Choosing the right education for your child is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
As parents, carers, or grandparents you have a choice - and the right - to offer your child the best education available.
The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle proudly hosts some of the best schools in Newcastle, Maitland, the Hunter and Upper Hunter, Lake Macquarie and Manning regions.
Catholic schools offer a unique educational experience which forms the child or young person as a person of integrity, compassion, faith and wisdom. Catholic schools also work closely with their local parish to enhance in students a capacity to make sense of their world, to make judgements and to recognise the uniqueness of others within a faith community.
Each school has a supportive community of teachers, parents, carers, P&F committees, clergy, parishioners and support staff who work together to focus on students; encouraging success, promoting discipline, supporting creativity and instilling compassion. This means that Catholic schools don’t just teach religious studies, they seek to develop spirit, mind, body and character and cultivate Gospel values that support lives filled with joy, endeavour and hope in the future.
Each Catholic school has a commitment to focusing on each individual student’s ability, offering a unique array of educational, creative, sporting and formation opportunities for students.
Finally, Catholic schools offer peace of mind to parents; knowing they’ve made the right choice and the best investment for their child’s future. It is because of this, and the many opportunities available to students, that we believe choosing a Catholic education is the right choice to make.
St James’ has quality learning at its core and places emphasis on developing the whole person – attending to his or her spiritual, social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs and establishing a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. With reference to research, best practice and resources, including UNESCO’s four pillars of learning (learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, learning to live together) and the Early Years Learning Framework, we are forward looking and thinking, with attention to those skills needed to be active and good citizens for today and tomorrow.
St James’ is a community with a strong and optimistic commitment to school improvement. We not only embrace change but initiate change to achieve our core objective – to improve learning outcomes for all students.
As an authentic Catholic school, we encourage our students to live out the St James’ motto – ‘In Faith We Learn.’ At St James’, as at all Catholic schools, Religious Education is taught as an academic subject. However, the whole life of our Catholic school is an expression in practice of Catholic belief and Catholic tradition. As they grow and learn, students are encouraged to put their faith into practice in their own lives. St James’ students are able to articulate our school values and learn how to live them daily.
With a close connection to the Parish of St Philip’s and a focus on service, students are encouraged to be other-centred in their relationships. As a school community, we have many opportunities throughout the year to attend Mass and we celebrate major feasts of the Church with liturgies. Each class has the opportunity to prepare at least one of these liturgies. Family Masses are celebrated each term with students, parents and teachers preparing and fulfilling the various ministries.
St James’ values its interaction with its active and supportive local community, where students can develop a sense of belonging to and responsibility for their community as citizens. Our school community organises and holds Catholic Mission and St Vincent de Paul events and other various social justice initiatives to enable students to become informed and compassionate global citizens.
Our active Mini Vinnies group provides support for Catholic Mission, Mercy Works and Caritas. For its efforts and service in building community, St James’ received the Monsignor Frank Coolahan Award for Diocesan School Community in 2011.
St James’ is driven by a deep belief that every student is capable of successful learning in environments that are safe, inclusive and promote academic rigour. We work in partnership with parents to cater for all students, including those with learning, behavioural, social and emotional needs. We provide a rich learning environment and personalised education programs to enable each student to reach their full individual potential. Academic success is also supplemented with a variety of student welfare programs as well as support provided by our Learning Support Teacher, Pastoral Care Worker, Gifted Education Mentor, EALD Teacher and School Psychologist.
St James’ operates as a professional learning community with a shared responsibility for student learning and wellbeing. Staff work in collaboration to maintain best practice in teaching and learning to improve the educational outcomes of each student. Our vision is to provide a quality and holistic education for the students in our care that allows for expression, creativity and individual needs.
At St James’, we believe our students will best experience success through contemporary evidence-based teaching and learning. The approach used is collaborative and personalised, with teachers and students working together to create a stimulating and engaging learning environment. St James’ is committed to equipping students for the contemporary world by integrating technology into the curriculum. All classrooms feature interactive Smart Boards or Smart TVs, HP streams, iPads and wireless internet to assist students in utilising all aspects of a 21st century environment. Ongoing development of existing facilities ensures students are well-equipped and empowered with the knowledge, skills and capacities to respond to the challenges of their world. As such, teachers are developing learning spaces that are flexible and innovative, that encourage students to take ownership of their own learning.
At St James’, we are strongly committed to the philosophy and pedagogy of Early Learning in order to build successful foundations for students to flourish in their learning and wellbeing. As part of our transition to school, our Kindergarten teachers implement the Successful Foundations Resource to provide children with the opportunity to actively demonstrate their funds of knowledge, build relationships and become familiar with the context of the school. Successful Foundations also provides teachers with the time and opportunity to develop meaningful relationships as they observe and interact with the competent, creative and capable child.
St James’ is a community where the creative, unique and individual talents of every student are greatly appreciated, embraced and encouraged. Students have the opportunity to participate in many academic, sporting and social justice activities to develop them academically, physically, socially and spiritually. Students of St James’ have the opportunity to be involved in activities such as band, choir, sporting competitions, debating and public speaking, Green Team and coding clubs.
Classrooms at St James’ are equipped with interactive teaching and learning technology and all students have access to shared laptops which are updated regularly, as well as a bank of iPads. Each class is air-conditioned and well-equipped for contemporary learning. Our large school hall is an ideal space for whole school gatherings.
St James’ is blessed with large outdoor spaces. With a focus on creativity and imagination, we have built a mud kitchen and tee-pee area and a dry creek bed. A large Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA) provides opportunity for students and teachers to use the space for a variety of purposes. We also have a shaded climbing/play equipment space. We are very proud of our Green Team area and the Fr Doran Outdoor Education area. Both these spaces provide students with opportunities to learn and play in natural environments. We have numerous raised vegetable gardens, bush tucker gardens, native gardens, an aquaponics garden and free-range chickens.
Participation, enjoyment and skill development are the cornerstones of the school sport/physical activity program at St James’. All students have the opportunity to compete at representative level in a range of sports across both
the internal and external sporting program including swimming, cross country, athletics, netball, soccer, rugby league, rugby union and touch football. Students in Year 2 participate in an intensive swimming program, and all students from Kindergarten to Year 6 participate in gymnastics and modified sports programs run by external providers. Students in the primary classes also have the opportunity to attend sports gala days for netball, soccer and cricket.
A Before and After School Care service is provided at St James’ by St Nicholas OOSH in the school hall. It caters for students each morning from 6.30am to 8.30am and each afternoon from 2.50pm to 6.00pm.
Vacation Care is also available during all school holidays.
St James’ playgroup is run in the school hall every Wednesday through Playgroup Australia. This provides a wonderful opportunity for new families to be welcomed into the school community.