The House system provides opportunities for a huge variety of activities outside the rigours of the classroom.
The system provides opportunities for everyone to participate in a wide variety of activities including; Hockey, Netball, Basketball, Tennis, Rounders, Badminton, Swimming, Soccer, Athletics, Chess, Squash, Reading, Public Speaking, Cookery, Art, Music and Drama.
It is in the House system that many pupils learn the joy and value of team participation, and the valuable lessons of dependability and having to give of your best. Pupils learn to win with modesty and accept defeat with good grace, and that participation is far more important than winning. House colours are earned and worn with pride and the House tie or badge helps the individual identify with a large group, additional to the School and tutor group, with which loyalties can be built.
House competition is always healthy and everyone is encouraged to participate. From Shells to Sixth Formers, those who immerse themselves thoroughly are often given the chance to lead and organise in a system that aims to provide as many opportunities as possible. It is through the House system that pupils across the school learn to work together, often with amazing results and generating a wonderful spirit that fuels Bablake’s House system - that of fun!
Bablake’s four Houses are named after benefactors and each consists of about 220 pupils. Traditionally pupils follow into the House their parents and grandparents are so proud of and typically sisters and brothers follow each other into the same House.
In 1563 Thomas Wheatley became the school’s greatest benefactor: his gift was one of the largest and his name is linked in many ways to the school. The Former Pupils are called Old Wheatleyans; his coat of arms is the school badge and there is a Wheatley Street as well as Wheatley House. Thomas Wheatley came to Coventry a pauper and ended up as Mayor. He became an ironmonger and the money he donated to the school came from a lucky mistake. He had sent to Spain for some wedges of Toledo steel, but when the boxes were opened at his works he discovered they were full of silver and cochineal. He was an honourable man and tried to find out the real owners but failed and so gave a large amount of money from the treasure to Bablake.
It was in 1714 that Thomas Crow gifted money for boys between the ages of thirteen and sixteen to receive an apprenticeship. His generosity was acknowledged in 1922 when the original Houses were named and his memory lives on over 250 years after his time.
Katherine Bayley’s charity school was established in her memory, as a result of her will in 1723. The school was in what is now called Bayley Lane near the cathedral. It was popularly known as the Blue Gift School because of the blue facings on the drab coats the scholars wore and the pupils were irreverently known as “Blue Bottles”. The original school consisted of just eight girls and eight boys but over the years girls were excluded and the number of boys considerably increased. The Blue Gift School amalgamated with the Green Gift School and Bablake in 1888.
Fairfax Charity School was founded by Samuel Fairfax in Spon Street in 1751. By 1767 the school had 12 boys and 12 girls and schoolmaster John Pearson made the children’s shoes while teaching them. The “Green Linnets” wore the quaintest uniform of all - green cloth waistcoats with brass buttons, green stockings, and a knitted cap. Fairfax continues to flourish all these years later.