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25th November 2022: Issue 36

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter – let us hope this weekend brings us some respite from the autumnal wet weather we have been experiencing across South London in the past fortnight!

I enjoyed two days at the annual GSA (Girls’ School Association) Conference at the start of this week. The theme of the Conference was Future Female: Fearless & Bold and it was a privilege to hear from inspirational speakers across numerous sectors. I have returned to school to find our own fearless and bold students participating in an extraordinary range of activities here at JAGS.

We are all looking forward to the Senior Drama productions at the end of term. A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs from Wednesday 30 November to Saturday 3 December and tickets can be purchased via this link. The Dulwich College production Me & My Girl then runs from Wednesday 7 December to Saturday 10 December and tickets can be purchased here. We are promised a treat from our JAGS performers in both productions and wish them the best of luck in their final rehearsals and preparations. We are also eagerly anticipating our Christmas Concert in Southwark Cathedral on Tuesday 6 December; details of which can be found here.

Last week’s Eco-themed week inspired us with important messages from our student Eco Champions, with initiatives such as the Clothes Swap and a focus on reducing food waste at lunch featuring prominently. It was a pleasure to welcome students and parents from Years 11 and 12 to our Oxbridge Support Evening on Wednesday and hear from our Oxbridge Coordinators, Miss Hubble and Mr Crowther, as well as external advice from Alicia Luba and Theo Boyce. I hope this newsletter also reveals the numerous other highlights of the past fortnight for you!

Let me end by saying thank you to our wonderful JPA for organising such an enjoyable Quiz Night for us on 11 November. The staff team will be working hard on their knowledge of the teen music scene in preparation for next year’s music round!

With best wishes

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary


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






Dominique Giovannoni,

Teacher of Religious Studies

I am delighted to join JAGS this year as part of the Religious Studies department. My first term has been a joy, I have felt so welcomed by the community. A particular highlight was accompanying Year 9 on a trip to PGL where my lovely group cheered me on as I attempted the leap of faith.

I come to JAGS from an academy in Mitcham where I taught Religious Studies and was Head of PSHE and Citizenship Studies. I studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Edinburgh and completed my masters dissertation on Modern Theology and Feminist Theology, an academic passion of mine!

I look forward to sharing my passion for Religious Studies in the classroom and getting to know the students and staff more as the year goes on.

Key Stage 3 Update

Last week, Years 7 and 8 enjoyed collaboration mornings with Dulwich College. This was the third time that Year 8 have taken part in such events, and the first time for Year 7! The overarching theme for both days was sustainability, which tied in with our Eco Week.

The Year 7 pupils that spent the morning at JAGS, worked on creating a living wall from used plastic milk bottles. They learnt about carbon capture and release and then decorated milk bottles which were then filled with plants and hung from palettes.

This living wall is to be placed somewhere in the school grounds to be enjoyed by all for years to come.

The pupils who went to Dulwich College made sculptures and water runs from discarded and waste materials, such as tyres. They had a great deal of fun and enjoyed viewing rubbish in a different way and giving it a new purpose.

Lucy Rose, Head of Year 7


  • Year 8 collaboration

    The Year 8 pupils that spent the morning here at JAGS learnt about how scientific innovations are contributing to the drive for sustainability.

    One of their tasks involved making a circuit which lit a bulb, but only once a marble – at the end of a run – completed a 15 second circuit.

    And at Dulwich College they learnt about innovative products that can replace plastic in many of its uses; they set about manufacturing one of these, from potatoes, which can be used to make, for example, disposable cutlery.

Key Stage 4 Update

Eco Week was brilliant for KS4. Our students particularly enjoyed the Clothes Swap and a day of no printing! We are grateful to all of the Eco Champions in KS4 who took time to present to the whole school.

This week, Year 11 students have enjoyed a tapas outing as well as the Oxbridge information evening. It is exciting to start thinking ahead about future choices and university destinations.

Year 11 have also had a briefing ahead of their January mock examinations, whilst it can seem daunting to think ahead about such things, I was keen to remind the cohort about the importance of maintaining a balance and continuing to enjoy extra-curricular activities and plenty of rest.

I have no doubt that the next two weeks will be busy and rewarding as we head towards the end of term.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

In the midst of sterling academic efforts and progress, the Sixth Form community is benefitting from a huge number of activities and events to support them through their post-JAGS destination decision making.

Alongside a well-attended trip to the Creative Industries and Media network event, Years 11 and 12 (along with their parents) attended a highly valuable and informative JAGS Oxbridge Support information evening on Wednesday.

