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3rd March 2023: Issue 40

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, a week in which we have gathered together as a community for the school’s Lapathon, to raise money for those affected by the earthquake in Syria and Turkey. Our thanks to all those students and staff who enthusiastically made their way around the school fields to raise money; our donations page for the Disasters Emergency Committee is linked HERE.

It was a pleasure to welcome our Year 12 parents last week for their Introduction to UCAS Evening, expertly led by Liz Allan and Mat Weeks from the Sixth Form team. We also welcomed our own Year 5 Junior School parents on Wednesday morning to share with them our support for their daughters as they begin to plan the move from Junior to Senior School. Added to this, we had over 400 visitors last week for our Post Offer Morning for our 11+ candidates and parents; the school was abuzz with excitement as we welcomed the next generation of JAGS students for Year 7 entry in September 2023. Thank you to our Year 7 and 8 students, who were brilliant tour guides at these events. I still reflect on my early days at JAGS in the pandemic when the school was devoid of visitors. It remains a joy to welcome parents and prospective parents to share the excitement of school life.

We have been delighted to welcome Reverend Dr Liz Gray to the JAGS community after half term in her new role as Chaplain. Liz has spent her first fortnight getting to know the community at large, and it was super to share her vision for her new role in assemblies across the Junior and Senior School this week. You can hear more from Liz below.

We had great news for our artists in the Young Art Cancer Research Exhibition. From 7000 entries we have had 10 students selected to be exhibited, three highly commended and two first prize winners. Huge congratulations to Millie and Tilly, now both in Year 12. Millie won first place in printmaking and Tilly won first place out all the Year 10 and Year 11 student entries. As a prize, they have both been awarded a day at the Royal College of Art printmaking studio.

We are very much looking forward to (virtually) seeing Year 13 Parents at our Parents’ Evening next Wednesday and to sharing the energy of the Dance Show on Thursday.

With best wishes

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary


  • Monday 6 March – 7pm – VMT’s Pupils’ Concert, VWA
  • Thursday 9 March – 7pm – Let’s Face The Music Performing Arts Show, Prissian Theatre
  • Monday 13 March –  7pm – VMT’s Pupils’ Concert (Singing), VWA
  • Thursday 16 March – 6pm – Multicultural Evening
  • Friday 17 March – 1.15pm – Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Concert, St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street




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






Rev. Dr Liz Gray

School Chaplain

“I am so delighted to join JAGS as the new School Chaplain. My first impressions are of the most amazingly warm and welcoming community. I’m looking forward to getting to know students, staff and parents in the days ahead.

“My first career was as a Mathematics teacher at various schools in South East London – which I loved. However, I have recently returned from the USA where I lived for the last 15 years and where I became an Anglican priest.

“Now back in London and at JAGS, I am excited to be Chaplain to all students and staff – regardless of background or faith. We are all on a journey of discovery: learning who we are, and how we become the people we want to be.

“I am excited to be a part of this vibrant, diverse community and I hope I will meet you soon!”

Key Stage 3 Update

KS3 students have been called upon to act as ambassadors for the school on a couple of occasions over the past two weeks. The Year 7s were out in force as tour guides for Post Offer morning and it was so wonderful to see how enthusiastic they were as they walked around the school with the potential new tranche of students. We had lots of positive comments from parents about their eloquence and honesty about life here at JAGS and I could not be prouder of them for their professional behaviour on the day.

Hustings have taken place for the new Form Captains and I was delighted to see so many people putting their names up for election. From a very strong field of applicants we have an excellent new team of Captains. The Year 7 Captains have already joined together to welcome our new Chaplain during ‘Rev’s Breakfast’ in the Deep End Café. Year 8 and 9 Captains will get their turn in the coming weeks. Rev Gray would like to encourage all students to come and see her for a chat if they would like to. It is wonderful to be able to welcome her to the Pastoral team this term.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of KS3

  • Work/Life Balance Trackers

    Parents may have heard already about the ‘Work/Life Balance Trackers’ that have been given to every student in KS3. We are reviewing how, when and how much homework is set in the coming months and it is really important for us to get an overview as to the reality of how much time is spent on homework in the lower end of Senior School. Parents and students can work as a team to ensure that these trackers are completed accurately over the coming fortnight. Our aim is to ensure that a healthy balance of work, co-curricular activity and relaxation is maintained for all students and these trackers will provide us with the information we need to adjust and improve our homework provision.

