James Allen's Girls' School

Admissions Guide

How to get into Jags

Are you looking to get your daughter into JAGS for the 11 plus? Find out everything you need to know about the admissions process, the JAGS exam and the JAGS interview, and how to help your child succeed.

Skip to:

Introduction to JAGS

James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) is an independent day school for girls in Dulwich. Approaching its 280th anniversary, JAGS is the oldest independent girls’ school in London. Despite its history, JAGS aims to create a diverse, forward thinking atmosphere to embrace modern education.

Whilst JAGS can boast exceptional academic results, JAGS’ aim is to create confident, well-rounded girls who achieve success in all endeavours, while instilling a strong sense of integrity and morality. JAGS is highly competitive, considering its outstanding results when it comes to higher education and university admissions. In 2019, 91% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 47% achieved at Grade 9. In the same year, 71% of A Levels were achieved at A* or A. Of the 2020 leavers, 20% went on to study at Oxbridge.

JAGS is immensely proud of being a culturally, socially, and economically diverse community. Currently, between 16 and 20% of each year group benefit from bursaries, with an average of 87% fee support. Further, JAGS boasts that its students speak 50 home languages.

James Allen's Girls' School

The main entry points at JAGS are 4, 7, 11, 13 and 16. The school has over 1,050 pupils aged 4-18. In addition to academic success, JAGS offers a vast range of clubs and extracurricular activities including fantastic drama and music. Girls can also enjoy the 22 acres of fields and astro pitches, a state of the art swimming pool, climbing wall and dance studios provided in the sports department. Beyond school staples such as hockey, athletics and tennis, JAGS girls can try sports such as martial arts, trampolining and sailing.

Alex Hutchinson was introduced as Head in September 2020. She is preceded by her stellar reputation built up by over twenty years of academic and pastoral experience gained at leading girls’ schools, both day and boarding. Her previous roles include Deputy Head and later Headmistress of Woldingham School, Head of Science at St Mary’s School, and Ascot and Head of Sixth Form at Wimbledon High School. Succeeding Sally-Anne Huang, she described the opportunity as an “exceptional privilege” and is eager to join JAGS as it champions girls’ education.

JAGS fees

£6,267 per term for Years 7-13. An acceptance deposit is required upon entry of £1,750. This is refunded in full on your final bill issued in the August following your daughter’s final term.

11 plus open days at JAGS

Before registering your daughter for admission, we recommend that you and your child attend a JAGS Open Day Event. This will give your daughter a sense of what life is like attending JAGS, the facilities they offer, and a chance to meet members of staff and current pupils. We have found girls who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

See this year’s Virtual Open Event films.

young girl smiling and holding her glasses

The 11 Plus admissions process at JAGS

Registration for 2022 entry is open until October 31st, 2021. Entry registration for senior school opens in the beginning of the Summer term when your child is in Year 5 and closes at the end of the October of her Year 6. The registration form requires you to pay a fee of £125 for UK based applicants and £200 for international applicants. However, this fee is waived for those applying for a bursary who receive financial assistance from their Council.

JAGS accepts around 120 girls into the Senior School in Year 7. A third of admissions come from the preparatory school, JAPS, while the rest come from a variety of state and independent schools. Around 1,200 to 1,400 girls apply for entry into Year 7. Year on year however, this number fluctuates. This means the odds of securing a place can fluctuate between 1 in 10 to 1 in 20. JAGS does not give priority to siblings of current students.

The Pre-test at JAGS

In 2019, JAGS introduced a pre-selection assessment to the admissions process. Before the entrance exam, those who have registered are invited into the school for a group pre-selection morning in the Autumn term. The morning consists of an interview, a group assessment, a mock lesson, and an online test covering verbal, nonverbal, and numerical reasoning. Only those who are successful at the pre-selection morning are invited to return for the JAGS school entrance exam.

Often, children are not taught Reasoning at primary school. This is an important discipline that plays a big part in 11+ success. Children will have a natural ability level at Reasoning, but practice definitely helps, and confidence grows with familiarity. If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation our specialist 11 plus tutors with significant JAGS entrance experience can help.

It is worth noting that the pre-selection assessment was spearheaded by the previous head, Sally-Anne Huang. Due to Covid restrictions, it did not take place in this format for 2021 entry, and it is likely that the process will be replaced with the ISEB Pre test.

The JAGS 11 plus exam content

Due to the guidelines around Covid-19, JAGS set the ISEB Pre Test for their 2021 Senior School admissions, rather than the usual 11+ exams in order to avoid large groups of girls attending the school for their entrance exams. These tests take place online and were brought forward to November/December 2020 rather than January 2021. Previously, JAGS has set its own exam that consists of a 45-minute Maths assessment, a 60-minute English assessment. Both papers are written with the expectation the candidate has reached at least Level 5 of the National Curriculum.

For 2022 entry, the ISEB Pre Test will be sat between 15th November and 14th January. Girls can sit this at their own school.

Taking about two and a half hours to complete, the ISEB Pre Test covers the following topics:

  • Verbal reasoning: covering areas such as common words, antonyms, word combinations and letter transfer
  • Non-verbal reasoning: this topic tests areas including shape analogies and horizontal codes
  • English: reading comprehension, spelling, punctuation and sentence completion
  • Mathematics: content for this is in line with the National Curriculum topics taught up to the end of Year 5.

