Future of"Master Plan"-where will money come from?

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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rebel
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Post by rebel » Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:52 am

Such conflicting views re CH finances! Out here in the colonies one OB told me he has read that CH is among the richest schools in England. What happened to the money they got for Hertford? Someone built a supermarket on the playing fields - they must have paid a few million for that nice flat space with a ready made parking lot.(The only part I was sorry for when I heard the school was demolished was the loss of the chapel which was the least Stalag -like building). Anyway, re money, my said friend has been trying to give CH a lot of money for a presentation, but over the four years since he first offered it, he has not been able to give it away. He is still waiting for a suitable candidate. Either the applicants didn't pass the test, or they did, and had other offers and went elsewhere. So, who is on this long list of potential pupils? We have even had, in some mailings, prompts to look out for suitable applicants, and Norman Longmate, in his recent book about the school, records that interest in CH has declined considerably in recent years.
My friend is thinking of withdrawing his money and giving it to someone else. How many other 'benefactors' out there are being messed around like this?
lastly, dare I suggest that the lifestyle could be simplified/ pared down at the school? From what I read in the Blue, much as it is nice for them all, the pupils/students seem to have a Cadillac existence (RR?) compared with the mini minor(is there still such a car?) of the past.

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Post by eloisec » Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:05 am

Ian Stannard wrote:CH pupils seem quite capable of seeinf beyond income and looking at the person not their parents bank balance. It is also somewhat unfair to assume that pupils whose parents can afford to pay a fee of £6-9K a year should necessarily undermine the ethos of the school. A number of pupils at CH were once at Prep School with such pupils and I assume that they did not see themselves at CH as 'corrupting the ethos of CH'. I think that CH will always look to take pupils on a needs blind basis, but we should not be afraid of change. After all, when the school was in London, we admitted day pupils!

These are, of course, my thoughts and I accept that others may disagree.
I am not trying to be negative about change, and I do of course understand that the financial security of the school must be protected. However I am concerned by some of your points.
1. looking at the person and not their bank balance ... yes, I am capable of doing that. But, CH was founded to provide for children with social, financial or other particular need. This would surely be eroded by the day pupil plans.
2. £6-9k fees ... where does this sum come from? £17900 is the top fee at the moment for boarding. would there be no income limit for day pupils? and would this then be extended to all pupils?
3. prep school? I fail to see what this has to do with corrupting the ethos. prep school or not, the income limit was still the same, and the limit on full fees pupils was 6% of the school population.
4. day pupils in London ... I hope this was in jest, as if we follow that line we could also argue for a return to the grammar-school for boys, and separate school for girls, where they were taught to read, sew, and mark, and a mathematical school and ward, for the instruction of 40 boys in the mathematics, especially in that part of it that respects navigation, liberally endowed with l,000l, paid out of the exchequer. I know my history :(

What has happened to the assets and endowments of CH that were meant to provide for the future of CH? The assets of around £268 million of the Foundation produced an income of about £12 million in 2003.

If the financial future of CH is so unsteady, then the school website http://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/15.html should perhaps be changed?
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Post by Great Plum » Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:16 am

I'm with you on this one Eloise...

Two points which I beleive are fundamental to the school:

1. The school should be for full boarders... (yes I know that me and the fellow non-foundationers are an anomaly)

2. It's for people who can't otherwise afford a private education - day pupils paying thousands of pounds a year prevents someone who could benefit from going...
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Post by J.R. » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:22 pm

I can only echo the comments of the previous posters, and would refer my comments on school being run as a business on another thread in this forum !

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Post by Ian Stannard » Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:57 pm

Regardless of the fact that we might not want the school to change, it would appear that at the moment change may be forced on the school in order to accomodate the increasing costs associated with running the place. Our maintenance bill will be huge in the next decade as we try and repair and restore the buildings. The recent restoration of the Dining Hall windows cost over £200K. This restoration was not optional but imperative, in case it fell down! The gas ring main was recently replaced at a 7 figure cost to the school. The boarding houses need millions spent on them to fulfil new regulations, a new classroom block will need to be built to replace the temporary one, the CDT school needs refurbishment ...... This all costs a huge amount of money. Therefore, in the short term we might have to take more fee paying students in order that the current cohort do not find that their experience of the school is undermined by cuts in staff, facilities and morale.

I respect the views of OBs who might feel aggreived but ask you what you would do instead? Where is this money going to come from??

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Post by Ian Stannard » Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:59 pm

In answer to the point made earlier about interest in the school. I have to say that interest in the school is at an all time high with literally 1000's of visitors to our Open Days and over 500 applicants for under 100 places last year. This side of things appears very healthy indeed.

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Post by Hendrik » Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:22 pm

at least part of our grievances were mismanagement of funds. see previous posts. to this extent, money in is irrelevant. it's the money out that i (at least) was concerned about.
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Post by jtaylor » Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:30 am

I agree that the school may need to change, but this should only be with complete agreement of the governors and Old Blues, and with a clear purpose and open/honest motivations.
It is also imperative that all of these extra expenditures be clearly delineated - which are ongoing running costs and which are one-off maintenance?

The two should be treated separately, and then the funding considered.

There needs to be clarity in what the costs/charges are:-
1. How much is the current cost of educating a child at CH?
2. What is the average income per child?
3. What is the average governor donation per child? (avg across all children)
4. What is the averge income from the school's investments?
Has the

The balance of the above should be clearly graphed for the Old Blues to see how these finances have changed over the years, to see what's happening to that ongoing financial situation.

