St James Durban follows CAPS (Amended CAPS Section 4 – the most updated syllabus as published by the DoE) as a basis for our curriculum. We encourage Thinking Skills across all subjects, which prepares our pupils for the future and teaches them to solve problems creatively. In addition, Specialist Art, Specialist Drama and Specialist Music further enrich our curriculum. We write benchmarking tests every year, such as Quintathlon, Conquesta and Natural Sciences. We are fortunate to have our very own fully equipped Science Lab, as practical lessons are far more valuable when it comes to understanding Science than studying the theory from textbooks.
Our language of instruction is English, and our first additional language is isiZulu.
We share our property with the School of Practical Philosophy, and therefore ask our parents to only pack vegetarian lunches in order to show respect towards our founders – the School of Practical Philosophy. We understand that modern life sometimes prevents families from sitting down to have supper together, which is why each class sits down to have their own packed lunches in the refectory. During this time, we focus on table manners and serving each other. We do not have a tuck – shop, and we ask our parents to pack healthy lunches to ensure our pupils are able to concentrate fully during lessons.
We encourage fitness by offering in-house sport and Perceptual Motor Development for the younger grades. We have an annual Sports Day and Fun Gala – none of which is competitive. We do not have sports fields on our property, so we transport our pupils to and from Crusaders Sports Field and Sutton Park Swimming Pool for their Sports Lessons. Currently, however, our Specialist Sport Coaches come and teach sports at school due to COVID regulations.
We have started our very own St James Choir, and rehearsals take place every Wednesday between 14:00 15:00 – there is no fee charged, but auditions are held at the start of every new year.
Academic Support lessons are offered by the teachers as the need arises, and our Librarian assists the Junior Primary Phase with one-on-one reading sessions. It is, however, sometimes necessary to refer our pupils to outside Academic Support Programmes as we do not have an LSEN Class as of yet. Parents and teachers work closely together; especially when it comes to having a child assessed by Children’s Centres with Educational Psychologists to explore possible learning barriers.
Although we believe homework is an important part of getting our pupils into the routine that in the world of work one often needs to work extra hours, the emphasis is on getting them into the routine rather than causing frustration in the household with a child who has to sit down and do hours and hours of homework. Daily reading, however, is a must!
Pupils receive an Academic Progress Report, and parent meetings are held every term to discuss the progress of your child. We aim to keep the lines of communication open as much as possible, which is why you will find that you will be invited to join some sort of a Class Group as soon as your child starts his/her journey with us. Letters are sent home via the PTC Book, but most communication will occur electronically. (For example, WhatsApp Groups).
Social skills, teambuilding and leadership development form part of your child’s growth, which is why we have annual outings. Our Grade 5 pupils go to Spirit of Adventure at Shongweni Dam for two days; our Grade 6 pupils go to Babanango for three days, and our Grade 7 pupils go to Cape Town for three days.
The class teacher, together with either the Vice Principal or the Principal accompany our pupils to keep an eye on things – the children’s safety is our first priority.
We love celebrating special days, such as Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, Mandela Day, Spring Day and Heritage day. We usually dress up for fun over and above participating in relevant activities for those days. Our Eco Club sorts out all our recycling; they are so dedicated!