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4th March: Issue 25

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

Let me start by offering our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the war in Ukraine. I spoke to the girls in assembly on Monday, and said that the greatest strength of our community is the sensitivity and support we can offer to all students and staff in this time of global unrest.

In a busy fortnight, it was lovely to see Year 12 parents for the UCAS and Higher Education information evening, and our thanks to Mat Weeks (Head of Sixth Form) and Liz Allan (Deputy Head of Sixth Form, Higher Education and Sixth Form Careers) for all the expertise and advice they offered. Well done to our Year 13 students for all their hard work in preparation for their mock exams. I hope they will have a well-deserved rest this weekend, and we look forward to seeing Year 13 parents on Wednesday 9 March for their Parents’ Evening.

We are busy preparing for International Women’s Day next week, and Multicultural Evening also takes place this month; it is super to see the students so involved in our preparations of these whole school events. Equally super has been the realisation that our calendar of school trips is opening up again, with Year 7 benefiting from a trip to London Zoo and an immersive music day courtesy of the SSLP this week.

On Monday we gave students and staff the option to remove face coverings in corridors and communal areas following  a sharp drop in case numbers over half term. It is a joy to see full faces again after such a long time! We will, of course, keep a close eye on the situation and expect the next official update on Friday 1 April.

With best wishes,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Wednesday 9th March – Year 13 Parents’ Evening
  • Monday 14th March at 5:45pm – VMTs Pupils’ Concert (singing)
  • Monday 14th March at 7pm – Online Parent Talk by Louise Treherne on Letting Go of Perfectionism. Book here.
  • Tuesday 15th March at 7pm – Rescheduled online Parent Talk by Amy Forbes-Robertson on Relationships and Sex Education. Book here.

Teaching & Learning

Alice Mollison

Assistant Head Teaching and Learning

The focus of our newsletter this week is our wonderful Year 7 students, who have been busy developing a range of skills, including research, group work, exploration and fieldwork over the past couple of weeks. On Monday, the whole of the year visited London Zoo for the day as part of their Biology work on biodiversity under threat, on Thursday they took part in a Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership music collaboration event and on Friday half the year visited Lordship Lane to support their Geography work on local and global geographies. They’ve also been busy collaborating in their medieval history lessons.  

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    Monday was a perfect day to visit to visit the Zoo, the weather was good and there were hardly any other visitors so we had brilliant views of a huge range of animals at risk. The students were a real credit to our school and I had a wonderful day with my group from 7T. Tania told me, “The most memorable part of the trip was visiting the reptile room because we saw amazing animals, especially the snakes and lizards. My favourite animals, overall, were the giraffes because I loved their long, elegant necks and their brown patches, which were very detailed like artwork. From the workshop I was surprised to learn that some medicines confiscated by the UK Border Force can contain products from wild and endangered animals”.

    Here Isaac Burrows, Head of Biology, summarises the day, “It was so rewarding to be able to take all Year 7 out to the zoo. The trip tied in well with their current topic of ecosystems and extinction. Students had the opportunity to see some amazing animals and learn how they are adapted for their varied habitats, as well as attend a workshop on the causes of extinction – a really sobering session when humans’ role in organisms’ demise is explained as clearly as it was. During the day pupils competed in a Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The overall winner was Reyah, highly commended to Esme and commended to Goldie, all with wonderful photos that thoroughly impressed the staff in the biology department. But, a huge congratulations to everyone that took part – it was incredibly tough to decide on just three winners out of all the wonderful photos submitted.”  

On Thursday all of Year 7 headed to St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School near Elephant & Castle for an exciting creative Music Day led by the internationally renowned Orpheus Sinfonia and sponsored by the Arts Council. Peter Gritton, our Director of Music, told me “It was clear from the outset that the professional musicians of this exceptional orchestra are passionate about what they do and all 350 participants were immediately unleashing their creativity, mainly using body percussion, that was to lead towards an end-of-workshop performance based on a newly commissioned piece called “Fred and the Fantastic Tub-Tub”.  Our valiant Year 7 pupils made music alongside several hundred pupils of the same age from seven other SSLP schools – an extraordinary experience! As we all know well at JAGS, SSLP (Southwark Schools Learning Partnership) is a pioneering alliance of schools within our borough, and we are thrilled that JAGS could be involved in such an inclusive venture.” 