Is there a surplus on that calculation above?
If so, what is the prioritised list of improvements/maintenance that the school needs to do? Must-do/High Priority/Medium/Low etc.

The school could then be explicit about how far down that list it can go with current income, and what won't get done due to lack of funds.

I don't know if the above has been done (although I'd hope and assume it has), but if it has then I don't feel there's clarity of communication to Old Blues.

I agree though that gravelling parts of the school does seem like a rather odd thing to do - can anyone shed any light on the reasons??

As a charity, the school has a duty of openness and clarity to it's donores....it also has a responsibility to manage its finances BETTER than any business, as all the money has been GIVEN to it, not earnt....

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Post by Great Plum » Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:05 am

I'm witrh Hendrik on this one - the school has not been cxonstantly maintained but various areas left to rot....

An interesting note - when 'Grange Hill' was build c. 2000 I had a conversation with Ryan Pickett - he said this would still be there in 2010 - I disagreed - it looks like he may be right...
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Post by Deb GP » Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:17 am

jtaylor wrote:I agree that the school may need to change, but this should only be with complete agreement of the governors and Old Blues,
Why should it be with our agreement? Yes the community of Old Blues has an interest, and our input may be welcomed, but I don't think the current and future running of the school requires our blessing... After all, it's not our school anymore (so to speak). If we're in the happy position to be able to be donation governors, staff or parents (in no order there), then that's slightly different. We also need to remember that governors in the CH sense are not the same as governors of other schools and therefore the opinion of ours do not carry as much weight. Our equivalent are the almoners. Yes our opinion as Old Blues and a part of the school community is important, but I don't think we should get carried away with our sense of importance. Our job now is to support not to dictate.
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eloisec
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Post by eloisec » Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:25 am

well, we'll just let them do whatever they want then ...

either we care about the school and will be concerned about it's future, in which case we'll voice our opinions; or we will leave the school to go whatever way it wants and cut our ties with it.

which way is it? :?
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Post by Great Plum » Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:33 am

Lets not forget that The Old Blues give a substantial income to the school and therefore should have some say...
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Deb GP
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Post by Deb GP » Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:49 am

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have an opinion - it's just that having heard some of the letters that came into the Counting House, the vast majority were of the "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" league and usually stating that "things were different in their day" et c. I think really a balance needs to be sort. I believe this is were the CHA will provide a valuable voice and intermediary between the school and the OB community in a way that the Club wasn't really set up for. I don't have teenaged children so I don't know the intracies of the curriculum, the exam process, legal requirements on accommodation provision and so on other than that I experienced - and things change. I'm not an Investment Manager so I don't completely understand the ins and outs of the school's funding and therefore cannot comment on them. I'd be pleased to learn more about this kind of thing but wouldn't presume to comment on how the school was run before I knew more.

All this being said, openess and accountability should be a key theme.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

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J.R.
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Post by J.R. » Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:11 am

I'm SO glad this debate is gathering pace.

Again, I speak as an 'older' O.B., but NOT in the 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' bracket.

I hated being sent away to school for an education, and probably 'bucked' the system more than most, and it wasn't until many years later I realised the full benefits of the education in life-skills, discipline and respect I received as a child of a 'disadvantaged' background.

I note younger contributors infer O.B.'s shouldn't neccessarily expect a voice in the future running of the school. I very much doubt they will feel the same in years to come !

So basically, I see two options !

1) Make the school fee-paying only, and turn out hundreds of chinless 'Hooray-Henry's', a la Eton, Harrow, Rugby and the like. (Harry Enfield's 'Tim-Nice-But-Dim' springs to mind !!!)

OR

Allow our Illustious State to finance and have a say in the running of the School, and as someone who has two daughters who BOTH work in State schools and have visited C.H., I can tell you this would NEVER be an option for me or them !

So whatcha reckon, then ??

Answers on a post-card, to The Anarchist, C/O........ :?:

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jtaylor
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Post by jtaylor » Tue Mar 15, 2005 12:10 pm

Deb GP wrote:
jtaylor wrote:I agree that the school may need to change, but this should only be with complete agreement of the governors and Old Blues,
Why should it be with our agreement? Yes the community of Old Blues has an interest, and our input may be welcomed, but I don't think the current and future running of the school requires our blessing... After all, it's not our school anymore (so to speak).
I agree with others' comments about funding - the school would not survive without the support and funding of the Old Blues.....or would it?
My understanding is that CH is effectively funded by "The Charge" over the years, through Old Blues giving back. This has built up the investments through wills etc.
Deb GP wrote: We also need to remember that governors in the CH sense are not the same as governors of other schools and therefore the opinion of ours do not carry as much weight. Our equivalent are the almoners.
Don't the Almoners taken decisions in the name of the governors? I've never fully got my head round the roles of the governors and/or the structure of the school as a whole, although I understand that their responsibilities/ownership may have changed recently with new charity legislation?
Can anyone provide a tight synopsis of the roles/responsibilities of the different branches of CH?
Deb GP wrote: Yes our opinion as Old Blues and a part of the school community is important, but I don't think we should get carried away with our sense of importance. Our job now is to support not to dictate.
Agreed, but on the other hand will Old Blues support and hence perpetuate something they don't agree with?

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