Dear College Parents

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” - Dr Seuss.

Welcome back from what has been a very short holiday to what will be a very short 4th term! There are only 40 school days this term and so it will literally be a case of ‘so much to do with so little time!’ You will see from the Assembly notices that many of our boys and staff were involved in holiday activities. We hosted the U14 Charl van Rooyen Cricket Festival at Bishops and enjoyed beautiful weather for four days of excellent cricket.

By the time you receive this the matrics will be on their way to prepare for their final exams. This morning we enjoyed a very special Prize Giving and Valedictory Service, always a highlight of the year. Jordan Flax, our Head Boy, spoke exceptionally well and I am sure that it was an emotional day for boys and parents. A highlight of the Prize Giving is the announcement of the pupil leadership for 2015. Congratulations to Jordan van Tonder on his appointment as Head Boy and to his Deputies, Tom Richardson and Jarryd Lurie. The full list of Heads and Deputies of House is attached for your interest.

I must be honest and say that this is always a week of great anxiety for us as we worry about what antics the matrics will get up to. It is a very strange culture which prevails at Bishops, and at many other schools, that during this week matrics feel that they are entitled to behave in an often destructive and anti-social manner. Particularly upsetting are their actions in disrupting other schools and their destruction of property. What amazes me is that I know they are loyal and proud of their school and yet are prepared to damage its property and reputation during this ‘silly season’. Furthermore, that our support staff has to clean up after them is also unacceptable and sends out totally the wrong message. It is contrary to all the values we instil in the boys during their time at Bishops.

I am pleased to report that other than the odd incident it has been a relatively peaceful end this year, but this has been due to an incredible amount of hard work and intervention by our staff, often late into the night and early morning. This is unacceptable and should not be necessary. The end of a matric year should be a time of dignified celebration. There are many formal ‘rites of passage’ events such as House Farewell Dinners, Prize Giving and Valedictory at which we celebrate, and say farewell to our matrics in the appropriate manner. Over the past two years I have been impressed with the positive relationship which exists between boys and staff and it is important that this is respected at a time when we should all be celebrating this transitional time for our boys. I thank all those matric parents who have supported us with this message to their sons this year and invite all parents to begin engaging their boys on this matter for the future.
Speaking of building trust and mending broken relationships, I am very pleased to report that reconciliation has been reached between the ODU Committee and Tim and Carolyn Hamilton-Smith. Kate O’Regan was the mediator in the reconciliation process and has issued the following statement to the Bishops Community:
The parties to the mediation have asked me to write a short note to acknowledge that, despite the depth of feeling that had arisen as a result of the dispute between them, the mediation was undertaken with a commitment by all to find a resolution to the long-standing dispute that would be in the interests of the Bishops community as a whole. When a dispute has lasted a long period of time, and has involved a wide range of people, it is often particularly hard to call a halt to it. A solution requires a spirit of compromise and an ability to forgive. This mediation was characterised by this spirit of compromise and forgiveness, demonstrating a recognition on both sides that the most important principle was that the interests of Bishops were of central importance in solving the dispute. I hope that this spirit of compromise, forgiveness and goodwill serve as a firm foundation for healing within the Bishops community now and serve as an example in years to come.
As a school we are obviously relieved with this outcome and look forward to being able to focus on, and celebrate the good news about Bishops!
Yours sincerely

Guy Pearson




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