Meanwhile, back in the classroom (and Library) Year 7 have been undertaking fabulous research and presentation in their History lessons. Here Toby Cooper, Head of History and Politics explains what they have been up to: 

‘Over the first half term all Year 7 History groups took part in an independent research project on life in medieval society. They utilised the excellent resources in the school library to develop their skills of researching and investigation before writing and then delivering presentations to their class on specific topics. Working in groups of 3, the students really impressed their teachers with the range of information they found, the way they selected key details to focus on and in the way they delivered mature and articulate presentations to their peers. These skills of independent research, public speaking and selection of information will not only help equip pupils for further study in History and other humanity subjects but also help equip our pupils with valuable skills for life. More than anything, the high quality produced and enthusiasm of the girls show just how impressive JAGS students are.’ 

It is clear from Myah and Camille how much they enjoyed this project: 

Myah, Year 7 

During researching my History project I enjoyed learning different facts and stories about women in medieval times. I kept a research record, filling it in every time I used a new book or website. We individually researched and presented our research to our class. I had lots of fun working on this project! 

Camille, Year 7 

In History this half term, we have been working on a project about medieval life. The class was split into small groups and each group had an aspect of medieval life to focus on, for example: medicine, art and architecture and education. It was really exciting! My group’s topic was medicine, and we found out lots of gruesome facts, like the fact that within two years 1 in 3 Europeans died of the black death! There was a really encouraging atmosphere in the classroom, which made the presentations really fun. I loved this project because as well as finding out lots about my own topic, I also learnt a lot about other aspects of medieval life by listening to the other groups’ presentations. 

Key Stage 3 Update

This week Year 7 have been on a variety of adventures. On Monday 28th, the whole year group went to London Zoo to take part in a workshop about conservation and animal protection. Some valuable lessons were learned about animal welfare and the need for us to take care of the natural world.

Some of our Twitter followers will have seen the news about the musical collaboration day. Zeb Soames (of BBC Radio 4 fame) read his newest adventure story accompanied by the Orpheus Sinfonia Orchestra with sound effects by over 300 students from the Southwark Schools Learning Partnership. All of our students took part with gusto and made the accompanying staff very proud.

Year 8 and 9 students represented the school superbly and became tour guides for potential incoming students at our Post-Offer Morning. Their enthusiasm and genuine love for their school environment shone through and I would like to thank everyone who took part and made the day so memorable.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of Key Stage 3

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    During KS3 Section Assembly, I spoke to the students about behaviour and online safety. We discussed the importance of forming a good internet presence and taking care to ensure that their Digital Footprint is one that they are proud of now and will benefit them in the future.

    Year 9 also watched a presentation on drug awareness by the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation and had change to engage in lively discussion and feedback as part of our PHSCE programme.

    Overall, a busy couple of weeks here at JAGS. It has been wonderful for the students to branch out and resume learning outside of the classroom as well as on school grounds.

Key Stage 4 Update

It has been a busy couple of weeks since the Half Term break and impossible to believe we are now more than half way through the academic year! Year 10 and 11 have been involved in planning discussions ahead of the next school council meeting, and our students’ input and ideas are an invaluable part of the process. A huge well done must be extended to Ivanna in Year 11 who, with her dance partner, performed amazingly well at the All England Open Championships, winning both the U21 Open Ballroom title and Open Amateur Ballroom title. Ivanna, we are enormously proud of your success!

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

  • Meanwhile Azrah in Year 11 led a whole school assembly on multiculturalism in the UK. It was a fascinating and thought-provoking assembly, and many thanks to Azrah for taking on the challenge of addressing the whole school on her own. She put an extraordinary amount of work into the assembly, and we are grateful for her wisdom and input.



Sixth Form Update

The Sixth Form Centre seemed very quiet after half term! The Year 13s were either taking their mock exams or were busy preparing on study leave. They impressed everyone with their tenacity and commitment. They are now back in school and throwing themselves into the JAGS community again, including overseeing rehearsals for our upcoming Multicultural Evening and for the Dance Show. We are certainly happy to have them around again!

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

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    As I write, Year 12s are embracing their Careers and Higher Education Day. Mrs Allan and Ms Brookes have arranged an informative and enjoyable day with sessions for the whole year group and optional sessions which are designed to encourage students to think about life beyond JAGS; there are many opportunities for these bright, aspirational, conscientious and spirited young women and it was fantastic to be part of the day. The activities ended with a panel of university and gap year organisation representatives. They provided information about their organisations and then answered a range of well-judged and thoughtful questions asked by the students via “Slido”.


