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9th February 2024: Issue 54

Welcome from the Head

Dear Parents

The last three weeks have seen the Houses working at full speed, and we have enjoyed all the talent on show in both the House Drama and House Performing Arts competitions, alongside Holst House’s Charity Day. Congratulations to the Geography Department who were the victors in the Holst House Hunger Games. May I just note for the record that the Leadership team beat the PE Department in the first-round obstacle course!

Aside from satisfying our Inter-House rivalry, the Music Department have hosted PopFest 2024. The VWA rocked with an incredible array of talent from across the year groups and so many outstanding performances. Huge congratulations to Megan on her victory! On a more sublime note, the choir sang Evensong in Merton College, Oxford, and the Madrigalists sang Evensong with Dulwich College in the Chapel, while the Alleynian Blues hosted a popular concert. Add in the Chamber Music Festival and the Piano Festival … and we say a huge thank you to all our music staff for their commitment to providing so many opportunities for our students.

Elsewhere in school, with Year 11 Mocks completed, we are very grateful to the JPA for hosting the celebratory disco for our Year 11 students which gave them a chance to relax and unwind after a busy period. It was also a pleasure to welcome Year 11 parents into school for their Parents’ Evening and to discuss not only the fantastic progress of Year 11, but also their A Level aspirations. Year 12 started to think about their journeys beyond JAGS with the Higher Education and Careers Day, while students from Years 9 and 10 enjoyed a trip to the French Opal Coast to brush up their language skills whilst sampling the finest bread and chocolate the region had to offer!

After such a rush of activities, alongside all the fabulous learning taking place in lessons, it feels a good time to wish you all a happy Half Term break. We look forward to seeing all our students back in school on Monday 19 February.

With best wishes,

Mrs Alex Hutchinson

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 12 February – Friday 16 February – Half Term
  • Monday 19 February – School returns
  • Tuesday 20 February – Singapore Olympiad Parents’ Information Session (Online)
  • Wednesday 21 February – Year 9 and 10 trip to the Design Museum
  • Friday 23 February – KS3 Exploring Christianity trip (Kent)




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





Travel to School

Please may we politely remind you that Great Spilmans, opposite the Senior School, is a private road for residents and may not be used for the school drop-offs or collections. 




Key Stage 3 Update

KS3 students have had a short but frantically busy and enjoyable Half Term. They have been involved in everything from charitable events, dancing and acting, learning about piracy in Geography to DT projects making spinning tops. Year 7 students report to have most enjoyed their opportunities to getting involved in the Music and Drama performances.

The Music Department have worked tirelessly this term to enable so many of our students to showcase their talents. Yesterday’s Piano Festival rounded off a jam-packed programme of events and it has been wonderful to see so many of our youngest students taking part in the ensembles and solo performances.

Myfanwy Bournon, Head of Key Stage 3

  • Continued

    No homework is set for KS3 over the break other than to read. Students have a golden opportunity to relax, turn off all social media and get engrossed in a novel or two over the course of the week. Year 7 may wish to read something set in London. Year 8 could explore something from the Gothic literature genre and Year 9 might delve into something dystopian.

    I wish everyone a restful and rejuvenating Half Term break.

Key Stage 4 Update

It has been a wonderful Half Term with so many events packed in. Members of KS4 took part in the fantastic PopFest and Performing Arts evening, both were joyous from start to finish and showcased the talents of the section. It was also a wonderful opportunity to let off steam. Year 10 were thrilled to go on a French trip to the Opal Coast, and Year 11 enjoyed a disco organised by the JPA, in order to celebrate the end of mock exams and all their successes to date. A great time was had by all, and our very own Holst Hall looked quite the part with flashing disco floor and a photo booth!

Anna Jones, Head of Key Stage 4

  • A Level choices

    Year 11 were also recently invited to breakfast in the Sixth Form, an opportunity to mingle with some of the current Sixth Formers and ask questions about life at this academic stage whilst enjoying a particularly delicious array of pastries and cookies! Mr Chappell and Dr Peacock spoke with the year group in a special year group assembly about A Level choices. The options portal is now open. Once all choices have been submitted, all Year 11 students will have a one-to-one meeting with a member of staff to talk through their choices.

