Old Coventrians - King Henry VIII School Former Pupils

Old Coventrians - King Henry VIII School Former Pupils


I have been following announcements, developments and coverage of the proposed merger with interest and am very concerned about the most recent points raised in the Coventry Echo.

My first concern is that through these proposals and the way in which their announcement has been handled, the School Governors are responsible for starting an exodus of pupils from King Henry VIII and Bablake Schools to other independent schools in the region. A very worrying development as it suggests that these proposals have caused both reputational damage and undermined trust amongst parents and pupils alike in the future of both schools and their ability to maintain the high standards of academic, cultural and sporting achievement associated with them. Reputation and Trust are key factors in the historic success of these schools, the guardianship of which lies at the heart of the responsibilities of the incumbent Governors.

Then there is the lack of transparency and failure to respond to pretty rudimentary questions about the development of these plans. The fact that the Governors have failed to come forward to properly explain the reasoning behind the proposed changes suggest there is something to hide. Perhaps an independent inspection of the financials – both in terms of the projections used in the financial modelling of these proposals as well as the way the Governors have been managing the expenditure of the schools in recent years to ensure that moneys have been spent wisely and projects have been appropriately tendered rather than being awarded to businesses with personal links to the Governors, would be an appropriate precaution. The fact that Foundation accounts have not been published in the usual way raises some doubts that things are not all as they should be. After all the future charitable status of the school would be in jeopardy if financial irregularities were to be uncovered which would potentially open up a Pandora’s Box of unpleasantness which none of us want.

Not forgetting the implications for current pupils. Just how will the school cram 2 lots of senior school pupils onto the Bablake site without enormous disruption to their education starting with travel to and from school – right the way through to the quality of education, availability of adequate classrooms and equipment etc? Equally – how on earth with little Johnny & Jane aged 6 cope at the current King Henry VIII site? Or indeed what is all this uncertainty doing to the state of mind of teaching staff?The Governors have a Duty of Care to these pupils an it seems to me that through the proposed actions the Governors are falling short in their observance of this duty.

Moreover – the Governors owe it to fee paying parents to explain their plans for the Coundon/Hollyfast Road site… after all their money has been used to pursue planning permission there – and it seems disingenuous to suggest that this does not feature in the long term planning horizon for the Schools. It is patently clear that the longer term agenda is to move all education to the Bablake site and abandon the King Henry VIII Warwick Road site. In doing so this reduces the choice of independent education in the City of Coventry, removes a centuries old competition between the 2 schools which has helped drive excellence at both and leaves nothing but a much diminished school offering at the end of it…

In short – the proposal by the Governors appears to boil down to halving the high quality, independent education offered by the Foundation and sacrificing King Henry VIII in the process so that Bablake can survive without any meaningful local competition.

Given the Governors are supposed to be governing in the best interests of both schools this represents an abject failure of responsibility and demonstrates a complete lack of vision. Perhaps if the Governors have such strong grounds for doubting the sustainability of both schools they should share them with key stakeholders. Or if they doubt their collective ability to make a success of both schools they might consider their positions as Trustees and hand over those responsibilities to those that do have the required business skills.

I have written to the School Governors and Head Master to express my reservations about their plans and will be raising my concerns with Coventry City Council and with local MPs. I understand the matter is also being raised with the Charities Commission, a move I wholeheartedly support!

I do so as an Old Coventrian, grateful for the opportunities afforded me through my education at King Henry VIII and proud of the long history of the school that took me in when I first moved to the UK over 35 years ago. I still have fond memories and strong friendships going back to my time at the school and do not accept that same opportunity should be removed from future generations without appropriate interrogation of the alternative plans offered.

A big thank you goes to the actionforhenry8 group for keeping those based further afield abreast of developments.

My thoughts and best wishes to all the staff, pupils and parents who are having to work through this most calamitous period of uncertainty and change in the history of both schools. Let’s stick together to ensure you all get the outcome you deserve rather than the Dickensian bowl of gruel being served up by those in charge of these plans.
Well that’s disappointing!
Looks like the only way is the hard way!

At the request of Jan Beynon Butler, a little music to help keep you sane. Enjoy!
It's time for the classes of '02 and '03 to reassemble at the our King Henry's reunion. The date is May 16th 2020. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible 😁

Side note: Bring back the two best year groups in Henry's history! Woop! Woop! 🎉🎉
Clearly I'm extremely biased!

