In response to Spoonbill (I'm not quoting his whole posting as it would make mine fill a whole page on its own!):
My experience of CH was that a substantial minority, if not 50%, of students came from practising CofE backgrounds. There were quite a lot of vicarsâ€™ daughters, including myself. However, my parentsâ€™ primary concern was certainly the quality of education rather than the Christian upbringing, which they were quite capable of giving me themselves.
I agree with you that probably a greater percentage these days are looking for the affordable education, and the CofE ethos is irrelevant for them. I also think your point about the choir is interesting. We certainly only had one choir for both chapel and concerts (aside from a junior choir which was started at some point during my time there). Whilst I donâ€™t think itâ€™s wrong to require a minimum level of chapel attendance, I do think itâ€™s wrong to require those with good voices to spend a significantly longer time in chapel just to indulge their talent and enjoyment of singing. Perhaps separate chapel and school (concert) choirs, though some people would naturally want to be in both??
I think you are being flippant and disingenuous about the name. Itâ€™s not just a historical accident with no current relevance, such as Christchurch (though Iâ€™m not sure about the Oxbridge colleges). It indicates that there is a long tradition of Christian worship which survives to this day.
I think your underlying question about whose interests the Christian ethos serves is an interesting one, with no easy answer. I suppose one answer is that the Foundation (in the form of its members) still believe the school should be Christian (and specifically CofE), and those charged with the â€œownershipâ€ (in its loosest form) are the people who can call the tune. I suppose â€“ speaking hypothetically â€“ if there was suddenly a huge uprising of Old Blues who threatened to withdraw funding unless things were changed, then maybe there might be some compromise on the Christian element. But I think thatâ€™s highly unlikely â€“ the impression I get from this forum is that those of us who are no longer Christian are a fairly small minority. Although of course this is a self-selecting sample of Old Blues who still retain some affection and wish to remain in contact. There may be thousands out there who arenâ€™t practising Christians.
As an aside, I happen to think that during my time at Hertford I was exposed to some of the worst possible role models of Christian living â€“ SWMNBN being top of the list, but closely followed by a number of others. Which is ironic given the ideals of the place. However, Iâ€™m sure thatâ€™s something thatâ€™s changed over the years and that staff these days are much better role models.
I know Spoonbill has a reputation to maintain,
but I donâ€™t think the questions he asks in this thread are just trolling. I believe that as CH clearly presents itself to parents as a CofE school, then parents and pupils need to accept that there will be expectations about complying with chapel attendance, etc. However, I think the deeper question about who â€œownsâ€ the traditions and heritage, and if or how this should be changed, is a thought-provoking one.