Last weekend, JAGS pupils competed in an inter-school Russian poetry competition at Harrow School. They were split into Year group categories and recited poems about Spring. Olivia in Year 9 and Farah in Year 10 were both highly commended. The students received certificates and prizes – congratulations to them.


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    Last week we held the Year 9 Translation Bee School Final, with our linguists impressing the enthusiastic audience with their incredible translation skills! Congratulations to our four finalists who will now compete at the regional rounds.


Our Year 12 Mathematicians had an opportunity to attend ‘Mathsfest’ last month at the Royal Institute. It was a fantastic day full of stimulating lectures covering topics such as modelling crowds at festivals, the statistics behind pandemics and how to create silence.

Esme took part in the Maths Slam competition, where she explained a concept in three minutes. Her presentation on ‘The Sleeping Beauty Paradox’ was well researched and extremely engaging, earning her second place.

Young Art Competition

We are delighted to announce that eight pupils’ work has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming Young Art Cancer Research exhibition at the Royal College of Art. Congratulations to Siena, Roli, Emily, Julia T, Isabel, Julia N and Bella.

We are also delighted that Saskia has been awarded First Prizewinner in the printmaking competition. Saskia will be interviewed by the judges for inclusion in the exhibition catalogue and you can see her work to the right here. A fantastic achievement, and huge congratulations to her. 

The exhibition will run at the Royal College of Art from 26th to 29th April.


Last Thursday the Drama Department was delighted to present some lunchtime theatre with a scratch performance of extracts from three scripts penned by JAGS students Nina, Matilda and Florence.

Their exciting full-length plays have been submitted to the National Theatre’s New Views playwrighting initiative and it was a fantastic opportunity for the writers to see their work performed in front of an enthusiastic live audience of students and staff. The extracts were brought to life expertly by Year 12 students – Agnes, Esme, Gaby, Emma, Abigail and Saskia.

History of Art

Year 12 JAGS and Dulwich College students were at Dulwich Picture Gallery as part of the History of Art Department’s ‘How to Curate an Art Gallery‘ course which runs every Thursday in term time.  We were considering John Soane’s beautifully balanced Neoclassical building (the first purpose built Art Gallery in the world!) and thinking about how to display and label a collection of Old Master paintings. Many interesting discussions! To be continued next week…


Our Year 10 pupils have been hard at work in our DT rooms recently, developing prototype lights based on the works of designers such as Aldo Rossi, Ettore Sottass, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Norman Foster. Well done to them!


This half term we have some new and exciting upcoming events. Miss Smith and Miss Whyte will be taking the U16 netball team to the Surrey Finals this weekend and the U12 and U13 teams next week. All teams have worked extremely hard and have been exceptional in the extra training sessions that the PE department have run before and after school with outstanding participation numbers from all squads. Best of luck to all teams in the finals!

The U13 team have had a fantastic start to this term; not only have they reached the Surrey Finals in netball, but both the A and B hockey teams are through to the London County School Finals! Congratulations to every pupil involved!

In addition, our Year 11 pupil Ivanna and her dance partner Mykhailo performed brilliantly at the All England Open Championships, held at the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom on 12-13 February 2022, winning both U21 Open Ballroom and Open Amateur Ballroom title. What an outstanding achievement!

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    We are looking forward to the upcoming fixtures for our Senior Rowing team this term, competing in fixtures with local schools in order to prepare for the Ball Cup and National Schools competition later on this year. All pupils have been fully committed to early morning sessions on the river and in all weather conditions. They are showing a really good level of progression and we are excited to see them excel in this great sport.

    The PE department are looking forward to our termly inter-house competitions. Please keep a look out for more information on your Teams pages regarding the sports your houses will be going head to head in.

    We are extremely proud of all our pupils’ achievements this term and we hope to continue to encourage their love for sport as we progress into the spring term.

La Voix Humaine Screening

As part of their ongoing series of cultural events, next Thursday 10 March Dulwich College are hosting a special advance screening of La Voix Humaine, followed by a Q&A, at the May Fair Hotel Theatre. Full details about the event and how to purchase tickets can be found here.

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