Dear College Parents

“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe: harmonious connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars” - Robin Williams in August Rush.

Bishops Classic Pops

I am often asked by people what makes Bishops special. In my view, there are many things which make it special, but Classic Pops is certainly one of them! Classic Pops 2017 was truly spectacular. I am sure that everyone who attended was blown away by the extraordinary musical talent we have at this school. In total 280 boys participated and the standard of music was amazing. It is difficult to believe that these were ordinary schoolboys on stage, such was the professional nature of the performance.

My thanks and congratulations go to every boy who participated and to our Director of Music, Mark Mitchell, and his team for transporting us into this magical world of music over two evenings.

The assembly notices from today are attached and once again we can marvel at the amazing array of achievements and talents we have at Bishops across such a wide range of activities. A special congratulations to Angus Thring who won the National Science Olympiad for the 2nd consecutive year.

Angus Thring

SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

The events at schools very similar to Bishops over the past few weeks have again highlighted the importance of addressing the issues of diversity and transformation. In my Speech at Prize Giving last year I committed myself, and the school, to the following:

As a member of the majority culture as a white male at Bishops I am personally committed to making sure that I am sensitive to minority groups at our school. These minority groups include race, religion, gender, sexual persuasion and disability. I acknowledge that the issues are complex and complicated but I want to make a plea to all of us to be sensitive to our differences and to try to better accept and understand each other. Indeed we need to learn to celebrate difference because our lives are enriched by diversity. Bishops is a better place because of our diversity and we will be better people the more we learn to embrace it.

At Bishops we promote a culture of mutual and appropriate respect between all boys and staff. It is important that we understand that this includes respecting people who are different to us for whatever reason. In the end, when in doubt, we must always apply the Golden Rule: “Treat others in the same way as you would like to be treated.”

It is important for our community to know that the Bishops Council and Executive across all three of our schools take these issues very seriously and that last year we decided to establish a Social Sustainability Committee to take us forward. This committee at this stage includes employees from the staff across all three schools and is diverse in terms of gender and race.

The committee has already engaged a focus group of pupils of colour to explore the question of whether Bishops is a welcoming environment for them. This was a fruitful discussion and this conversation will continue. The next step is to engage with a broader focus group of pupils. It is difficult to predict where these conversations will lead us other than that they will give us a better understanding of what we need to do as a school so that every one of our pupils and employees will feel that Bishops is a more welcoming environment for all, regardless of their position, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. The Social Sustainability Committee will extend the focus groups to include parents, the Council and OD’s in the future.

At the start of this term all academic staff from the three schools attended a staff conference to engage on two topics: “The Rainbow Nation Conundrum: Negotiating Privilege and Inclusivity in a Post-Apartheid Era” and “Man-Up: Manhood and Masculinity in a Boy’s School Context.” This was an extremely worthwhile conference with some significant testimonies from staff who represent minority groups. These conversations have been on-going and will continue in the future.

Yours sincerely

Guy Pearson
PRINCIPAL