James Allen's Girls' School

James Allen's Girls' School

Infobox UK school
name = James Allen's Girls' School

size = 100px
latitude =
longitude =
dms =
motto =
motto_pl =
established = 1741
approx =
closed =
c_approx =
type = Public School
religion =
president =
head_label = Headmistress
head = Mrs Marion Gibbs
bursar_label = Bursar
bursar = Mr John Reid
r_head_label =
r_head =
chair_label = Chairman of the Governing Board
chair = Lord McColl of Dulwich
founder = James Allen Warden and later Master of The College of God's Gift in Dulwich
founder_pl =
specialist =
street = East Dulwich Grove,
city = Dulwich
county = London
country = Englandflagicon|England
postcode =
ofsted =
staff =
enrollment = 1050 (approx.)
gender = Girls (7 - 18) Mixed (4 - 7)
lower_age = 4
upper_age = 18
houses =
colours = Red and blue
publication =
free_label_1 = Former pupils
free_1 = JAGS Old Girls
free_label_2 = Affiliation
free_2 = Alleyn's College of God's Gift
free_label_3 =
free_3 =
website = http://www.jags.org.uk/
website_name = www.jags.org.uk

James Allen's Girls' School, or JAGS, is an independent day school situated in Dulwich, South London. It has a daughter school, James Allen's Preparatory School - JAPS - and a pre-preparatory school - JAPPS.


The school is part of a foundation established by Edward Alleyn, which also includes Dulwich College and Alleyn's. It was founded by a Master of Dulwich College, James Allen, in 1741, as a free reading school for the local poor. James Allen was born on 4th May 1683 in Hornsey, North London, but later moved to Sussex. His father, also James Allen, drowned in an accident in 1690, after which his mother, Elizabeth, moved the family to Westminster and remarried.

By 1701, James Allen was a clerk in the Cursitors' Hall, the clerical branch of the Court of Chancery. In 1712, he became the Warden and later Master of the College of God's Gift at Dulwich. Allen believed that there ought to be a school where poor boys could learn to read and write, and girls to read and sew. He purchased the freehold of six houses in what is now Kensington Church Street, the annual rental of which provided income for the school. The Reading Schools opened on 25th June 1741 in Dulwich Village, with two mixed classes of children between six and ten years of age. Tuition was free. Entry was restricted to the children of poor families living within a one mile radius of Dulwich.

James Allen died on 28th October 1746, leaving a bequest to his school to secure its future down the centuries. The final part of his legacy was used to establish the Scholars' Fund in 1997.

By 1814 the school was expanding rapidly. It had been renamed the Dulwich Free School. In 1842 the boys were removed to become the nucleus of Alleyn's School nearby. The remaining girls were the first pupils of JAGS as a single sex school, as it is now.

The school moved to its present building in September 1895, and has undergone continued development since. Recently, the old swimming pool has been converted into a dining hall and four new classrooms and some Drama rooms have been built. JAGS usually has a four class entry at 11+ (sometimes 5), with some 750 girls in the senior school and over 1000 in the three schools combined. Staff is mixed female and male.

The school prides itself on its high academic standard and the quality of its artistic, sporting and cultural provision. It ranks high in national school league tables, normally inside the country's top 20 schools [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/school_league_tables/article1304164.ece A-level league tables 2006 - Times Online ] ] though in 2008, the school organized a boycott of all league tables, saying that students should be measured in other ways than academic success.


JAGS currently has four houses: Bettany, named after Caroline Bettany, one of the early headmistresses of JAGS; Clarke, named after famous botanist Lilian Clarke who taught at the school and planted their botanical gardens in 1896; Desenfans, named after Margaret Desenfans, the wife of Noël Desenfans, who founded the nearby Dulwich Picture Gallery; and finally Holst, named after the composer Gustav Holst, who was once music master at the school, and after whom the school's main hall is also named. The houses compete annually for the Quarmby Shield, donated by chair of governors David Quarmby in 1989. His daughter Jane Quarmby now teaches at the school.

