Cadets were outstanding throughout as they were tested in in air rifle shooting, First Aid, Drill, RAF knowledge, aircraft recognition and command tasks. They placed second in Drill and RAF knowledge, and third in First Aid.

Overall, they finished in third place, a fantastic achievement – especially considering there were originally 236 teams nationwide.

All of the Cadets should be extremely proud, as a huge amount of hard work and dedication goes into preparing for this competition!


A busy two weeks of sport here at JAGS once again as our Interhouse Sport competition rolled on internally and we celebrated a number of external achievements.

Please follow the links below to learn more about pupils’ successes:


Congratulations to our U16 National Champions; Isobel, Megan and Zoha who travelled to Redditch on Sunday 12 March and swept aside the competition to take 1st place in the Schools National Biathlon Championships. An absolutely fantastic achievement for all three pupils.

Our Year 7 teams also had an excellent day, competing well and the A team of Arabella, Izzy and Olivia finishing 10th in the country. Well done to all pupils who participated on the day, representing the school and themselves with pride. Year 7 – Alexis, Amber, Arabella, Dom, Idil, Merryleas, Sephie, Sophie, Willow and Zoe. Year 8 – India.

Michael Golding, Director of Sport


  • Swimming

    On Friday 10 March, our elite swim squad of; Sasha (Year 7), Anna, Delyth (Year 9), Elsa (Year 11) and Olivia (Year 13), travelled to the London Aquatics Centre to compete in the National Bath Cup.

    The morning session was the Freestyle Relay and the team comfortably qualified for the finals, finishing 4th after all the heats, just 0.4 seconds off the school in third. In the final, we swam 2.5 seconds quicker than we did in the heats and secured a historic 3rd place finish and safely brought home the Bronze medals.

    The afternoon session was the Medley Relay and the team performed well, but exhausted from their morning efforts, narrowly missed out on a place in the final, finishing 12th in the country.

    Another huge congratulations on this sensational achievement.

  • Netball

    Our Year 7 and 8 netball teams participated in the rearranged Surrey Netball Finals on Thursday 16 March. Both teams played some good netball but key decisions on the day went against us – with both year groups exiting the competition in the group stages.

    There was also semi-final heartbreak (again) for the Year 8 netballers who travelled to Oxford and lost on golden goal after a 30-30 draw. Well done to the Year 8 netball team, semi-finals in a National Plate competition is something to be very proud of.

    Our Under 18 netballers also suffered semi-final heartbreak, losing 63-37 to Canford School in the National Schools Cup.

  • Fencing

    Our small, newly assembled fencing team participated in a two-day Public Schools Fencing Competition earlier this week. While we fielded a very young and inexperienced team, pupils quickly learned and adapted to the competition rules and ended up taking points off of GB athletes. Year 12 Amelie was the standout performer, reaching the National semi-finals, narrowly losing 15-14 to the eventful winner.

  • Rugby

    Mr Hodgkins took our U14 Rugby team to Lord Wandsworth College, to participate in our first ever touch rugby competition. The pupils played incredibly well and were crowned as U14 champions. There are lots more fixtures planned for later this year and into the next academic year. Well done to all pupils who participated.

  • Tennis

    Our Winter tennis team reached the South East semi-finals of the LTA Year 11 – 13 Winter Tennis competition, but came up against a very talented Bedes School side, who were victorious and took their place in the South East final. This was our first ever entry into this competition and to reach the semi-final was a brilliant achievement, beating some strong tennis schools along the way.

  • Cross Country

    We are nearing the end of our Cross Country season now, with one of the last races of the season, the Year 7 and 8 London Schools Cross Country Championships, taking place at Avery Hill Park, Eltham.

    The pupils compete for their school borough (Southwark) and performed very well on the day.
    Our Year 7 runners; Arabelle, Izzy and Jojo, helped Southwark to a second place position across London.

    Our Year 8 team of; Amelie, India, Florence, Ines, Emilie and Honor went one better and helped Southwark to finish first in the whole of London.

    On an individual level, Florence finished at the 2nd quickest Year 8 pupil, with Ines finishing closely behind in third.

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