Please take a look at our FAQs below, which we hope answer many of your questions. Click on the question to show the answer. If you have any further questions or comments, please use the contact form by clicking here

Why the merger and why now?

Why were staff only informed about the proposal on the same day as parents?

We have a number of staff who are also parents and it would have been unreasonable to ask them not to share such significant news with their children’s friends’ parents. We also wanted to make sure that the majority of parents were informed directly by their Headteachers, rather than hearing the news through a different source.

Why are you doing this, and why didn't you consult with stakeholders first?

As a Foundation, we take our responsibility to provide the very best education to every pupil extremely seriously.

The Bablake and King Henry VIII schools have proudly served Coventry and the wider region for over 1,150 years combined. Throughout that time our schools have been on a continuous journey of adaptation, responding to the varying demands and circumstances of their time.

Then, as now, decisions have been taken based on balancing the educational needs of current families with the imperative to be sustainable for generations of families to come. Considering the needs of today's families includes coming up with a solution that enables all current pupils to stay with us. 

At this point in our history we are seeing a decrease in pupil numbers across our schools, which reflects a regional trend of lessening demand for independent education. This is driven not least by the tough economic and employment climate that all of us are facing. Our Foundation schools are not the first group of schools in our region that has taken the difficult, but necessary, decision to consolidate in order to ensure sustainability for the long-term.

By establishing a Project Steering Committee for One School that includes the governing body and the Heads from all our Foundation schools, we have made sure that each school has been involved in reaching this collective decision.

To have put the decision to create One School out to a wider consultation would have meant delaying important decisions and causing more uncertainty. We are committed to involving families in shaping One School, and this will include consultation around the school name going forward. We will also continue to update our website and other communications in order that your questions are answered in as timely a manner as possible.

We very much hope that families will choose to stay with us as we embark on the next stage of the long and proud history of providing a first-class education to children in Coventry and beyond.

Why are you proposing One School?

The Bablake and King Henry VIII schools have proudly served Coventry and the wider region for over 1,150 years combined. Throughout our history our schools have thrived by adapting to circumstances while staying true to our mission to provide a first-class, affordable independent education for the children of Coventry and beyond.

The creation of the new Bablake and King Henry VIII School is the next chapter in that proud history. By creating dedicated age-specific sites under a single leadership we will provide more choice and opportunity to every child.

At the same time, we will bring about efficiencies that mean we can make the required continual investment in our beautiful, historic buildings and new ones alike, housing state-of-the-art facilities; providing the very best technology, tools and personal development opportunities for our dedicated staff to inspire our pupils, both current and future. It will give us scope to broaden choice across our already wide GCSE and A Level offer, as well as increase academic, sporting and arts opportunities for all.

The transition to a single school with our senior site at Bablake and our prep site at King Henry VIII will happen over two academic years to ensure a smooth, successful transition for all ages. We will continue to offer nursery provision, which will be at The Grange. BKH School will be a place where our valued heritage is thoughtfully preserved and where exciting new futures are forged.

How did the governing body reach this decision?

The decision to merge Bablake and King Henry VIII schools was reached after detailed planning by the governing body. The committees in which decisions were taken have specific terms of reference which determine quoracy levels and voting rights, and are in accordance with our Articles of Association. 
 
The financial statements of our Foundation can be found on the Charity Commission website at this link. 
 
We understand that parents and others have been surprised by the decision, but would like to reassure all stakeholders that the governing body took account of a full range of evidence in reaching their decision. Governors are determined to do what is in the best interests of current pupils, and for future generations, while also respecting how strongly alumni feel about our great schools. That is why, in planning for the new school, close attention will be paid to preserving traditions and retaining our family feel, while at the same time ensuring high academic standards and broad co-curricular choice is maintained and the whole school experience is underpinned by outstanding pastoral support.  

What will the benefits be for me and my family?

Age-specific sites with dedicated facilities – by September 2022 all prep and senior pupils will have their own school sites with full access to the vast range of facilities on each. Please take a look at our prep and senior site descriptions for details of what your child’s campus will feature when the transition is complete. 

Broadened choice – whether that is the choice of exam subjects at GCSE or A Level, or the wide range of co-curricular opportunities for all ages, by coming together as one school every child benefits from more of what we do best.

Consistently high academic standards – a single leadership team for BKH School, supported by a new programme of professional development for staff, will make sure excellent standards are maintained across both campuses.

Family feel - each of our schools is renowned for its caring, family feel in which every pupil is well-known and understood. This is as important to us as it is to our pupils and families, and it will remain a defining feature of BKH School.

With Covid-19 already causing uncertainty couldn’t you have held off making this announcement until next year?

