Speaking as a current parent, I find some of the above confusing. I have always understood the income level of the parent to be a major consideration when defining 'need'; it is certainly the factor most often quoted by the school, see for example the Autumn 2008 issue of 'Housey!' where John Franklin stated that "85% of our pupils come from homes where the joint family income is less than Â£25,000 per annum and 14% pay no fees at all". When deciding admissions, the school sets self-imposed targets for pupils with high needs scores, and can admit a maximum 6% of pupils whose parents can afford to pay full fees. None of this would indicate that the income level of the parent is ignored!think the following may be useful to you - I speak as someone who works for CH now I might add!
1. As far as I am aware, with the exception of asking for a Governor presentation, the income level of the parent is ignored. If it is above a certain level you will pay full fees. I might add however, that being a boarding school, full fees are high and many parents will be put off by this. Most parents pay on a sliding scale, with perhaps more money per head found in the Sixth Form, where new entrants are more likely to be be full fee paying. We will lose children in this recession as fees are often a luxury that falls by the wayside when a 'free' education is to be had at the local school! Private education is, after all, a life choice that people can opt out of. I appreciate that some schools in London are poor, and it this is the case then parents are more willing to pay fees than if they live near a decent secondary or one of the remaining grammars.
It would also indicate that few prospective parents are likely to be 'put off' by the high fees associated with boarding, since very few anticipate that they will be asked to pay this. Christ's Hospital sells itself to parents as uniquely charitable, offering the opportunity of an independent education to those who would otherwise be unable to consider such an option. For many CH families, private education is not a 'life choice' that would be open to them without the continued support of the Foundation - school fees are not a luxury but an impossibility!
The school's literature says "We strive to make education affordable for parents". There is a link elsewhere on the Forum to an article from the Times Online of 26 October last, where Paul Tuckwell (towards the end of his brief tenure as chief executive) said "The credit crunch and stock market turbulence are expected to have an impact on the school's ability to raise funds and on parents' ability to pay a proportion of fees, which means that the foundation will have to make up more of the total". Yet Onewestguncopse, who works in the school, states 'We will lose children in this recession', and posts elsewhere show that this is actually happening, not just to prospective but to current pupils. As a parent, I am worried by the seeming lack of a cohesive agenda; the school appears to be identifying children with a 'need' for an education which is then denied them when their parents can no longer afford this 'luxury'. CH is indeed a great school, but at this time of change it does seem to be sending out wildly conflicting messages.