With talks from our two Oxbridge Coordinators, Miss Hubble and Mr Crowther, our colleague from the Oxbridge Applications organisation – with whom we have formed a highly successful partnership – and our own JAGS Year 13 students.

Those attending commented on how comprehensive and helpful both the talks and the Q&A were. I would like to thank our Year 13s; Noor, Jenna, India and Hannah for their eloquent and engaging talks.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Interview prep

    The practice interviews have continued apace with over 70 Friends of JAGS interviews already conducted. The in-house and Foundation Schools departmental interviews are currently under way, together with the mock MMIs (multiple mini interviews) organised by Mr Wesson for the medics.

    We know our students feel really pleased with the constructive feedback – the ‘EBIs’(even better ifs) – from these exercises. As ever, we send all university applicants every good wish in the weeks ahead as they navigate their interviews and offer communications from the wide range of universities.

  • Community focus

    Academic progress and Higher Education decisions and applications are of course very important.

    But equally important are the range of community activities being led, organised and attended by the members of the Sixth Form community.

    Valuable for both their soft skill development and the beneficial impact on others and the wider community, we have seen so many examples of Sixth Form students ‘leaning in’ over the last few weeks.

    This week’s whole school assemblies have benefitted greatly from their involvement – with Zara discussing the work of the Equity and Respect student team and Inaya chairing an assembly delivered by ISOC (Islamic Society).

    On top of this; there are the ongoing rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Me & My Girl, the Autumn, Strings and VMT concerts, weekly mentoring sessions for Year 6s, listening to talks about the wider implications of drug consumption involving county lines and society leadership. We are proud of them all.

    Most importantly, each and every contribution to the community is underpinned by a sense of kindness, care and altruism.

Eco Week

Pupils enjoyed a host of activities celebrating the return of our annual Eco Week.

As always, our staff and students went above and beyond, throwing themselves into each initiative and getting into the spirit of sustainability.

Along with the collaborative events outlined earlier, highlights included:

  • A pair of thought-provoking assemblies from our Eco Champions on how the school can live more sustainability.
  • Eco Champions helping to deliver a demo of our on-site composter to visiting schools.
  • Our inventive catering staff introducing low carbon meals using produce grown in the JAGS gardens by our Incredible Edible club.
  • Weighing our food waste to set benchmarks on which to build.
  • A no printing day across the site.
  • A successful student Clothes Swap which gave new leases of life to hundreds of garments.
  • Hosting a pop-up no waste shop courtesy of nearby Jarr Market

Follow the links below to learn more about the week’s highlights from our Eco Champions and members of the Incredible Edible club:

  • Orna (Year 12) – Eco Champion

    My favourite Eco Week event was actually the collecting of food waste!

    The initiative was very gratifying. Firstly, the students would come over of their own accord, and were eager to find out how much they had wasted – some were even quite apologetic – but it was a good first step because it showed they were aware of their own impact and wanted to find out more and take accountability.

    Secondly, it meant we could talk to the students directly; they may have taken too much food and we could advise them on how to reduce their waste, or if they had finished their meals and we could congratulate them and encourage them to do it again. It was quite personal so it was useful for tackling some of their misconceptions and helping them to understand what they could do as an individual.

    Thirdly, the actual process was very visual so students could see (and were stunned by) their own waste, which might give them the incentive to try harder in the future.

    I also enjoyed presenting the assemblies because I think it’s really important to get our message out there, and maybe change some opinions and give a new perspective on the environment.

  • Shivi (Year 7) – Eco Champion

    My favourite event in Eco Week was when Jarr Market set up their pop-up stall in Holst Hall. It was interesting to learn how their products were eco-friendly and it felt great to buy something that is good for the planet. I think the assemblies were very good and people learnt a lot from them.

    It felt really good to showcase our ideas and I am planning on getting house plants for form rooms so that each form can have a plant.

  • Kayla (Year 7) – Eco Champion

    My favourite event was the Clothes Swap as I think it was super sustainable and a fun event that encouraged people not just to throw away old clothes, and also get some new ones.

    I enjoyed doing the Eco Week assemblies as it was important that we got our message out there and raised some ideas we had.

    I am hoping to introduce more sustainable food, such as locally grown and seasonal, but also provide more awareness so that people understand why it is important and feel they can do it at home.

  • Selina (Year 11) – Eco Champion

    I think the best event of Eco Week was the Clothes Swap. Not only was it super fun for everyone involved but it also helped us to be aware of reusing clothes instead of throwing them away. It was also the event that had the most engagement which is good and can become a yearly event.

