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26th May 2023: Issue 44

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

The past five weeks have flown by, amidst a flurry of Bank Holidays, a Coronation, an extraordinary array of events here at JAGS, a lot of rain … and now we find ourselves heading into a sunny Half Term break. We are so proud of our Year 11 and Year 13 students who are working their way through their GCSE and A Level exams; Year 10 are also focused on their assessments and I hope the coming week will bring a good balance of rest and revision for you.

For our remaining four year groups in the Senior School, their internal exams and assessments are over, so there is plenty of time for relaxation this week. As ever, the second half of the Summer Term will be extremely busy and culminates in our celebratory Founder’s Events – with Founder’s Assembly, Founder’s Day and the Founder’s Concert all in the final stretch of term. I have written separately today with the initial outline for these events and will write with full details in the second half of term.

It has been a pleasure to host our Parents’ Forums over the past fortnight for all year groups. Thank you to those parents who have attended; it was super to be able to share information of progress with our School Strategic Development Plan, alongside hearing from Heads of Year and Heads of Section on the activities and opportunities for each year group. I hope the Q&A sessions also proved useful for you, and if there are any questions arising from our discussions, please do contact any member of the year group or leadership teams.

As ever, there has been a huge amount going on in school for the past three weeks – wellbeing week, inter-house chess competition and the annual Alumnae Lunch to name just three highlights – and I hope you enjoy reviewing the full range in this week’s newsletter.

Over Half Term, our exciting project on the transformation of the Holst Hall begins and we have written separately with an update on this project. We are grateful for everyone’s understanding that there will be some disruption to routine in the second half of term, and that the benefits of the newly designed space will far outweigh any temporary upheaval!

With best wishes for a super Half Term,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 29 May – Friday 2 June – Half Term
  • Tuesday 6 June – Year 7 Religious Studies & History trip to Rochester
  • Wednesday 7 June – Friday 9 June – Year 12 Biology Field Trip
  • Monday 12 June – Year 9 Geography trip to East London
  • Tuesday 13 June – Year 10 & 12 Classics trip to Ashmolean Museum
  • 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 have come to the end of their assessment period. They have been fantastic throughout this time and deserve to have a restful and relaxing Half Term. We have so much to look forward to in the next six weeks and with the improvement in the weather we can really enjoy the wonderful surroundings here at JAGS.

Today all KS3 students have been involved in The Big House Bash. It has been a sunny day full of laughter and celebration.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

  • Section Assembly

    Last week in our Section Assembly, it was wonderful to have a reading from the Qur’an – delivered so beautifully by Radwa in Year 9 – as well as Christian teachings about Rogation Day and Hindu lessons about being guardians and stewards of our planet. The Year 7 girls involved spoke with real clarity and confidence and my thanks go to Ava, Iris, Rishika and Saanvi for their input into the assembly.

  • School Prefects

    KS3 were introduced to the new School Prefects who have just been elected and they encouraged our section to consider the following idea:

    Your mind is a garden,

    Your thoughts are the seeds.

    You can grow flowers or

    You can grow weeds.

    As we see the fabulous flowers bloom this summer, I hope that they will think about this and endeavour to think about the good seeds that are growing and establishing themselves in our minds and hearts. These seeds could be things like kindness, love, peace, joy and thoughtfulness.

    Have a wonderful Half Term break.

Key Stage 4 Update

We had a wonderful last day with Year 11, just before they commenced their study leave – highlights included an array of spectacular musical performances, from Queen to The Killers, and a memorable last assembly led by the form captains. We could not be prouder of them, and now that Year 11 have begun their GCSEs, their positivity and kindness has continued to shine through.

Year 10 have likewise begun their end of year assessments, but we made sure to round off the first week with a much-needed day off. We enjoyed a delicious brunch followed by bowling, and it was great for Year 10 to take a moment to relax with friends just before the Half Term break.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

The ‘Wild West’ events of Friday 12 May were a wonderful way for Year 13 to celebrate their last day of lessons before they embarked on study leave and public examinations. They started with a student-led leavers’ assembly in the Copper Beech café outside space at which they laughed, cried, cheered, cried, shouted and cried some more. The Head Girl team gave a lovely speech, complete with a poem written and performed by Gaby. It was as funny and intelligent as it was moving.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Inflatable Paradise

    After a few lessons, the Class of 23 enjoyed the chance to reminisce over their form songs from Years 7 and 8, before heading off to a lovely lunch in the Holst Hall. They then bounced their cares away in the VWA as it was transformed into an inflatable paradise, complete with very loud music and disco lights.

