St James Senior Girls’ School is an independent day school for girls aged 11-18, located in Kensington Olympia. From its foundation, there has been a philosophical and spiritual element at the heart of the school and this aspect is as relevant and important today when young people’s emotional well-being is increasingly difficult to maintain.

At the beginning and end of every day, St James’ pupils sit quietly for five minutes or so to meditate or practise mindfulness, pray or simply be still. This ‘quiet time’ gives them the opportunity to learn to be at ease with themselves, to appreciate the value of being fully present and to develop their ability to concentrate.

It also helps them to put any worries or anxieties into perspective so that they can step back and concentrate on one thing at a time rather than feeling completely overwhelmed: this is particularly helpful during the years of public examinations.

St James has its own ‘learning tree’, an image which encapsulates everything that is necessary for pupils to thrive. The tree is a combination of the different skills required for academic success such as ‘analysis’ and ‘evaluation’ (displayed in the branches) as well as the six different attributes (displayed in the roots) that the school considers to be essential for life as well as learning: stillness, love, wisdom, integrity, resilience and enthusiasm. These attributes are considered and explored each half term in order to give pupils a firm, practical foundation for growth and happiness.

St James has always fostered a spirit of service in its pupils. Every year, pupils choose a charity to raise money for and they participate in community service within the school, at local primary schools or on trips abroad to India or South Africa.

Staff work hard to ensure that relationships throughout the school are extremely positive, characterised by a spirit of love, trust and mutual respect. The teachers not only have excellent subject knowledge but support their pupils generously, giving them the confidence to broaden their horizons and work to overcome any difficulties, whether academic or personal.

A happy, united atmosphere also provides the ideal environment for every girl to discover her own unique combination of strengths and talents, to achieve excellent academic results and to go on to study the subjects that really interest her.

The school has undergone significant refurbishment in the last year. In October, St James opened a brand new Sixth Form Centre which freed up space for a beautiful new library, a fourth science lab and allowed the school to enlarge some of the classrooms.

Pupils have access to fantastic sports facilities, a short coach ride away, and the music, drama and dance departments are thriving, with regular performance opportunities for all year groups.

St James Senior Girls’ School’s next open event, School in Action, takes place on Wednesday 3 May 2017. To book a place see stjamesgirls.co.uk