    Honestly, the assemblies were really nerve-racking but a very good experience and something I would love to do again to build new skills and get used to talking in front of audiences more comfortably. It was also great sharing my opinions and thoughts with other people.

    It was also super fun to help with the composter. It felt amazing to spread the idea of recycling our food waste and to hopefully make it common in schools and communities. I also loved talking to new people and even made some friends out of it!

    I hope they enjoyed the experience and got to learn something new about composting  food waste.

  • Shiza (Year 7) – Incredible Edible

    Leading up to Eco Week, we harvested Jerusalem artichokes and kale from the botany gardens, and learnt about various other things, such as the equipment in the greenhouse.

    We then saw Incredible Edible turn into Incredible INEDIBLE last Wednesday when we took cuttings of ivy and learnt about its poisonous properties, as well as the different species of ivy.

    We did this so that the Year 7s staying at JAGS during the collaboration day with Dulwich College could plant ivy for the living wall (sadly, I couldn’t see this in action as I was visiting DC at the time).

    You may not have noticed but there is actually a lot of ivy growing around trees in the forest-like area between the DT department and the greenhouse.

    Incredible Edible is a wonderful club and it would be great to welcome you along any day you can make it!

Society Spotlight

African Caribbean Society

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.

First-up, we have the African Caribbean Society (ACS).

It has already been a busy term for ACS! The society’s Sixth Form leaders delivered a brilliant assembly on the Bristol Bus Boycott as the school marked the start of Black History Month and each week they can be found leading wide-ranging discussions between pupils of all year groups.

Below, Maria, Beulah, Chanelle, Fareedah and Rachel explain the importance of ACS, the thinking behind their recent assembly and exciting plans for the future.

ACS meets at 12.50pm every Wednesday in Room 12.

  • ‘It enabled us to establish a safe space’

    Primarily, joining the society was important because it enabled us to establish a safe space and a legacy within our community for future generations of Black students, not just today’s.

    We wanted to join the society because we see educating about African-Caribbean culture beyond the school curriculum as a vital aspect of our education. This is because it has helped us solidify our own sense of identity within the school community.

    Joining ACS allowed us to make connections with African and Caribbean students across different year groups. This has enriched our  experience and strengthened our sense of community across year groups which wouldn’t otherwise mix.

    Finally, we wanted to join the society as it gave us the opportunity to assume a leadership position as Sixth Form students. This places us in a role that younger Black students can aspire to become which is a great privilege.

  • ‘Sense of community’

    One of the things that we enjoy most about ACS is the sense of community.

    Although we include all year groups the age gap is never something that has been an issue as everyone is always very keen to get involved in discussions.

    Everyone feels comfortable enough to express their own view points and contribute to discussions.

    On top of this, the vibes of ACS will always be something we will remember. Each week we seem to grow closer as a group even though before we started most of us didn’t know a lot of the members.

    One final thing that we enjoy about ACS is that we are able to have very serious discussions but also have a laugh and both of these things, for me, make ACS feel more inclusive. Each week we work to achieve a group discussion of different topic areas all the way from ‘Notting Hill Carnival ‘ and ‘Black influences on fashion’ all the way up to ‘Black Education’ and ‘Black people in healthcare’.

    Through discussing these we also hope to educate the members of ACS and in turn be educated ourselves through their viewpoints and contributions.

  • ‘Listening and learning’

    We would love that any JAGS student who feels as though they would like to have a sense of community and representation in their African or Caribbean culture should feel welcome to join!

    Our society is composed of a wide mix of students from the diaspora – from Ghana to Jamaica to Egypt – who are all keen to listen and learn from the experiences of others.

    And most importantly, we want to stress that the African-Caribbean society is a safe space and open to the entire African and Caribbean JAGS community.

  • Black History Month

    When thinking about what we wanted to include in the Black History Month assembly, we really had to consider the message that we wanted to send and what we were trying to achieve through the assembly.

    Primarily, we were focused on educating and informing the school community on the experiences of Black British people. Thus, we concluded on The Bristol Bus Boycott as the topic of our assembly.

    When putting the assembly together we tried to make it as easy to understand as possible, so, in that moment, the school community was able to appreciate what The Bristol Bus Boycott was and the hardship that Black people faced leading up to it, but also the liberation that they must have felt during it.

    Therefore, on presenting our assembly to the school, we were filled with a sense of pride at being able to convey such an important experience to the JAGS school community clearly.

  • Future plans

    Restarting the African Caribbean Society is just the start of way more things to come.