    Tired, happy (and sad), we said goodbye mid-afternoon and wished them well on their onwards journey (not before replacing a few errant clocks, taken from classrooms earlier in the day!).

    Of course, there is so much more to come for this crowd and we have seen many of them back in school since then, either taking their A level papers or using the study facilities. We look forward to spending time with the cohort as a whole for the Life Beyond JAGS Day (26 June) and Leavers’ Day (27 June).

  • Role models

    Thus far, during the start of the public exams, Year 13 have been so impressive in their organisation and timeliness. They have acted as wonderful role models to Year 12 as they take on the mantle of role models in the school.

    The new Head Girl team have started leading school council meetings with aplomb, the School Prefect team have met the year groups they are supporting and have embarked on their lunchtime community support duty rota, and the House Captain team (what can we say about them!?), they have been phenomenal in their organisation of the Big House Bash event taking place on Friday afternoon: dedicated, hardworking, persuasive and fun.

  • Other highlights

    Elsewhere, the Year 12 Student and Parents’ information evening was abuzz with excitement and has triggered much purposeful discussion to address any key issues revealed by the end of year assessments. Pupils have also participated in many trips, such as the Women of the Future event at Lord’s Cricket Ground – a unique initiative that connects Women of the Future and Asian Women of Achievement Awards alumnae (ambassadors) with Sixth Form students.

Students Heads for the Day

Last year’s Founder’s Day saw two JAGS students win the opportunity to rule the school and become Head for the Day.

Naavya (Year 10) and Myfanwy’s (Year 12) long-awaited day in power finally arrived earlier this term.

From department meetings and deep dives through our archives to Coronation cake, follow the LINK to learn how the day unfolded.





Greenhouse Sports

Huge congratulations to the JAGS Charity Club for raising £340 for Greenhouse Sports through recent netball matches against JAGS staff and Dulwich College.

Greenhouse Sports delivers intensive sports coaching and mentoring to young people from disadvantaged communities.

A special mention must go to Polly and Emily (both Year 13) who organised both matches!

Wellbeing & Mental Health Awareness Week

Last week, JAGS proudly supported Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 – an initiative which highlights the importance of achieving good mental health and this year focused on anxiety.

Reflecting on the special events and workshops staged across the week, Paul O’Dwyer (Deputy Head People), said: “The guiding principle of this year’s Wellbeing and Mental Health Awareness Week was community and connection: activities and opportunities were organised in an otherwise normal week at JAGS which bring people together, and help them enjoy the school site afresh. JAMHFA leaders from Year 12 delivered their tips for positive wellbeing at Monday’s assembly, form times saw a range of Ted talks and discussions, and staff began lessons with breathing exercises or a quick ‘check in’ moment to recognise each individual before commencing study.”




  • Continued . . .

    “Popular events at Rec and lunch were the Just Dance! drop-in every Rec, (which by popular demand will now take place once a Half Term for a whole lunchtime), stone painting, knitting, silk painting, ‘Do nothing’ club and many more.

    As the weather brightened, girls made good use of a refreshed set of outdoor games in the Holst Hall courtyard, which saw students and staff competing at giant Connect 4 and Jenga, or playing table tennis on the bridge.”

  • Stand-out hit

    “Perhaps the unexpected stand-out hit of the week was the giant outdoor bean bags on site throughout the week. They allowed students to relax and enjoy the gardens, courtyards and many open spaces we are so lucky to spend our days in, and has prompted some positive conversations about how we can plan to use our site imaginatively in the years to come.”


Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership

Since 2003, Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP) has been at the forefront of local school collaboration. Recently the SSLP Music Hub was formed building on momentum from SSLP Gospel Choir Night 2019 held here at JAGS in our very own Community Music Centre!

We all remember how singing in groups was severely affected in the pandemic so it was with huge joy that SSLP schools picked up the Gospel Choir idea again earlier this year and held an extremely impactful Gospel Choir Day run by the SSLP Music Hub, with our all-age student-led JAGS Gospel Choir taking part effectively.

