The Charge - has it been changed?

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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by J.R. » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:32 pm

Fjgrogan wrote:Thanks for pointing that out, JR. I obviously had not read that far in the letter - mea culpa! It is unusual for me to glance at the first paragraph of a letter and then discard it - something I am constantly nagging my husband about!

Admitadly, it was right near the bottom - possibly 2nd to last para. Probably intentional !
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by Mid A 15 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Fjgrogan wrote:Perhaps some of us need to give some serious thought to defining exactly what the 'great benefits' we received were - not just vague generalities like 'an education which my parents could never have afforded otherwise'. The things which stick mainly in my mind are not subjects we were taught, but more ephemeral values which we somehow seemed to absorb, and often didn't appreciate until years later - things like a degree of social mobility, and various ethical and moral values which were not specifically spelt out. For some reason I feel that tolerance for the beliefs of others was one of those values, and I cannot understand why I connect that with CH, because it was not overtly a part of our lifestyle; we were expected to 'toe the party line' in all respects; so maybe wanting to be tolerant was actually a sign of rebellion later (I was fairly heavily into rebellion as a teenager!).

I am very aware that I have done nothing in the last 50+ years to make those 'great benefits' available to others, except sending my daughters to CH, in the hope that they might imbibe similar values. Financial support for the school has never been possible. I had considered mentioning the school in my will, but by the time I thought about writing a will the ethos was changing. I would happily have considered leaving some of my lifetime savings (very little in reality) towards ensuring the support of a needy London child, but I definitely draw the line at contributing to the education of the children of overseas businessmen, who can probably afford to send their children elsewhere, freeing up a place for those children for whom the school was founded. Yes, I know CH needs their investment, and I do not know the answer to where we get the money from, but this is not how I interpret the commitment I made when I accepted the Charge. I pity the poor recent leaver who sometime soon will be on the phone to me asking for my financial support. Whoever has drawn the short straw and got me on their list will be on the receiving end of my personal 'Old Blue Rant'!

I empathise with much of that Frances.

Financial support to CH has not been possible for me either to any meaningful (eg sponsoring a child) extent.

I also share your concerns re continuation of the traditional "CH Ethos" under this present regime. That said economic realities are inescapable and, provided that the majority of pupils remain "needy" in CH terms, then perhaps we do have to accept a few more "rich kids" than we'd like in the absence of funds from other sources.

The (very meagre) resources I have been able to divert towards Horsham have been directed via the BSB or specific funds for specific causes rather than generally to the School itself directly. My rationale is that the BSB in particular is run by Old Blues who understand the Ethos and thus will use any funds donated properly in accordance with it when selecting suitable children for Presentation.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by Fjgrogan » Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:53 pm

Mid A - it's good to have a bit of empathy! I used to support the BSB in the days when I had an income instead of a truncated pension - in fact my own daughter was a BSB presentee. It is a valid point that the BSB is run by Old Blues who 'understand the ethos'. I am inclined to blame the current Headmaster's attitude on the fact that he is not an OB, and doesn't 'understand'. I worry that he seems to feel that his role is to run a business, rather than a school, and a charity school at that, and the whole admissions attitude seems to be moving towards giving priority to those who can benefit the school financially at the expense of the 'needy'. I could accept taking in local day pupils who would not take up boarding places, but surely each full feepaying pupil accepted from abroad (I believe Hong Kong and Germany were mentioned particularly?) must be denying a boarding place for a more needy child? In the days when we were all 'needy' we were glad to accept whatever was offered, bed and board, clothing and education. Those who pay more expect more for their money. Over the years parents have been expected to provide more and more, in addition to the uncertainty of an unaccountably assessed contribution to fees. When the merger happened in 1985 we struggled to find the cost of sportswear, which had previously been provided (to fully equip two girls all at once was exhorbitant); later it was duvets, mobile phones, laptop computers, overseas rugby tours, but somehow parents managed all these 'invisible extras', because they knew that their child's place was secure and the school continued to provide the real essentials, and they were grateful. I do realise that we must move with the times, but we should also prioritise and not lose sight of the original aims of the foundation. It breaks my heart to hear about cases where children have been forced to leave early because of unexplained increases in fees, or where a child has worked hard to gain admission and then had to turn the place down at the last moment because the original fee estimate has suddenly been increased for no apparent reason (Do I even remember a case where the parents were expected to pay a term's fees because they had not provided a term's notice, although the school had not given them a term's notice of the increased estimate? Surely I cannot have imagined that?)

