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27th May: Issue 27

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

As we emerge at the end of this week ready for a half term break, it is wonderful to reflect on the vibrancy of the school this term and the extraordinary buzz of a school living its fullest life after so many terms of pandemic-led disruption. It really has been a joy to be part of.

A quick race around the activities of the past three weeks saw us bid a temporary fond farewell to our Year 11 and Year 13 students, who are now on study leave. We enjoyed celebrating their final days of lessons with them, and wish them every success in the GCSE and A Level exams. Our students in Years 7 to 10 are also preparing for internal assessments, and I do hope that they have found a good balance of sensible preparation and space to relax and unwind in this busy week.

While our Year 12 students of English headed off to Dorset for a literary weekend, the school was filled with alumnae for our annual Alumnae Lunch; it was a pleasure to welcome back our Old Girls from across the decades, and the Holst Hall was filled with laughter, memories and stories. Meanwhile we welcomed our newest prospective students to our Year 5 taster Event, where they enjoyed grappling with Philosophy and Science, and having a taste of life here at JAGS.

The Houses have been as busy as ever, and congratulations to Clarke for their victory in the Senior House Music competition. Inter-House chess was a great success, and it was lovely to see the students sharing a relaxed lunch together across the year groups in their Houses last week.

This half of term rounds up with our Platinum Jubilee tea party this afternoon, before the community heads off on a well-deserved break. I hope those preparing for exams have a fulfilling week, and I wish safe travels to all those heading away to recharge their batteries. We look forward to seeing our students back in school on Tuesday 7 June.

With best wishes

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Sunday 19 June 6pm  – JAGS Community Summer Concert
  • Tuesday 21 June –  Thursday 23 June 7pm   – Year 7 and 8 Show
  • Friday 24 June 7pm – Friday Night Live
  • Saturday 2 July – 9.30am- 2pm Founder’s Day
  • Tuesday 5 July 7pm – Founder’s Concert

Reporting Absences

A reminder that the system for absences has changed earlier this year 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

In our news this week I am delighted to introduce two new colleagues, Paul O’Dwyer, our new Deputy Head People, and Michael Preston, Teacher of Physics.

In partnership and collaboration news, it is wonderful to see how brilliantly our modern foreign linguists have worked with the students in our Pre-Prep (find out more below). More widely, students have enjoyed listening to talks on working in conservation, wild crimes and reggaetón through the Southwark Schools Learning Partnership. JAGS was also invited to help paint some large banners for Water Aid, who we have been raising money for and awareness of for over 20 years, to be displayed at Glastonbury festival this year. It has been great to work with some of our talented Year 7 and 8 artists and designers on the designs!

Finally, one of the most wonderful things about JAGS is spotting the students absorbed into their activities while you stroll around the school. This week I saw the Year 7 Macrame club students making their lovely spider plant macrame holders!

Welcome to Paul O’Dwyer.

It is a great privilege to join JAGS as Deputy Head People and I am thrilled to be in post, tasked with leading and developing the pastoral life of the school. Since joining (May 16th), I have sought to be in lessons, corridors, assemblies, common rooms and form times as much as possible; I believe that good leadership comes from understanding the culture and people who make up an institution as much as from understanding its policies and governance. JAGS brims with energy and enthusiasm, as shown through the final days of Year 13 curriculum, the Head Girls’ first School Council, all the ideas and contributions in lessons which I have been able to watch and participate in, (Year 7 song – “The Bare Necessities” – I’m thinking of you!), and the ubiquitous friendship and support which students visibly provide to others each day. Although an English teacher by background and until recently serving four years as Assistant Head – Head of Middle School at St Dunstan’s College, I am delighted to be teaching PSHCE this term and have had some fascinating conversations already. My thanks go to Sam Payne, who has supported the school and me during the handover process with meticulous care, and everyone who has welcomed me so warmly. Finally, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in our upcoming school events this term and getting to know this wonderful community in the years to come. 



Last Monday 16th May some of our lovely Y10 linguists went to the Pre-Prep to officially launch the Pre-Prep International Week.  Each of the six Pre-Prep groups had the joy to be taught by our Year 10s. The cultural workshops include some origami, Spanish festivals and food, Italian culture and the ultimate guide to the Tour de France. There was language learning, dancing, dressing up and a lot fun! A new competition was also announced: JAGS MFL poster competition “Design your own…”. The challenge: design your own pizza, design your own kimono, design your own bike and design your own flamenco dress. We are looking forward to receiving all entries before the end of the half-term. It was indeed a morning of collaboration and sharing of the love of language learning between JAGS girls of all ages.


Key Stage 3 Update

KS3 have been working hard towards their end of year assessments. There has been a buzz of feverish activity around the halls in recent days and it has been wonderful to hear girls revising together, testing each other and sharing their knowledge. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their hard work and application to these assessments. They have truly deserved their half term rest.

