Core Subjects

“Parents love all this creative energy, and the positive vibes being put out into the world.”

– Tatler Schools Guide 2024

Our Core Subjects


All children at St James study Philosophy every week exploring different values and virtues.

Children are encouraged to ask ‘big questions’ and to debate and challenge ideas in a respectful and inclusive way. Lessons are conducted in an atmosphere of trust, in which the children can express themselves freely. The discussions help them to understand how to be kind, helpful and thoughtful members of the school and society.


In our Teaching Kitchen, children engage with ingredients and talk about seasonality, nutrition and ethical sourcing.

They also learn teamwork, timekeeping and tidying up after themselves: all essential life skills. In their first lesson children learn how to make bread, butter and jam from scratch!

Chef Allegra McEvedy MBE has overseen the creation of a cookery syllabus for all children and currently teaches pupils in our professionally designed Teaching Kitchen.

Described by The Independent as ‘a caterer with a conscience’, Allegra has been cooking professionally for over 25 years in some of London’s best restaurants, written 8 cookery books, co-founded LEON, been one of the judges on CBBC’s Junior Bake Off and co-hosted CBBC’s Step Up to The Plate. She also owns the Albertine wine bar in Shepherds Bush.


Since 1975, the St James Schools have taught Sanskrit and are now considered a centre of excellence for teaching Sanskrit globally.

Sanskrit is a classical language predating Latin and Greek and acts as a model, teaching children the fundamental principles of language.

Of all classical languages, Sanskrit has the most complete and systematised grammar and is considered the underlying grammatical system of all Indo-European languages. Although Sanskrit is a core part of our curriculum, St James is a multi-religious school. We draw on the wisdom of global traditions which we believe unites us all. We begin from the premise that all human beings have the same essence which is full of knowledge, vitality and happiness.

“I realise how much Sanskrit is helping my daughter memorise information and data. Many thanks for all your great teaching. It’s indeed a fascinating subject.” – St James Parent

“Sanskrit really sets the school apart, and it is so much more than just a language that the children learn through it.” – St James Parent

Physical Education

We offer an impressive programme of Physical Education and Sports. In addition to our own well-equipped gym and play area, we make weekly use of the extensive sporting facilities at King’s House, Barn Elms and Fulham Pools.

We have a specialist Sports teacher who introduces the children to a wide range of sports, including netball, rugby, football, cricket, athletics, handball, fitness, cross-country running and gymnastics. From Year 1, children also have weekly swimming lessons, half termly. St James also offers a variety of sporting clubs such as karate and squash.

Pupils can represent the school at ISA Regional and National tournaments. We also host annual inter-schools events in cross country, netball and rugby. Each child will also participate in house competitions in their main team sports throughout the year.

Although our teams are highly competitive, we teach the children the importance of good sportsmanship, focusing on having fun and being your best, as well as recognising the success of peers and competitors.

Sport improves physical fitness, stamina, flexibility, agility, strength and balance. We encourage and support our children to reach their individual sporting ambitions, be it getting into our teams, local clubs or London Regional competitions.


We are incredibly proud of our outstanding Art department and our school buildings are enlivened with children’s artwork and our Artists of the Week exhibitions.

Pupils enjoy being exposed to a range of different artistic techniques and study the work of artists, architects and designers throughout history, both from their own and from other cultures.

Alongside the beauty of two-dimensional art, great emphasis is placed on three-dimensional art. We have an on-site kiln to fire pottery and the children produce vibrant large and small-scale sculptures.

In addition to our weekly timetabled art classes, we also teach the children needlework, hold an Art Club, and visit many of the great museums and art galleries within London.


Music plays a fundamental and exciting role in our school community.

All children starting from Reception can play instruments, join ensembles and explore in depth the beauty of all kinds of music, from classical to pop.

Events, concerts and performances are a key part of our music curriculum, and we encourage all pupils to step into the spotlight as we give them a safe and supportive space to perform and express themselves.

Drama and Performing Arts

Every pupil at St James can participate in our packed schedule of drama performances, from the Nativity play to our Shakespeare Festival, competing at the Sanskrit Speech Competition or presenting at Speech Day.