So, no, I have not forgotten the great benefits which we received and I would love to be able to pass them on, but in the same spirit, to others with the same kind of need, but I think we need to know that the school itself is 'reading from the same hymnsheet'! Whatever happened to 'yesterday, today the same'?

Rant over!
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by DavidRawlins » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:30 pm

It was said by, I think, the Treasurer, a few years ago, that we had to admit full fee payers, or consider closing a house, perhaps the Peele block. The school would have limped on for a few more years, until another house had to be closed. Only a few years ago numbers were drastically reduced when Hertford was closed, mainly for financial reasons.(This may have been a blessing for girls' education).
Numbers are now increasing, as has the number of teachers.
Times are still hard, but unless the endowment is doubled, to about £600 million, we will have to take fee payers. I heartily wish that it was not so, but I am not sure that there is any alternative.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by postwarblue » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:49 am

The idea that a fee-payer excludes a needy child is I think wrong. Taking away one fee-payer does not generate any extra funds for an additional needy pupil. Basically it costs £x to run the school at full numbers with competitive modern facilities and that £x has to come from somewhere. If £x is not available then maybe numbers have to be cut but that also implies that some facilities have to go too. If anything it is remarkable that CH has survived in its traditional form for as long as it has, compared to so many other schools founded long ago for the 'poor' - Eton, Winchester, Shrewsbury ..

The model we are inexorably drifting towards is a fee-paying public school with generous scholarships and I don't see how that can be avoided, short of the sheer luck of the odd truly massive legacy.

Unfortunately for idealists CH IS a business, like it or not - the books have to balance.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by rockfreak » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:57 pm

In reply to Frances Grogan's mention of social mobility: are we in danger of forgetting the other element of social mobility that obtained in the post-war period? You and I are of a similar age Frances and our generation of less well-off people were literally the first ever to get a real sea change in opportunity as a result of the 1945 Labour government's policies. When this came to fruition in the 60s it was a starburst of popular cultural creativity; but when you look at the movers and shakers involved I don't think there's a public school graduate among them. Even grammar school products like Mick Jagger are a bit hard to find. The entrepreneurs and label owners were often still middle class but even that was breaking down. I was working on the music papers from 1965 and I remember going up to Track Records and meeting Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp who had started the label and managed The Who. They were a remarkable contrast - Kit (the son of composer and CH old boy Constant) who had short hair, wore a suit and seemed to be always carrying the sales figures, and Chris (working class Londoner and brother of actor Terry) who looked like a refugee from Woodstock. But these partnerships and alliances were becoming commonplace and it only needed a few to break down the door for the rest to pile through and break down class systems and glass ceilings. It all went into reverse when Mrs Thatcher arrived, and indeed Cherie Blair opined that she didn't think it would be possible now for someone from her working class Liverpool background to rise to become a top barrister.

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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by JohnAL » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:59 pm

To blame John Franklin for the apparent degradation of CH’s “former” ethos and dedication to those in greatest need of CH’s benefits may be slightly unfair. He is a pleasant fellow and certainly means well. (He must also be a keen and articulate Christian, or he never would have been appointed.) But none of this can absolve him from the blame FJGrogan and others apportion, if indeed the degeneration is his fault. It is true that ,unlike all OBs, he almost certainly never spent much of his youth experiencing an ethos where fellow pupils, usually of very modest means and from highly different social backgrounds, slowly absorbed the good things (spiritual, social, cultural sporting and other) that CH offers. This was well expressed by James Boyer, a long forgotten master who taught Coleridge and is most famous for his flogging, but who also said, “Boy, the school is your father, your mother, your uncles, aunts and all of your other relations:” (or some such sentiment).