Extra side note: more details will be coming soon!
Edit - Angus has been found and is ok

Angus went to Henry’s, think he was a year below me so started in 88? Anyone local please share
Substantial Henry's presence at the Stop the Coup protest meeting in central Coventry tonight - Pete and Pip Milton, Gill Othen and myself, and the event seemed to have been organised by OC Stephen Richmond - battling to protect the future of our young people!
OC Ladies and Gents:

If you played netball at school and hated it and thought it was slow and boring: watch the Netball World Cup

If you didn't play netball at school because you thought it was slow and boring: watch the Netball World Cup

If you are not from a Commonwealth country (or the handful of other countries that have serious netball programs): watch the Netball World Cup

If you have no idea what netball is: watch the Netball World Cup

If you haven't yet found a sport to watch with a good mix of speed, agility, aggression, ball skills and the odd bit of gymnastics: watch the Netball World Cup

If you watched with bated breath when Helen Housby sank that last penalty shot to win the Commonwealth Games title for England last year and you've recovered enough for another round: watch the Netball World Cup

If you don't fall into any of the above categories: watch the Netball World Cup

Also, watch the Netball World Cup. And then sign up for the next OCs netball tournament when it comes around!
The OC's Choir gave a splendid performance at the Christmas Concert last night!
For more photos of the OC's Choir at last night's Christmas Concert, take a look on Old Coventrians' Musicians. 🎄🎶🎶🎶🎶🎄
A lovely tradition to restore! 🎶🎶
Congratulations to Wilma and Sam🎉
I hope this is ok to post here. The very talented Mark Pemberton took this photo of school and I thought that some of you might be interested to know that it is available to buy on his website (https://coventryphotographed.my-free.website/?fbclid=IwAR1uAF60C95FjRWofS-I5XWaUiMm72jYZv0nPUAJVAhLsrmKDLIb6x2x9eo). I have no affiliation to him, other than a happy customer!

Former Students of King Henry VIII School, Coventry. The Old Coventrians' are the former pupils, staff and friends of King Henry VIII School in Coventry.

An outstanding group of talented individuals who have achieved great things.

Operating as usual


There will be a public memorial service for David Duckham at Coventry Cathedral on Monday 27th February 2023 at 2.30 pm. The reception afterwards will be at Coventry RFC, Butts Park Arena.


This is the place to be this afternoon! Come and watch the King Henry VIII Relay Race. Starts at 2.30!


Third Coventry School (King Henry VIII / Bablake) Hockey Reunion for former Hockey Players (Boys and Girls)

Afternoon: Relaxed Social Hockey Tournament on the school double astro for under/over 50s (children any age welcome too), plus games against current school players for the more energetic

Evening: Four-course Dinner including coffee (cost £25) at Broadstreet Rugby Club, Binley (Over 16s only at the evening party, please)
Preferential rates at certain hotels for those staying over

Invited: KHVIII/Bablake 1970s/80s Dutch tourers especially, but everyone of any era is invited, as are partners, friends (including non-Hockey), parents/guardians, children/grandchildren, whether playing or watching the games

Our club Hockey page is at facebook.com/groups/152150021633483; plus see Pat Head’s informative post at facebook.com/groups/KHVIIIseventieseighties

Please let us know ASAP if you’d like to attend (and play or not). To reserve a place, email Rod Dunnett (ex-head of school Hockey) [email protected], or text/message/WhatsApp him on 07962 902751. Alternatively, email the event organiser, David Howarth (ex-School Hockey Captain) [email protected].
Remember to include your email address and mobile number when booking your place.
Please share this invitation with any other school former players girls/boys you’re in touch with. Thank you!


Were you in Class of 1991? Were in Class of 1992? If so, come along to your Reunion Dinner on Saturday 25th March 2023 (6:00pm for 6:30pm)! Share this post and tell all your friends. BOOK ONLINE NOW: https://khviii.alumni-online.com/Classes9192Reunion

Photos from Old Coventrians - King Henry VIII School Former Pupils's post 23/01/2023

Tony Whetstone (June 12 1927- December 19 2022)

This tribute to a distinguished OC is by Telegraph Obituaries 20 January 2023

Rear-Admiral Tony “Scran” Whetstone, who has died aged 95, helped to prepare the fleet for war as Flag Officer Sea Training (1978-80), and in 1982 was Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) in the Ministry of Defence.

As a newly promoted rear-admiral at Portland he directed operational training and prepared ships and men to join the fleet. Concerned about the poor air defence in Navy ships, he shifted the emphasis in training away from anti-submarine warfare towards anti-air warfare, and arranged for ships to be “bounced” daily by low-flying aircraft: this was a both a test of alertness and a preparation for the sort of tactics the Argentine air force would adopt during the 1982 Falklands War.

