Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

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HMiddlemas
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Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by HMiddlemas » Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:48 pm

Over recent weeks a number of Old Blues have raised concerns, including through a petition, regarding the number of full-fee payers at CH and the governance changes planned for September 2017. With these concerns is a huge passion for our unique School, a commitment to sustaining its ethos and a demonstration of the lifelong impact that CH has had for many Old Blues. Every member of Council and the Board of School Governors shares this commitment. This letter aims to respond to the concerns raised as well as to seek Old Blues’ support as we continue to address some of the financial and other challenges and opportunities for CH.

Concern has been expressed that today’s proportion of full fee payers (26%) undermines the School’s charitable mission. It is important to remember that this position is part of a strategy, set in 2011 and after wide consultation with stakeholders, to deal with a near-£100 million loss in the value of the endowment from the global financial crisis of 2008. An external review concluded that if CH continued spending at the levels of the time without securing additional income to reduce the draw on the endowment, the future financial viability of the school was at risk. However, nearly five years on, we can say that this strategy and rigorous control of our costs has enabled CH to maintain virtually the same number of needy pupils (those paying no fees or less than 10%) as we had 10 years ago. As a result we certainly have a more diverse school than at any time in its history. The mix of backgrounds, both in in terms of bursary pupils, full fee payers and a small proportion of pupils from overseas, ethnic backgrounds and an almost equal number of boys and girls, we believe reinforces the egalitarian ethos of the School.

There is no plan to increase the number of full-fee payers and indeed we would wish to see some reduction. Our ability to do so though is directly linked to our success in fundraising and increasing the value of the endowment. To achieve the levels called for would imply a trebling of our current level of fundraising income to £5.6 million a year or through a £100 million injection into the endowment.

Fundraising continues to be a major priority and we are enormously grateful for Old Blues’ support. Investment is being made in a more comprehensive fundraising programme, including initiatives detailed in Housey! and The Old Blue. We hope all Old Blues and other friends will engage with this programme, thereby helping CH to increase the number of needy pupils and to continue its unique charitable mission.

In relation to the proposed changes to the governance and management structure, we would like to reassure you that the Foundation and School will remain separate charities with their objects intact and with the endowment continuing to be protected under charitable law. A new single Council and management structure will restore the position to that which prevailed for most of our history until 2007. The board will, as today, be responsible for ensuring the charitable objects are met and for controlling the robust Admissions policy – thereby enshrining need and not academic standards alone in the recruitment of prospective pupils. The Council of Almoners and Board of School Governors are confident that these changes will enhance rather than dilute CH’s ability to remain a school like no other.

If you would like to have more information on these issues please see:
http://www.choba.org.uk/news/changes-to ... structure/

With thanks for your support for Christ’s Hospital.

Mike Hiard
Chairman, Board of School Governors
ColB/BaA 1970-1977

Guy Perricone
Treasurer

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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by Katharine » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:47 pm

Mr Hiard

Some years before you did, I, too, stood in a school chapel to receive a Charge, a Charge that along with my schooling, would mark me for life as an Old Blue. As we all know, that Charge was “I charge you never to forget the great benefits that you have received in this place, and in time to come according to your means, to do all that you can to enable others to enjoy the same advantage; and remember that you carry with you, wherever you go, the good name of Christ’s Hospital. May God Almighty bless you in your ways and keep you in the knowledge of his love now and forever”

I hope my schooling left me open to new ideas, open to discussions of possible different ways of doing things. I am amazed to read in your open letter The mix of backgrounds, both in terms of bursary pupils, full fee payers and a small proportion of pupils from overseas, ethnic backgrounds and an almost equal number of boys and girls, we believe reinforces the egalitarian ethos of the School. How can it be egalitarian with 26% full fee paying? What is the proportion of British school children in fee paying schools? I believe it to be in the order of 7% rising to 18% for sixth form. The current state of Christ’s Hospital can in no way be called egalitarian, nor can it be called representative of the nation. As someone who went to Hertford, where we often seemed to be the forgotten section of the Blue world, I am delighted to read that there are now equal numbers of boys and girls. I am also delighted to see the ethnic mix of the children being educated at CH today. I am not delighted to see so many full fee paying.

