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21st January: Issue 23

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter. It’s been a really busy start to the term and a delight to have our students back on site with us.

Last week Year 10 gave wonderful performances of Boudica in the Prissian Theatre. Well done to all involved in such a compelling story, complete with some very convincing fight scenes! It was also a pleasure to welcome the JPA into school for their first meeting of 2022; we are always so grateful for their support in the life of our school. Year 9 and their parents took part in a webinar to discuss the GCSE options process; there was a fantastic range of questions from parents, which we hope led to a very informative Parents’ Evening the following day.  It was also super to take part in the student led assembly to launch Multi Cultural Evening later this term. And finally, Year 11 have done a sterling job making their way through their Mock Exams, and I hope this weekend will allow them some very well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in the smooth running of our Beginning of Term onsite LFD testing; it is a huge team effort and we are always very grateful for the community’s support. Following Wednesday’s update from the DfE, the wearing of wearing of face coverings is no longer recommended in classrooms and teaching spaces for staff and students in Year 7 and above. Form tutors shared this information in form time on Thursday 20 January, whilst also reminding our students of the importance of maintaining the four key Covid control measures: hygiene, cleaning, ventilation and LFD testing. In the Senior School we will continue to wear face coverings in all corridors and communal areas until Thursday 27 January at the earliest, and will review our arrangements once further detailed guidance has been issued.

We were delighted this week to launch our new website. A huge thank you to the Marketing & Communications Department for all their hard work in getting us to this point. Please do take a look at this exciting and vibrant window to our school via this link.

Best wishes,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Wednesday 26th January – Parent Speaker – Bradley Busch on Growth Mindset, 7pm. Book here.
  • Friday 28th Jan – PopFest – 7pm. Book here.
  • Tuesday 1st February – Year 8 Parents’ Evening – 5:30pm

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

This half term is well under way and our new colleagues have been settling into their new routines. We warmly welcome Myfanwy Bournon and Katherine Braybrook as Assistant Head (Years 7-9) and Chemistry Teacher respectively. We are also delighted to welcome Holly McKinlay to the Drama Department , and Aamaal Malik as our cover supervisor and invigilator.

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    Next week we wave goodbye to our trainee teachers in Economics, Geography, Chemistry and Art who have been with us for the first school placements with Kings College London and the Institute of Education, UCL. Second placement trainees have already or are about to join us in MFL (from the Dulwich SCITT), Maths, Art and Classics. We love hosting student teachers and their contributions to the school, for example with mock Oxbridge and Medicine interviews for Sixth Formers, running clubs and giving enrichment talks, have been greatly appreciated.

Introducing our new colleagues

Myfanwy Bournon, Assistant Head (Years 7-9) and Teacher of English 

Hello, I’m Myfanwy and I am the new Assistant Head looking after KS3. It has been fantastic to begin to get to know the students over the past week and I am very fortunate to have such a super Heads of Year and Tutor team to work with in this section.  

Starting at JAGS marks a return to all-girls education for me. I started my career at Brighton Girls as an English teacher and Head of Lower School and then moved closer to home to be a Housemistress at Worth. I have been biding my time and waiting for an opportunity to come up at JAGS for such a long time and it is wonderful to have joined the staff this term.  

I’m absolutely passionate about my subject and can get terribly over-excited in the classroom when teaching some of my favourite works of literature. The Year 7 pupils are currently looking at ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and this has given me the chance to pass on my love for Middle English and Chaucer in particular. The glorious thing about being an English teacher is watching students mature and develop their analytical skills and in turn their appreciation of a writer’s craft. I encourage discussion in my classroom and I am keen to help my students hone their powers of rhetoric through lively debate.  

I am an avid fan of all things musical and dramatic – I go to the Theatre, Opera and Ballet whenever I can. I have a sizable Victorian and Edwardian costume collection and I am currently learning how to ride side-saddle – with varying degrees of success and painful failure. I fear I may have been born in the wrong century and I never miss an opportunity to get dressed up for celebrations such as World Book Day and if someone invites me to an ‘80’s party, I consider that to mean the 1780s or 1880s!  

My little house in Sussex, that I share with my husband and 3 year old son, is affectionately known as ‘The Hobbit Hole’ and dates from the time when Chaucer was writing with the more modern extension being added in Shakespeare’s time. I feel more like a custodian than the owner of this slice of history and it gives me such pleasure to think of all of the families who lived in the house before us. I’m considering this idea as the basis for my novel when I retire from teaching. 

