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If JAGS is an option for your child, the following article outlines everything you need to know about the school. Nightingale Tutors has a fantastic track record getting children into JAGS and if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

James Allen’s Girls’ School, or JAGS, is an independent day school for girls in Dulwich with a history dating back 280 years. Although JAGS is the oldest independent girls’ school in London, it strives to offer over a thousand girls between the ages of 4 & 18 the very best in modern education.

The school’s impressive academic results (20% of its leavers go on to study at Oxbridge), fantastic facilities and wealth of extracurricular activities make JAGS’ admission process highly competitive. JAGS does not give priority to siblings of existing students, meaning all applicants have to work harder if they hope to be offered a place.


  • 91% of GCSE grades in 2019 were Grade 7 or above (A*-A)
  • With a 47% of girls achieving a Grade 9.
  • 71% of A-levels in 2019 were awarded an A* or A.

“20% of its leavers go on to study at Oxbridge”

JAGS’ 11 Plus Admissions Process

JAGS admits approximately 120 Year 7 girls into its senior school each year. One third of these girls come from its own preparatory school, while two thirds come from state and independent schools. The window to register your daughter is from the start of the summer term in Year 5, until the end of the October Year 6.

There’s a registration fee of £125 for UK-based applicants and £200 for international applicants. Applicants applying for a bursary who receive financial assistance from their council are exempt from this fee.

The job of a Nightingale Tutor can start here, we will happily guide you through this process and advise on any further questions you may have.

JAGS’ Exam Content

Applicants must pass a pre-selection assessment before they can sit the entrance exam. This pre-selection assessment is held in the Autumn term, and includes an interview, a group assessment, a mock lesson, and an online numerical, verbal and non-verbal reasoning test. At Nightingale Tutors, we’ll select your tutor for their vast experience with the JAGS entrance exam process and will work diligently to prepare your child. We offer a range of services alongside your daughter’s tuition to help. This includes:

  • Termly progress meetings
  • Guidance on school selection
  • Mock exams
  • Interview preparation
  • Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning courses
  • Scholarship groups
  • Access to Pastoral consultants

JAGS’ entrance exam consists of a Mathematics assessment of 45 minutes and an English assessment of 60 minutes.

The Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning tests aim to examine a child’s natural ability and potential, rather than their learned knowledge. Here’s where a good tutor can really come into their own as reasoning is rarely taught in schools. At Nightingale Tutors, we believe a strong performance in these tests can set a child apart and work hard to prepare our pupils for them. We will continuously expose them to similar questions as well as run courses & workshops on the subject from our classroom space.

Covid however, has meant things have changed. The ISEB pre-test will temporarily replace the above-mentioned, as well as the long-form written entrance exam that traditionally followed it. We’ve made it a priority that our tutors are up to speed on the new format and are very well prepared to help your child adapt to it.

The ISEB pre-test takes place online. Unlike a written exam, applicants cannot skip questions and return to them at the end. Your child must get used to this format and pace. These skills do not come naturally, so coaching them to become familiar with this task will pay dividends.

Many schools now offer Atom and Bofa to help children prepare for the new ISEB testing format. Please contact Nightingale Tutors if you would like any assistance here.

Children who perform well enough on the written entrance exam will be invited to JAGS for an interview at the end of January.

The ISEB Pre Test for 2022 entrance will be held between November 15th and January 14th.

JAGS’ Interview

The interview happens before the entrance exam. In 2019, it happened during the pre-selection assessment, but in 2020 and 2021, due to Covid, all applicants were invited for a one-on-one interview and then instructed to complete a piece of creative writing.

The interview is key to getting into JAGS but it should be noted girls should not appear over-rehearsed. Nightingale tutors has a wealth of experience preparing children for the interview and will work to ensure they feel at ease & comfortable before the big day. JAGS look for bright and confident girls who are naturally curious and ready to learn, who can speak effectively whilst also listening and work well with others, particularly their classmates.

JAGS ultimately wants to know if your daughter will suit the school and the school will suit her. For this reason, girls should know as much as they can about the school and the reason they want to attend.

During the interview your child may also be asked more open ended questions such as: ‘Can you describe the colour yellow?” or “How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?” These questions do not have “right” answers, but test how well a child thinks and expresses themselves. Your daughter will benefit from having dealt with these types of question in advance so they’re not surprised. A tutor will really help here and at Nightingale Tutors we get interview feedback from all of our students on what they were asked and have a long list of up-to-date example questions.

Interviewers are likely to bring up the topic of current affairs, so you and your tutor can prepare your daughter by asking her thoughts and feelings on what’s happening in the world right now.

We also recommend your daughter gets a taste of what it’s like to attend JAGS, as well as an opportunity to meet staff and students, by attending a JAGS Open Day event. She’ll be much better prepared for her interview and feel more confident as a result of this visit.

As you can see, successful entrance to JAGS relies on so much more than excellent core subject knowledge. At Nightingale Tutors we pride ourselves on not only being great subject teachers, but mentors, coaches and advisors who look to shape and prepare your daughter for life at their new school.

“Even if your daughter is not awarded a scholarship, it distinguishes her from other applicants and emphasises her talent and personality”

JAGS’ Scholarships

Every year, JAGS awards up to 20 academic scholarships. All applicants are automatically eligible and all girls that excel n the entrance exam are invited back for a scholarship assessment.

Application for scholarships in Art, Music, and Sport must be in by late November. It’s a good strategy to apply for one, as it can help a girl’s overall application. Even if your daughter is not awarded a scholarship, it distinguishes her from other applicants and emphasises her talent and personality. If she does win a scholarship, she has more opportunity to impress JAGS staff, showing herself to be someone they would love to have at the school to teach. Scholarships tend to be around £1,000 per year but can go up to £4,000 in exceptional cases.

JAGS’ community is known for its diverse mix of cultures and social statuses.

If you are seriously considering JAGS for your child, please get in touch with Nightingale Tutors to discuss how we can help.


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