Are we alone?

Area for current parents, past parents and future parents of Blues or Old Blues.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
ailurophile
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:42 pm
Real Name: Jo

Are we alone?

Post by ailurophile » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:03 pm

I’m new to the Forum, which I found via Google. I was actually looking for an ‘official’ forum to try to identify other CH parents who may be in the same situation as ourselves. We have two children at CH, currently in UF and 3rd form, both happy and doing well. However, keeping the children in the school has become increasingly financially unfeasible. As a two-parent family, both working, we have always struggled to pay the assessed contribution. This year we were suddenly informed that the Foundation had identified a ‘mistake’ in their previous calculations, and that the pension contributions deducted at source by our employers would henceforward be counted as income; the resulting increase is being phased in over three years, but meant a 16 per cent increase in our assessed fees this year alone, with more to come. We are not high earners, in fact both earn about the average wage, and the school fees now account for more than half of our assessed income (in real terms, for almost half of our take-home pay). We are finding it frankly impossible to make ends meet on the residual income; we already live frugally and have sacrificed all extras (holidays, music lessons etc.), but are unable to afford even the basic necessities without eating into our modest savings every month. While we are determined not to disrupt our older child’s GCSE studies we have reached the point where we can see no alternative but to withdraw our younger child from CH at the end of his 3rd form. We have corresponded at length with the Foundation, but they have refused to meet with us to discuss our concerns in person, and simply repeat the assertion that we are being fairly assessed in comparison with other families. We would argue (if anyone would discuss it with us!) that the contributions scale is unfairly weighted against two-parent families, and particularly against those who are not self-employed. The bottom line for us is that, fairly assessed or not, we are simply no longer able to meet the contributions which the Foundation apparently feel we should be able to ‘reasonably afford’.

Are we alone? Or are there other families who face having to withdraw their children from the school due to the increasing financial demands? Has anyone else had any success in getting the Foundation to agree to discuss financial difficulties? We would welcome any advice on this sensitive matter. We really don't want to take our son out of CH, but have nowhere left to turn.

Momto2
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:47 pm
Real Name: Mom2Two

Re: Are we alone?

Post by Momto2 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:37 pm

You're not alone!

Will send you a message later.

LJG
3rd Former
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:58 pm
Real Name: Linda Gardner

Re: Are we alone?

Post by LJG » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:10 pm

HI there,
Exactly the same thing has happened to me - its not confined to 2 parent families. I am a single parent working full-time, and believe me I have the same problems and have had to cope similarily with a staged increase.
It is very hard to find evidence to supoort an appeal to the foundation - I pay into the NHS pension and there is little written about it. I pay a reduce NI payment to balance the higher pension contribution but the foundation are really not interested in it. I plan to send some guidance with this years assessment to see if they can make sense of it but without much hope.
My daughter goes into Grecians next year so did not want to disrupt her. It has been a tough year and I would not have coped but for mortgage payment reductions. I dread to think what they will clobber me with this year!
I commented on this on a previous thread as I do not have family to help out so its tough all round as I need to earn enough to pay the mortgage, but that puts us above EMA level as well etc etc etc. It certainly does not appear to pay to be self supporting - single or otherwise!!
Do hope you manage to find a way through.

jaspersmum
2nd Former
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:35 pm
Real Name: Alison

Re: Are we alone?

Post by jaspersmum » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:40 am

I have to pay into a compulsory pension scheme and as this is now counted as earnings the fees have risen considerably
Last edited by jaspersmum on Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 14809
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Are we alone?

Post by J.R. » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:24 pm

I'm horrified at reading through the posts on this thread.

What has HAPPENED to the charitable status and ethos of C.H. ????
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

Katharine
Button Grecian
Posts: 2933
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:44 pm
Real Name: Katharine Dobson
Location: Gwynedd

Re: Are we alone?

Post by Katharine » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:39 pm

JR, I absolutely agree with you. This does not sound like the CH I thought I knew and loved.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 14809
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Are we alone?

Post by J.R. » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:48 pm

I trust some of the 'powers-that-be' at Horsham read this forum.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

ailurophile
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:42 pm
Real Name: Jo

Re: Are we alone?

Post by ailurophile » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:38 pm

Thanks for the replies. It's good to know that we are not the only ones struggling - but it's also worrying. The literature put out by the school still states that 'We strive to make boarding education affordable for parents' and that 'The contribution you would be asked to make is the amount the Foundation considers parents can reasonably afford'. Yet it would appear that the Foundation is completely self-regulating, and that they can arbitrarily decide what is 'reasonable' without any consideration of evidence to the contrary in the form of current parents actually being forced to withdraw their children from the school. I fail to see how this situation can benefit anyone, especially the children. We would certainly never have entered our children for CH if we had known that they might have to leave after a couple of years.