We are very aware of the scale of disruption Covid-19 is causing and hugely appreciative of the efforts all our pupils, teachers and families have made to ensure that valuable schooling continued during school closures earlier this year. However, with a return to pre-Covid-19 normality appearing to be a long way off, we believe it is important to move forward with strategic plans that will ensure the best possible future for our whole school community.

When will the changes take place?

Our journey to becoming Bablake and King Henry VIII School is underpinned by a carefully thought through transition plan, based on three key considerations. These are: enabling a smooth transition for all pupils, maintaining stability in the all-important exam years and making sure we can pursue an ambitious programme of campus re-development without impacting on your child’s day to day school experience.

All pupils will be on their age-specific BKH School sites for September 2022. Please take a look at the journey for each year group here.

Transition plans

My child is currently in Year 9 at King Henry VIII and will be moving to BKH Senior School at the start of Year 11. How can you reassure me their exam year won't be disrupted?

It is our intention that any senior pupil starting their GCSEs in September 2021 will complete them within the same teaching groups and with the same teachers. As such our staff reduction plans have been made with the guiding principle that pupils in exam years must have maximum stability and consistency. However, as with any other year, we cannot guarantee that staff will not move on for reasons of promotion or relocation. 

The phased process of the merger allows us transition time to ensure that both pupils and staff are familiar with the new environment ahead of moving in September 2022. There will be a pastoral transition plan that will involve numerous events, activities and collaboration days so that by September 2022 all students and staff coming from King Henry VIII are familiar with the buildings, the teachers and the other pupils in their class. The Heads of Year will play an important part in ensuring that this happens and that all pupils are in classes with existing and new friendship groups.

The academic transition plan will involve the coordination of curriculum across the schools so that children starting Year 10 at both King Henry VIII and Bablake will be starting the same curriculum in the same option blocks.

Will my child have the chance to visit their new school site if they don’t already know it?

Yes of course. We will be using our project website, presentations and personal tours to make sure that pupils and their families feel familiar with their new school site ready for any transitions.

Will my child be able to stay with their friends?

Pupil wellbeing is our top priority, and we will be doing everything we can to ensure children feel settled and happy. We will be working on a detailed transition programme, so that all pupils experience as smooth and successful a move to becoming part of Bablake and King Henry VIII School as possible. Enabling pupils to nominate friends to stay with in their tutor groups and other classes will certainly feature in our planning.

History and traditions

Will you make sure memorials are respected in plans for the new school?

Across both Bablake and King Henry VIII school sites there are a number of memorials, which commemorate and celebrate the lives of past pupils. We understand the importance of these memorials and will be preserving them within our plans for the new school. 

How will you create the sense of one school culture across two campuses?

Having a warm, family feel is something that all our schools are renowned for and that won’t change in the new school. There are already many similarities between our schools in terms of high expectations around behaviour, a strong belief in the importance of tradition and excellent pastoral care, all underpinned by our Christian ethos which welcomes pupils of all faiths and none.

Staff from across our four schools will be involved in various joint workstreams include Teaching and Learning, IT, Admissions and Estates, which will help us all start working and thinking as one school. We will be focused on decision-making that balances the needs of pupils aged 3 to 18 and is aimed at securing the best school experience for every pupil.

We will be inviting parents, pupils and alumni to be involved in joint working around specific areas of the new school in due course.

Heads at each of our schools are planning a comprehensive transition program for all pupils who will be moving school site in September 2021 and September 2022. This will include collaborative projects and events through the Spring term.  

Will the new school continue to have a Christian ethos?

The Christian ethos is a key part of the history and purpose of both schools; however, we are very aware of the diverse nature of our current intake and the city as a whole. We are currently looking at what key values will underpin the ethos and curriculum and it is highly likely that something reflecting diversity and inclusion will be at the fore, which acknowledges the backgrounds of our pupils and the city we are based in. 

Buildings and facilities

What will happen to Swallows (former Coventry Prep)?

Swallows (also previously known as Coventry Prep) will be sold at the end of this academic year (2020/21) and the funds raised will be used to make investments across both the prep and senior sites of our newly merged school. The main site investments are not contingent upon Swallows being sold in advance, but rather the sale is part of the governing body's ongoing financial model for the merged school.

We know how important Swallows is to many of our staff, parents, pupils and others and plan to engage families in a project to reflect the 100-year history of Swallows via an installation or similar at our BKH Preparatory School. Our aim is for this project to be carried out under the guidance of our Foundation historian and archivist.   

What is happening to the King Henry VIII playing fields? 

The playing fields located on the A45 are leased by the Foundation for use by King Henry VIII pupils. This area of land has been identified for investment under the Coventry and Warwick Gateway project.

The Foundation expects this land to be subject to a compulsory purchase order at some time in the future, consequently we are not able to include these playing fields in our long-term planning for Bablake and King Henry VIII School.