The reason for this partial exoneration of Mr Franklin is simple. I am sure that the decision about CH’s slow gentrification and gradual trend towards greater exclusion of the poor, whom it has served faithfully for so long, rests mainly with the CH Council. Mr Franklin apparently agrees with this trend, probably with firm conviction. If he were to have disagreed openly, he would have been forced out very quickly. Why do I believe this? Consider the situations when the Hertford site was closed and sold, to facilitate the girls’ move to Horsham. (Whether this momentous decision was wise, or simply followed a then current fashion, or both, deserves its own thread.) David Newsome the headmaster disagreed with the Council and was forced to leave. He easily found a comparably prestigious post at Wellington College. Mr Franklin probably could not do this.

So in short, the Council must take the prime responsibility for these changes, which are unloved by so many who participate in this Forum. Probably Mr Franklin agrees they are the correct way forward, but possibly not. It is likely that we shall never know and in any case he is not primarily to blame.

This topic has been treated elsewhere, for example in the thread called, “The future of CH”.

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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by Mid A 15 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:19 pm

JohnAL wrote:To blame John Franklin for the apparent degradation of CH’s “former” ethos and dedication to those in greatest need of CH’s benefits may be slightly unfair. He is a pleasant fellow and certainly means well. (He must also be a keen and articulate Christian, or he never would have been appointed.) But none of this can absolve him from the blame FJGrogan and others apportion, if indeed the degeneration is his fault. It is true that ,unlike all OBs, he almost certainly never spent much of his youth experiencing an ethos where fellow pupils, usually of very modest means and from highly different social backgrounds, slowly absorbed the good things (spiritual, social, cultural sporting and other) that CH offers. This was well expressed by James Boyer, a long forgotten master who taught Coleridge and is most famous for his flogging, but who also said, “Boy, the school is your father, your mother, your uncles, aunts and all of your other relations:” (or some such sentiment).

The reason for this partial exoneration of Mr Franklin is simple. I am sure that the decision about CH’s slow gentrification and gradual trend towards greater exclusion of the poor, whom it has served faithfully for so long, rests mainly with the CH Council. Mr Franklin apparently agrees with this trend, probably with firm conviction. If he were to have disagreed openly, he would have been forced out very quickly. Why do I believe this? Consider the situations when the Hertford site was closed and sold, to facilitate the girls’ move to Horsham. (Whether this momentous decision was wise, or simply followed a then current fashion, or both, deserves its own thread.) David Newsome the headmaster disagreed with the Council and was forced to leave. He easily found a comparably prestigious post at Wellington College. Mr Franklin probably could not do this.

So in short, the Council must take the prime responsibility for these changes, which are unloved by so many who participate in this Forum. Probably Mr Franklin agrees they are the correct way forward, but possibly not. It is likely that we shall never know and in any case he is not primarily to blame.

This topic has been treated elsewhere, for example in the thread called, “The future of CH”.


A link to the thread you mention, The Future of CH:-

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4588&hilit=future% ... ed%2C+fees
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by eucsgmrc » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:56 pm

JohnAL wrote:... CH’s slow gentrification and gradual trend towards greater exclusion of the poor, whom it has served faithfully for so long ...
"Slow" is a good word for this process. Discussions and laments about the changing ethos have been going on for at least two hundred years. Coleridge and Lamb did not enter the school as destitute foundlings. They were both from the respectable professional middle class, as were (apparently) quite a number of the pupils. It was being debated even then whether it was right for the school to admit such children in preference to the truly poor.

