James Allen's Girls' School

Logo of James Allen's Girls' School

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls School
Age range – Age 4-18
Number of pupils on roll – 1077 Pupils


Average Class Size: 20
Day School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 20%
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 96%

JAGS is something special. Unlike the majority of academic London girls’ schools, where their formidable results are achieved by high pressure spoon- feeding, JAGS girls are encouraged in independent enquiry. This ethos works: not only do the girls get into the best universities around (20% to Oxbridge), such was their school day independence that they make, what can be a tricky transition, efficiently. Yet despite the freedom of the classroom, the school itself is not so liberal. Discipline and courtesy are taken seriously, especially in the lower part of the school. Up until Sixth Form, girls wear uniform and are very much treated like students, and it is only in the sixth form that the rather formal relationship between the students and the staff begins to break down.

Background and Reputation

One of the great strengths of JAGS is the diversity. Students come from all walks of life: 110 places are awarded to bursary students; the girls also come from all over London not just Dulwich and there is a wide ethnic mix. The teachers are equally cosmopolitan, as a result the lessons are often of a sophistication rare before Higher Education. The one criticism occasionally leveled at the school is that while the more able students are given the chance to flourish, the lower streams tend to be the focus of less attention and many flounder: the result is that a large group of students do not achieve the necessary grades to go on into Sixth Form.

Academic and Exit Results

Academia is taken seriously at JAGS. The admission is fiercely competitive, there is only one place per every four applicants, and you are not allowed to slack once you are in. Homework and independent study are given particularly emphasis from the very beginning; this is a considerable help to the girls when it comes to taking public exams. No last minute cramming for JAGS students as their groundwork is so solid. JAGS’ A Level and GCSE results are always impressive and they stay at the very top end of the League Table. In 2012, the A Level results were, 30% A, 77% A or A and 96% A* to B. The GCSE results were even better, with 61% of the girls getting As and 31% As. The careers department is particularly efficient at JAGS: 100% of the girls go onto Higher Education and for 20% of those girls it is Oxbridge. The facilities and approach to sport at JAGS has more to do with a boarding school than a day school. They have vast pitches as well as a sports hall, a 25m swimming pool with a big gallery for spectators, two squash courts and two cutting edge gyms. What really sets sports at JAGS apart however, is how much of it goes on outside official school hours, there are literally hundreds of fixtures throughout the year with other London schools, and girls are encouraged to come early and stay late to use the facilities. One of the most popular aspects of JAGS sports are the options that are offered in Year 11 and 12, which range from skiing and sailing to tai chi. Many would argue that the Art Department is the best thing about JAGS. Having more in common with a specialist academy, the department is serious about teaching girls traditional groundwork and technique. As such, although wackier and more conceptual projects are sanctioned later, the first thing the girls learn is draftsmanship. There are no short cuts in the Art Department, it’s unofficial motto is, ‘you’ve got to learn to crawl before you can walk’ or draw before you can start messing around with light installations. As such Art, taken as a GCSE or A Level, gets incredible results. It is not unknown for the whole of a class to get As. The brilliant thing about Music at JAGS is that it is taken just as seriously as an extra-curricular activity as it is if you decide to do it for GCSE or A Level. There is a legacy, sustained by Gustav Holst when he was music teacher at JAGS from 1904-1920, of passionate teaching. General music lessons are taught in halfclasses in order that everyone gets a chance to learn the practical side of music as well as the theoretical. On top of this over half the girls take instuements privately. The high standard of musical education is all set to sky-rocket further now that the school has planning permission to build a grand new Community Music Centre for the girls and other local students. There is nothing amateur about the Drama department, which is a very good thing, as the frequent school plays are often awash with talent scouts. Productions, which range from small student directed pieces to grand musicals put on in collaboration with Dulwich College, are staged throughout the year and are generally of a dauntingly high standard. Unlike some other schools, the Drama department is fully supported by the other faculties, to the extent that pupils are often excused from full days of lessons to tweak their performances before the big night. The GCSE and A Level results benefit from this level of professionalism and have been exemplary.

Social and Pastoral

In many ways JAGS is quite an old fashioned school, things like appearance (a girl wearing too short a skirt will be forced to change into a spare school one) and manners (gum chewing, among other things, is forbidden) are taken seriously. Yet the school is progressive; there is a zero bullying policy and pastoral subjects like PSHCE (personal, social, health and citizenship education) are taken very seriously. As a result JAGS girls are notable for their self-assurance, confidence and courtesy. While the combination of all- girl diligence in the classroom, but also formal and informal integration with the boys at Dulwich College, seems to be something of a magic formula.


After-school and lunchtime clubs are a huge part of the JAGS experience.

Whether these clubs play a supplementary role to an academic subject: those taking Art GCSE, for instance, flock to Photography Club and after-school Life Classes, which give the girls a chance to do something completely different, like the Environment Task Force, the clubs deeply enrich school life. School trips are another big thing, the JAGS minibus tours the galleries and theatres of London with any keen girls.

James Allen's Girls' School

Headmaster: Mrs Marion Gibbs

Telephone: 0208 6913 1181


Address: 144 East Dulwich Grove SE22 8TE

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