On Friday afternoon, we came together to celebrate the reign of a woman who embodies the ideas of duty and service. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee gave us chance to celebrate as a community and to eat lots of cake.

I would like to wish all of KS3 a very happy and restful half term break. I look forward to seeing you on your return to school on Tuesday 7th June for more fun, learning, days out and activities.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

Key Stage 4 Update

On Thursday 12 May, Year 11 came into school for a final morning before study leave officially began. The last two years have meant that our opportunities to gather together have been limited, so this time together felt extra special. We all enjoyed a delicious brunch with some of our Year 11 musicians providing some musical entertainment: some planned and some impromptu, and a bit of a whole year group singalong! The morning ended with an assembly led by our form captains and more musical performances. The form captains spoke about the last two years spent together and there may have been a few tears: after all, it’s been quite a journey!  Special thanks must go to Miss Thomson and the form tutor team who have shown so much care and kindness towards the cohort. We are ridiculously proud of all our Year 11 students.

Year 10 have now begun their assessments, and we are encouraging them to focus on processes rather than outcomes. It is so important to get into good study habits now, and to ensure that there is balance in all that we do. We spoke to the whole Year 10 cohort about making sure they take time out from their revision schedules for rest and relaxation. Please do encourage your daughters to follow our advice throughout the Half Term break!

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

To say that this half term has flown by feels like a huge understatement. The Sixth Form community have been involved in so many activities with such success and joy that it seems incredible that the Easter holidays were less than 5 weeks ago! Last week Year 13 had their last ever lessons at JAGS and the week of fun included themes of pink, school uniform, icons and goth, culminating in a day of Disney and Peter Pan fun during which there was an emotional Head Girl assembly, Form song re-visited, many memorable tunes, dubious dancing, a Leavers’ lunch and an hour of fun on varied inflatables in a VWA party.

Sixth Form students have enjoyed a variety of experiences outside school such as the English trip to Lulworth Cove, the Art trip to St Ives, a visit to the Supreme Court and attending the Muon Project CosmicCon event at Queen Mary University. A big thank you to the teachers who have relished being able to take students on trips again!

Student success continues to flourish on the Sixth Form journey and we were delighted that Emma and Jhenica received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Buckingham Palace. We were very pleased for Niki who was commended for her participation in the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators for her excellence in German. Through tenacity, perseverance and clear academic potential, Esme in Year 12 has secured a place on the prestigious Senior Physics Challenge course at Cambridge University. The residential course, taking place in Churchill College, will focus on Quantum Physics and problem solving. In order to win her place Esme completed 570 problems on the Isaac Physics website. And we have all marvelled at “The Year 12 Herald” edited by Daisy with feature articles from Year 12 students. This enjoyable read can be found on the school website.

Everyone in the Sixth Form Community has been working really hard over the last 5 weeks and we hope that, despite the continued or upcoming exams, students are able to take some time to rest and have fun over the half term period, ready to thrive on the challenges ahead.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form


We are delighted to share a recording of the Music Scholars’ Recital, held at St Bride’s Fleet Street a couple of months ago and released online in mid-May. Music scholars have a leadership role within the vibrant musical life of the school but here, 8 of them had the opportunity to hone their skills as soloists, which both sharpens their musical tools and serves as a huge fillip to self-confidence. Thence the knock-on benefit to all those who participate in the musical life of the school is huge; this was seen recently in the Senior House Music competition which required a significant amount of skilled musical preparation, led by senior music scholars and Sixth Form musicians. An arrangement of the set song Scarborough Fair had to be made by each house as well as adaptations of their other song choices, including a part-song and a showstopper. Congratulations to Clarke for being the overall winner this year but a big well done to all 70 performers across the whole competition, pictured here!


Firstly, a huge well done to our JAGS Rowing Team! Another historic event, competing in the Ball Cup South for the school’s first ever official British Rowing event, held at Eton Dorney. Their commitment to training has been fantastic, and they have certainly inspired the younger years with their achievements so far this season, along with modelling their brand-new JAGS rowing kit! Well done to Caitlin for representing the school in the WJ17 singles, and to Kaat and Caoimhe who competed in the WJ16 doubles event. We are so proud of all you have achieved this year!

Congratulations to those pupils who represented the school in the Surrey Tennis Festival. A special mention to Hana and Sophie who narrowly missed out on a place in the final after a tense semi final defeat! Well done to our Senior team who won their Branston Shield first round fixture against Reeds. They were very close competitive matches, with JAGS coming out on top and progressing to the next round! We have also had lots of good Surrey League matches so far and have a very good chance of progressing into the latter stages of the tournament in several age groups.

As well as competing in our inaugural rowing regatta, another first was competing in a Rock-Climbing competition, held in Hemel Hempstead, organised by Harrow School. The JAGS pupils competed so well on the day and Year 10 pupil Rosie placed 4th in her age group, narrowly missing out on a medal.

