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30th September: Issue 33

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

As we head into October, the weather certainly seems to have decided it is autumn here at JAGS.

The past fortnight has raced by with, amongst many other activities, our Year 13 Art students’ Everyday pop-up exhibition, the Year 9 netball trip to Condover Hall and our visit by Ann Sei Lin, author of Rebel Skies. Following this, it was super to see our Year 7 students sharing origami classes and creative writing sessions; thank you to the Year 7 students who were on hand to help me create the simplest of origami shapes!

It has been lovely to see students from all year groups sharing House Lunches this week and to conclude our Welcome Evenings with Years 8 and 9 parents, as well as a fabulous Into the Sixth Form Evening for all Year 11 students and their parents. Visiting all the subject talks on offer, I was struck by the sheer enthusiasm of staff and Sixth Formers alike as they shared experiences of A Level studies.

In staff news, we say a temporary farewell to Ms Natalie Davidson, Head of Chemistry, as she heads off on maternity leave and we are eagerly anticipating hearing her exciting news. I hope you will enjoy reading more news of our new staff members in this week’s edition of the newsletter.

We are very much looking forward to our Whole School Open Morning tomorrow, Saturday 1 October, as we welcome the next generation of JAGS students to school. Thank you in advance to our tour guides and subject enthusiasts who will do such a wonderful job as ambassadors for our school. As we think of the wider community around JAGS, please could I take this opportunity to remind those parents who drive their daughters to school to observe all the parking and drop-off regulations in the surrounding streets.

With best wishes

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Tuesday 4 October – Online Parent Talk: Dr Fiona Peters
  • Friday 7 October – Sixth Form trip to New Scientist Live @ExCel
  • Tuesday 11 October – Online Parent Talk: Steve Coppin
  • Wednesday 12 October – Whole School Photos
  • Thursday 13 October – JPA Annual Meeting with Guest Speaker Dharshini David

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.


Introducing . . .

Mike Ross,

Head of Design & Technology

Hi, I’m Mike Ross and I have been involved in secondary education for 25 years. I was delighted when the role of Head of Design and Technology came available here at JAGS as it was one of the few posts I’ve had my eye on over the years. Having worked in both the state and private sectors and having been both Head of Department and Head of Year during my career so far, most recently at Emanuel School and before that at Dulwich College, I now feel ready to challenge inquisitive minds and to be challenged and inspired in return.

I spent a couple of years working for an award-winning educational publishers after writing my first book on Design and Technology. I created and edited digital resources and trained authors around the country to do the same. I really enjoyed this role but quickly realised that I missed the buzz of school life and the energy that teaching gave me. I also realised that the classroom is way more stimulating than a computer screen.

Now four weeks into my JAGS career, I can safely say that I have never felt so welcomed by both staff and pupils alike. There is a family ethos and fully inclusive feel that is very natural and permeates every day here at JAGS. I have already earned my first JAGS hoodie, having attended the Year 9 PGL trip, and I am looking forward to getting involved in the wider school life that is so obviously what takes this school from simply brilliant to outstanding. Point in case, a wonderful A Level student asked me last week if they could set up and run a D&T society; it starts this week!



Key Stage 3 Update

Year 9 PGL Trip

On Wednesday 14 September, Year 9 students, together with 11 members of staff, set out for a three day stay at PGL in Marchants Hill.

It was a long overdue trip for our Year 9s who missed out on the traditional Year 7 weekend at Hindleap Warren due to the pandemic. So, it was with a great sense of excitement that we boarded the coaches for our much-anticipated time away.

As soon as we arrived, we were whisked off to our first activity and within minutes the girls were abseiling, raft-building, challenging themselves on obstacle courses and leaping off telegraph poles! During our stay they had the opportunity to try out eight different challenges and it was fantastic to see the enthusiasm with which they embraced each one.

Eleanor Molla, Head of Year 9


  • PGL continued . . .

    It was wonderful to watch each team work together as they supported and cheered on each person in their group. A more competitive spirit emerged in the evening activities where the groups raced against each other to find treasure and build indestructible water balloons!

    Over the course of the three days the girls also had a chance to spend time with their new tutor groups as well as mix as a year group and it was wonderful to see new friendships form and existing ones strengthen. We particularly enjoyed getting to know our new students and two new tutors. We returned to school on Friday afternoon tired but very happy to have spent time together as a year group. It was a fantastic start to Year 9!


  • Ann Sei Lin visit

    On Wednesday 28 September, Year 7 enjoyed a visit from Ann Sei Lin, author of Rebel Skies.

    Following an assembly from Ann, pupils were split into groups to take part in a series of creative writing and origami workshops.

