New Head Announced at The Portsmouth Grammar School

The Portsmouth Grammar School is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Anne Cotton as the new Head from September 2018. She will become the first ever female Head of the school.

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17th November 2017 — We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Anne Cotton as the new Head to lead The Portsmouth Grammar School in the next important stage of its development.

Anne is currently Deputy Head (Education Development) at Magdalen College School, Oxford, one of the leading academic day schools in the country. She will become the first ever female Head of The Portsmouth Grammar School when she takes up her post in September 2018, following James Priory’s departure to Tonbridge School in the summer.

“I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the next Head of The Portsmouth Grammar School,” said Dr Cotton. “The school’s commitment to happiness and success is one that I very much share, and it is a privilege to be invited to lead the school in the next phase of its development. I look forward to getting to know the school’s staff, parents, friends and alumni – and above all its pupils.”

Educated at Francis Holland School in London, Anne studied Classics at Christ Church, Oxford – appropriately enough the college with which PGS has enjoyed a close relationship since its founding in 1732 – where she was awarded a double first and later completed her DPhil.

She has experience of teaching in the state and independent sectors, including being Head of Classics at The Henry Box School in Witney, a large co-educational state school, before joining Magdalen College School in 2009.

During her time at MCS, Anne has been Head of Lower School, Head of Upper School, and Assistant Head, overseeing the pastoral and academic needs of pupils across Years 7 to 11. She was invited to become the Director of Oxford Festival of Arts in 2013, forging partnerships with creative partners and businesses, as well as launching an extensive programme of outreach with Oxfordshire schools.

In her present role as Deputy Head (Education Development), Anne has led a series of innovations, including the redesign of the school’s PSHCE provision, the development of a new enterprise curriculum, the design of a Thinking Skills programme, and the introduction of a broad programme of professional development for staff.

Anne is married to John, who is Assistant Director of Music at Abingdon School, and they have two young children, George and Rose. Her interests include voluntary work, swimming, walking, cooking and music. She also continues to enjoy academic research, and her book, Platonic Dialogue and the Education of the Reader, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014.

“The post attracted an outstanding field of candidates and we are delighted therefore to have been able to appoint someone with such experience and vision,” said Mr Walter Cha, Chair of Governors at The Portsmouth Grammar School. “We look forward very much to welcoming Anne back to Portsmouth over the coming months as she prepares to take up her new role as Head in September 2018.”


The Portsmouth Grammar School (Coed 2-18) is a day school in Hampshire.

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