The pupils have been working extremely hard in athletics this term. Well done to our Junior Athletics Team who came 1st in the ESSA Track and Field Cup Qualifying Round, progressing to the Regional Finals after half term. Our Intermediate team finished a very creditable fourth overall. Our Junior Team are now only one amazing performance away from qualifying for the National Finals. The Year 7 and 8 pupils also qualified for the next round of the London Schools athletics competition, and we are excited to see their progress in that competition after half term.


  • Continue reading

    Mrs Tappenden led a superb trip to Wembley Stadium to watch the Women’s FA Cup Final. It was a very exciting game which saw some great Chelsea and Man City goals, with Chelsea running out 3-2 winners after a nail-biting extra time! It was good to see so many of our pupils excited and inspired by the game. We had over 50 pupils in attendance and for some it was their first ever live football match. Jenna in Year 12 said ‘the atmosphere of the match was exhilarating and I would definitely go again!’

    Huge congratulations to Year 12 pupil, Polly, who competes with the Great British Mixed Open and Women’s Open National Tag Rugby teams. Polly is a great asset to the school, coaching the younger years in a sport that we have reintroduced this year – we are very excited to really push on with our rugby programme next year.

    Lastly, a special mention to our Sports Scholars who are now regularly participating in Athletic Development sessions, led by Miss Smith on both a Monday and Friday! The pupils are working extremely hard and are demonstrating an outstanding attitude towards their sports and training, developing their Strength and Conditioning techniques to enhance their performance across their range of sports.


There have been so many fantastic achievements in MFL these last couple of weeks.

Well done to Niki in Year 12 who has been awarded the German commendation for her entry into the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators out of 14,000 entries.

Congratulations to Y11 Anjola whose French poem inspired by an extract in Jane Eyre has been selected to feature in the Oxford University Prismatic Jane Eyre Project anthology. Only the best 100 poems written in any language get published, so this is a huge achievement for Anjola! This is a nation-wide creative translation competition which aims to involve young linguists in creative and translation-focused activities. See below Anjola’s French entry, its English translation and the extract in Jane Eyre which inspired her poem. If you would like to know more about this very interesting competition, see here https://prismaticjaneeyre.org/

And following up from Y7 Spelling Bee success last month, today we have received the news that 3 of our 5 Y9 regional finalists in the Translation Bee Competition will be representing JAGS in the national final at Cambridge University on July 1st. Huge congratulations to Y9 French students, Elizabeth and Giulia,  and Y9 Spanish student. Madalena.

  • Anjola’s poem

    Entourée de silence,
    Dans le sombre,
    Il n’y avait que la lumière de la seule bougie,
    Qui m’avait guidé pendant la nuit.
    Le clair de lune a brillé,
    Alors que les autres dormaient.
    Je souviens mon battement de cœur,
    Il était rapide et j’ai eu peur,
    Il avait la force d’un éclair,
    Tout à coup, c’était plus tranquille que l’air.
    J’aurais été terrifiée
    Si j’étais seule, je ne sais pas ce que j’aurais fait.
    J’ai eu de la chance, pourtant,
    Puisque au coin de la pièce était Jean.
    C’était bizarre,
    La sensation était très rare:
    Je me suis sentie comme j’avais dormi
    Pour toute ma vie,
    À l’époque je me suis réveillé pour la première fois,
    L’atmosphère était froid.
    Je n’ai pas vu rien.
    Il n’y avait rien.
    Sauf les cris obsédants de loin.
    Il voulait moi.

    English translation

    Surrounded by silence,
    In the darkness,
    There was only light from the single candle,
    Which had guided me through the night.
    The moonlight shone,
    Whilst others slept.
    I remember my heartbeat,
    It was fast and I was scared,
    It was as strong as lightning,
    Suddenly, it was calmer than the air.
    I would have been terrified
    If I was alone, I don’t know what I would have done.
    I was lucky, however,
    Since in the corner of the room was John.
    It was peculiar,
    The sensation was very rare:
    I felt like I had been asleep
    For my whole life.
    The atmosphere was cold.
    I saw nothing.
    There was nothing.
    Except the haunting cries from afar.
    He wanted me.

History of Art

History of Art

Well done to Tilly in Year 12 who signed up to a scheme with The Photographers’ Gallery where young people are commissioned to write a review of a recent photography book or exhibition.

“A couple of months ago I was scrolling through the Photographers’ Gallery website and saw that they had a whole section for young people to get involved in. I signed myself up to write a review of an exhibition, as part of the ‘A young person recommends’ programme, whereby young people are commissioned to write a review of a recent photography book or exhibition. I wrote a review about the Saatchi Gallery exhibition ‘America in Crisis’, and worked with the programme assistant who helped me edit my piece. It was a great experience – I learnt a lot about writing an article, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. The review has been published on the website and was put in the Photographers’ Gallery newsletter, and you can read it at https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/photography-culture/young-person-reviewsamerica-crisis-saatchi-gallery”

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