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

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Hendrik
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Post by Hendrik » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:17 pm

old blues opinions being irrelevant: see your point, but they're a hell of a lot more valid than those of the almoners.

they are muppets (proof of this is in their actions)

the majority have not passed through the school as either staff or pupils; to that extent, what the f*ck makes their views so much more relevant?

just my musings as an irrelelvant old blue.

funding: the state option is much disliked, but i'd rather that than sell the CH ethos out to un-needy 'hoorah-henrys'.
but apparently my view of the CH ethos being a foundation for disadvantaged children is outdated. if this is the case, and stan was right, then shouldn't CH stop bl**dy going on about this 'ethos' which it no longer has? it does seem to be its major selling point in every one of its publications. and that would be false advertising...

i must have missed something here surely. anyone else confused?

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Post by Great Plum » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:19 pm

I think Hendrik is right - the school is there for disadvantaged children, not for day kids whose parent spend 6 - 9 k a year on their education...

Also, before 1985, the school had 1250 pupils on 2 sites and presumably could afford it (and it had its admin centre in Tower Street in London) so surely a lot of costs were saved by merging onto one site...
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Post by Deb GP » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:26 pm

I gather the merger was a very real necessity; not just a wish - although it could have been spin in the presentation I attended.

What are the qualifications (not the right word - but hopefully you get my drift) for being an Almoner/Trustee? I haven't seen a list for several years so don't know about the current composition.
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Post by Great Plum » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:28 pm

Deb GP wrote:I gather the merger was a very real necessity; not just a wish - although it could have been spin in the presentation I attended.
Surely the school made a mint from selling the two sites in Hertford and London - I''d like to think they didn't squander all that on gravel...
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Post by eloisec » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:30 pm

I'm with Hendrik on this.

If CH wants to become something it was not founded to be, then it should stop promoting itself on values it no longer believes in?

As for Old Blue opinion being largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, then the school's website (just as one example) is obviously taking us all for a ride?
The partnership that exists between Old Blues and the School is highly valued and over the centuries has been the cornerstone of the ethos of the School. It is a unique relationship and one that helps provide for the generations of the future.
it is not just Old Blues harking on about this elusive 'ethos'!
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Post by Deb GP » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:45 pm

I didn't directly mean that our opinion is irrelevant. I must have phrased what was in my head very badly (nothing unusual there) as I was thinking from both sides of the fence simulatneously. But I think that the relationship between the Foundation/School and the OB community isn't quite what it could be. To me, it's appeared as if when the OB like a CH decision, then that's fine, but if they don't, then the OBs are ignored to an extent.

How would one formalise an OB community involvement in the wider decisions of the School & Foundation? What purpose would it serve? How accountable should the school be? After all the school hopes that (relies on) the OB community will feed in resources. I guess it's all a question of balance.

Don't know. Quite a big topic.
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Post by eloisec » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:51 pm

A huge and, it appears, emotive topic!

One the school would be wise not to ignore.
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J.R.
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Post by J.R. » Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:15 pm

eloisec wrote:A huge and, it appears, emotive topic!

One the school would be wise not to ignore.
Very well said, eloisec !

I'm sure certain staff watch this new site with interest ! :shock:

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Post by BTaylor » Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:40 pm

I've avoided adding my tuppence worth until now, wanting to digest as fully as possible the facts. What strikes me about this issue is that much of this debate would be enlightened if the foundation were willing to set out, in an un-spun manner, the facts of the matter. That way at least a rational argument could ensue (and avoid the disgusted from Tunbridge Wells comments). Julian makes excellent points about this in a previous post.

The sparsity of information coming from the school is helping to inflame what was always going to be a hot topic.

I've been back to CH in the last couple of years and was stunned by the building work that has been taking place - Grecians houses seem an extravagance that could have been done without, together with the amazing rabbit warrens that have been created of the 'improved' houses. My younger brother (and another OB) informs me they were great, but now complains his halls at university aren't up to much! It's a given that the houses needed bringing up to date, but surely the school was established to give first class education, not first class accomodation. Regrettably, this is a moot point as it's a little late to stop the work...

Please take this in the manner in which it is intended, but CH is not, and never will be, a hotel. Excellent facilities are one thing, but it seems immaterial whether each room is en-suite, has a high speed data link and telephone (or whatever the current plan is), especially considering that on limited fees (or none in some cases) allowances should be, and are, made. I'm confident parents would be the last to object, so long as minimum standards were maintained.

For what it's worth I think that whether or not the school remains entirely boarding, or has a partial intake of day pupils a bit of a red herring. Is it not of primary importance that the foundation remains fatihful to its 'mission statement' - that of being a first rate educational establishment for the poor and needy?

It would mean a change, yes, and one that would preclude day pupils from receiving the type of education currently available - not just in academic terms, but in those life skills that, like it or not, all current Old Blues leave with. However, if saving a bit on accomodation is the way forward then so be it.

Should Old Blues be taken seriously on this issue? Undoubtedly yes, they not only financially contribute to the coffers, but also spread an enormous amount of goodwill throughout the globe. Intangible, but something that should be seriously addressed before any decisions are made. Ignore this and the content of the Charge becomes trivial. Even the current government is susceptible to lobbying, should the Almoners not be treated in a similar manner?

