ST JAMES’ Church of England Primary School is one of the most oversubscribed in Bournemouth and it is easy to understand why.
Its strong Christian ethos, consistently good results and strong reputation make it first choice for hundreds of parents.
But it is one of the few schools in the borough which has not been forced to add extra classes to deal with increasing numbers of primary age children and has just 60 places per year group.
The school is on a relatively small site next door to St James’ Church in Pokesdown, making it difficult to build more classrooms.
But pupils don’t suffer due to lack of space – they go to the huge Kings Parks nearby to take part in sporting activities. And fundraising is under way to develop the school playground and provide new equipment and landscaping.
New head teacher Richard Warren took the reins in September and has already made a number of changes, which are popular with children and parents. A new rewards and sanctions system, a school parliament and a study of the school’s Christian values have all gone down well. And there are plans to take on academy status before the end of the year.
Mr Warren is keen to stress that most things – school name, logo, uniform and ethos to name but a few – will remain the same.
But academy status, in a multi-academy trust within the diocese, will bring financial benefits and give flexibility within the curriculum.
The school has also joined Collaboration First, a group of primary schools working together and sharing best practice in Bournemouth.
Other members are the Jewell Academy, Pokesdown, Corpus Christi, Hill View, Malmesbury Park and Queens Park Infants.
Mr Warren is full of praise for the Parent School Association, which is behind the £5,000 playground appeal and also runs other events including discos and school fairs.
And he said staff, children and parents at the school were all very supportive of each other.
St James’ Primary School, Pokesdown Hill, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH7 6DW
Telephone: 01202 426696
Age range: 4-11
Number of pupils: 420
Official rating: Good
Inspectors said: “Pupils achieve well. They make good progress to reach standards that are well above average in English and maths by the end of Year 6.
“Pupils behave well. They are courteous and polite to one another and visitors. They feel safe in school.”