    We have much to look forward to in the coming weeks with trips, sports fixtures and activities happening on a regular basis. The weather is improving and the days are lengthening – spring is well and truly in the air.

Key Stage 4 Update

In my section assembly last Friday, I urged our KS4 students to look ahead to the coming of spring and the hope of better weather and longer days. I always find it amazing at this time of year to reflect on how far we have all come, and sometimes it helps to stop and focus on what lies ahead, and be encouraged by the fact that we can look at life with a fresh perspective.

This week has been busy like all the others: a joint Year 10 and 11 Drama trip to see Blood Brothers took place, and all of Year 11 participated in a series of talks at Science Live. Sometimes it’s good to have a change of scenery and take the learning outside of the classroom! In PSHCE, Year 10 watched a talk on social media and self-esteem and this will have prompted some important discussions.

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

Sixth Form Update

Year 13 mock exams and Year 12 student leader applications have been key components of the last two weeks in the Sixth Form community. As ever, we continue to be very impressed by the resilient, composed and determined attitude shown by the Year 13 cohort as they practised sitting the exam papers, to help them diagnose their strength and areas for improvement.

We are very proud by the way that they organised themselves during the week of exams and study leave. They are putting themselves in a great position for future academic success!

Meanwhile in Year 12, the day after half term saw some frenetic finishing touches to Student leader application forms (see below for a full breakdown). Tasked with the aim of putting their ‘heads above the parapet’, 89 students applied for student leadership positions – the highest ever as a percentage of the year group!

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Student leader applications

    Pupils have the opportunity to apply for more than one role and provide their preferences for each role, allowing them as many opportunities as possible to contribute to the school community and develop their key transferrable skills whilst also effecting positive change in the lives of those around them.

    • Total applications: 89


    • 39 Head Girl applications
    • 22 House Captain applications
    • 25 School Prefect applications
    • 82 Subject Prefect applications
    • 40 Student Mentor applications
  • Informal Art Show

    Year 12 Art students showed a small glimpse of their creative and innovative talents and thoughts in an informal Art show in the Holst Hall this week. Both Ms Barnes and I were fascinated and wowed by their efforts. This was shortly followed by Hockey success versus Emanuel school – a score of 3-1 not quite reflecting their dominance.


  • Looking ahead

    There is a lot to pack in to the rest of the term, with many exciting events along the journey. We know that members of the JAGS community will continue to thrive; fulfilling their potential, gaining those life skills and, most importantly, helping themselves and each other in a spirit of fun and kindness.


Lapathon for victims of Turkey-Syria Earthquake

Over 600 students and staff took part in our whole school Lapathon on Tuesday, raising vital funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee as it supports victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake.

Pupils from across Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior School took up the challenge in a bid to raise as much money as possible.

At the time of writing, we have raised an incredible £5,500! Thank you to all those who have donated, and for those still wishing to do so, please follow this LINK.

A special thank you to our Charity Club and Ms Whyte for organising such a brilliant fundraiser!





Christ’s Chapel Lunchtime Concert

Parents, staff and members of the public were treated to an uplifting lunchtime concert at the gorgeous Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich, last Wednesday.

The audience enjoyed performances of Fauré’s Nocturne in E flat minor, Quantz’s Trio Sonata in C minor, 3rd and 4th movements, Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Three Renaissance Dances and Martin’s Pavane: Couleur du temps.

Thank you to our band of talented musicians and the JAGS Music Department for organising the event!

Gamelan Project

What a wonderful time of year it is for us at JAGS when the Year 7 Gamelan Project comes around! The Senior School is fortunate enough to own a set of these Indonesian gongs which enriches the world music programme we offer and allows us to expose the pupils at JAGS to sounds quite unlike any other on the planet. The Gamelan instruments live in the VWA – the centrepiece of the Community Music Centre – and symbolise beautifully what the auditorium itself stands for with its two large windows, one looking into the JAGS courtyard at the school community and the other facing East Dulwich Grove and the Dulwich locale. Gamelan is truly ‘music of the people’: every single member of Year 7 has the opportunity to kneel beside a Gamelan instrument and collaborate in music with their friends.

Peter Gritton, Director of Music

  • Continued . . .

