Priory School (Portsmouth)
|Headteacher||Mr James Humphries|
|DfE URN||116459 Tables|
|Former name||Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls|
James Humphries is the Headteacher at the school. Mark Marande is the Deputy Headteacher. Priory is a Specialist Sports College.
It was first established to provide post-13 education to boys who couldn't afford the fees of the city's many private schools. It opened in November 1888 on a temporary site on Commercial Road.
The schools modern site was originally purchased by the Portsmouth School Board in May 1890 for £3000, at the time the area was known as "The Wilderness" due to the lack of development activity. On the site were several buildings in a heavy state of disrepair, among the buildings were Howard's Cottage reputedly the oldest building in Portsmouth and home to the ghost of Lady Temple.
The construction of the school cost £9,704 and took two years, the buildings were completed in May 1892. Later extensions of the school site led it to cover the site of an old priory and a farm called Priory Farm.
In 1905 it was decided that the Francis Avenue School for girls should move to a building next to the boys school. This school which cost £25,000 to build was opened on the 4 November 1907, this school building now forms the main building of the current school.
During the First World War both the boys and girls schools were converted into the Fifth Southern General Hospital to care for soldiers injured during the war. After the war both schools returned to normal.
Due to the growing women's movement after the war, the girls school expanded rapidly, purchasing St Peter's Institute in 1925, by 1931 almost 800 girls were studying at the heavily over-crowded school.
Due to Portsmouth being considered a high-risk target during the Second World War led to evacuation of pupils from both of the schools, in turn leading to the buildings being used for war purposes. On the 10 January 1941 German bombing led to the destruction of the boys school and the girls school's new wing which had been built in 1934.
The destruction led to the boys moving to the St Ronan's Road School, with the old boys school being left as a bombed out wreck for the next twenty years.
In 1946 the girls schools became the Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls. The Southern Grammar School for Boys was on Eastern Road and is now part of Portsmouth College.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s the boys school was cleared and replaced with a gymnasium for the girls school. The 1960s was a time for rapid expansion with the addition of a lecture theatre and a sixth-form building.
In 1974 the boys school returned to the site, this time merging with the girls school to form Priory comprehensive.
The Priory Tennis and Sports Centre opened in 2006.
Portsmouth LEA gets some of the lowest results in England at GCSE, but the school is one of the better schools, gaining GCSE results in 2010 slightly under the England average, and joint third best in Portsmouth with The City of Portsmouth Boys' School. The City of Portsmouth Girls' School also gets similar results. No comprehensive schools in Portsmouth have a sixth form.
Notable former teachers
- Mary James (educator), 1970-4 (at the girls' school)
Notable former pupils
Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls
- Marilyn Cole, January 1972 Playmate of the Month, and Playmate of the Year 1973
- Kathleen O'Donovan, businesswoman, the first female finance director in a major public-listed company (in 1996)
- "Out of the Wilderness". Priory School. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Brian L Davies, A Short History Of Priory School (Southsea) (1997)
- OFSTED Report