Katherine Braybrook, Teacher of Chemistry 

Hi, my name is Katherine (Kat) and I have joined the Chemistry department. I was the Head of Chemistry at my previous school in Bromley but I am very excited to be joining the JAGS community this year. This will be my second time joining JAGS as I am also an ex-student – yes some of the same teachers are still here! One part of Chemistry I always loved when I was at the school was all the practicals so I enjoy bringing this to my lessons now. In my second week at the school we completed some very pretty reactions including reacting a 2p coin with concentrated acid to produce some beautiful orange fumes. Alongside being a teacher, I play and coach hockey in my spare time. 

Grant Monk, Trainee Teacher of Economics at IOE, UCL 

Hi I’m Grant, training to be a Business and Economics teacher at the Institute of Education, UCL.  I have really appreciated getting to know my students at JAGS and have frequently been impressed by the quality of their responses and depth of understanding displayed in discussions in class.  I have also enjoyed helping with a chess club, some Economics societies and last term helping with UCAS applications and interview practice.  Most of all I’ve enjoyed teaching A-level Economics, bringing real world examples into the classroom and seeing those lightbulb moments as connections are made and the students “get it”. 

Naima Omar, Trainee Teacher of Science at IOE, UCL 

Hi, I’m Naima and I have trained in the Science department. I am currently completing my Biology PGCE at UCL. My favourite part of the placement has been meeting the pupils and having a chance to interact with them in my lessons. I really enjoyed learning about the range of different activities that take place at JAGS and I was lucky to partake in the organisation of a few! I really enjoy teaching Physics, I think that is because the content and demonstrations I carried out with my class were really exciting! 

Ibtisam Sharif, Trainee Teacher of Geography, IOE, UCL 

Hi, I’m Ibtisam. I’ve been part of the Geography department whilst I am completing my PGCE at King’s College London. I’ve really appreciated the supportive community here at JAGS. My favourite moment has been witnessing the progress my students have made and most importantly, feeling the progress that I’ve made in my time at JAGS. It is really interesting to learn about the range of activities and clubs my pupils participate in. I  have taken part in the Geogsoc and I really enjoyed seeing students learning about Geography outside of a classroom. My favourite lesson to teach has been Changing Cities with Year 10, I think it is a really exciting topic as it allows students to link this with other topics. There was a lot of engagement, which is always good to see! Another lesson I enjoyed teaching was on Aboriginals in Australia with Year 7, exploring misconceptions and stereotypes and allowing the students to understand the challenges these groups have to combat on a daily basis. 

Key Stage 3 Update

The term is now in full swing and it has been so lovely to welcome all of the Key Stage 3 students back onto site. Getting back into the routine of academic lessons after the Christmas holiday can sometimes be a bit of a tough gear change but all year groups have done extremely well.

The Year 7s have had their first meetings with their Sixth Form mentors and it was wonderful to see the older girls interacting with our younger students in such a beneficial way. This is going to continue throughout the year and it is our hope that some very strong relationships can be forged and maintained between our youngest students and their Year 13 counterparts.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of Key Stage 3

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    Year 7 and 8 students have been enjoying exploring Dance as part of their Drama curriculum. Lots of different styles of dance from Hip-Hop wolves to Bhangra and it has been great to see students throw themselves into developing choreography and performance skills. Certain groups have also been able to work with our Choreographer in Residence for the term, Amy Lovelock, who has been focusing on Contemporary dance, in particular floor work, equipping students with new challenging techniques…. and some aching limbs along the way!

    It has been a busy time for Year 9s as they have started to consider their GCSE Option choices. There have been lots of lively discussions going on about which subjects to choose and it has been great to see the girls taking ownership of their subject choices with the support and direction of their members of staff. The deadline for making their choices is on Monday 24th, so we would like to encourage them to speak to their teachers, to me or to Ms Rose if they are having any difficulties making their final selections before the weekend.

    On Wednesday, we all enjoyed the Multicultural Assembly run by our Sixth Form and we would like to encourage as many of students as possible to audition on the 26th January for the Multicultural Evening. This will take place on 25th March and is a really wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase their talents.

Key Stage 4 Update

We have been delighted to welcome back all members of Years 10 and 11 this term. It’s already been a busy couple of weeks. Year 11 have been taking their mock examinations; we have been incredibly impressed by their punctuality and positivity and we wish the whole year group a well-deserved rest this weekend.

Meanwhile Year 10 have resumed their extra-curricular activities with enthusiasm and have enjoyed and benefitted from a form time session with the Year 13 JAMHFA reps, giving them the opportunity to discuss their wellbeing in a relaxed forum. We look forward to a further session in a couple of weeks.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

Happy New Year from the Sixth Form! Sixth Form students have thrown themselves back into the Sixth Form community refreshed, recharged and energised for the new school term and new calendar year. In addition to the impressive work ethic displayed on a daily basis – their common rooms are hives of dedicated scholarship – students have embraced lectures and opportunities to ‘lean in’ to the wider school community.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

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    Year 12 students have embraced the official start of the Higher Education and Careers programme through which they will research and ultimately define their post JAGS future. Liz Allan provided an overview of the course and a summary of how the students would help themselves by completing their research through the Morrisby service and additional research ideas. The Year 12s threw themselves into the opportunities they were given and we are all impressed by the foundations that they have given themselves as we start the programme.