He also placed great emphasis on damage control in ships and disaster relief ashore.

Unusually for a submariner, Whetstone also qualified for membership of the Goldfish Club, open to those whose aircraft have ditched into the sea. On May 22 1980 he was in a Wessex helicopter when it suffered an engine failure off Portland Bill. The cabin crew and passengers abandoned the aircraft from a low hover before it hit the water and rolled over to port.

Seeking to reassure those around him in the water, Whetstone was heard to say: “Well, I don’t suppose it will be long before the emergency helicopter arrives to pick us up,” only to be told: “Sir, we are the emergency helicopter.” Leading aircrewman Andy Vanes noted: “the admiral took it all in his stride, did as he was told, and followed his drills without any short-cuts” as he was lifted from a life-raft by a relief helicopter.

In 1981 the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Henry Leach chose Whetstone to be Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) in the Ministry of Defence at the time of the Nott Review. The Navy was heavily committed overseas, in the Gulf, the West Indies, and to exercises and training with the US Navy and in Nato, and the implications of the proposed cutbacks in the review were serious.
However, in mid-March 1982 the Commander-in-Chief, Fleet, Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse, rang Whetstone at home to inform him of reports from Captain Nick Barker, in the survey ship Endurance in the South Atlantic, of increased activity of Argentine forces and the potential for an invasion of the Falkland Islands. The British ambassador in Buenos Aires attempted to play down the threat but Barker was vindicated when the Argentines landed illicitly on South Georgia and raised their national flag.

Together Fieldhouse and Whetstone instigated unilateral deterrent action by the Navy and sent British nuclear submarines southwards. Then in early April, after Argentina had invaded and occupied the Falklands, Whetstone was involved in the despatch of the fleet and the Royal Marines, and later in the changes to the rules of engagement. At the end of the conflict, he was appointed CB.

Anthony John Whetstone was born on June 12 1927 in Coventry, where his father was a journalist, and educated at King Henry VIII Grammar School. He entered the Royal Naval College at its wartime home at Eaton Hall in Cheshire, and he was in the training cruiser Frobisher on VE-Day.

Taking passage to the Far East to join the battleship Duke of York, flagship of the British Pacific Fleet, he visited Nagasaki; the horror of the destruction remained a vivid memory throughout his career.
While still a midshipman, he spent a day at sea in a submarine and decided to join the service. After courses at Greenwich and schools in Portsmouth (his training officer at the gunnery school was the then Lieutenant Henry Leach, who became a lifelong friend), Whetstone volunteered for “the Trade” and began submarine training in the same class as the then Sub-Lieutenant John Fieldhouse: they cemented their friendship as junior officers in the submarine Thule.

After further service in the submarines Ambush, Turpin and Thermopylae, he passed the “Perisher” course in 1955 and his first command was Sea Scout.

He commanded Artful (1959-61), before becoming a staff officer at the attack-teacher (a training school equipped with simulators) at its then home on the Isle of Bute. This gave him the opportunity to meet most submariners as they passed through, and he helped to develop tactics and doctrine and paid a familiarisation visit to a US nuclear submarine.

In 1966-67 Whetstone reverted to general service as second-in-command of the guided missile destroyer Kent as it visited South Africa and South America.

From 1968 to 1970 he commanded the starboard crew of the nuclear-powered ballistic-missile firing submarine Repulse, alongside the port crew commanded by Commander JR “Phil” Wadman, building at Barrow-in-Furness. The friendship between the two men helped to meld the crews, making Repulse one of the happiest and most efficient of submarines.

On the boat’s first missile-firing trials, off Cape Canaveral, Whetstone relieved the tense atmosphere during the final stages of the countdown in the control room – “overloaded with serious-minded USN and RN admirals” – by fumbling with his hire-car keys when he was supposed to insert the firing key. The “permission to fire key” was hung on a lanyard round his neck, and Whetstone quickly grabbed the right key.

In 1970 Whetstone took his experience to the Directorate of Naval Warfare in London, where he found the staff working on the highly secret and costly Chevaline programme, intended to use decoy warheads to defeat Soviet developments in anti-ballistic missile defences.

In 1972-73 he commanded the 4th Frigate Squadron from the frigate Juno during the Second Cod War, before becoming chief of staff to the Flag Officer Submarines, based at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport. There, he advocated the retention of smaller, conventionally diesel-driven boats for minor operations and peacetime training. Later on he was disappointed when the Upholder class (as they were known) were cancelled in the 1990s.
After a year as a student at the Royal College of Defence Studies, in 1978 he briefly commanded the guided-missile destroyer Norfolk when he was promoted to rear-admiral.