    Pupils were able to let their imaginations run wild as they brainstormed stories and characters of their own – much to the delight of the visiting author and staff.

    They also excelled in their origami workshops, creating an army of paper foxes and swans which will proudly be displayed during tomorrow’s Open Morning.

Key Stage 4 Update

This weekend will see JAGS open for its annual Saturday Open Morning. We are thrilled students across Year 10 and 11 will be acting as ambassadors to show off our wonderful school community to prospective pupils and their parents. Meanwhile, members of Year 10 have also started volunteering for the Saturday Literacy Scheme, giving up Saturday mornings to support local primary school children with their literacy. This is always a wonderful experience for all involved and we are grateful to our students for being so giving of their free time.

Form Captains have now been elected and have put forward their form’s ideas for the School Council. Over the coming term, our School Council Representatives will be helping to facilitate healthy discussions about how we can make our school even better than it already is – student voice is essential in this process!

Finally, Year 11 really enjoyed the Sixth Form Information evening held last week, which heralded the beginnings of thinking ahead to A Level options and the future in general. It is a very exciting time! Thank you to the Sixth Form team for such an informative and enjoyable event.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

Year 13 students have been focused on their futures during the last few weeks as many ready to submit their UCAS applications for university. Colleagues have been very impressed by the diligent way in which they have followed advice and met deadlines. The first few applications have been processed and sent off to UCAS with many more to follow next week. Conducting one-to-one discussions with students about the range of super-curricular activities they have pursued is a real treat; the range and complexity of their independent academic enrichment is breathtaking!

Yet, the Art students in Year 13 have still found the capacity to present their work in a lunchtime exhibition (see more below). It is a pleasure, as with every year, to attend these events and see artistic talent on display.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form


Everyday Pop-up Exhibition

Over the summer, Year 13 A level Art students were tasked with producing work every day which related to our personal investigations.

Since returning to school, we have each developed our studies and explored how to enhance viewer experience of our work through its presentation. Within my work, I explored how the mundane can be transformed through light, taking photos, which I then placed in a series of alcoves, mimicking church architecture.

Sienna focused on light also, creating an impressive collection of high contrast photographs, while Anna presented a series of intricately painted cards exploring memory; blurring the boundaries of what is real or imagined. Isabela displayed a collection of portraits and drawings, as well as a beautifully fashioned booklet of stories, which was my favourite.

Many enjoyed gazing at Tilly’s postcards whilst listening to her nostalgic recording of sound and conversation, before admiring Mabel’s vibrant, striking photographs, which captured visual connections. Alice embraced the architecture of the studio, deconstructing the space through her photographs and forced the viewer’s awareness of lines running throughout the room. Finally, Lilly showed her series of long exposure photos, which captured the tangled movements of city goers.

The show was an exciting opportunity for us all to envisage life as artists whilst also breathing life and new inspiration into our personal investigations and we are very grateful to everyone who came!

Saskia, Year 13 



Year 7 Maths Trail

This week our Year 7 pupils took part in the annual Maths Trail. The challenge took them around the school to solve maths-based problems and learn more about JAGS.

Congratulations to winners Saida, Aaliyah and Alexis in 7K!

During our Monday lesson, we did a fun Maths Trail. This brought us all over the school allowing us to explore the area. The trail took us to places like the VWA, Holst Hall and even to the fish tank in the science department! At every location we had to answer a question about the area and then use the answer to that question to help us with the next question. We were put in teams of three or four and then were all given different starting points to try and avoid collisions. However, we all ended up in the same place anyway. This trail really helped us to bond and get to know each other better – almost as if the more questions you answered the more your friendship developed. I really enjoyed this trail and hope we do something similar in the future.
Bethany, Year 7


Slapton Sands

Year 11 Geographers spent a glorious two days and two nights in Slapton Sands, in Devon. The weather was incredible, beautiful stones were collected from the beach, fieldwork experience was gained and lots of fun was had. Pupils were investigating the coastal processes through landscape evidence on the shingle beach in preparation for their Paper 3 exam in June. They measured beach gradient using clinometers and conducted sediment analysis at 10 sites along the beach. They also took part in a beach clean and in total collected over 7kgs of waste from the beach.



Traditional Russian Clay Toy Workshop

Visiting lecturer Dr Oksana Sekatcheva (PhD) led KS3 students through her Season of Russian Crafts project – a cultural and educational programme detailing Russian folk art.

After enjoying an exhibition of handmade clay toys, sculptures and whistles from different Russian regions, students had the chance to try their hand at creating an original toy as well as decorating their own whistles with traditional designs.







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