St James’ offers a respectful, caring and supportive relationship between the staff and pupils, and they will get an overwhelming sense of community as they arrive. Pupils are happy in school and they support each other’s needs. This begins at the school gate, when Year 6 pupils meet with their ‘buddy’ in Reception. Pupils enjoy their time with Arlo, the school therapy dog. Pupils are safe and they say that poor behaviour is rare.

Pupils achieve exceptionally well through their learning and leaders maintain high expectations across the curriculum. Remembering key knowledge is a focus in every subject. Pupils respond to these high expectations with enthusiasm and they excel. Pupils appreciate their teachers and they know that teachers want them to be successful in their learning.

Leaders place an exceptionally strong emphasis on pupils’ personal development. Pupils can explain clearly their understanding of fundamental British values such as democracy and pupils have many opportunities to develop leadership roles. Pupil leaders organise sports activities, productions and a tuck shop. The ‘Worship Crew’ successfully help to organise assemblies. The majority of pupils take part in an extensive range of high-quality enrichment opportunities. Construction, ‘sing for fun’ and mindfulness clubs enhance pupils’ wider experiences.

There is exceptional leadership of the school. Leaders have designed a highly ambitious curriculum for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The curriculum encourages and enables pupils to achieve their academic potential. Pupils also develop their emotional well-being and cultural knowledge. In all classes, including the early years, positive relationships between staff, pupils, parents and carers help pupils to be confident and happy.

Staff have high expectations of all pupils and in turn, pupils show an enthusiasm for learning. Staff know and teach their subjects extremely well, this enables pupils to gain and remember new knowledge successfully. Pupils confidently talk about what they know and understand in a range of subjects. In art, Year 6 pupils explained how their choice of colour and technique was being used to create a realistic image of water and they could link this with previous learning around paints and texture.

Leaders quickly identify all pupils who may need additional support. This includes pupils with SEND. Every pupil follows the same curriculum. Teachers adapt their teaching effectively so that pupils with SEND can access learning. Staff provide pupils with effective, targeted support. This helps pupils successfully improve their subject knowledge.

Developing pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills is at the heart of pupils’ learning. This enables pupils to develop these skills securely. All pupils are enthusiastic about reading and they enjoy the many opportunities to read to an adult or by themselves. They read a broad and diverse range of fiction and non-fiction texts fluently and with understanding. Leaders identify any pupils with weak literacy as soon as they join the school. Precise and effective sequencing of phonics teaching ensures that pupils learn the right sounds at the right time. Staff make sure that books match the sounds that pupils learn. Those pupils who need help to catch up receive support quickly. This helps pupils read with confidence and enthusiasm.

Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. Pupils from different year groups get along well with each other. Pupils from Reception and key stage 1 pair with key stage 2 pupils. They organise many events throughout the year. For example, Reception and Year 3 pupils lead the Nativity productions. Year 2 and Year 5 pupils work together on the Easter Service. As a result, relationships between pupils and staff are highly respectful. All of this means that pupils enjoy coming to school and say they are part of ‘one big happy family’.

Headteacher Mr Ben Caldicott says that the Ofsted report is a reflection of the hard working staff and incredble pupils at the school.

“This outstanding Ofsted report is a milestone achievement that fills me with immense pride as the Headteacher of St James CE Primary School. I extend my deepest appreciation to our dedicated staff, talented students, and supportive governing body for their remarkable contributions. Together, we have created an environment that nurtures excellence, embraces personal development, and inspires a love for learning.”

Leaders ensure that pupils’ personal development is a high priority in the school. All pupils spoken to have a detailed understanding of healthy relationships and respecting the views of others. Pupils have many opportunities to voice their opinions about the school, which leaders act on. For example, pupils suggest many of the enrichment activities that are then adopted. This encourages a strong sense of belonging. Pupils take part in a wide range of clubs, including sports, music and science. Pupils appreciate educational trips. These include a visit to a mosque in Birmingham as well as a Year 6 residential week in Liverpool.

Governors know the school exceptionally well. They support and challenge leaders in meetings and in their link visits to the school. For example, each subject leader has a link governor who reviews and questions the curriculum. Governors hold leaders to account for safeguarding and the quality of SEND provision. There is a shared passion across governors, leaders and the wider staff to develop the school further.

Leaders prioritise the safety and well-being of pupils. Staff quickly identify pupils who may need help and protection from the risk of harm. They recognise that keeping pupils safe is everyone’s responsibility. Where staff have concerns, there are precise processes to record and inform leaders. Leaders take swift action if needed. Leaders carry out appropriate checks on the suitability of all staff to work with pupils.

Pupils learn about how to keep themselves safe. This includes e-safety around passwords and when sharing images online. Leaders ensure that help for pupils and families is always available.