Dear College Parents

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” - Dr Seuss.

The matric exams are well underway and so far so good! Most of the boys I have spoken to have indicated that the exams have gone well this week.

In assembly today Jordan van Tonder, Head Boy for 2015, gave his ‘maiden speech’ to the school challenging them to make the most of their opportunities at Bishops and to realise their social responsibility outside the school. Jordan emphasised the need for boys to continue to work on developing mutual respect between juniors and seniors. I know that everyone at Bishops is behind Jordan as he and his fellow matrics of 2015 lead the school forwards.

During the mid-year holidays Vernon Wood and I were privileged to attend the International Boys’ Schools Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the most interesting presentations was on research done in New Zealand on the results achieved by graduates from boys’ schools relative to co-ed schools, a topic which was also discussed on Cape Talk radio this week. While I know that Bishops parents do not need any convincing on the matter, it is worthwhile considering the following results of research done by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research:

In 2012 boys’ schools had a median school proportion of 42% of their leavers attaining University Entrance, 83% with at least NCEA Level 2 or its equivalent and 8% without a qualification. In Co-Ed schools the figures were 23%, 69% and 17%.

Some of these differences were however, thought to be due to different socio-economic profiles of schools. Where findings for schools with similar socio-economic profiles were compared the following median proportions:

  • Boys’ schools achieving 30% more University Entrances on average than Co-Ed schools,
  • Boys’ schools achieving 12% more boys at NCEA Level 2 or higher than Co-Ed schools,
  • Boys’ schools having 7% less boys leaving without a qualification than Co-Ed schools.

The NCEA is effectively the New Zealand Matric exam, and a Level 2 is a good solid pass.
When the authors of the study interviewed staff of the schools that were used in the study, with a view to identifying those aspects that they believed to be important in achieving these results, the findings were again to be expected. Broadly speaking these fall into four groups:
  • The schools are student-centred, providing holistic opportunities and leadership roles for senior students. They also identified student needs early and attended to them. Academic achievement was always recognised.
  • The schools are goal-focused with high expectations of achievement. Boys are expected to set goals and work towards them.
  • Coherence from a values base. Values are threaded through the school day in the way teachers and school leaders relate to the boys.
  • Sound basis for teaching practice. With reviews, evolutionary change, professional development and making the most of teaching time.
The results confirm what we have always ‘intuitively’ felt about the difference between achievements of boys in boys’ schools relative to co-ed schools. My own view is that Bishops boys are well served by the existing academic, cultural, sport and pastoral structure which we have in place. (If you are interested you can view the full report by going to and click on the link Achievement in Boys’ schools.

Rhodes Scholarship

The Diocesan College Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee is pleased to announce that it has nominated Ashley Charlotte Pople as the candidate for the 2014/15 Rhodes Scholarship. Ashley attended St Cyprian’s School in Cape Town, from 2006-2010, obtaining seven distinctions. Ashley is currently completing her BComm Hons in Economics at UCT, having obtained her first degree with distinction at UCT in 2013, majoring in Politics and Economics.

This is an historic moment as it is the first award of the Bishops Rhodes Scholarship to a female since the scholarship was opened up to graduates from St Cyprian’s, St George’s, Herschel and the LEAP Science and Maths School. Ashley is a very worthy recipient and we congratulate her and St Cyprian’s School.

Yours sincerely

Guy Pearson




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