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James Priory 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 the University of Oxford, where he was awarded a First Class Degree in English and was Proxime Accessit for the Newdigate Prize for poetry.  He developed an interest in choral music as cantor in Lincoln College Chapel Choir, has performed and directed in a variety of dramatic productions and is an enthusiastic follower of sport. 

His 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 is a governor of a number of preparatory schools and a London independent day school. 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 two daughters and a son, the oldest of whom are now at university.