This debate is unlikely ever to reach consensus, but it would useful to at least have the opportunity to voice Old Blues concerns in a recognised forum, before decisions are made that will irrevocably affect how CH functions and is percieved by the wider world, for the rest of the millennium.

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Post by Ian Stannard » Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:54 pm

The Old blue community do have an important role and the school does need the support of Old Blues to continue with the unique funding arrangement we have. At the moment, as I pointed out before, the school admits students on a needs blind basis. As far as I am aware, a student is required to pass two sets of exams and if they qualify academically they will be considered for a place. Consideration still includes, quite rightly, the need that the student appears to have. Only once the student is admitted does the school find out whether the parent is earning £10K or £40K. Any decision to increase the full fee paying students will still leave 90% of students admitted gaining financially from the foundation. As a matter of interest the current average income of a CH parent is now £25K. (I think this is correct)

The buildings we work and live in are in need of major refurbishment. Decades of neglect and 'make do and mend' repairs have left this generation of CH staff, pupils and parents facing major decisions. The gravel issue is a huge red herring - this is chicken feed when compared to the six and seven figure repair bills that are lining up.

At the moment budgets are reduced, staff numbers have fallen and we now cannot offer some of the 'perks' that once students took for granted. Staff costs have risen at the same time, due to Gordon Browns decisions over pensions and tax that cost the foundations thousands at the same time that income declined due to stock market downturns.

Whatever you think of the Foundation, the money is managed by top Merchant Banks not cowboys! At the moment, the income does not appear to pay for the outgoings. SO - what do we do. We can throw up are arms and bleat about 'ethos' and the 'old days' or we can come up with constructive ways in which the income can be increased WHILST retaining the fundamental needs blind application procedure we have now. That is something that all the staff I know support.

Day Pupils, Weekly Boarding, Cutting the number of pupils educated, reducing staffing, increasing fees ... all these are possible ways forward. Many will not suit us. However, for the next few years we need to get real and face up to challenges that may be temporary, but are currently real, whilst we wait for Foundation income to rise.

The Almoners, Staff, Pupils and Parents do want to retain the mission of the school. Old Blues have a part to play and I would support an open and transparent conversation with the Almoners to 'clear the air'. However, to allude to Old Blue who commented earlier in the thread, the school is changing as society and expectations change. Parents today expect more and Social Services demand more. Schools evolve with the pupils in situ and Old blues need to be aware of this too.

Saying all this I remain positive that the school will emerge different, but still true to the fundamentals that he driven its mission for centuries. After all, if the school hadn't changed we would have been closed down years ago!!

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Post by Ian Stannard » Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:56 pm

Re reading my last post, I am suddenly aware that I am being very candid in places. I hope that I am not hauled before the Clerk for daring to engage you all in debate! - Joke.. I think :?

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Post by Lamma looker » Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:45 am

I am suddenly aware that I am being very candid in places
That, surely, is one of the main points everyone is asking for...
the money is managed by top Merchant Banks not cowboys!
I'm not entirely sure that the two are mutually exclusive. However, isn't the tenor of this debate not how the income is generated but how it is used?
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Post by ben ashton » Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:23 am

If admissions are 'needs blind', how does the school ensure that a pre-determined percentage of families pay full-fees...?
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the money is managed by top Merchant Banks not cowboys!

Post by spiderlegs » Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:28 am

I wondered when Ian Stannard might provide his usual gloss over this particular point.
Since when do top merchant banks automatically result in prudent financial management? (Wasn't Barings once a top merchant bank before it folded so ingnominiously?)
This is what's at the heart of the original letter the Ridley Society has written. It isn't the routine costs of maintenance / fluctuations in the stock market etc that has created the present financial crisis at the school. It's an ill-conceived, poorly managed 'masterplan' that has drained away the millions.
And who was responsible for it? The Council of Almoners. A particularly faceless, anonymous bunch, most apparently milling around in The City, driving through policies which, to refer to an earlier posting, have caused massive resentment with the school's neighbours and caused many staff to be made homeless through selling off bits of land to prop up their failing scheme.
Now they're looking to change the way the school conducts its accounting so they can access even more of the foundation's capital - something the Ridley Society compares to Maxwell raiding the pensions pot to prop up his collapsing schemes.

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Post by J.R. » Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:41 am

Thanks Ian, for that candid and honest view.

I cannot imagine you being dragged screaming to the Counting House, to face your accusers. (Is there still a ducking-stool at the Doctors Pond ??) This is the age of free speech.

I echo the previous two posts re 'responsible' Merchant Bankers, (and no, I won't even consider referring to cockney rhyming slang).

My ex employer, a Southern County Council has 'suddenly' discovered a huge shortfall in pension availaibility because of, errm 'Good investments ?' I wouldn't want to be half way through my employment with that employer at this present time, knowing what I know now !

I feel sure that this topic and this thread in particular has raised many goodpoints and should be 'taken on board' by the 'Powers that Be' !!

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