Binley Park History, Part 5. The Headmasters

The Three Binley Park Headmasters.

1959 – 1975. William A. Rumble. MBE BA

William Rumble was Head of Binley from it’s opening day until 1975 when he retired. He brought  30 years of teaching experience to Binley.

He had six years experience as Head of Calder High School in Yorkshire. He was quoted as saying “Only with Comprehensive education have I felt so satisfied with what we are doing”. 

Mr. Rumble his staff and pupils suggested a name change early in the School’s life. They proposed a change to ‘Coombe Park Secondary Comprehensive School’. The school government sub-committee agreed with them. However, Coventry Education Committee (who incidentally had Alderman S. Stringer and W. Callow amongst them) disagreed. See later history pages for more on this.

Mr. Rumble retired at Easter 1975.

He died on February 23 1991, aged 81.

1975 – 1986. Richard D. Harris MA

Mr. Harris joined Binley in Easter 1975 from the School ship SS Uganda following nearly eight years at sea. He was a Director of British India educational cruises. This took him to such places as the West Indies, Russia, Madeira, Morocco, Portugal and the Mediterranean countries. He saw 18,000 pupils and 3,000 teachers per year whilst on board, which taught him a lot about handling children and organising staff.

His specialty was European History, and he left Cambridge University in 1949 to teach in South Africa. He returned in 1955 to be a housemaster at a boarding school in East Yorkshire. Before going to sea, he was both housemaster and senior master at Hulme Grammar School in Oldham, Lancashire.

Richard Harris retired as Head in 1986, soon after it was confirmed that Binley was to close.

I was informed by Leslie Turner, that Richard Harris died in the mid 1990’s.

1986 – 1990. Leslie T. Turner MA BPhil

Mr. Turner took over in difficult circumstances, a school in decline, and led a campaign to fight it’s closure. For the last 4 years, BPCS technically was not a school, but an annexe of Ernesford Grange Community College. For those final years, the overall responsibility fell to Roy Caddick (3 years) and Dick Carter (1 year) who left the running of BPCS in Leslie’s hands.

Born in 1938, Leslie was educated in Warwick, before trying for a Scholarship at Cambridge University. He was encouraged to do so by the Head of History, a man who he regarded as his mentor, and was to meet later in life. That man was Dick Herne.

Two years of National service followed in his Father’s regiment, before reading History and Geography at Cambridge. He then married and set off for 3 years teaching in New Zealand.

He returned to join a Comprehensive larger than BPCS, Dinnington High School in Yorkshire (2,000 pupils)

Leslie joined the staff of BPCS in September 1968 as Head of History, meeting up once more with his mentor Dick Herne, who was Deputy-Head. He was assigned to Aylward House as a tutor.

1969 – appointed head of Sixth Form.

1973 – became Senior Teacher.

1976 – appointed Deputy-Head, taking over from Mr. Herne.

1985 – Led the ‘Save-it’ campaign against closure of Binley.

1986 – The confirmation of closure led to Mr. Harris’s retirement, and Leslie was appointed Head.

1990 – Following the closure, Leslie became a member of the Coventry Management Development Team at Elm Bank Teachers’ centre, running courses for senior staff

1993 – Took early retirement, but continued in a  consultancy role for Coventry’s Support and Advisory Service.

Many thanks to Leslie himself for the information he provided for this section.