Why have you decided on King Henry VIII for the preparatory school and Bablake for the senior school?

The governing body has carried out extensive work to determine which site would work best for each age group. The security and accessibility at King Henry VIII were key factors that influenced the decision to site our prep campus for 4 to 11 year olds on this site. Pick-up and drop-off, as well as parking arrangements are all projects that are being worked on. In addition, the Bablake site offers more scope for re-development, including specialist facilities for sport. 

What is the rationale for siting nursery at The Grange?

We recognise that Early Years is a hugely important stage for your child’s learning, and that having the right environment is a key part of parents’ decision-making. Our recent investment in The Grange (Brownshill Green Road) includes specialist play facilities and as such the governing body has taken the decision that this will be the location of our nursery provision.

Admissions

Will there still be a place for my child at BKH School?

Yes, there will be. Bablake and King Henry VIII School has been planned with the ambition that families who are currently at any of our four Foundation schools will choose to stay with us. Retaining our family feel, focusing on achieving high academic standards within a broad curriculum offer, while committing to major investment on both our prep and senior school sites, are all factors that we hope will positively influence families' choices. 

Will pupils at BKH Preparatory School automatically transfer to the senior school if they want to? Will there still be guaranteed places?

Our vision for the new school is that pupils will stay with us from the age of 3 through to 18. As happens now, all pupils will be assessed in Years 5 and 6 to find out if continuing into the senior school is the best option for them to reach their full potential.  
Those families with children currently in Year 6 at Bablake Junior or King Henry's Prep will have received a letter explaining that we expect the vast majority of pupils in both schools to receive guaranteed places. 

The merging of two schools means that we need to employ a consistent assessment across both schools so that we are fair to all pupils. To this end, starting this academic year (2020/21) all children at Bablake Junior and King Henry’s Prep will sit the same assessment. Children who are not successful in the guaranteed place will also have the additional opportunity to sit the entrance examination in January with external candidates. 

If you have not received a letter providing full information about guaranteed places for 2021/22 entry into Year 7, please contact your child’s Head.   
 

What will happen to bursaries and scholarships?

There will be no change to existing bursaries and scholarships. Bursaries will continue to be subject to annual review, as they are now. 

Will fees go up?

Keeping BKH School affordable and accessible is central to our mission. The governing body have taken the decision to hold fees at their current level for this academic year (20/21) and will continue to review them every year as they do currently. 

Will you continue to offer nursery places?

Yes we will. Our BKH School nursery will be based at The Grange from September 2021. There will be capacity for two classes of 20 nursery children, which will provide plenty of space based on our current numbers. The Grange is a beautiful setting for our youngest pupils and if you do not already know the building, please ask your child’s teacher to arrange a visit.

For the academic year 2021/22 only Reception, Years 1 and 2 children will also be at The Grange while significant upgrades are made to what will be the BKH Preparatory School, currently King Henry VIII School. We are confident that there is sufficient space at The Grange for all children to enjoy an excellent experience.

From September 2022 The Grange will be home to our nursery pupils only. Please refer to the Becoming BKHS section of our website for more information about our carefully planned transition arrangements.

Staff and leadership 

If you are merging schools does that mean you won’t need as many staff?

We are planning for BKH School on the basis that most staff will stay with us and we very much hope they will choose to do so. Ultimately there will be a reduction in both teaching and support staff as our dedicated schools mean we will no longer be duplicating effort across two different school sites. The efficiencies we achieve through this will be invested back into the sites to improve and upgrade provision, including investments in leading edge professional development for staff. We expect that the majority of staffing reductions will come about as a result of voluntary and agreed exits. 

As planning for BKH School gets underway, we are determined that all staff are able to stay focused on providing pupils with the best educational experience and outcomes possible. If parents and pupils have any questions about BKH School please either ask your Head, or use the dedicated welcome@coventryschool.org project email for your questions. We will be working extremely hard to provide timely answers to any queries or concerns. 

Who will lead BKH School?

BKH School will be led by a Principal, with a Senior Deputy of Senior School and a Head of Prep with Nursery reporting into him or her. We hope to be able to announce the senior leadership team structure for each school site in the Spirng Term 2021. 

Who will my child’s Head Teacher be for this academic year?

All four of our Head Teachers are key members of the Project Team for BKH School, helping to oversee the transition from four schools to one from an educational perspective. As such, your child's Head Teacher will not change this academic year. We hope to announce the senior leadership structure in the Spring Term 2021.

Teaching and learning

Will the merger have an impact on GCSE and A Level choices?

We will be undertaking a curriculum review as part of preparations to become one school. However, as we are committed to remaining an academically selective school each pupil will be expected to take three or four A Levels. The national introduction of T Levels and other courses may allow further opportunities in the future.