    “The skills of Gamelan ensemble playing are relatively straightforward which allows the Gamelan Project to be incredibly inclusive. You can listen below to a short snippet of the JAGS Gamelan instruments, played earlier in term by JAGS music staff during a workshop given by the national expert in Gamelan based at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). In the near future, we will be ready to introduce the JAGS gamelan instruments to the local community through partnerships we are promoting with other schools. In the meantime, it is a source of huge delight witnessing the whole of Year 7 being mesmerised by the beauty of what is, in a secondary school, a unique resource.”


Design & Technology

Bird House project

Year 10 students have been working with Mrs Rendel, our Botany Gardens Manager, to create additional habitats for our existing feathered friends and to encourage a few more to join us. The girls have met with a local ornithologist to gather the right research to enable construction.

We chose water and insect resistant cedar for the carcasses and ensured that no harmful paint or preservatives were used. Selecting a variety of different jointing methods, both teams went about with different briefs, one taking a more traditional approach than the other!

Mike Ross, Head of Design & Technology



  • Continued . . .

    The results are spectacular and very well constructed. The final landing place for the boxes will be on the north and east facing walls of lab 13 and on the trees in the lane, the copse and by the botany beds. We will monitor them to see which are used this year and then we plan to install cameras in some of them for the following year. Watch this space for any updates.


Young Art Cancer Research Exhibition

Great news this week for the Art Department after we learnt that from 7000 entries nationwide, 10 JAGS students have had work selected to be exhibited in the Young Art Cancer Research Exhibition.

Moreover, three students were highly commended for their entries and two were first prize winners.

Congratulations to Millie, who took home first place in printmaking, and Tilly, who won first prize out of all Year 10 and 11 student entries.

The artists, both currently in Year 12, have been awarded a day at the Royal College of Art printmaking studio.




History of Art

The Courtauld Gallery

Year 12 CEP visited the beautifully refurbished galleries of The Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House last Thursday. We discussed the collection and sketched from the extraordinary collection of 19th Century French paintings. We also visited the Peter Doig Exhibition at the gallery. Doig has long admired the collection of The Courtauld Gallery and the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists who are at its heart have been a touchstone for Doig’s own painting and printmaking over the course of his career.

Rachel Dow, Head of History of Art


Tallinn visit

During the Half Term break, JAGS pupils studying Russian enjoyed a fascinating trip to the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

From exploring grand palaces and museums to ice skating and virtual reality, the visit was packed full of incredible experiences.

To learn more about the trip, click HERE to read the daily diary from Alice (Year 12).


Carnevale celebrations

On Tuesday 21 February, to celebrate the final day of Carnevale, Year 8 pupils studying Italian decorated their own elaborate masks as they learnt about the traditional festivities!



To celebrate World Book Day this week, Year 11 pupils studying Spanish visited our library to discuss their favourite poems and enjoy the selection of Spanish books on offer!



MathsFest 2023

On the final day of Half Term, Years 12 and 13 Mathematicians experienced a fantastic day of lectures at MathsFest 2023 at the Royal Institute.

Pupils learnt about modelling pollution, Latin squares, misleading stats, and the maths behind juggling.

Elise (Year 12) gave an extremely interesting three-minute presentation, professionally addressing the crowd during the Maths Slam Final. Speaking of the event, Elise added: “It was a bit of a nerve-racking day but entirely worth it and I had so much fun!”

A great day rounded off with pupils meeting Mathematician James Grime.

Natalie Plant, Head of Mathematics

  • Further Maths

    On Monday, the Holst Hall was filled with laughter and learning as eager Year 12s studying Further Maths put their understandings of power, force and velocity to the test – with the help of a few trusty Nerf Blasters, of course.


The ENSAMBLE Project

Congratulations to two of our Sixth Form chemists, Lizzie (Y12) and Esme (Y13), who earned fantastic feedback for their engagement and knowledge while participating in The ENSAMBLE Project.

“The ENSAMBLE Project is a 5 week course run by world-leading chemical engineering researchers, focusing on scientific thinking and problem-solving through the study of thermodynamics. To join the program we needed to first interview with the founders of the project. This was a fantastic opportunity to talk about areas of science that we found interesting and discuss current science in the news.

“The course itself focused on learning the fundamentals of chemical engineering through the key thermodynamic principles. We enjoyed lectures that went beyond the A-Level syllabus and learnt skills that will be beneficial at University, including discussions on the scientific method, maintaining good lab-book practices and reading research papers.”

