Small classes with individual attention

Cambridge International Curriculum for Grades 1 to 7

ECD Phase is an Integrated Montessori Environment (accepts children from 3 yrs)

Nourishing the whole child academically, physically, spiritually

Enriched curriculum including Critical Thinking, Classical Studies, Creative Movement and Stillness Exercises

St James Preparatory School, Johannesburg

A prep school with a vibrant tradition of philosophy and meditation. Accessible to all. We're one human family.

Proudly Cambridge International.

Enrollments for 2022Now Open

St James Preparatory School, Johannesburg

St James is an independent school with a distinctive spiritual ethos of inclusion and unity.  Our highest purpose is the constant search for Truth and it’s our love for wisdom that helps us see everything and everyone as interdependent.  We welcome children of all faiths and those of none.

Our commitment to the school motto of Truth ~ Love ~ Service, shapes our characters and values, which in turn, shapes how we perform on the playground, sports field, stage, and yes, even in tests and exams.

Every child is acknowledged as pure, perfect and complete, as they share the same divine nature which is full of vitality, happiness and knowledge.  From the tender age of four, the children learn to cultivate an inner stillness, which prepares them steadily for meditation from the age of twelve.

As part of a worldwide education community with international recognition, students and parents can be confident that Cambridge qualifications will be understood at home in South Africa, and abroad.

St James’ track record in the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint exams in the three core subjects, i.e. Maths, Science and English, is nothing short of stellar, with 100% achievements being regularly attained.

StJamesInfographic without Text-c

St James is a multi-cultural independent school with a very distinctive ethos based on the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. It is a philosophy of unity where the essence of every child is recognised and acknowledged as divine and perfect. We all have different individual characteristics, but behind these differences, we share the same divine nature which is full of happiness, vitality and knowledge.

This ethos makes for a school where divisions and separations of culture and social background are easily transcended.

The St James Preparatory School in Johannesburg was established from the need to include universal philosophic principles as an integral and necessary part of the curriculum. The fundamental definition of the word philosophy (philo+sophy ) is love of wisdom.  In the words of Leon MacLaren, the founder of the St James schools in the UK and other countries:

“Philosophy is the love of wisdom and wisdom is the true knowledge of the Self (Truth itself).”

At St James the study of language is based on the finest example to be found, namely Sanskrit. It is a classical language par excellence predating Latin and Greek and has the ability to act as a model, teaching children the fundamental principles of language. Its grammar is found to prevail as the underlying grammatical system of many of the languages the children are likely to meet.

Stillness and meditation teach the children to fall still and quiet which helps to focus the mind and develop an inner peace, strength and steadiness. It is then easier to turn to the task at hand with greater focus and clarity of mind. This process is often referred to as ‘being in the present’ and helps to optimise mental, physical, emotional and spiritual pursuits. The children are then equipped with lifelong skills beyond primary school.

The St James Ethos dovetails perfectly with the Montessori pedagogy.

Both believe that the child already has the knowledge of the universe within and that their schooling/formal learning environment is just a "tool" to give the child simple information about the world and his relation thereto. In so doing He will Realise his place and purpose in the Creation.

Profound respect is given for the child's sincere/innate ability to learn and a holistic approach to the child's development is taken.

A Cambridge education prepares students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning.

It provides a broad and balanced education, helping them to thrive throughout their schooling, work and life.

Cambridge International opens doors to the world’s best secondary schools and universities.

- Become confident communicators, able to apply their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

- Develop a broad vocabulary and an understanding of how to apply grammar and linguistic conventions appropriately.

- Engage in creative mathematical thinking to generate elegant solutions

- Improve numerical fluency and knowledge of key mathematical concepts to make sense of numbers, patterns, shapes, measurements and data

- Develop a variety of mathematical skills, strategies and a way of thinking that will enable them to describe the world around them and play an active role in modern society.

- Build curiosity and fascination about the world to stimulate their interest about science.

