The philosophy and ethos of St James leads us to being a naturally caring, inclusive school. While every member of staff will be involved in caring for your son, some will play a larger role throughout his time at the School.
The Form Teacher
The Form Teachers play a vital role in the life of the young man at School. They look after the pastoral welfare of the boys and are the first point of contact for boys and parents. Boys are encouraged to go to their Form Teacher with any concerns or worries they might have, and parents are encouraged to keep in touch regarding life at home.
Boys have regular contact with their Form Teacher, seeing them usually twice a day and eating lunch with them several times a week. In addition, Form Teachers normally attend any residential trip with their boys. We do our best to ensure, wherever possible, that Form Teachers stay with their boys either for three or five years. This ensures a strong, trusting relationship is built.
There are two crucial decision-making times for the boys in relation to their curriculum. The first is for their GCSE subjects and the second is for A Level. In both cases the boys and parents are given guidance by the academic and pastoral teams.
GCSE subjects are chosen at the end of Year 8 for the start of Year 9. This is a year earlier than most schools but does ensure that maximum time can be spent on individual subjects. Particular care is taken to ensure that boys follow subjects which play to their strengths and talents and yet retain a balanced programme. The Heads of Year 8 and the Upper School are heavily involved in helping boys and their parents to establish the best choices. Named ‘Stepping into Manhood’, more information on the programme is available here.
In Years 10 and 11 further curriculum guidance provides the basis for choice of A Levels. In Year 10 boys are each given a prolonged interview to help establish possible areas of interest in relation to choice of A Level, university course or profession. They are given the opportunity to express their perceived strengths, qualities, likes and dislikes and this opens the dialogue for advice and possible directions. In Year 11, following the mock GCSE exams, A Level choices are made with the assistance of the Head of Sixth Form.
St James’ schools retain the service of an Hon Anglican Chaplain, The Revd Dr Rob Marshall, who has worked closely with the schools since 1995. Fr Rob, as the staff and children know him, used to welcome our schools to his church in Kensington when he was parish priest there.
Fr Rob takes services at the beginning and end of some of our terms as well as our beginning of year, Remembrance Day and carol services, working with the local clergy whose churches we use. He also comes into school to take assemblies and offers pastoral support and counsel to staff and pupils when requested.
Fr Rob is part-time Rector of Digswell in the Diocese of St Albans and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.