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Mr James McCrory

Head of School


Meet Hanova’s Head of School

Mr James McCrory graduated from Demontfort University in 1988 and worked in the commercial Design sector in Ireland, UK and Spain. He has worked in education since 1994 after completing his PGCE at Goldsmith’s College, London. The last 30 years in education includes 4 years in the UK, with the remaining years working divided between Spain, Japan and Kuwait, as well as leading schools in China over the last decade.

James met his wife Xuxia, who is Chinese whilst in Japan and they have two children, Anlon (aged 7) and Etain (aged 10) who are bilingual and will also be joining Hanova.


Over this long career, James has developed his philosophy of education. He believes that the best schools such as Hanova offer children a broad holistic educational experience that creates wider opportunities to develop these soft skills with a wider range of learning opportunities, as well as nurture students’ minds, hearts and bodies. This is complemented with a social-constructivist approach to learning that is supported by an inquiry-led, student-centered approach as through the IB programmes. James, just as the other Hanova teachers with children has specifically chosen to put his children into an IB education because he sincerely believes that they are simply the best educational programmes for the development of the whole child. The IB programmes have been carefully designed and indeed re-designed over decades, based on research into teaching and learning. The resulting programmes have been finely tuned to focus on preparing students with a range of soft skills making them highly adaptable and future proofing their skill-set in a rapidly changing world. Learning is more effective when it is not seen by learners as something that happens to them but instead, a process in which they are active participants. Every teacher and especially every parent knows only too well, every child is different with individual needs and interests and likewise they will develop and grow in different skills and areas at different rates. They also respond in different ways to the same approaches. Just the same way that children grow in height different at different stages and have ‘spurts’ of growth at different ages, they also develop academically and socially at diverse stages and ages. The student, rather than the class is the focus of such an approach. IB graduates are highly sought after by universities for this reason.


As someone who is highly passionate about education, James strives to be a life-long learner and has obtained post graduate Masters degrees in Education from both the University of Oxford and the University of Bath, as well as multiple courses with the IBO, the Principals Training Centre and the Harvard School of Education amongst others. He has also been actively involved with international educational organizations, including experience of international school accreditation by serving on CIS and NEASC Visiting Teams and as a Head of School. James has also worked for the IBO as an IB Diploma Examiner and Moderator when he was Director of The Arts at Yokohama International School. James was Head of School at Changchun American International School when it successfully obtained a three programme IBO re-authorization and he and his team also received numerous highly positive commendations in the CIS/WASC joint accreditation report, that was based on feedback and surveys of the whole community. James’s emphasis in leadership priorities over the last few years has evolved, driven by the effects of COVID-19. He believes that before, emotional intelligence and wellbeing how it shapes school culture was usually only informally addressed and not prioritized like the development of structures, policies and procedures. However, during COVID-19, the importance of wellbeing for the whole community came very much to the fore in not only allowing in a school to thrive, but to even survive. The paramount importance of establishing a solid base of positivity, wellbeing and good-will in a school community for its own sake is much clearer for all. From the outset James would like to stress that this is the foundation upon which all decisions and future development and will be the initial primary focus. James and his family are all very excited to join the community at Xi’an Hanova International School.

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