It's interesting to compare George Heriot's Hospital (now School) in Edinburgh, which was founded in direct and explicit emulation of Christ's Hospital. George Heriot was a goldsmith and financier who travelled South with James VI to bankroll his new status as James I of England. This proved extraordinarily lucrative. George died phenomenally wealthy, with only a couple of illegitimate daughters and a few more distant relatives to provide for. Most of his money went to endow an institution to care for the "puire fatherless bairnes" of Edinburgh. However, the "puire fatherless bairnes" were never intended to be feral street kids. George actually wrote "puire fatherless bairnes, friemenes sones of that Toune of Edinburgh" - i.e., the children of hard-up widows of the respectable bourgeoisie, or "decayed burgesses". He clearly was not aiming to rescue helpless children from a state of absolute poverty, but to preserve the decent-but-unfortunate from falling out of the middle class. And he was quite clear that Christ's Hospital, as he knew it in the early 1600s, was the model for this charity.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by postwarblue » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:46 am

Perhaps someone who knows more about it than I do could look at changes in the proportion of London children over the years and at the attitudes of LCC/GLC schools and LCC/GLC management to children being put forward for CH, and attitudes/accusations to/of cherry-picking/elitism?
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by jhopgood » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:58 pm

postwarblue wrote:Perhaps someone who knows more about it than I do could look at changes in the proportion of London children over the years and at the attitudes of LCC/GLC schools and LCC/GLC management to children being put forward for CH, and attitudes/accusations to/of cherry-picking/elitism?
Don't know about proportions etc, but a couple of years ago, in a meeting with the CHOBA Board, Franklin said that it was very difficult to get London Heads to put children forward to CH, since they considered all boarding schools as elitist.
Maybe he was generalizing, and maybe it was always thus, but it seemed to make sense when he said it.

I, for one, have no idea how my Headmistress knew about CH, but I do know that as long ago as 1948 she suggested to students that they enter, and got 1 in in 1958 and 3 in 1959. She was Headmistress from about 1946/7 until about 1963/4.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by sejintenej » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:20 pm

postwarblue wrote: Basically it costs £x to run the school at full numbers with competitive modern facilities and that £x has to come from somewhere. If £x is not available then maybe numbers have to be cut but that also implies that some facilities have to go too.
The model we are inexorably drifting towards is a fee-paying public school with generous scholarships and I don't see how that can be avoided, short of the sheer luck of the odd truly massive legacy.
Unfortunately for idealists CH IS a business, like it or not - the books have to balance.
No-one should argue with that but...........
most expenses are fixed - maintenance, rates, salaries etc. though relatively few - food, uniforms etc are based on pupil numbers. ie if you increase pupil numbers then you get more in without increasing costs proportionately. the Prep used to house over 60 pupils per house, the upper over 50. Not only does the school have all those houses but two (smaller) others as well. That said the pupil numbers are lower then they had when there were just the avenue houses. Ergo they should be able to increase pupil numbers by perhaps 100. I also wonder about the 'office' costs. In Great Tower Street they seemed to have perhaps 10 staff but how many does the school support between those directly school related, such as CHOBA, publicists, insultants etc etc.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by jhopgood » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:24 pm

CHOBA has one full time employee.
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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by JohnAL » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:04 am

:roll:
postwarblue wrote:The idea that a fee-payer excludes a needy child is I think wrong. Taking away one fee-payer does not generate any extra funds for an additional needy pupil. Basically it costs £x to run the school at full numbers with competitive modern facilities and that £x has to come from somewhere.
Post warblue is totally logical, but there are additional considerations. To arrive at the figure of £x, what does/should be included? For example is the £8 000 000 language centre (under construction or completed?) appropriate only for the steady move upmarket, as some have suggested?

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Re: The Charge - has it been changed?

Post by postwarblue » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:11 am

Personally I don't see a new language centre as 'a move upmarket', just as a piece of keeping up. The alternative is a slow slide to the second-rate.

Increasing pupil numbers also asks questions about the capacity of the Dining Hall etc and perhaps a need for more classrooms. It's not just a question of exploiting the existing fixed costs.

In my day (!) there had to be a special train, the 'Housey Special', to shift the Londoners home at the end of term. Given the competitive nature of the London entry it probably contributed considerably to CH's median brainpower level.
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