- Develop their scientific skills so they can become increasingly independent when questioning and investigating phenomena.

- Link science to the real world context.

- Understand their place in an interconnected world

- Make informed decisions about the information they read, hear and see

- Suggest solutions for problems faced by their community

- Analyse and reflect on issues from different perspectives.

* Hover over hotspots to

“Thus it remains to the school to see that true knowledge and proper discipline are imparted to the youngsters, with which they would become living examples of a good life in society and would also attract others towards this.” 

Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī in conversation with Leon MacLaren - Founder of the St James Schools

School Calendar

Term Dates for 2021

Term 1

Term Start : Wed 13 Jan

Half Term : Thu 25 Feb - Tue 2 Mar

Term Close : Wed 14 Apr

Term 2

Term Start : Wed 5 May

Half Term : Fri 11 Jun - Mon 21 Jun

Term Close : Fri 6 Aug

Term 3

Term Start : Mon 30 Aug

Half Term : Wed 3 Nov - Mon 8 Nov

Term Close : Fri 3 Dec

Term Dates for 2022

Term 1

Term Start : Wed 12 Jan

Half Term : Thu 24 Feb - Tue 1 Mar

Term Close : Wed 13 Apr

Term 2

Term Start : Wed 4 May

Half Term : Fri 24 Jun - Mon 4 Jul

Term Close : Fri 5 Aug

Term 3

Term Start : Tue 6 Sep

Half Term : Fri 21 Oct - Wed 26 Oct

Term Close : Wed 7 Dec




What parents say about St James...

When my children are complimented for their wit and confidence I advise that the credit is due to the school. St James provides the kind of education and psycho-social container that is so important for developing children, during the pandemic and amidst so many social issues in our country. St James provides young children with the tools to cope with all facets of life; for life.

Aradhana Bageloo

One of the best decisions we have made is choosing St James for our children. The grounding and philosophy of the school is second to none. Our kids enjoy going to school and that alone speaks volumes. It’s a holistic education with focus on spirituality and very much a family orientated culture.

Bavish Kalan

Our child has thrived at St James and we are extremely happy with his progress. Despite the challenging times, the staff have met the demands of online learning and the kids are doing extremely well. Thanks to all the staff for your dedication and consideration.

Lorraine Singh

Most important I would like to thank all staff members of St James by helping our children to have self esteem and confidence.

Priscilla Mazibuko

StJames Ad


St James Preparatory School is a member of ISASA and is thrilled to have been featured in the Winter 2019 and Spring 2019 editions of their prestigious publication, Independent Education.  These articles are available here and here.

St James Preparatory School follows the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) which prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. CAIE is part of the University of Cambridge.  Cambridge’s international qualifications are recognised by the world’s best universities and employers, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career. 

The Education Renaissance Trust (ERT) is an independent educational charity, registered with the Charity Commission in the UK. The ERT helps and encourages schools and teachers who put spiritual values at the heart of education. It believes that a renaissance in education is needed for the wellbeing of humanity, and that there are already many schools and teachers who inspire children with good and true principles for living. The Trust was founded in 1997 to support a group of schools around the world which share this view of education. The group is called the ‘St James family of schools,’ after the first school, St James School in London, which was founded in 1975. The Trust now works closely with many other schools internationally, and hundreds of teachers who share their values.  St James Preparatory, Johannesburg, is privileged to be included in that group of schools.

The School of Practical Philosophy, Gauteng, is a centre for spiritual and practical knowledge and enquiry. The School aims to help individuals lead a fuller, richer and more useful life and to evolve the spiritual aspect of their being in accordance with natural laws. 

St James’s unique ethos is inspired by the underlying philosophy of the School of Practical Philosophy.

St James Preparatory School is currently accommodated in what was the first St Mary’s school in Johannesburg, established in the early 1900s.  Now a grand and elegant heritage site in pristine condition, the building is owned by the School of Practical Philosophy.