This new test for the JAGS 11 plus entrance exam may sound daunting. However, Mentor has years of experience in preparing children for the ISEB which has been used by UK boarding schools for many years. It is very different from the long form written exams set by JAGS in the past. You should tailor your efforts towards this specific exam. For example, all answers are multiple choice.

Timing is even more important than usual in an ISEB test. Students should work towards a pace which is broadly consistent with picking up 1 mark per minute. This is difficult for any ten year old and requires lots of practice. Exam technique is also particularly important with an ISEB test as unlike with a written exam, the pupil cannot go back at the end to tackle questions they found hard. They will also have to practise guessing multiple choice answers, whilst eliminating as many wrong answers as possible.

Tailored tutoring could be the key to helping your daughter to stand out. From academic support to exam technique, our tutors can provide her with the knowledge and self-confidence to tackle the online test. Find out more about how Mentor can help your child prepare for the Pre Test.

The JAGS 11 plus interview

The interview is a very important part of the admission process and success here is key to get into JAGS. Whilst girls must meet a high academic standard, they must also demonstrate an ability to engage and respond during a discussion. The interview takes place prior to the entrance exam; however, the process has changed in the last three years. 2018 applicants had a single, one on one interview. In 2019, the JAGS interview took place at the pre-selection assessment. In 2020, in place of a pre-selection morning, all JAGS applicants were invited for an interview and to complete a creative writing task prior to the entrance exam. The interview was one on one, conducted by a member of the Senior Leadership Team. This may be the case this year, but it has yet to be announced.

JAGS interviews test critical thinking skills and the ability to articulate clearly one’s point of view. The interviewer may try to engage children with their specialist subject. For example, when being interviewed by an art teacher, a child can be asked to explain what a piece of abstract art portrays, and why the artist has chosen to portray it in such a way. There are no right or wrong answers, but a child should practise this type of question beforehand, so they are not thrown on the day.

The JAGS Interview Interactive Group Task

JAGS has recently introduced an interactive group task because they are keen to understand how the children interact with each other and what they are going to be like to teach. Whilst JAGS are looking for children who are naturally inquisitive and keen to learn, they also want children who listen to and build on each other’s ideas.  Being the most gregarious or outspoken child does not guarantee a place because no school wants a classroom full of students who like listening to the sound of their own voice.  Rather, to perform well and stand out in the group task, applicants need to be enthusiastic, ready to listen and able to collaborate with others.

How to pass the JAGS 11 plus interview

At JAGS, they prefer not to have girls appear over practised in the interview. If your child’s answers come across as rehearsed or planned, they will be less likely to get offered a place. In our experience, teachers look for bright, engaged, confident girls who are eager to learn and able to express themselves in conversation. The teachers pick children they would like to teach.

The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some children who find it harder to express their views. So, every year Mentor run individual and group sessions to build confidence. Focusing on interview prep and what to expect, we encourage children to develop answers and present their best self.

11 plus scholarships to JAGS

Many of our tutors have great success securing scholarships and are experienced with pushing the boundaries of learning for exceptional students. JAGS awards up to 20 academic scholarships every year. All applicants at JAGS are automatically eligible and those who score exceptionally well on the entrance exam will be invited back for a scholarship assessment.

JAGS also offers scholarships in Art, Music and Sport. You need to submit your application by late November. If their written application is successful, they will be invited for an in-person assessment. Most scholarships are worth around £1,000 per year, however can be up to £4,000 to those who perform exceptionally well.

Due to the competitive admissions process at JAGS, we have found that applying for a music, sport or art scholarship may strongly support a child’s general application. Regardless of whether she achieves the award she is aiming for, an application sets your daughter apart from other prospective pupils and alerts the school of her talent, and outgoing nature. If successful, the application also gives your daughter another in person opportunity to impress JAGS staff and present herself as someone they would want to teach.

Meet our tutors with JAGS exam and JAGS interview experience

To guarantee your daughter the best chance of admission to JAGS, offer her some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the JAGS 11 plus and with bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success at exams and interviews. Typically, each cycle our tutors help 5-6 girls secure a place at JAGS with 1-2 of those achieving an academic scholarship.

With more than 40 years of experience in tutoring children to gain admission to some of London’s most competitive independent schools, we at Mentor have a wealth of knowledge on how best to prepare your daughter for entry to JAGS.

Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject, the syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and all come with a wealth of experience and a great track record of success. All have up-to-date DBS certificates and references. Wherever possible we will match your daughter with a tutor who has a track record at JAGS themselves.

For some information on our tutors’ unique approach to testing children in preparation for exams, contact our team.

More information on JAGS

Address: James Allen’s Girls’ School, 144 East Dulwich Grove, London, SE22 8TE

Telephone: 020 8693 1181

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.jags.org.uk

Local Authority: Southwark

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 100863

Gender: Girls

Age Range: 4-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on entrance to JAGS here at Mentor and are ready to guide you through the new entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your child gain admission to JAGS at 11+, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519

[email protected]