    The weekly sessions are just the beginning of what we hope will be a timeless celebration of our culture in JAGS.

    As it is only early days, most of our future plans are still in the works such as: fashion shows; food celebrations and an international evening inspired by Dulwich College, which will of course showcase all other cultures around the world.

    We hope to lead more assemblies with not just the Sixth Form leaders but the student members in secondary school also.

    Lastly, we are particularly interested in planning and suggesting educational trips that will enlighten and inspire all students in the school.

    Personally speaking, we are immensely warmed and encouraged by the progress JAGS has made in celebrating diverse cultures and pleased that we can have our own impact and influence and hope that even beyond our time at JAGS the club continues to run with bigger and better ideas.


The Fourth Plinth competition

The Fourth Plinth is one of the world’s most famous public art commissions, amassing huge public interest and showcasing the work of leading artists from around the globe.

Year 9 have been focusing on the theme of ‘messages’ during Art lessons this term, with students given the opportunity to consider how artists challenge ideas and encourage important discussion through sculpture.

Every class were tasked with creating their own message and visually translating their ideas into a collaboratively made sculpture, inspired by previous commissions.

Each Art teacher has been incredibly impressed by the dedication and maturity shown by each class, as they sensitively approached issues such as gender inequality, female safety and global warming.

  • And the winner is . . .

    Over 8 weeks, students planned and carefully constructed their sculptures using only cardboard as material.

    On Thursday 17 November, Mrs Hutchinson, Mr Chappell and Mr O’Dwyer were asked to judge the works, which were beautifully exhibited within the Holst Hall.

    Using specific judging criteria, it was decided that class 9R1 produced the winning sculpture with their piece titled With The World On Our Shoulders and classes 9D1 and 9C2 were joint runners up with, Why Am I Scared To Walk In The Dark? and One Step Too Many.

    On behalf of the Art Department, I would like to say a huge thank you to every year 9 student involved with this. You have done yourselves proud.

  • With The World On Our Shoulders

    With The World On Our Shoulders
    By 9R1

    How many people of colour do you think are actively representing us in today’s parliament?


    10 ?

    Shockingly, it’s even less than that.


    9R1 believe that this statistic is outrageous.
    We as a community should not let this stand. That is why we decided to make our plinth a statement against the injustice of the society we live in.

    The classical architecture of our plinth represents the outdated, prejudiced ideas of our society both in the past and the present and the lack of change and individuality that we see in our authority figures. The people beneath the plinth represent the fact that everyone in society works hard to keep it afloat and the fact that the politicians don’t care enough about us to help us in our struggle.

    However, the effort of the people to hold up our society is pointless if people are still not represented. The cracks show the damage done to our society due to the lack of diversity in our figures of authority. Overall, all the effort that humanity put in to keep the world turning could be pointless if we don’t start trying to instigate change.



Year 7 model cell competition

This term, our wonderful Year 7 biology students were challenged to make the most creative and informative cell models they could.

We were blown away by the results, from cakes to keyrings, Lego to illuminating shoe boxes, each entry went above and beyond, allowing pupils’ individuality to take centre stage.

Mrs Hutchinson faced the difficult task of picking the top entry. And while it was a tough decision to make, in the end Bethany (7K) was crowned as the well-deserving winner for her excellent pickle-inspired plant cell model.

Congratulations Bethany!








Russian cooking workshop

Last week, the Year 8 Russian class took part in a cooking workshop. We had two tasks and split into teams. The first task was to make Russian Caramel Profiteroles and the second was to make Apple Cake. One of the interesting things that until then I didn’t realise was that Russian eggs and tablespoons were smaller.

We found out when a team tried to add a whole tablespoon of baking soda into their mix before Ms Wesson stopped them!

In the recipe, you were meant to add five or six eggs but following Ms Wesson’s advice, our team only added four and the profiteroles turned out to be delicious! Overall, it was really fantastic, and we all were very grateful to Ms Wesson for the workshop.

Arabella, Year 8


We are very excited to announce that final rehearsals are well under way for our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which opens next Wednesday.

Our production concept this year has been hugely inspired by Titania’s “These are the forgeries of jealousy” speech and how strongly it resonates with contemporary manifestations of climate change.

In order to strive to be more sustainable in the drama department and yet still create theatrical magic, everything that is used in costume and set design terms this year, has been reused, recycled and repurposed from our existing stock.

Our students have been delighted to work and collaborate with Helen Adie and Elizabeth Macfarlane on costume design, to manifest the quirky and fantastical world of our play.

Joanna Billington, Director of Drama 

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