This term, there have been two SSLP Music Hub initiatives, the first one primarily focusing on KS4 year groups through a workshop on one of the GCSE Music set works –Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5 (3rd movement). Ashley Solomon, a Baroque flautist and ‘Professor of Historical Performance’ from the Royal College of Music, came to the VWA and coached our musicians in the dark arts of how to play in a completely Baroque style – such a different manner of playing from what one might consider to be normal!

Peter Gritton, Director of Music 



  • Hear the results

    You can hear the results of the workshop in the recorded snippet below with extracts from a Concerto Grosso by Handel and the opening of the Brandenburg movement. Pupils from Charter North, Dulwich College and JAGS either played in the ensemble or listened attentively in the audience.

  • Songwriting workshop

    A few days later, our very own Sara, Pascale and Marla (a Year 8 pop group) headed over to Charter North to take part in a KS3 creative day of performing and songwriting. Six SSLP schools participated in this session which explored a range of musical skills ranging from how to generate a song collaboratively as a team right through to, simply, how to perform brilliantly together. Four professional coaches helped eke out all the performers’ creative juices in a fantastic day that showed exactly how music is the magical, indefinable concoction of technical expertise and pure inspiration.

    So much is learnt by getting together with others and sharing ideas in an encouraging, open-minded environment. Long may these collaborative initiatives continue… Look out for the SSLP Big Band Day in the VWA at the end of June!


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

Follow the tabs below to find out more:


  • Thinking about . . . Medicine & Creative Writing

    At an SSLP event this term, JAGS students had the opportunity to hear from Adam Kay about his work as a doctor, the writing of his best-selling  book This is Going to Hurt and his ongoing career.

    Eliana (Year 10), said: 

    “I wanted to hear him talk because of his realistic experience and unique perspective on working in medicine as a junior doctor, so even though I wouldn’t want to subject myself to working on the front line I’m glad for the opportunity to explore that and learn about it.”

    Alhena (Year 10), said

    “I think that the second half of this talk really helped me get a better understanding of Medicine and its pros and cons. I was already unsure on whether I wanted to do medicine at university, and now because of this talk, I find it quite unlikely that this is the case. This made it helpful in my eyes and now I have narrowed down my options. Overall, I found the speaker quite entertaining and the whole event was nice, giving me the opportunity to meet other people with similar interests.”

  • Careers Committee Talk

    On Monday, Jimena (Year 12) hosted a Careers Committee Talk: The Future is Female with Paris Fawcett at Code First Girls.

    Attended by pupils in Year 10 and 12, the talk highlighted how vital tech skills are for future employment, the work that Code First Girls are doing to close the gender gap by providing free training and the future career opportunities available for women and non-binary individuals.


  • So you want to be an Energy Specialist?

    On Thursday 18 May, KS3 students attended an optional lunchtime session organised by the SSLP.

    The guest speakers were Helena Scanlan, Energy Retail & Networks consultant and Sam Badamchi, Energy Transition Expert. The two energy specialists talked about their careers and potential future opportunities for young graduates. JAGS students engaged with the questions and answer session, most of which focused around the global goal to reach net-zero and thinking about what we can do to make a different in this regard.

  • Speed Mentoring Event

    During the Easter Holiday, students attended the Wings of Hope Careers Speed Mentoring Event where they had the opportunity to speak to employers and employees in careers ranging including Medicine, Marketing & Communications, Mechanical Engineering, Design & Fashion, Finance, Law, Technology & Aerospace, Digital Health Care & Business, Music & Business, Journalism & Writing.

    Arabella (Year 10), said: 

    “I thought it was a really amazing opportunity to learn about various careers. I most enjoyed the advice given about work experience and A-levels.”

  • Project celebration

    JAGS students from Years 7 to 10 have been collaborating with students from three other SSLP schools on projects that will make their schools more sustainable.

    At the Student Voice Project Celebration event, Thea, Kayla, Chelsea and Jayna presented with other team members to launch their finished projects to the SSLP community.

    The ‘Re-project’ aimed to encourage students to swap books and clothes thus improving sustainability by reducing items sent to landfill. Orna, a JAGS Eco Champion,  co-hosted the event and Thea, our SSLP Student Ambassador, did a fantastic job co-ordinating her team. The judges praised the team and their presentation and commented that the project was a great initiative that could be implemented in schools. A great achievement – well done!

