Leavers and fees

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MrsAverage
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Leavers and fees

Post by MrsAverage » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:05 pm

I am hearing stories of numbers of pupils leaving because of disproportionate rises in the fees. We are seriously thinking of having to remove our DS for the same reason. After 5 years our savings are exhausted and our income rose only in line with inflation yet our fees have doubled since DS started. We are very scared what this years fees will be as we can no longer afford CH. I see from past posts this is not a new topic. Has anyone had any success in getting sense or even a reduction? Has anyone been taken to court for failing to pay either the fee or the notice charge?
Are there many more of you out there like us who have gone from being strong supporters of the school to feeling used? How many are actually leaving? DS wants to stay to be with his friends, but will his friends still be there? Seriously worried. Private emails welcomed.

ailurophile
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by ailurophile » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:44 pm

I too have heard that a much higher number of the GE will be leaving CH this summer than is usually expected. As I've already said elsewhere on this forum, our DS will be among them. We have really struggled to afford the rising fees, and remain seriously worried that we may yet not be able to manage to keep our younger son at the school even as far as GCSE, although we're determined to do everything we can to achieve that end, as we have for the eldest. Certainly keeping both boys at CH is no longer an option.

MrsAverage makes an interesting point about the notice charge; how are parents expected to calculate whether they might be able to afford fees for the next year and beyond when it is impossible to predict what these might be? (For our family, the increases over the past couple of years have been 18% and 14%, while our salaries have risen at less than the rate of inflation). And how can you decide at Easter whether to give a term's notice when you will not be informed of the next year's fees until July? If you're really struggling to keep your children at CH this whole situation can be a Kafkaesque nightmare!

DS's housemaster recently confirmed to me that Mr Franklin has e-mailed staff to flag up the high number of GE pupils who may not be continuing into the Deps this year, and to ask them whether they can feed back on any perceived reasons for this. IMHO, he could cut out the need for speculation if he simply asked the parents direct!! When we spoke to Mr Franklin in person about our own difficulties, some 16 months ago, he told us that (A) he had no control over the financial side of the school, and (B) (and I quote) "worse things can happen to a child than having to leave Christ's Hospital. They could lose a parent, for example." With the head taking this attitude, and fees spiralling out of reach, surely it should come as no surprise to CH to find that an increasing number of parents are choosing - or being forced to consider - alternatives at sixth form.

KenHo
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by KenHo » Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:34 pm

ailurophile wrote: And how can you decide at Easter whether to give a term's notice when you will not be informed of the next year's fees until July? If you're really struggling to keep your children at CH this whole situation can be a Kafkaesque nightmare!
In such circumstances I would simply let them sue you for the terms fees, as that is clearly unreasonable.

It seems to me that if a child leaves then they are unlikely to fill the place once they are further up the school. In most cases this will be a net loss to the school. On the other hand they can't have parents who refuse to pay, but still keep the children at the school. I would suggest that a sensible compromise is to simply owe the additional amounts to the school and agree to pay 3 years after the child has left (to allow for university) after which time the parent will have the same income (probably) but not have to pay out for the child. In this way the school still gets the money, the child stays at the school, and the parents can manage.

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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by dinahcat » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:00 pm

There are lots of reason why childen leave the school at 16 and numbers will vary from year to year. Some of them will leave because they have a sibling at the school and parents can't afford more that one child at the school. It stands to reason really. If the Foundation takes all of your disposable income to pay for one child , how can you reasonably have anything left for another unless you have relatives who sub you or have other charities who support you. Other pupils leave because they don't expect to achieve 6 As or A*s , others because the don't want to board anymore, others because they want to persue a vocational course or attend a specialist music school. Others want to take the IB. Some get 100% scholarships at other Independents.

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NEILL THE NOTORIOUS
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:28 pm

I am glad to say that this problem does not affect me financially, since my "Babies" are 52 and 57 (And wer too thick to get into CH -- although have done well !)
HOWEVER I am desperately concerned withany situation which causes parents to withdraw their children from CH because of inability to pay these , increasing, fees.