As a leader, Whetstone was much-loved for his sense of humour and for his willingness to give everyone some of his time no matter how casual the encounter.

In retirement he worked for the Cable TV Association (1983–86) and the National Television Rental Association (1983–87), before becoming deputy secretary of the D-Notice Committee (1987–92).
In 1951 he married Betty Georgeson. She died in 2016 and he is survived by a son and two daughters.


Message from Scott Angliss (Class of 1999):

Hi All,
As some of you may know, I am part of the Hockey for Heroes organisation, and our biggest tour info is now live and I need your support! 🙏
To summarise:
9x Days : 26/05 to 03/06
Ben Rhydding to Portsmouth
457km of Endurance Tasks
54x games of Hockey
£100K combined target
Please click the link to my page below to find out more and to donate! 🏑🇬🇧⚔️
“Never Above You. Never Below You. Always Beside You”


At 2.59 today the Butts Park Arena fell silent for one minute in memory of the Coventry legend David Duckham who passed away earlier this week. The match that followed, a pulsating 19-19 draw between Coventry and Jersey Reds, was a worthy tribute to the great man.

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post 13/01/2023

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post


DAVID DUCKHAM (1947-2023)

We are desperately saddened to have to inform the Old Coventrian community of the passing last night of David Duckham, unarguably the greatest rugby player the school has ever produced, a world-famous sportsman for Coventry, Warwickshire, England, the British & Irish Lions and the Barbarians.

His ability to thrill crowds with his open running style and magnificent sidestep made him an admired, respected and beloved figure the world over.

Our sincere condolences to David's wife Jean and all who knew him.

RIP David.


Class of 2015 students and their families had a great time catching up with everyone at last Friday's "Celebrate your Success at Henry's" event. It was wonderful to see so many of you there.


Happy New Year to everyone in the Old Coventrian community from the OCA officers and committee,

Photos from Old Coventrians - King Henry VIII School Former Pupils's post 14/12/2022

We've had a good fun rehearsal with the OCA pop-up choir this evening. There will be more of us tomorrow! Come and sing with us, even if you couldn't make this first rehearsal. Next rehearsal: Thursday 15th December, Burgess Hall (School Hall), 6pm. Christmas Concert at 7pm. See you there!


The OCA pop-up choir is back!
Calling on all singing alumni to come and sing at Henry's Christmas concert on Thursday 15th December 2022 at 7.00pm.

Rehearsals :
Wednesday 14th December 2022
6.00pm, MR1

Thursday 15th December 2022
6.00pm, Burgess Hall
Concert starts at 7.00pm

Alumni of all singing abilities are welcome to sing in all numbers.

We look forward to singing with you. For any queries, please email [email protected].


Do join us for this free talk on Philip Larkin on Friday 2 December, which coincides with the anniversary of his death. This year, 2022, is also the centenary of his birth. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event.


Invitation to Christmas 22!

You are all warmly invited to take part in our Christmas 2022 Carol Concert on Thursday December 15th at 7pm at King Henrys. I would love to put together a choir of OC musicians as we did pre-Covid.

I propose rehearsing on Wednesday December 14th at 6pm for an hour or so, then again on the day also at around 6pm. We will sing two or three items in the concert and you are also very welcome to join in the other choral numbers - Carol of the Bells, Hark the Herald, Once in Royal, maybe even some Mariah Carey...!

If you would like to join in then please let me know on [email protected]. Even if the rehearsal times don't work get in touch in any case!

Mr Newton

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post 22/11/2022

Peter Whittingham Foundation.


Robin Newton, Director of Music, is inviting us to form a choir to take part in the Christmas Concert on Thursday 15th December. Rehearse on the day and on Wednesday 14th. Please save the date!


Just in case you have not received this invitation.
Crackley Woods Cross-Country Run
Saturday 17th December 2022 Meet at 11.15 for an 11.30 start
At last, we run again!
Calling all Old Coventrians, and their guests, for a 5.5k run on
something like (thank you HS2) the school course!
Runners of all standards are invited to take part… the super fast and the not so fast… a fun run, whatever your speed!

This year we will again be using the facilities at Kenilworth Lawn Tennis & Squash Club. There is adequate parking and changing rooms. Lunch will be jacket potatoes etc, salad, soup and tea and coffee. We hope you'll all stay around afterwards for the presentations and a bit of a social in the bar. Sadly, our insurance does not cover runners under 18.

Please register your details on the accompanying 2022 Crackley Run entry form.