I have read what has been written, here and elsewhere, about the need to recoup the losses in the financial crash. I would ask those at the Middle Temple on Monday to be open to new ideas and to really listen to the petitioners. They represent a large number of Old Blues, a large number who could help the school in its fund raising ambitions, if they are convinced the school is on the right track. Recently I have heard of several, including some of the nearly 1000 who have signed the petition, saying that they have removed CH from their wills, as they are unhappy with the direction it has taken.

Do you really want to alienate your core supporters - or will you listen to them with open ears?

Katharine Dobson, a second generation Blue and proud to call herself a signatory of the Petition 1552.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by mvgrogan » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:13 am

Just to say, "Auntie Kate", that my Mum (Frances Grogan) is following this topic but is unable to login and reply!
I've been following this topic on Facebook, too and sharing relevant links with her every now & then.
She's having some technical issues but it should be sorted soon and then she'll be back!!
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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:40 pm

'Full fee payers' is possibly an emotive term. I was a 'full fee payer' in the sense that CH received the full fee on my behalf. Except it wasn't paid by my parents, but by Middlesex County Council. There were, in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s quite a lot of pupils who were, from the point of view of the school, 'full fee payers'. To those in charge of finances, it made no difference whether the full fee came from parents or a third party. The abolition of assisted-places schemes is at the heart of this problem, and of course the schemes were abolished in the name of 'equality'. The solution, it seems to me, is not to reduce the number of full-fee payers (which I'm sure are necessary for the school to continue) but to broaden the circle of those who pay the fees. I confess ignorance here: I simply do not know how much effort is being put into this.
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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by Mid A 15 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:01 pm

michael scuffil wrote:'Full fee payers' is possibly an emotive term. I was a 'full fee payer' in the sense that CH received the full fee on my behalf. Except it wasn't paid by my parents, but by Middlesex County Council. There were, in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s quite a lot of pupils who were, from the point of view of the school, 'full fee payers'. To those in charge of finances, it made no difference whether the full fee came from parents or a third party. The abolition of assisted-places schemes is at the heart of this problem, and of course the schemes were abolished in the name of 'equality'. The solution, it seems to me, is not to reduce the number of full-fee payers (which I'm sure are necessary for the school to continue) but to broaden the circle of those who pay the fees. I confess ignorance here: I simply do not know how much effort is being put into this.
Michael makes an important point.

Read in isolation the term 26% 'full fee payers' sounds awful as the natural inclination is to simply assume it's 'rich kids.' It could be argued that some rich kids have 'needs' in CH terms too but let's not confuse the issue even more by going there!

Definition of terms is what is needed.

Does the '26%' include poor children whose fees are paid in full by a benevolent governor or almoner? Or is the 26% figure confined to those children funded solely by parental contributions and no other?

I think we would all probably find the first scenario acceptable in terms of the 'CH Ethos' but the second is more debatable.
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by Foureyes » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:04 pm

Michael,
At the risk of being told to teach my grandmother to suck eggs can I seek to clarify this FFP business? Lets say that the total cost of running C.H. (teaching, estate, food, admin, security, etc, etc) is X, which has to be met, come what may. There will be other forms of income such as investments, legacies, etc - lets call that Y. The balance to be found is X-Y = Z Thus, the cost of any one child is Z divided by the number of pupils. Whatever the source of the money, that is the amount per head that must be found. For some individual pupils (i.e., those most in need) C.H. will pay the full fees. For some the school will pay full fees minus the parental contribution or scholarship fund. But there are some where the parents pay the full fees without any contribution from the school or anywhere else. It is only the latter that are being referred to as "Full Fee Payers" (FFP).

So, in that sense, you were NOT an FFP.