Children from Year 1 upwards benefit from weekly drama classes with our specialist teacher in the Senior Girl’s Drama Studio. The classes teach the children to express themselves with confidence, as well as developing their strength of the English language and teamwork skills.

We ensure that every child has a speaking part and experiences the pride of successfully performing to an audience.

Performing Arts at St James is very highly regarded with many pupils progressing to specialist Arts and Drama schools and developing careers within the arts world.

“Parents love all this creative energy, and the positive vibes being put out into the world.”
– Tatler Schools Guide 2024


We adopt a ‘Teaching for Mastery’ ethos and vision in our maths teaching.

This draws upon evidence and current research, led by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, into how maths is taught highly successfully in East Asia, particularly in Shanghai and Singapore.

In our maths lessons we nurture our pupils’ problem-solving and reasoning skills at the same time as their factual recall and numerical fluency: to put it in a nutshell, ‘the answer is only the beginning’. We want all our pupils to be excited and intrigued by maths and to love exploring not only the ‘how?’ and ‘what?’ questions but also ‘why?’, ‘why not?’ and ‘what if?’.

We are confident that through our Teaching for Mastery approach, not only are pupils likely to maximise their success in and their enjoyment of maths but they will also leave us with the strongest foundations on which they can build towards their future success in maths at GSCE and beyond.


Pupils at St James Prep are provided with a range of challenging and inspiring materials, not only from our national literary heritage but also from cultures across the world.

Regular reading encourages focus and steadiness and our pupils become enthusiastic and reflective readers.

The aim of the English department at St James Prep is to instill in every child a love of language and literature. We use the ‘Talk for Writing’ programme which embraces the whole curriculum and enables all our pupils, to become confident speakers, listeners, readers, writers and thinkers. Creative writing especially, allows them to discover and express their own ideas.

All pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and reflect on the outcome or product of their own efforts and those of their friends, through regular appraisals, discussions, performances, presentations and group enterprises. In addition, every child has the opportunity to participate in regular plays, competitions, reading challenges, theatre trips and workshops.


We understand the importance of developing computational thinking that enables children to better understand the modern, dynamic and technology reliant society in which we now live.

We believe that teaching ICT from 4 years old helps our children become excellent and safe users of modern technology.

Online safety and wellbeing is at the core of our learning whilst giving our pupils an understanding of coding and programming as well as how to create digital media, software use, binary code, 3D game creation, data handling and more.

Our state-of-the-art ICT suite ensures we are utilising the latest hardware and are able to use dynamic software to engage and inspire learners. We know that children leave St James Prep with exceptional computing knowledge and understanding that they can build upon within their future academic career.


French is taught to all pupils in KS2 with emphasis on the spoken aspect of the language and reinforcing vocabulary, along with some fundamental grammar.

This is achieved through fun games and songs, using French language apps to support learning and gaining confidence in adopting the correct pronunciation. We also aim to develop the children’s cultural understanding and foster a curiosity for all Francophone countries around the world.


Young children are naturally inquisitive, full of questions about the world around them and the drive to investigate how things work.

It follows, therefore, that we should take advantage of this energy and start channeling their enthusiasm for scientific discovery as early on as possible.

We are able to teach science in well-resourced and modern laboratories, and we value a practical approach to the teaching of science. Even outside the labs, our curriculum introduces pupils to scientific concepts and stimulate scientific thinking. Our early years science education provides a strong foundation in terms of both what is learned, and how it is learned by encouraging and directing natural curiosity and familiarising pupils with basic scientific vocabulary. At this stage, our approach is to offer fun, active and hands-on experiences.

Further up the school, pupils will be introduced to the colour and excitement of laboratory experiments, and the rigour and process of hypothesis forming and testing through experimentation. Our pupils are taught not to take things for granted.

Where next?

The Pause

At St James, we feel it is important to introduce our pupils to stillness and allow them to discover how to be inwardly free and deeply at ease within themselves. A short period of 5-10 minutes at the beginning and middle of every day is allocated to quietude in which pupils may meditate, contemplate or simply be still – according to their own spiritual inclinations.

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