% of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

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brian walling
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% of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by brian walling »

I’m curious to know how CH’s position on full fee paying pupils is evolving. Does anybody close to this issue have an up-to-date view of where we are now and where we seem to be heading? I cannot find anything recent on the Forum.

The CH website flags a current figure of 22% full fee paying pupils (www.christs-hospital.org.uk/about-chris ... -a-glance/). This is presented on a page among various other achievements and desirable results that the School lays claim to. One could easily infer that CH considers 22% a good result and that CH would like to aim for a higher %.

22% still seems a relatively high figure to me, after the vigorous Old Blues’ debate of 5+ years ago about CH’s apparent swing towards full fee pupils. At that time many Old Blues were – and I know still are – uneasy about this fundamental conflict with the underlying charitable ethos of CH and its mission of supporting the needy. I accept, however, that improvement may take some time.

Where are we today on this issue? Is CH still targeting the serious reductions in the full fee paying pupil % that it seemed to have accepted a few years ago? Or is this now quietly set aside, perhaps redefined to just a long-term aspiration?

Any up-to-date insight on this issue would be welcome.

As an aside, but nevertheless related to the full fee issue, in looking further at the CH website I note with some concern that CH’s “Mission” is now defined as: “Challenge inequality by providing a nurturing, transformative education for young people from all backgrounds.” That’s all. The two immediately following paragraphs (“This is what we do” and “This is why we do it”) simply repeat a few words from the preceding Mission paragraph, add nothing and look somewhat silly as they stand.

Whatever happened to CH’s traditional aim of providing high quality education to the more needy? The Charity Commission’s Register fortunately still informs us (presumably using content provided at some time by CH) that: “Christ’s Hospital is a Christian school dedicated to providing a stable background and education of high standard to young people, having regard especially to those from families facing social, financial or other specific need.” CH’s parallel charity, the Christ’s Hospital Foundation, that specifically looks after the CH endowment, is detailed in the Charity Commission Register as spending its money on “the education of poor or needy children.”
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by Katharine »

I’ve just had this in an email. It shows 23% paying full fees.
We are delighted to announce that for this academic year Christ’s Hospital is committing a record £24 million in means-tested bursary support. This means that of the 876 students at CH, 672 (77%) students will receive a bursary, averaging 85% remission of school fees.
I have no idea what the figures were when I was there, an average 85% remission of fees does sound high.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by sejintenej »

Katharine wrote: Tue Sep 26, 2023 4:19 pm I’ve just had this in an email. It shows 23% paying full fees.
We are delighted to announce that for this academic year Christ’s Hospital is committing a record £24 million in means-tested bursary support. This means that of the 876 students at CH, 672 (77%) students will receive a bursary, averaging 85% remission of school fees.
I have no idea what the figures were when I was there, an average 85% remission of fees does sound high.
Katharine. That figure, on its own, does not say too much. The poorest families could have close to 100% remission whilst thos whose parents pay everything have a zero remission. We know tht the school stroive to attract pupils whose parents would pay full whack but we don't know how many pupils are involved.

We do not know what fees are involved. In my day you could have 100% of lodging, food and classes free but you still had to pay for the extras like sports clothing, house fee, compulsory pocket money, clubs etc. CCF camps, even the occasional outside course and transport etc etc. .It could be a bit like HS2 - they say one amount but the truth turns out to be a multiple. .... In my last two years I had £25 pocket money for the year which had to pay for fares to school (£16.50) house fees (£5) pocket money (£4.50*) all outside clothing plus compulsory CH sports clothes, Christmas presents and incidentals. Just work that one out - at least an outside party would slipme a fiver each term.. . £25 was a near fortune for my mother.
*£1.50 per term, three terms but I used to get a few shillings back; I had trouble with my Prep housemaster because I refused to buy sweets - horrible things the one time he forced liquorice on me and I had to throw it away.

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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by loringa »

We are delighted to announce that for this academic year Christ’s Hospital is committing a record £24 million in means-tested bursary support. This means that of the 876 students at CH, 672 (77%) students will receive a bursary, averaging 85% remission of school fees.
I have seen this too. In my opinion, Christ's Hospital has sold its soul taking on full fee payers and I suspect the reason they have done this is to invest in vast numbers of additional staff and extra facilities that are required precisely to attract ... full fee payers.

I may be mistaken but I believe they are building yet another sports centre; accommodation standards are approaching a standard that is better than many Armed Forces establishments and there seem to be full-time professional coaches for pretty much every sport along with vast numbers of other staff whose role is entirely unclear to me. Sure, times have changed but are all these additional roles really justified?