  • Section Assembly

    In section assembly last week, we were honoured to hear from Nadia Lasserson, one of our longstanding VMT piano teachers, who told us all about her uncle, an extraordinary artist who survived the Holocaust. Students were able to see some images of his powerful paintings. This assembly was a poignant end to the week, with all students being reminded why we should never forget such atrocities.

Sixth Form Update

Sixth Form students have fully embraced “leaning in” to their local networks and community.

From encouraging teachers to undertake competitive feats in front of 400 students all in the name of charity (well done Mimi, Inaya and Chanelle of Holst!), to leading assemblies, performing in PopFest, Evensong at Merton College, on the netball court and in the House Performing Arts and Drama competitions!

It truly is a wonder they can give their time so generously to various charitable and performance endeavours, whilst also placing themselves in super academic positions, to maximise their potential. As the offers from universities start to come flooding through, we continue to be so proud of Year 13 for their UCAS news and for the way in which they act as great role models for Year 12s and the rest of the school.

Mat Weeks, Head of Sixth Form

  • Higher Education and Careers Day

    On Wednesday, Year 12 students benefited from their Higher Education and Careers Day – expertly put together by Mrs Allan and Ms Brookes – where they considered various different post JAGS futures, both in the UK and abroad. We know that they will make the most of all the information and signposting on offer.

  • Half Term break

    After such an intense Half Term, everyone really does need a rest. Obviously, Year 13 students will be working hard on their revision for Year 13 mocks but we hope that they do find some time to enable some relaxation whilst making study time as effective and efficient as possible.


House Charity days are always cause for much anticipation at JAGS and Holst House did not disappoint last Friday.

Raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK, fundraising kicked off with well-attended bake sale during Rec.

And then it was time for the main event in the VWA;  as teaching departments battled it out for the top prize in the Holst House Hunger Games competition.

Teachers were put through their paces in front of a raucous crowd of students, with an array of obstacle courses and quick-fire quizzes. Despite a great effort from all involved, ultimately, it was the Geography Department who emerged victorious.

The final amount is still being calculated but huge congratulations to our student organisers for producing such an incredible event.

  • Whitechapel Mission

    Thank you to Charity Club member Siana (Year 12) for organising and running a successful bake sale last week to raise £126 in aid of Whitechapel Mission.


    This week the charity club took over the Holst Hall to stage a bake sale, raffle and games day in aid of AFFCAD – a UK charity fighting poverty for children and families in Uganda.


Through Our Eyes Exhibition

Students, parents and staff gathered together to celebrate our talented Year 13 artists at the Through Our Eyes Coursework Exhibition.

The wide array of mediums used; from large scale paintings to animation and sculptures, are testament to the individuality of our students and the creativity fostered by our wonderful Art Department.




It has been a very busy few weeks in the Music Department with a number of events across a range of genres.

On Friday 26 January, the VWA was transformed into something more akin to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage as we celebrated PopFest 2024. With a record number of entries and over 50 students involved, there was a wide range of music on offer with full bands, solo singers and everything in between.

We were fortunate to be joined by Michelle John, our guest adjudicator who had the extremely difficult task of picking a winner. Megan (Year 12) was judged the overall winner for her really assured, communicative performance, while Lucy (Year 8) was a close runner-up.

A huge thank you to Miss Corp for organising the event and to Mr Kelly and Mr Foley for their invaluable technical assistance on the night.

Tommy Foster, Director of Music

  • Evensong

    The following day, the 50-strong Holst choir travelled to the illustrious setting of Merton College, Oxford to sing a choral Evensong.

    Merton is one of the only full choral foundations in Oxford with a mixed-voice choir and it was a privilege to perform in their stunning, historic chapel. The choir performed a repertoire of songs from female composers, including the Canticles by our organist Marilyn Harper, and the Preces and Responses by our former Head of Music; Barbara Kley.