  • Women of the Future

    Earlier this week, four Year 12 students attended the fantastic  Women of the Future Ambassadors Reception at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

    The WOF programme, in association with TSB, is a unique initiative that connects Women of the Future and Asian Women of Achievement Awards alumnae (ambassadors) with Sixth Form students. The aim is to provide mentors and role models to strengthen the pipeline of talent among Britain’s younger women.



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 Incredible Edibles club!

The club, led by our Botany Gardens Manager Mrs Rendel, meets each week to learn more about the fantastic produce grown here at JAGS, the wildlife that shares the school grounds and lend a hand to the restoration of our 1.25 acres of Botany Gardens.

Below, Vishali (Year 7), provides an insight into the aspects of the club she has enjoyed most so far:


  • ‘Each bed is buzzing with wildlife’

    “In 1896, teacher and botanist Lilian Clarke set up the Botany Gardens here at JAGS.

    “Her aim was to create a diverse patchwork of habitats for the pupils to study. Over the years however, the habitats were taken over by brambles and weeds.

    “Each bed is buzzing with wildlife. Sprawling brambles offer a home for birds, the jewel-bright tulips are a food source for pollinators, and earthworms trawl through beds of freshly turned earth.

    “Every week brings something exciting and new, as well as the feisty robin that comes to rummage in the soil for a worm.

    “So far, we have planted tomatoes, marigolds, broad beans, beetroots, raspberries, potatoes, tomatoes, and so much more. We sampled different teas made from camomile, lemon balm, goosegrass and dandelion coffee.

    “I have had many wonderful experiences here in Incredible Edibles and I will definitely be joining again in Year 8.”


Botany Gardens through time

With the spotlight on the activities of the Incredible Edibles club, we had an excuse to dive into the JAGS archive and take another look at these brilliant photos, taken between 1902 and 1915.

The gardens have been a key fixture life at JAGS for generations and, after some time in the wilderness, work is well under way to restore them back to their former glory!




To celebrate the world-renowned French cuisine, a team of Year 12 pupils studying the language tried their hand at creating their own three course menu.

Maddie, Phoebe and Poppy made delicious croque monsieur with a proper béchamel sauce from scratch.

Bethan and Lily-Rose made a fabulous and healthy salade niçoise.

And to finish, Emma and Mary made mouth-watering palmiers à la cannelle.

No doubt MasterChef awaits!


House Chess

After three weeks of fierce competition the winners of the JAGS House Chess Competition have been crowned:

Huge congratulations to Desenfans!

(And a special thank you to Dr Lee for the impromptu organ performance to celebrate the victory.)




CCF – Cambrian Patrol Weekend

Last weekend, four JAGS RAF cadets joined fellow Combined Cadet Force (CCF) members from Dulwich College to take part in the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise.

The team, which featured Year 10s Sofia and Emilia, along with Year 13s Agnes and Polly, were selected to represent the 60 London CCFs.

Congratulations to the team who performed incredibly well and earned a Gold Medal in recognition of their efforts.

For a full run down of how the weekend unfolded, read Sofia’s round up HERE



  • Best Commander Award

    Special congratulations to Polly (Year 13), who was awarded the Best Commander prize for her leadership, care and attention to detail.


We have enjoyed an incredibly busy Half Term of sport, improved by the sunshine that we have finally started to see come through over the past couple of weeks. Fingers crossed this continues after the May Half Term.

The second half of the Summer Term will be equally busy, with the highlight of the school year for many pupils, Sports Day happening towards the end of June. The pupils have been working hard in their Sports lessons on their athletics events and we are looking forward to seeing all pupils participate and represent their houses.

Follow the tabs below to learn of the latest achievements in each field:

Michael Golding, Director of Sport


  • Interhouse Sport

    Interhouse sport was its usual competitive high energy self, with Year 9 kicking off the Summer Term sports. For the first time ever, we held a rock climbing section which received really good feedback from the pupils and will become a regular fixture in the diary going forwards. Other sports on offer were cricket and tennis. All competitions were very close, with just a small number of points separating all four houses, however, it was Desenfans that came through with the overall win in Year 9. Years 7, 8 and 10 will get their chance to lock horns after the Half Term break .