Back in the day (1970s), there were clearly problems with what we now call safeguarding which is why so many staff are detained as His Majesty's pleasure so there was clearly a shortfall to be filled there. On the other hand, teaching staff covered all games (there were no games staff even former top-tier sportsmen like Gerald Davies and Pete Warfield taught). We had a proper infirmary though, and many great teachers whilst the 'old retainers' like 'Chief' Bradley and Sergeant Guest covered many of the miscellaneous roles like supervising drills and other punishments.

I really don't approve of this shift to full fee payers and facilities to compete with the other Public Schools. CH should stick to what it has always done: educating those in need and leave the wealthy, including 'poor little rich kids', to the other institutions.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by Katharine »

sejintenej wrote: Tue Sep 26, 2023 5:35 pm
Katharine wrote: Tue Sep 26, 2023 4:19 pm I’ve just had this in an email. It shows 23% paying full fees.
We are delighted to announce that for this academic year Christ’s Hospital is committing a record £24 million in means-tested bursary support. This means that of the 876 students at CH, 672 (77%) students will receive a bursary, averaging 85% remission of school fees.
I have no idea what the figures were when I was there, an average 85% remission of fees does sound high.
Katharine. That figure, on its own, does not say too much. The poorest families could have close to 100% remission whilst thos whose parents pay everything have a zero remission. We know tht the school stroive to attract pupils whose parents would pay full whack but we don't know how many pupils are involved.
Having taught Mathematics for many years, I am well aware what average means, here it will mean mean rather than mode or median. The quote shows that 204 pupils currently pay full fees, which seems too high for the historic remit of the Foundation, but if it helps to provide bursaries for others then …. It is understandable.

I do agree with loringa that competing with facilities is unnecessary.

I don’t remember ever discussing at Hertford how much our parents paid, I have since learnt that some had full fees, pocket money, fares to and from school paid. I do know that my father expected to pay a similar amount towards my university grant as he’d paid CH, but was very surprised how much less he was asked for, just £6 a year whereas CH had asked for £120.

At the moment, I’m wondering what will happen if/when Labour are elected and impose VAT charges on Public Schools. How will this affect CH.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by MrEd »

I think loringa is right. CH appears to have the problem of many an institution, being run for the benefit of those who work there. Sports facilities? You have grass, lots of it, that is enough for almost all sports with a few bits of kit like poles, goals and paint. Considering how Spartan CH was back in the day and those who were there in the 1950s have attested to that, building sports facilities to match other Public Schools seems absurd.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, being run for the benefit of those who worked there meant safeguarding the 'good name' of CH by covering up abuse and tarnishing the vast majority of decent people working there by association with the rest.

However, the safeguarding regime definitely increases costs (and undermines the viability of private schools as a 'happy accident') so I can understand a drive towards hiring more staff as to an extent, it is non-negotiable.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by scrub »

Katharine wrote: Wed Sep 27, 2023 1:22 pmAt the moment, I’m wondering what will happen if/when Labour are elected and impose VAT charges on Public Schools. How will this affect CH.
That depends on whether they do actually put VAT on and at what %, or whether they change the charitable status of many (all?) public/independent schools. Or both.

Honestly, I have no idea what they'll do if they win the next election.

If I were to speculate, I suspect that in CH's case, it's possible they lose a few fee paying students at first, but over time will continue as they have and will increase the number of fee payers (full or otherwise).

I really don't think that putting VAT on public schools will have much effect overall and certainly won't lead to the state system suddenly being overrun. I know people have these weird apocalyptic fantasies of this happening, but I find it really hard to believe it.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by jtaylor »

Interesting one this one, and one we should all be keeping an eye on to ensure the number of full fee payers doesn't creep up, and that CH continues to fulfill it's core purpose as a genuine charity.....