    We enjoyed another choral evensong on Friday 2 February at Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich, this time with the Madrigalists Choir joining the Chapel choir of Dulwich College. A particular highlight was Keira’s (Year 12) soprano solo in the Dyson Canticles.

  • Chamber Music Festival

    Chamber music was celebrated on Monday with over 60 students participating in the annual Chamber Music Festival in the Holst Hall. There were quartets, quintets and trios with students from every year group represented. A huge thanks goes to Miss Dickson, whose energy in organising all of the groups is seemingly never ending!

  • Piano Festival

    On Thursday, we held our annual Piano Festival, with over 60 students across all year groups performing in the VWA.

    There was a huge range of music on offer from the Baroque to the 21st Century. The students were lucky to receive invaluable feedback from our expert guest judge, Gareth Owen, a professor at the Guildhall School of Music as well as Head of Keyboard at Eton College.

  • Cadogan Hall

    Tickets for our upcoming Choral and Orchestral Concert at Cadogan Hall on Monday 25 March are now available.

    Follow the link HERE 


French trip to Côte d’Opale

This week, students from across Years 9 and 10 returned after three wonderful days exploring the Côte d’Opale in northern France.

Students took in Boulogne Market, learnt how to make delicious bread and chocolate and visited Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer – the biggest aquarium in Europe.




Year 10 Italian students travelled to Burro e Salvia, an authentic pastificio in heart of Shoreditch, where an Italian sfoglina put them through their paces; sharpening both their language and pasta-making skills.

Following the workshop, students were able to sample the delicious the fruits of their labour.




National Cipher Challenge 2024

Congratulations to Katie, Asha, Radhika and Bititi who have been awarded the Silver Medal in this year’s National Cipher Challenge.

The NCC is a prestigious competition run by the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton which invites pupils across the UK to crack codes.

The team will now visit the home of UK codebreaking Bletchley Park for an awards ceremony on Wednesday 28 February.

  • Maths Slam

    Good luck to Bititi and Martha (Year 12) who will be representing JAGS in the Maths Slam event at Maths Fest 2024.

    The event, taking place at the Royal Institute tomorrow, sees students from different school face off as they present different maths concepts on stage in under three minutes.


Financial Times Student Advocates

“Our journey as Financial Times student advocates was truly enriching. Each month, we eagerly embraced diverse tasks, from adorning our common room with Financial Times-themed Christmas decorations to engaging in enlightening discussions during our monthly meetings with mentors from the London School of Economics, who were Economics students themselves.

“Immersing ourselves in the world of the Financial Times enabled us to not only harness its wealth of information but also to empower ourselves and others to fully leverage its insights in our academic pursuits. We wholeheartedly endorse this experience to individuals across all disciplines, as the skills honed – including communication and leadership – are invaluable assets for the future.”

Khadija and Tharanya (Year 12)

JAGS Alumnae

London Professional Networking Event

We have already received a flurry of bookings for our first ever London Professional Networking Event, taking place on Wednesday 15 May 2024 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm at St. James’s Place City office in Lombard Street.

Alumnae from HSBC, PwC, BBVA, Macfarlanes LLP, Serle Court, Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP and JP Morgan, amongst other organisations, have already registered to attend this fantastic networking opportunity for everyone. The wonderful evening is kindly sponsored by St. James’s Place as a leader in the financial services sector who are actively working to raise the profile of women in the financial field.

The event is open to the JAGS parent community working in finance, property, entrepreneur and law sectors along with their creative and associated industries.

For more information or to book a place contact alumnae@jags.org.uk


Upcoming JAA presentations

We are looking forward to our upcoming presentations with Year 11 and Year 13 students on 22 February and 25 April respectively.

JAGS students have the wonderful opportunity of going on to be part of a global community of over 7,000 JAGS alumnae spanning many different industries from scientists, journalists, artists, government ministers to entrepreneurs, business leaders and much more.

The incredible benefits of being part of this network include class year reunions, professional networking and industry sector events, the relaunched alumnae website, regular newsletters, a copy of the annual alumnae magazine To Read & So and so much more.


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