LJG, I sympathise that you have no family able to help out with the costs; our two widowed mothers are more likely to need help from us! But surely it is unreasonable for the Foundation to set the contributions at a level where financial help from family should be required - this hardly seems 'fair'!

And J.R., as for hoping that some of the 'powers that be' will read this Forum thread, our experience to date would indicate that they're just not interested.

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 14809
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Are we alone?

Post by J.R. » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:28 pm

ailurophile wrote:Thanks for the replies. It's good to know that we are not the only ones struggling - but it's also worrying. The literature put out by the school still states that 'We strive to make boarding education affordable for parents' and that 'The contribution you would be asked to make is the amount the Foundation considers parents can reasonably afford'. Yet it would appear that the Foundation is completely self-regulating, and that they can arbitrarily decide what is 'reasonable' without any consideration of evidence to the contrary in the form of current parents actually being forced to withdraw their children from the school. I fail to see how this situation can benefit anyone, especially the children. We would certainly never have entered our children for CH if we had known that they might have to leave after a couple of years.

LJG, I sympathise that you have no family able to help out with the costs; our two widowed mothers are more likely to need help from us! But surely it is unreasonable for the Foundation to set the contributions at a level where financial help from family should be required - this hardly seems 'fair'!

And J.R., as for hoping that some of the 'powers that be' will read this Forum thread, our experience to date would indicate that they're just not interested.

Quite possibly, ailurophile, but I'm pretty sure there are secret viewers from the southern RH postal area !!!!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

midget
Button Grecian
Posts: 3186
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:49 pm
Real Name: Margaret O`Riordan
Location: Barnstaple Devon

Re: Are we alone?

Post by midget » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:06 pm

Things have certainly changed, and not for the better. I have mentioned elsewhere that when my father was unemployed for 3 months, no fees were charged for that period. A friend whose father died when she was about 14 had free education until she left to go to Oxford. Why has the change been made?
Thou shalt not sit with statisticians nor commit a social science.

Momto2
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:47 pm
Real Name: Mom2Two

Re: Are we alone?

Post by Momto2 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:46 pm

Our situation is exactly as described by the other posters and we too really struggle now.

We have also found lately that if we don't pay any additional bills (music lessons, electrical appliance testing etc) pretty quickly then letters are sent threatening exclusion of our children. When these are on top of the monthly fees and you are on such a tight budget it becomes an impossible situation. What do we do? If we stop the music lessons then they lose their place in the band!

I'm afraid the "affordable boarding" is become pretty prohibitive now.

stellavision
2nd Former
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:16 pm
Real Name: mary wells

Re: Are we alone?

Post by stellavision » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:13 pm

NO, you are not alone, I'm a single parent of a 2nd former and whilst I knew that it would be hard meeting the fees out of my salary (which is actually quite a bit above the national average, though it doesn't feel like it once the mortgage is taken out), I have to say that it is already hitting hard. I've used up all my slush funds, and am currently looking at taking in a lodger (though I think that may increase my income and therefore increase the fees further) ... I haven't approached the school yet, but I am seriously looking at scholorships at other schools .... or a change in career!

User avatar
Richard Ruck
Button Grecian
Posts: 3120
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 12:08 pm
Real Name: Richard Ruck
Location: Horsham

Re: Are we alone?

Post by Richard Ruck » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:05 am

Momto2 wrote:What do we do? If we stop the music lessons then they lose their place in the band!
That is really sad. When I was at CH, music tuition was free for those learning a 'band' instrument.
Ba.A / Mid. B 1972 - 1978

Thee's got'n where thee cassn't back'n, hassn't?

ailurophile
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:42 pm
Real Name: Jo

Re: Are we alone?

Post by ailurophile » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:38 pm

Stellavision, you have identified one of the fundamental problems: any attempt to increase your income will simply be swallowed up by an increase equal to this (or potentially more than, if you have a second child at CH) in school fees! The Foundation have actually urged us to do "whatever you can within your power" to avoid withdrawing our younger son from the school, but they have failed to make any helpful suggestions as to exactly what they imagine this might be! Music lessons have already been sacrificed I'm afraid, as have any other luxuries. We just can't keep on living beyond our means and the only thing left we can cut back on is... the school fees.

Midget, I don't believe things have changed that much: I'm sure that if one of us became unemployed or died the school would still respond with a reduction in fees. But that seems a little bit drastic! The main problem for us is that our circumstances have not changed, but the level of our assessed contribution has - and looks set to go on doing so!!

User avatar
Mid A 15
Button Grecian
Posts: 2924
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 1:38 pm
Real Name: Claude Rains
Location: The Patio Of England (Kent)

Re: Are we alone?

Post by Mid A 15 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:24 pm

Having just looked at the contribution scales for 2007/8 shown on the website it certainly looks tough from a parental point of view.

I wonder in reality how many families have mortgage / rent payments equating to as little as 12.5% of gross income in London and the South East where the majority of pupils are from?

http://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/alla ... 007-08.pdf
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest