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House System

The House system provides opportunities for a huge variety of activities outside the rigours of the classroom, and aims not just to accommodate the interests and talents of the accomplished sportsperson, but to provide opportunities for everyone to participate in a wide variety of activities – Hockey, Netball, Basketball, Tennis, Rounders, Badminton, Swimming, Soccer, Athletics, Chess, Squash, Reading, Public Speaking, Cookery, Art, Music and Drama.

Shell pupils have an early opportunity to become thoroughly involved with both an Activities morning and House Scrabble taking place in the first half-term. Both of these offer the chance for Staff and pupils to get to know one another. 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 first years 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. Positions of responsibility as House officials may be offered to pupils who miss out on the limited number of school posts and only through the House may they have the chance to show their mettle. Right across the age-range staff can build a rapport with pupils they may never teach.

It is through the House system that seniors and juniors 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. In 1913 Bablake created four Houses to which pupils were allocated according to where they lived: Coundon, Styvechale, Foleshill and Stoke. By 1922 the school had grown so much that six new Houses were established named after six major benefactors. In 1975 the school became co-educational, so by 1991, to enable more manageable numbers for major team game selection for girls and boys, we reverted to four Houses, retaining four of the 1922 House names. Based on this rich tradition, Bablake can be justifiably proud of its House system. 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.

Current Houses

Wheatley House

House Head: Miss J L Simmons

Assistant House Head: Miss L C Watts

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.

Crow House   

House Head: Mr A C Phillips

Assistant House Head: Mr S E Williams

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.

Bayley House

House Head: Miss R F Young

Assistant House Head: Mr C W Mohamed

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 House

House Head: Mr I Kalsi

Assistant House Head: Mrs J MacGibbon

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.

Bablake is considered an extension of the home, down to the caring staff who promote this positive relationship between students and staff