In all of these posts on this subject, I have yet to see one from anybody in Authority at the School.

Can they not comment ? and if not, why not ? surely the policy of CH education has not, now become a secret ?

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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by anniexf » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:09 pm

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:
NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:
In all of these posts on this subject, I have yet to see one from anybody in Authority at the School.
You won't, Neill; they know none of us has any clout!
NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:
surely the policy of CH education has not, now become a secret ?
No, it's not secret, but quite cynical: Bleed them dry then wave goodbye.

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icomefromalanddownunder
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:30 am

I don't dispute anything that has been written in this thread, or mean to suggest that the topic is not approriate; but what action is hoped to be initiated by posting your concerns here: other than to garner moral support (which is freely and unconditionally given).

I'm not wording this at all well, but what I want to suggest is that current parents must refuse to be bullied by the school. Document all of your dealings with whichever staff member you consult, and do not stop asking questions until you are satisfied that your concerns have been allayed and situations remedied.

I am not surprised that there has been no response from the school to concerns posted here: I do not feel that this is the appropriate, well, forum :) .

I do hope that matters can be resolved for the good of the pupils concerned. I can't imagine anyone during my days at CH having to leave because their parents couldn't afford the fees: that would have been the antithesis of everything the school stood/stands for.

I reiterate my opinion that the school seems to want the best of both worlds: to maintain it's charitable status, but to only extend the charity to the school itself, rather than to the pupils. I also feel that you get what you pay for. We didn't experience anything like the facilities and food offered to pupils at other public schools, because our fees didn't provide the same income. Now it seems to be expected that princely offerings will somehow be manifested from a less than princely income (I was going to write pauper's income, but that seemed just a tad insulting).

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr: I am being repeatedly interrupted by work related matters and have completely lost track of my thoughts.

In closing: keep expressing your concerns everyone, but don't forget that you need to speak to the school authorities directly about specific issues. If you need moral support in dealing with fear of potential bullying and reprisals, The Survivors of She Who Shall Not Be Named can stand beside you in proof that the only thing to fear is the fear.

xxx

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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by fra828 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:47 am

Yes in 'our day', I only remember rumours of someone possibly having to leave as their (single) parent's income had increased TOO much since they'd been at the school! Give DR her due, I don't think she would have chucked anyone out for financial reasons - girl concerned stayed till the 6th form .

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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by TrueBlue » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:31 pm

ailurophile wrote:And how can you decide at Easter whether to give a term's notice when you will not be informed of the next year's fees until July?
Readers of my previous posts will know that I am very much in favour of full means testing in order to ensure that CH sticks to its core principles, and that I have little sympathy for those who wish to maintain a lifestyle of their own choosing which may conflict with that, but still expect a subsidy. Notwithstanding that, the contract between a school and a parent must be equally balanced, and I would certainly expect that if less than a terms notice of an increase in fees was given, then the school could not enforce a terms fees in lieu - if the increase were to be the reason for leaving, and if that fee increase was much larger than expected. (Pott v Stevens (1948))

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NEILL THE NOTORIOUS
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:06 pm

I am sad, rather than cross, but then, as I have said, it doesn't affect me --- HOWEVER I cannot ever remember ANY child being forced to leave CH because his Parents or Parent could not afford the Fees.
These were assessed BEFORE entry, on a sliding scale, and, in my case, continued for 6 years, until I left.
The only Pupil I remember as having to leave, was expelled, due to activities with a Rifle, Grenades, and mock Firing squad -- behind the Fives Courts ---- I believe he did quite well at Dulwich !!! :lol:

I am looking forward to the comments on this subject, from the attendees at the 60+ Re-union ! (Not Dulwich ! )

ailurophile
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by ailurophile » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:01 pm

Icomefromalanddownunder wrote:
In closing: keep expressing your concerns everyone, but don't forget that you need to speak to the school authorities directly about specific issues.
The frustration we have found is that when it comes to financial issues, there are no school authorities available to speak to direct. Believe me, we've tried! The fees assessment manager has no apparent authority, her own remit being only to pass on the fee rises imposed by the Foundation; but we've been told that no-one from the Foundation can speak to us. After repeated requests for a meeting to discuss our problems had been refused, we went direct to the Headmaster only to be met by the unhelpful response I've described above.

