St James School
Devon, United Kingdom
About St James School
St James is a thriving, diverse and ambitious community with 980 pupils. We are an 11-16 mixed comprehensive school that is consistently one of the highest performing in the area. We perform so well because from the moment they join us, we ask our pupils to work hard and be kind. These two behaviours epitomise what we think is important for both pupils and staff alike.
Our school is situated in the East of Exeter on a new, purpose-built site which means we benefit from excellent facilities, including an art and photography suite with gallery, an amphitheatre, a drama studio and a theatre with full rigged lighting and raked seating, a 4G full sized pitch, a greenhouse, allotments and significant school fields.
At St James, we value teachers’ time which is why we have a sensible marking policy for classwork meaning that you are not routinely expected to handwrite feedback to pupils. Additionally, we have an automated system for homework which is planned, set and checked for you. All this saves you time so that you can focus on getting to know your pupils and planning the very best lessons for them. Across EBACC subjects, we have a common curriculum with fully resourced schemes that you simply need to refine for your classes’ needs.
Our classrooms are disruption free as our behaviour system removes pupils who do not follow our lesson expectations. All sanctions are centralised so that you can simply get on with your job: teaching.
We ensure that our students are outward facing and enjoy a full range of experiences and opportunities whilst they are at St James. We help develop open minded, receptive and kind people, who embrace new ideas and change and who enjoy life and want to explore it by experiencing new things. The arts are core to our curriculum and are the beating heart of our school. All students partake in the arts and are given the opportunity to take the full range of arts qualifications at KS4.
More than 70% of our pupils complete the English Baccalaureate, and, as a result, we see our students invited to join elite post-16 programs, such as the Exeter Maths School and the Reach Academy.
The core of our ambitious learning culture is a broad, knowledge-rich curriculum, which is cohesive, cumulative and effectively sequenced. Our common curriculum is academic, rigorous and challenging, and designed with long-term memory in mind; students’ knowledge, skills and understanding are cemented by frequent and systematic revisiting.
Our curriculum aims not only to provide students with the knowledge and skills to obtain optimum GCSE outcomes but also to develop a love for subjects, acquiring knowledge and skills which set them up for future studies. Through a curriculum which, for us, encompasses every aspect of school life, we are developing our community of young people to have deep agency with their learning: they are curious about the world around them and proud to be learning with us.
We are committed to providing the very best environment for professional growth, believing that this is key to fostering an innovative and a progressive atmosphere. Our colleagues are incredibly committed and passionate about all that they do and are rewarded with bespoke CPD provision, in-house career progression opportunities, together with a relentless focus on staff wellbeing. If you are reflective in your approach and have a desire to be part of a highly successful school improvement team then this is the school for you.
Like Dylan Wiliam, we believe ‘every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better’. That’s why our teachers receive weekly coaching sessions so that they can reflect on and refine their practice. We don’t carry our formal, graded lesson observations as we believe our focus should be on helping teachers improve, rather than prove their practice.
Ofsted judged us to be a strong Good in our inspection in 2018. Our results in 2019 saw our students sustain the high level of performance of recent years. Headline figures show that 65% of students left with a grade 9-4 in English & Maths (a ‘standard’ pass) and 42% with a grade 9-5 in English & Maths. 77% of students achieved a 4 or above in English, and 62% a 5 or above, whilst in Maths 70% achieved a 4 or above, and 48% a 5 or above. The school’s strong performance in the Ebacc has also continued.
We value kindness at St James and work to be kind in all of our interactions and engender the same in our students. So, if you like to work hard and be kind and you like your pupils to do the same, St James School is the place for you.
The Governing Body:
The Local Governing Body operates with full delegated authority from the Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust and is directly accountable to the Trust. The governors understand well their statutory duties to hold leaders to account as well as setting the strategic direction of the academy and ensuring the academy has a sound financial footing. Their commitment is absolute, believing in social justice they bring a rich background of experience beyond education. They are led by a chair determined for the academy to be a first choice for parents and where every child is given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.