The only cost this year will be for the lunch if you are having it: £10 please. A small cash donation on the day if you are not staying for lunch will be welcome. You can pay by bank transfer:
Account Name: Old Coventrians Association
HSBC Bank Plc Sort Code: 40-18-38 Account: 10632279
Reference - "Crackley" and your Name

If you wish to pay another way, please contact the Alumni Office for details.



As many people will already know, there are plans to hold a reunion event for OCs who joined the senior school in September 1972, marking 50 years since that happened.

We have contacted as many people as possible by email but don’t have contact details for everyone in that year.

It has been decided that cost and organisational considerations would best support holding the 1972 event as an informal evening buffet in the staff dining room on the same night that the Class of 1991/92 Dinner is taking place in the main school hall (now known as the Burgess Hall). The date already agreed for the latter event is Saturday 25th March 2023.

The proposed time for the Class of 1972 event is 6 for 6.30pm, preceded by a school tour for those interested, at 4.30pm.

The timing is dictated partly by the previously expressed preferences of the likely attendees and partly by the operational needs of the school staff.

The OCA will provide a welcome drink but otherwise it would be a ‘bring your own drinks’ event. Partners would be welcome.

If you haven't already done so, please confirm your interest at your earliest convenience by emailing: [email protected] and please also spread the word to anyone we may have missed, or who may be encouraged to attend if they know that their friends are coming.


Book now for the Old Coventrians' Association 99th Annual Dinner, which takes place on Saturday 26th November 2022 from 6:30pm: https://khviii.alumni-online.com/99thAnnualDinner

Spaces are filling up fast!

Our guest speaker this year is former School Chaplain Reverend Bob Stephen.

We hope to see you there!


In case you missed this in The Times today..


There is a Remembrance Assembly in the School’s Burgess Hall on Friday 11th November at 10.30. (not 11.10 as per original post)

Numbers are limited and interested Old Coventrians need to contact [email protected] as soon as possible to secure a place.


Anyone interested, or know someone who may be interested in the following vacancies? Please take a look and please share!

Send a message to learn more.

How to Apply - King Henry 05/10/2022

How to Apply - King Henry

How to Apply - King Henry We invite children to come into school for a morning to spend some time with their prospective classmates and to meet the teachers. The experience is planned to be a positive one; children join us from many different backgrounds and we are looking for potential. Your child’s Assessment can take pl...

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post 05/10/2022

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post 28/09/2022

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post


The Heritage Open Day guided tours of the school due to take place this coming Saturday, 17th September, have been postponed owing to the mourning period for the Queen. When an alternative date has been fixed an update will be provided on this page.


It is with great sorrow and respect that King Henry VIII School marks the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We join the nation and the world in recognising her extraordinary commitment to service over the past 70 years. Our sincere condolences to her family.


It is with great sorrow and respect that King Henry VIII School marks the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We join the nation and the world in recognising her extraordinary commitment to service over the past 70 years. Our sincere condolences to her family.


Vacancies - Coventry School Foundation

Vacancies update

Vacancies - Coventry School Foundation Coventry School Foundation is made up of Bablake and King Henry VIII Schools in Coventry, providing Preparatory and Senior education

Photos from Old Coventrians - King Henry VIII School Former Pupils's post 06/09/2022

Message from theatre producer Daniel Wain:

“As you’ll be well aware, 2022 marks Philip Larkin’s centenary and, as part of the official ‘Larkin100’ events, I’m producing Ben Brown’s ‘Larkin With Women’ at the Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington, for three weeks in September.

As Larkin was an alumnus of the School, I wondered if you would be able to include mention of the production in any communication to other alumni.

We have the support of Hull University and the Philip Larkin Society. Indeed, it was listening to the most recent podcast from the latter, which featured some current pupils performing Fred Holland’s play, that prompted me to get in touch with you!

If you would like more information about the production, details are available at www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk.


Yesterday's annual Old Coventrians bowls tournament was won by none other than OCA Chair Paul Fernandez-Montes (class of 1973) who beat last year's winner Martyn Cooper (class of 1967) in a close and entertaining final.

Our photo shows Martyn (2nd left), Paul (2nd right) flanked by the beaten semi-finalists, former staff members Dave Butler and Pete Jones.


Vacancies - Coventry School Foundation

Updated vacancies

Vacancies - Coventry School Foundation Coventry School Foundation is made up of Bablake and King Henry VIII Schools in Coventry, providing Preparatory and Senior education

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post 27/08/2022

Photos from King Henry VIII School's post


Vacancies - Coventry School Foundation

Vacancies - Coventry School Foundation Coventry School Foundation is made up of Bablake and King Henry VIII Schools in Coventry, providing Preparatory and Senior education

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