Lizzie and Esme

  • Continued . . .

    “One of the main focuses of the course was programming, and we used Python to further our understanding of the course material, such as programming graphs for the Lennard-Jones and Coulomb Potentials to investigate molecular interactions. We thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the course, particularly the opportunity to discuss exciting content with like-minded students. We left the course with a motivation to study science at a higher level, and having learnt and developed many key new skills, we feel much more prepared to pursue a career in science!”



Year 7 pupils studying Latin went above and beyond with their creative homework assignments this week.

Alongside their study of the Latin language, pupils have been enjoying learning about the everyday life of people who lived in Pompeii.  They created a series of beautiful masks and even a 3D model of a Roman theatre as they continue to learn about the period.


Just before the half term break, five JAGS RAF cadets joined other Combined Cadet Force (CCF) members from Dulwich College for an amazing flying day at RAF Benson, Oxford.

To learn more about their experience click HERE





The Advocacy Academy

Last week, Years 11 and 12 enjoyed an informative assembly from The Advocacy Academy (TAA) – a transformational Social Justice Youth Movement for students from South London who are passionate about creating a more fair, just and equal world.

TAA offers the Social Justice Leadership programme, a six-month course in social justice. Running from August 2023 – January 2024, the programme includes three residentials covering the history of human rights, social reform and political action in the UK and how to lead/run campaigns that make long-lasting change.

The programme is delivered by expert change-makers ranging from Sisters Uncut and the Black Cultural Archives to the New York Times and TAA patron, Helen Hayes MP. The Academy also provides UCAS support and practice interview and work experience opportunities.


Another brilliant fortnight of sports here at JAGS. Please follow the links below to learn more about pupils’ successes:

Cross Country

Excellent news for some of our school Cross Country runners who have been selected to represent London in the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Nottingham this month. Well done to; Phoebe (Year 13), Zoha (Year 11), Megan (Year 11) and Sophie (Year 9) on their selection.

Further good news for Sophie, who has been selected to compete for Surrey in the Inter County Cross Country Championships in Loughborough on Saturday 11 March.

Michael Golding, Director of Sport


  • Tennis

    Our Winter tennis programme continues to go from strength to strength; the Year 11-13 Surrey team won their first round knockout match away at Claremont Fan Court School, winning by 4 matches to 2 to progress into the next round of the competition where they will face either Sevenoaks School or Bede’s. This fixture will take place in the afternoon of Wednesday 8 March. Well done to those pupils involved; Sophie (Year 11), Emily (Year 13), Isabel (Year 13) and Sofia (Year 13).

    If any pupils in Year 7 and 8 would like to get some pre–Summer Term tennis training, there is a session on a Friday lunchtime available with our external tennis coach. Please message Mr Golding on Teams regarding these sessions.

  • Swimming

    Tuesday 21 February saw the Year 7 – 11 swimming team travel to Colfe’s School to compete in a mixed gala. The pupils competed fantastically well against both boys and girls from the following schools; Alleyn’s, Colfe’s, St Dunstan’s and Eltham College and came away with a very creditable third place finish.

  • Netball

    Special congratulations to our Year 7 and 8 Surrey teams who qualified (unbeaten) from the regional qualifiers at Croydon High. Both teams progress to the Finals Day, which will take place at Charterhouse School on Thursday 9 March. Good luck to all involved.

    The U19 netball team progressed in the Quarter Finals of the Sister in Sport National Plate competition, beating a very talented Highgate School team 35 – 27. The Quarter Final takes place at JAGS on Thursday 2 March.

    The U16 netball team put on a fantastic performance in the Quarter Final of their National competition, but found Brighton College just too good on the day. It was a narrow defeat, but lots of pride and praise in the team’s performance.

    A huge congratulations to Year 8 Emilia and Year 9 Ava, who have been selected to attend the London Pulse U15 Stage 1 Long Squad sessions over the coming weeks.


  • Hockey

    Our 13A hockey team successfully qualified from the Tier One regional qualifying round and now travel to Alleyn’s today in the next round. The winners will progress to the London Finals later in March.

  • Football

    Our U14 team crashed out of the ESFA Cup in the Second Round, losing 6-1 at Farringtons School. But better news for the U13 team who themselves were beaten heavily in the ESFA Cup last week, but bounced back with a clean sheet win against Lingfield School and are now awaiting to find out their opponents in the next round of the Plate Competition.

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