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The Headmaster

James Priory has been Headmaster at Tonbridge since August 2018.

He was educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where he was the recipient of an Assisted Place. He moved to the Sixth Form at Taunton School and then on to Lincoln College, University of Oxford, where he was awarded a First Class Degree in English and was Proxime Accessit for the Newdigate Prize for poetry. 

James' first teaching post was at Bradford Grammar School, where after two years he became Head of Year 7.  He moved on to Portsmouth Grammar School, being appointed as Head of English in 2000, and was subsequently promoted to Senior Teacher and then Assistant Head with responsibility for the Sixth Form, before becoming the first internally appointed Headmaster in almost 200 years.

During his time at Portsmouth Grammar School, James was Chairman of the Portsmouth Festivities, a city-wide annual celebration of young people and the arts, and a trustee of HMS Warrior (1860).

He developed an interest in choral music as cantor in Lincoln College Chapel Choir, has performed in and directed a range of theatre productions, and is a keen follower of sport. 

James is a governor for Marsh Academy in New Romney, Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith and for three preparatory schools in Kent: The New Beacon School, Holmewood House and Bickley Park.

He was involved in launching HMC’s magazine Insight as co-editor and chair, and is a team inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

James is married to Helen, who teaches English; they have three children, the youngest of whom attended Tonbridge.