  • Cricket

    For the first time this year, we entered the Under 18 National 100 Ball Cup and after a nail biting run chase against Alleyn’s, we progressed to the next round. Unfortunately, Epsom College were just a little too good for us on the day and they won despite some excellent fielding from our pupils to take the match down to the final few balls. Our Under 18 team this year has been made up of primarily Key Stage 3 pupils, so this experience will only stand them in good stead as they progress in their cricketing careers and we will be back stronger next year. The Under 18 team also progressed in the first round of the National Cup competition, travelling away to play Forest School, we successfully chased down their total of 153 for 7, with Year 8 pupil September top scoring in this fixture with a match winning contribution of 79*. Unfortunately, Shenfield beat us in Round 2, so our hard ball cup interest is over for the year.

  • Water Polo

    In our maiden year of playing competitive Water Polo, our U13s progressed from the regional round, qualifying second in their pool, to take their place in the National Finals. The finals were of an incredibly high standard and showed our pupils the level they need to get to, to be able to compete on a National scale. After disappointingly losing both group matches, the team put on an improved performance in the 5th / 6th place play off. The team took an early lead and then after falling behind levelled their play-off match right at the end, only to narrowly lose on penalties. However, a 6th place finish at the Nationals in our first year of competitive play gives us hope that we can progress and improve next year.

  • Tennis

    For the first time, we have entered the Year 7/8 and Year 9/10 LTA Tennis competition with both A and B teams, playing local schools in Division 2. We have had a very successful start to the tennis season, losing just one fixture and with one group match left, both the A and B teams from each age group are looking likely to progress to the elimination rounds. On Friday 19th we hosted our first ever Parent and Pupils Doubles Cup and had 36 pairs enter the competition. We had the best evening of high-quality tennis and good conversation, boiling down to a very tough final, which was between Year 7 pupil Olivia and her mum vs Year 8 pupil Rania and her dad. The final was as tense as you could imagine, with Olivia and her mum taking an early lead 2-0, Rania and her dad fought back and we eventually had a tie break to win the Championship. Olivia and her mum took the win 10-8 and are our first ever champions of the Parent and Pupil Doubles Cup.


  • Athletics

    A busy Half Term for our athletes with a number of meets and competitions entered. A big well done to the pupils who competed on Saturday 13 May at the first ever Foundation Athletics meet, held at Dulwich College. A team of nearly 30 JAGS pupils showcased their abilities and we are now looking forward to growing and expanding this event over the coming years.
    Congratulations are due for the Year 7 / 8 Track and Field Cup team, who successfully qualified from the regional heats held at Tooting Bec Athletics Track and will now take their place in the London Final, to be held at Watford Arena on Monday 19 June.

    Even bigger congratulations are in order for Year 8 pupil Emilia, who broke the Year 8 school shot put record, with a massive throw of 10.69m.
    A small team of Year 9 pupils also travelled to Lee Valley Sports Centre to compete in the Combined Events competition and we are still waiting on the results of this competition at the time of writing.

  • External successes

    • Swimming

    Congratulations to both Elsa (Year 11) and Delyth (Year 9), who have qualified for the English Swimming Finals.

    • Football

    Izzy (Year 7) and her football team Broomwood Swans successfully won the U12 Capital Girls League Cup final 4-0 against local rivals Actonians, with Izzy even managing to score two goals in the first half to give her team a platform to go on and secure the victory.

    As always, please continue to send sporting successes and stories to myself and the PE Department, we love hearing about and promoting sport and exercise, both in school and with everything the pupils are achieving outside of school.

JAGS Alumnae Association

Record sign up for Class of 2023

The Class of 2023 achieved a record sign-up of 96% to the JAGS Alumnae Association (JAA).

To celebrate the occasion, Donut Day arrived at the school, much to the delight of Year 13 and staff alike.

All those who signed up were entered into a Sally Hawkins-themed prize draw, in honour of the JA whose birthday coincided with the event.

  • Prize winners

    • 1st Prize – Daisy

    Two tickets to Dulwich Picture House

    • 2nd Prize – India

    A large Paddington Bear

    • 3rd Prize – Katherine

    A smaller Paddington Bear

  • What is the JAA?

    The JAGS Alumnae Association is a global alumnae community of over 7,000 former students.

    Benefits include, but are not limited to:

    • Class reunions
    • Professional industry networking events
    • Access to careers resources
    • A dedicated website featuring the latest school and alumnae news
    • Subscription to our annual magazine To Read & So
  • For more information . . .

    To find out more about JAA please email Karen.Doyle@jags.org.uk

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