In the absence of opportunity for direct verbal communication, we have written to the Foundation in detail and on more than one occasion to raise issues and ask questions. Each time we have been met (after a delay of some weeks) with a brief standard response in which no attempt has been made to address our specific concerns. The Foundation appear to be answerable to no-one but themselves.

I'm sure that this Forum is not the most appropriate channel to raise concerns, but if anyone can suggest a more effective solution I'd be very grateful to hear it!

Meanwhile, being able to vent my frustration by posting on here is one of the few things that has saved me from cracking up completely! It's so helpful to have the support of other parents who understand what you're up against, even if nothing practical can be achieved...

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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by Jo » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:35 pm

Perhaps a letter to David Cooke, Clerk and Chief Executive of the Foundation, detailing your abortive contacts to date and enclosing a copy of a letter to the Times Educational Supplement (do they have a letters page?), which you propose to send if you have not heard back from him within two weeks? If no-one else is "authorised" to help you, then go to the top!
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Fjgrogan
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by Fjgrogan » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:43 pm

I wonder if eventually a parent is brave enough to allow the Foundation to sue them for the term's fees 'due' in lieu of notice, there will be somewhere an Old Blue lawyer who would be prepared to advise and defend them against the Foundation?
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ailurophile
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by ailurophile » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:40 pm

TrueBlue wrote
Readers of my previous posts will know that I am very much in favour of full means testing in order to ensure that CH sticks to its core principles, and that I have little sympathy for those who wish to maintain a lifestyle of their own choosing which may conflict with that, but still expect a subsidy. Notwithstanding that, the contract between a school and a parent must be equally balanced, and I would certainly expect that if less than a terms notice of an increase in fees was given, then the school could not enforce a terms fees in lieu - if the increase were to be the reason for leaving, and if that fee increase was much larger than expected. (Pott v Stevens (1948))

If you look back on this Forum you will find that a parent placed in exactly this situation last July was told by the Foundation that they would pursue her through the courts for a term’s fees in lieu of notice, and also that they ‘always win’. (Are we alone? / p.26). Perhaps the judgment in Pott v Stevens (1948) has been overturned by more recent decisions in favour of CH?!

I don’t actually consider that the contract between school and parents is equally balanced; in fact, the experience of many parents reported on this Forum confirms that CH hold all the cards. As parents, we must sign an agreement to pay whatever is demanded of us, but CH are clearly under no reciprocal contractual agreement to fulfil their stated aim of making this affordable, or even to define the criteria by which affordability is calculated. They appear to be at liberty to move the goalposts and introduce new policies without let or hindrance, and with very little notice.

TrueBlue, you seem to suppose that parents are motivated to apply to CH through greed, because they expect to receive a subsidised independent education while being able to ‘maintain a lifestyle of their own choosing’ (presumably extravagant!). I don’t believe that this assumption is fair, and for families like my own it is certainly not true!! I wish I could refer you to the 'official' parents' Forum where a recent post has shown, using the school’s own published sample assessments, that the system is weighted very unfairly against working couples.

In a situation where a single parent, one child family with a gross income of £19750 will be left with £211 per week disposable income after CH assessed fees and mortgage payments, but a couple with two children (one at CH) and a gross income of £42500 are left with just £232, you can hardly accuse the latter of seeking to live the life of Riley at the expense of the charitable Foundation. In practice they will actually be living in comparative poverty and struggling to afford the essentials! I'd be really interested for you to take a look at the published assessments and let me know what you make of these figures.

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NEILL THE NOTORIOUS
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Re: Leavers and fees

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:29 am

Am I a cynic, if I ask --- "How many Judges are ex CH or Fee-paying Public Scool ?"

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