Most of the charity events in the school are organised on a House basis, and there are various competitions during the year from which points towards the house shield can be earned. Houses compete termly in Inter House sports such as swimming, hockey, tennis, rounders and netball. All girls from years 7-10 participate in these games. There is also an annual House Music competition in which forms in years 7-9 perform a dance and the music to a song of their choice.

The school magazine

Originally started in 1926, the school magazine is in part written and edited by the pupils, in particular by those in year 12 and 13. It is usually published in the autumn term.

Notable alumnae

Dates given are the years of birth and death, if known.

*Dharshini David, economist and news presenter
* Anita Brookner, author (1928-)
* Muriel W. G. Smith, who compiled the first National Apple Register. Former employee of MAFF [ [http://www.langford-press.co.uk/National_Apple.htm National Apple Register of the United Kingdom Published by The Langford Press ] ]
* Frances Line, former Controller of BBC Radio 2 and the person credited with creating the radio name Pop Go The Beatles.
* Lisa St Aubin de Téran (briefly [ [http://www.arlindo-correia.com/220605.html Lisa St. Aubin de Terán ] ] ), author (1953-)
* Judith Cook, Secretary to the British Ambassador to Ireland, killed by an IRA carbomb (1951-1976)
* Shani Anderson, GB Athlete (1975-) [ [http://www.olympics.org.uk/athleterecord.aspx?at=280 British Olympic Association > Athletes > Shani Anderson ] ]
* Alakina Mann, actress (1990-)
* Lucy Boynton, actress (1994-2008)
* Catherine Shepherd, daughter of actor Jack Shepherd and an actress in her own right (1975-) [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1343486/ Catherine Shepherd ] ]
* Charlotte Ritchie, member of the classical/pop group All Angels.
* Sudi Pigott, food writer (1960-)
* Jill Quantrill, charity worker
* Shadia Syed, TV presenter and quiz show contestant
* Sally Hawkins, actress, star of TV adverts, numerous radio programms including Ed Reardon's Week on BBC Radio 4 and of Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky

Interesting facts

* A letter to The Times in August 2006 asserted that, as a result of its name, alumni of the school never had difficulty with the use of apostrophes.

* There is a tale that a daughter of the British cartoonist and illustrator Ronald Searle attended JAGS. It is said that Searle drew inspiration for the costumes for his St Trinians girls from the gym-slips worn by JAGS girls. However, Searle's daughter did not go to this school. She was a pupil at Saint Paul's, junior and senior. She was born in 1947. St Trinian's and its uniforms were born around 1940-ish. Those uniforms were current all over and especially in Cambridge where Searle was born. His sister's uniform was more likely the inspiration.
* JAGS is a leader and partner in the unique SSLP scheme. The Southwark Schools' Learning Partnership is a collaboration of nine schools, six state and three independent, a sharing of ideas for teachers and pupils. There is a link to the [http://www.sslp.co.uk Web site] below.

* The school was last inspected in February 2008 and was rated Outstanding.

* The school botanical gardens are visited from people around the world.

* Headmistress Marion Gibbs writes a regular educational blog [http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/opinions/author.html?author=Marion%20Gibbs here] .

* The school Library was opened by Princess Anne to celebrate the school's 250th birthday.

* The school is believed to be the only one in the country with a railway line passing through its middle (separating the main school buildings from the extensive sports field).

* The school usually has 25/8 girls in a form, four forms in a year and seven years in total, but have five forms in their most recent year seven and eight.

* The school is not a member of the HMC.

* The school's houses were originally J, A, G and S. They changed to the current names in the late 1980s, though the most recent year 7 and 8 forms are J, A, G, S and M, for Millenium, as the academic year 1999/2000 was the first year that 5 forms were admitted to the school.


External links

* [http://www.jags.org.uk JAGS Website]
* [http://www.japs.org.uk/ Prep school]
* [http://www.sslp.co.uk/ Southwark Schools' Learning Partnership]
* [http://home.skillspace.com/jags The school's learning platform]
*UK charity|312750

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