Some thoughts...
1. Having some full payers is a good thing in some ways - of course it does help the running costs of the school/foundation, enabling it to continue to fund other places etc. - but it also ensures a cross-section of backgrounds from society, ensuring a genuine mix within the school body. Without a good cross-section, it could be come the opposite of Eton, with students all from the same poorer backgrounds, without that positive mix of all backgrounds.
2. Putting VAT on public school fees shouldn't impact CH much? As it's a genuine charity, where fees are means tested (apart from FFPs), then it won't negatively impact parents or pupils, assuming the criteria of means testing determines how much a parent should PAY, rather than the DISCOUNT they received in absolute terms off the full fees?
3. I'm not sure whether bursary places would attract VAT payments to the HMRC? i.e. if the full fees were £60k (made up number) per year, £50k ex. vat, does £10k have to be given to HRMC regardless of whether funded by the Foundation, or by the parent? If so, then that'd be a big hit on the Foundation, as well as FFPs......any accountants out there who may know?
4. When looking at both private health care, and private schools - they both take load and costs off the state, reducing the costs of education and the NHS. Whilst it absolutely creates a haves-and-have-nots divide in society, it does reduce costs to the state and thus (in a small way) increase the amount per pupil/patient that our taxes can fund in the state system...... Thus, is could easily be argued that those who use private health or schools should received a DISCOUNT on their taxes, as they're absolutely paying to NOT use a free state service. So adding VAT to school fees feels like it will push more to use the State system, thus compounding the problem in the already under-funded state education sector?
5. Whilst I'd agree that VAT on school fees won't lead to a mass exodus (from public schools in general), I do believe it could cause many families who are only-just-managing to fund their children's public school places to have to withdraw their children from school mid-education. If it's brought in, I would hope that it would only apply to NEW places at Public Schools, and not apply to parents who've already started a 12 or 7 year public-school journey for their child.....otherwise the impact on a child will be huge, having to move school purely based on a government policy and that their parents simply can't stretch their income any further....Another mental health crisis in the making, which many will argue is a first-world-problem - but to the child, it could be catastrophic?

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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by loringa »

jtaylor wrote: Fri Sep 29, 2023 10:58 am
4. When looking at both private health care, and private schools - they both take load and costs off the state, reducing the costs of education and the NHS. Whilst it absolutely creates a haves-and-have-nots divide in society, it does reduce costs to the state and thus (in a small way) increase the amount per pupil/patient that our taxes can fund in the state system...... Thus, is could easily be argued that those who use private health or schools should received a DISCOUNT on their taxes, as they're absolutely paying to NOT use a free state service. So adding VAT to school fees feels like it will push more to use the State system, thus compounding the problem in the already under-funded state education sector?
5. Whilst I'd agree that VAT on school fees won't lead to a mass exodus (from public schools in general), I do believe it could cause many families who are only-just-managing to fund their children's public school places to have to withdraw their children from school mid-education. If it's brought in, I would hope that it would only apply to NEW places at Public Schools, and not apply to parents who've already started a 12 or 7 year public-school journey for their child.....otherwise the impact on a child will be huge, having to move school purely based on a government policy and that their parents simply can't stretch their income any further....Another mental health crisis in the making, which many will argue is a first-world-problem - but to the child, it could be catastrophic?
It's dogma and designed to appeal to a particular segment of the electorate rather than a realistic plan to raise money for a future labour government. Even if elected, which is looking increasingly likely owing to the utter, unbelievable uselessness of the current administration, it will still have to be voted through Parliament. Privately educated Labour politicians (like Mr Corbyn) will face charges of hypocrisy which many would like to avoid; I suspect that it would be a 3-line whip and 3-line whips create dissenters who are then lost to the Party, albeit usually temporarily, and thus not available to vote through legislation that matters.

Mr Cameron wanted to give a 'credit note' to parents who educated their children privately as they were reducing the stress on the maintained sector. I have always believed that fees being VAT-free was actually a fair compensation for not taking up state school places. No-one knows what will happen if VAT is now imposed but I am sure it will be retrospective, and I am equally sure it will also drive some parents to withdraw their children. This will suit the ideologues but ideologues tend not to care about those who will suffer the consequences.

Interestingly, a fair number of people who educate their children privately are in the Armed Forces who then have to satisfy demanding criteria to qualify for Continuity of Education Allowance, including those who are overseas. If they withdraw their children, they will be entitled to highly sought-after state boarding schools, and the more desirable school places under the terms of the Armed Forces Covenant, thereby preventing other kids from taking a place at the better schools. No-one is going to withdraw their kids from an Independent school just to dump them in a failing maintained school. There are a number of second-order effects of headline grabbing policies like this which a future Labour Government will have to content with.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by Katharine »

loringa wrote: Sat Sep 30, 2023 2:27 pm Interestingly, a fair number of people who educate their children privately are in the Armed Forces who then have to satisfy demanding criteria to qualify for Continuity of Education Allowance, including those who are overseas. If they withdraw their children, they will be entitled to highly sought-after state boarding schools, and the more desirable school places under the terms of the Armed Forces Covenant, thereby preventing other kids from taking a place at the better schools. No-one is going to withdraw their kids from an Independent school just to dump them in a failing maintained school. There are a number of second-order effects of headline grabbing policies like this which a future Labour Government will have to content with.
Not just Armed Forces, Diplomatic Corps and British Council (us) too. We nearly fell foul of conditions in the late 80s coming to the end of a London posting. We should have gone to Kaduna, but the Nigerians saw a SAfrican stamp in an old passport of John’s. He’d been there setting up literacy camps in Soweto, the High Commissioner couldn’t issue a work permit, he had to refer it to Abuja, where it sat on the too difficult pile. They never reached a decision, the Council couldn’t wait any longer, so sent someone else there and us to Brunei.