    Year 13 students welcomed back Millie Acers from the “Class of 2020” to discuss with them her personal journey since leaving JAGS, showing them that there are additional opportunities outside university degrees. She is happily ensconced in an apprenticeship programme within the field of publishing and loving every minute.

    Both Year 12s and Year 13s have worked to support younger Year groups. This Tuesday some Year 13s met with Year 7s on a mentoring programme. And last week we were very proud of the wellbeing assemblies created and delivered by Year 6s with the help of their Year 12 mentors. A big thank you to Dr Parrish for facilitating the programme and we hope to see many more collaborative assemblies in the months ahead.


This week, we have enjoyed two brilliant performances of Boudica by Year 10 theatre company In the Wings. The story is set in Britannia in AD 61, where rebellion is brewing on the furthest outreaches of the Roman Empire. The King of the Iceni has died and his widow, Boudica, has tried to claim her rightful throne.

Read more about the production


We enjoyed a brilliant Private View of the Year 13 Art show Shape of Space last night. In two extraordinary years, Year 13 have developed their own investigations, thinking about space. This show, the culmination of their investigations so far, is a site-specific installation looking at how perception is changed by the shape of the space around both physical forms and virtual concepts. We will be sharing further information and photos from the show in the next newsletter.


We have a lot coming up for the Houses this term, the last for our current House Captains. The House Captaincy runs from April to March so before the Easter break the Houses will have elected new Captains. If you are a Year 12 student who is full of House spirit and keen to take on the role, keep an eye out on Teams for more information on how to apply! Anya, Maya, Daisy, Megan, Gabriella, Evie, India and Monica have done a great job this year and we’re excited to have another excellent team to follow in their footsteps.

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    The first House event of the term will be the Intermediate Maths Challenge on 2nd & 3rd February – so get your pencils sharpened! Then we have Desenfans’ big fundraising day on 4th February during which we will be raising awareness of and money to tackle Period Poverty. If you would like to make a donation to our cause you can do so here.

    We also have Senior House Music, Clarke’s Charity Day, Interhouse MFL, Just Dance and the Interhouse Science Fair all coming up in March! We are also hoping to hold House Debate, Interhouse Sport for Years 9 and 10, and Interhouse History Challenge for Year 8 and an Interhouse ‘Strike a Pose’ competition. Watch this space!


Our PE Department is off to a flying start in 2022! It has been great to see the pupils still so dedicated to their sports by turning up to the cold early morning sessions, lunchtime clubs and after school training. The PE Department have a new and improved extra-curricular timetable, which now includes: Water polo and Tag Rugby for all year groups! Water polo had an outstanding 52 pupils attend last week and we are looking forward to seeing the turn out for Tag Rugby after school on a Thursday! Furthermore, the PE Department have also introduced Personal Safety to the curriculum for our Year 9 groups, which is a great opportunity for our pupils to try something new!

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    Miss Whyte organised a fantastic trip to the CopperBox Arena to watch England in the Netball Quad Series. Over 50 pupils and staff attended the event and were lucky to see high quality netball in pulsating matches.

    This must have inspired all year groups but especially our Year 10 netball team who played their Round 4 SNS Cup fixture against St John’s, completely dominating throughout and winning to get through to the quarter finals! Congratulations to the Squad 1 players, your teamwork has been phenomenal!

    A special congratulations to Emilia in Year 7 who has been selected to represent Kent County Netball this year and is certainly a shining star on the netball court.

    In addition to this, the PE Department want to congratulate the 15 pupils from JAGS who have qualified for the National Finals for the British Schools Modern Biathlon in March! We are looking forward to seeing you at the University of Bath. Well done!

    Congratulations to Year 7 and 8 pupils Alice and Freya, who have been selected for the London U13 South Academy Centre as part of the London Hockey player pathway. These achievements have been made because of your outstanding attitude to sport and your dedication and commitment to hockey!

    In the pool, our Year 7 and 8 swimmers travelled to Whitgift School to compete in the Trinity Schools Cup. The teamwork on show was exceptional and both teams completely dominated the girls’ side of the gala and finished 2nd when competing against the boys in the final swim of the day. Well done to Martha, September, Florence, Edith, Delyth, Ava, Olivia and Anna for your excellent performance and participation.

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