A slightly larger sixth form may also allow for the introduction of new A Level subjects, such as sociology or politics. The same is true for GCSEs and we may be able to offer more options here as well. 

How will the bigger year groups at BKH Senior School affect my child?

While it is the case that the size of year groups at BKH Senior School will increase by one or two forms per year group, our careful planning is aimed at making sure this brings positive benefits. Across all our schools our warm family feel is renowned and is a key reason that families choose us. We know how important this sense of community and nurture is to the wellbeing of pupils, and it will continue to be a central feature of our senior school.

From September 2022, as well as increasing our teacher to pupil ratio, we will also be making further investments in pastoral support.

Our class sizes will be a maximum of 26, with GCSE and A Level classes taught in much smaller groups based on demand for different options.

In addition, specific investments are planned for our senior site, including a new sixth form and specialist areas for Art, Design and Food, which will also enhance your child’s senior school experience. Please see the description of our BKH Senior School for more details.

How will you ensure the highest academic standards are maintained across BKH School?

Establishing BKH School is all about bringing together what each of our Foundation schools does best in order that every pupil has a consistently high-quality school experience. Exceptional examination outcomes are absolutely central to our BKH School mission. A single leadership team for BKH School, supported by a new programme of professional development for staff, will help ensure that excellent standards are maintained across the whole school.

Will class sizes change?

Our pre-prep classes will have a maximum of 20 children, and our juniors a maximum of 24. At BKH Senior School the maximum class size will be 26, with GCSE and A Level classes taught in much smaller groups than this based on demand for different options.

Within our new prep and senior schools the total number of pupils on your child’s school site will, in the main, be very similar to what it is now. The main difference will be that everything that happens on that site is aimed at their age group, giving them more access to facilities and opportunities than they have on a shared site now.

When will I know who my child’s teachers are for September 2021?

A letter detailing your child’s teaching team during each academic year of our full transition to BKH School will be shared with you well in advance, with opportunities to meet individual teachers and other staff in the same way as happens now. 

My child has SEND, will there still be provision for them?

Yes. Our warm, family feel has always included making provision for children with SEND. By combining our resources and expertise we will ensure that children with SEND across BKH School get a consistently high standard of individualised support to enable them to reach their potential. If your child currently has 1:1 or other specialist support this will remain in place for them at BKH School. 

School travel and uniform

How will my child get to BKH Senior School if they arrive by train?

We are committed to ensuring that all children arriving by train can get to BKH Senior School. All our existing transport routes will continue and frequency and timings will be regularly reviewed subject to demand.

Extra shuttles buses will run to and from Coventry Station in the mornings and evenings. There will also be a shuttle bus running between BKH Preparatory School and BKH Senior School, as well as between the preparatory school and nursery. Our schedules will take account of children staying after school for co-curricular activities.

Detailed information on transport options for your child will be available shortly. In the meantime parents can be assured that we will provide the necessary level of service based on demand.

Will the uniform change?

A new school uniform has been agreed by our cross-school working group. Affordability, durability, look and feel were all important considerations for the group, as was fairly representing both schools in the new designs.

All new starters to the school in September 2021 will be expected to wear the new uniform, and it can also be purchased for pupils in other year groups. 

 

Getting involved and staying up to date

How can we get involved in shaping BKH School?

We have involved families, pupils, staff and other stakeholders in deciding a new name for the school, and will continue to provide opportunities to get involved in key projects. 

Do you see a role for Bablake and King Henry VIII alumni in BKH School?

Yes we do. Alumni are extremely important to all our schools and we will continue to have close relationships with them as we move into the next stage of our history. We hope that alumni are one of the groups that get involved in shaping the new school and will be reaching out to them with some specific suggestions around this in the coming months.

How can I keep up to date with the progress of BKH School?

We will be sending a half-termly newsletter to all our current families and alumni. If you are not a current family at one of our Foundation schools, or a member of one of our alumni associations, and would like to receive the newsletter, please email welcome@coventryschool.org to be added to our mailing list. We will also be updating this website on a regular basis so please keep it bookmarked.

Community questions

Will people living near the two school sites be affected by these changes? 

One of the reasons for choosing King Henry VIII for our BKH Preparatory School is considerations around safely dropping off and picking up children. We plan to create additional drop-off areas on-site, plus more parking, and do not expect the campus to have any negative impact on the surrounding area. 

Close to our Bablake site the Coundon Road development will see a dedicated cycle lane being constructed providing a fully segregated cycleway from the city centre to the north of the city. This will go past the gates of our new BKH Senior School and the playing fields. More information can be found at https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/68/pollution/171/air_quality

The same development will provide slip road access to and from the Coundon Road onto the ring road, allowing parents arriving by car to easily reach our senior school.