I honestly don’t know what would have happened about school fees if we were still in the UK a short time later, would we have had to pay or not? The Council had tried to post us overseas but didn’t succeed at first.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by brian walling »

I go along with the various additional comments that have been posted. These are all on point.

Loringa suggests a vicious spiral now in play, with pursuit of full fee pupils requiring expanded staff and facilities, which in turn requires bigger budgets, which in turn perpetuates the ‘need’ for full fee payers, and so on. I would suggest there is also another vicious spiral likely to come into play. If the current erosion of CH’s charitable mission persists and worsens, I see Old Blues and other benefactors and donors being less and less inclined to continue sustaining the CH endowment. This will further compromise the pool of money available to sustain CH’s budgets.

The massive efforts by the CH community in current fundraising are to be highly commended, but the ‘CH establishment’ needs to be careful not to damage CH’s donor appeal as a foundation supporting the more needy

I still have all the papers relating to my own selection and admission to CH long ago. It is refreshing to read the succinct summary printed at the bottom of each CH letterhead sheet:

“NOTE. – No child will be admitted whose parents are not, in the opinion of the Council, in actual need of assistance at the time of the child’s admission. The attention of Parents and Guardians is directed to the fact that they may be called upon to contribute on admission, not less than £10 nor more than £60 per annum towards the child’s education and maintenance, although each case is carefully considered on its own merits, and no charge is made where the Council are of the opinion that the Parents, next Friends, or Relations are unable to contribute. It should also be noted that a larger contribution over and above £60 may be required from Parents or next Friends whose circumstances improve after the admission of the Child.”

Incidentally, the £10 - 60 range of annual parental contribution then (1953) would equate to a range of
£230 - £1,400 in 2023’s value. That is still a lot of money today for really needy parents.

By contrast, today’s published full fees for boarders at CH are £42,000 a year (£45,000 for international pupils). At this fee level CH has clearly positioned itself at the level of other top UK fee-paying ‘public schools’, leaving aside its quite unique historical position as a school for the more needy, although nevertheless doing its best, within the limits of its available resources, to subsidise the nominal fees for the most needy pupils. That’s quite a change in the narrative.

It would perhaps not be so bad if CH’s new operating model produced decent results, but apparently it does not. CH’s performance across the various school league tables for university places, exam results etc seems nowhere near outstanding. The local 11-18 yrs state funded comprehensive school (Brampton Manor Academy) in the relatively deprived part of east London that is my family’s recent homeland regularly clocks up far more Oxbridge places each year than CH. The school has educational focus and dedication – and relatively little of the educational wokery that now seems to be weighing CH down.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by rockfreak »

I don't know why they're spending all this money on state-of-the-art sports facilities. When I was there in the 1950s, if they couldn't think of anything else to exhaust us with they resorted to heartyball. This was essentially the Eton Wall Game without the wall. Find a patch of rough ground and have two teams attempt to ground a ball over their opponents' line by any means possible bar actual eye-gouging. It was so rough that one member of the school rugby team broke a leg playing it - something that I don't think happened to him while playing rugby. I had an argument with the late esteemed Dr Scuffil where I insisted that all this rough play was designed to tire us out and take our minds off sex. If so it was a monumental failure if I correctly remember the steamy atmosphere of underground homosexual intrigue back then.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by jhopgood »

I’m not sure “any means possible “ is correct in heartyball. I remember kicking the ball back and being told in no uncertain terms, that kicking the ball was not on. Intriguing for a game which they described as having no rules.
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Re: % of full fee paying pupils - any update available?

Post by rockfreak »

Football definitely not acceptable back then. Even though the Magnificent Magyars had taught us a lesson at Wembley, Brazil were on the rise, and footie would shortly take over the attention of the world - even the snotty, middle class populace of the public schools. At CH those who liked soccer used to stage a game on a Sunday afternoon on a nearby club pitch and you could always get two teams and substitutes. On one occasion Seaman came along and stood on the touchline to see what this strange game was all about.
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