St James is situated in the centre of Dudley and is housed in the buildings of what was Dudley Grammar School for Boys, to which many modern blocks have been added. Since the creation of the Trust, extensive electrical, heating and roofing works have taken place. Facilities are good and well resourced, with all learners in years 7 and 8 having their own laptops.
The academy is relatively small, with a polite and friendly atmosphere noticeable in the corridors and classrooms. There is also a strong caring ethos, which ensures high levels of support for students and creates a culture of mutual respect. Ofsted found the school to be a harmonious community in which students learnt well in lessons, and our learner survey indicates that the school is well liked.
St James operates a special Year 7 programme, Literacy for Life (L4L). L4L is run by a small team of teachers who get to know the learners individually and understand how to help them progress; it teaches skills that learners can use across all of the different subjects for many years to come, and it gives children an enthusiasm for learning by teaching a series of interesting topics in an exciting way.
In 2019, St James increased its GCSE Attainment and Progress scores, and produced some outstanding results for individual subjects. Learners achieved 100% in Biology at grades 5-9, 100% in Physics and 89.5% in Chemistry. Results were up in Combined Science and English. The academy has a strong track record of success in the arts subjects.
Students are challenged to extend their interests through a wide programme of extra-curricular activities, sports teams and enrichment activities.
The academy has a strongly inclusive ethos with over 30 different first languages spoken. The number of students with Special Educational Needs is over 20% of the academy population.
There are currently 690 learners on roll. Attendance is averaging 92.6%.