David

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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by Katharine » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:16 pm

David Taplin has asked me to post this for him

Dear Forum Contributors

Campaign 1552 is moving forward strongly and your contributions to this Great Existential Debate & Historic Campaign are greatly appreciated - designed to ensure that the foundation ethos of Housey is fully preserved in the 21stC. We now have 873 online signatories & 108 original signatories making now 981 signatories in total: I am sure we shall reach 1000 signatories altogether by March 17 2016 and the decision-making meeting of the thirteen Council of Almoners. Coupled to the actual 981 signatories on Petition 1552 are the very illuminating letters and comments posted on the online website and sent to the Treasurer/Clerk.

Originally I was to present Petition to the Treasurer and the Clerk/CEO personally and formally at a specially convened meeting on March 7 2016 at Middle Temple. Due to various circumstances and negotiations Petition 1552 will now be presented to the Treasurer Guy Perricone, the Clerk/CEO Greg Andrews and the City of London Almoner Catherine McGuinness at 2.30pm on March 7 2016 at the Treasurer's Office, Middle Temple by a very distinguished team of five chaired by Professor Keith Bowen FRS FREng with The Very Reverend Dr John Arnold OBE DD Donation Governor, Heather Goodare MA former Head Girl, David Arnold MA Donation Governor and former Almoner, Richard Poulton MA former Head Master of Christ's Hospital.

This selected team is working hard to assemble a comprehensive presentation which I think will be absolutely compelling - and in my opinion, logically only answerable by the Treasurer and Council (including six Old Blues) accepting the recommendations of Campaign 1552 on Governance and on the cap of <10% FFP. We shall keep you informed of developments. Clearly we may have recourse to an Appeal to the Royal President of Christ's Hospital and in any event this Campaign will be ongoing to see through this historic petition.

Once again warm appreciations for your contributions.

Fraternally

David Taplin
Lamb B 1950-57
Campaign 1552 Chair


May I say here what a privilege it has been to work on this petition. I have been the self appointed "Forum Correspondent" for the team. I have delighted in being able to facilitate some signatories and report on posts made. David has been snowed under by the huge correspondence this whole process has involved. It has been a delight to see that the concerns are shared by Old Blues of all generations. Dare I say it, I have also educated some of the Horsham Old Blues about Hertford at times!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:28 pm

But there are some where the parents pay the full fees without any contribution from the school or anywhere else. It is only the latter that are being referred to as "Full Fee Payers" (FFP).

So, in that sense, you were NOT an FFP.


That is obviously true. The point I was making is that 'full fee payers' in this narrower sense were not the only ones for whom the school was paid a full fee. The school paid not a penny toward my attendance, the costs of which were shared exclusively between my parents and Middlesex County Cóuncil. As far as the school was concerned, it received the full fee, as it did for all those on 'assisted places' schemes.

In my view, the acceptance of pupils whose parents can afford to pay the full fee contravenes the Charter. However, the school has to keep going. My point was that sponsors should be urgently and actively sought. I don't know to what extent this is happening, but the presence of a cushion of those whose parents (or other family) are paying the full fee is bound to induce a certain inertia.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Open letter to Old Blues from CH Treasurer and Chairman

Post by ailurophile » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:13 pm

In my view, the acceptance of pupils whose parents can afford to pay the full fee contravenes the Charter. However, the school has to keep going. My point was that sponsors should be urgently and actively sought. I don't know to what extent this is happening, but the presence of a cushion of those whose parents (or other family) are paying the full fee is bound to induce a certain inertia.
An excellent point. Five years ago there was some discussion on the parents' area of this Forum about the direction of travel towards CH becoming 'just another independent school'. At that time, I flagged up this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-13881133, indicating that local authorities were looking to place 'at risk' children in boarding education as a cost-effective alternative to residential care. It seemed to me that this could offer a win-win opportunity for CH to remain true to its original mission of providing for those in genuine need while at the same time attracting full funding for these pupils from local authority sponsors.

As far as I am aware however, there is no evidence that the school has entered into such partnerships.

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