King Henry VIII Preparatory School, Swallows Campus Celebrates 100 years.
September 21st 2020 was a special day for the pupils and staff of the Swallows campus of King Henry VIII School, for it marked 100 years to the day since it was founded by the Rev. Kenelm Swallow back in 1920 on his return from World War 1. The school with its prominent location on the Kenilworth Road was built in 1720 and is a rare early Georgian building in Coventry being three hundred years old this year! It was decorated for the birthday celebration with balloons and was buzzing as the original 1920 register for The Swallows Preparatory school (later Coventry Prep) was read out at assembly. In 1920 the school catered for children up to 13, now the pupils who range from 3 -7 were transfixed as a first world war soldier in full uniform, acted by old boy Gregory Deeley, marched up The Firs road to mark Rev. Swallows return from the great war. Special cakes were served, and every child planted a daffodil bulb as a gloriously sunny autumn day was spent celebrating the anniversary and understanding what life would have been like at the school in 1920. The day was rounded off by a tree planting of an English Oak with a small group of old pupils with the spade being wielded by Robert Penlington.
The acting headteacher, Miss Caroline Soan said, ‘We really wanted to do something special to mark the day and make it an occasion that the children would remember. The original anniversary plans had to be shelved, so we worked with the old boys to come up with this alternative. In its one-hundred-year history the school has played a significant role in Coventry life through its foundation as a school that broke through the very austere education system of post war Britain, to its survival of the blitz, to the education of many thousands of children in Coventry and Warwickshire. I am tremendously proud to be acting Head of this great school at this time’.
Gregory Deeley old boy and who played the WW1 soldier representing the Rev. Swallow’s return from the front commented,’ It was a tremendous honour to be part of the day. The old boys and the school have worked closely together to try and make the day special. It was so important we marked the day as the school, under the leadership of Rev. Swallow and Mr Phipps, has been so important to so many ‘Coventarians’ and we hope the school continues to educate the young of Coventry for another one hundred years.’