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FRIDAY 7 February 2020
Dear Parents


The Bishops community has high expectations. There are no free lunches, boys are not allowed to do the minimum because they will take over dad’s business one day regardless of educational achievement. Education is important to the community which is a huge advantage as children then believe in school and approach it purposefully.

Year on year we have been achieving excellent matric results; a very high rate of distinctions and very favourable placings in the Province. Our boys are accepted into universities all over the world. But for us the results are not just good because of the number of distinctions, but also because of the extent of the progress of the boys with learning and concentration difficulties. We celebrate these too: boys for whom it was a huge struggle to pass or receive a Bachelor’s (University) entrance. These are as important.

So achievement and success (relative to potential) are important. And we give our boys a chance to achieve success in so many areas: results, commendations, sport, music, prizes and so on. We acknowledge that there are winners and runners up in life and provide opportunities for them to practise and experience humility in victory and achievement and graciousness in defeat or not coming first. We want our boys to apply themselves, to better their skills, have goals and strive to do well. But, and it’s a big but, not at the expense of their emotional well-being, relationships or normal childhood development.

Across the world there are reports of an increase in cases of anxiety amongst adults and children. Reasons for this include the pace of modern life, media, work hours, more competition for the same number of places amongst others. And we are certainly seeing this in schools across South Africa; concerns about the future where fear of crime, poverty and unemployment levels add to the potential for anxiety.

In a high achieving community such as ours, we see it in boys feeling undue pressure on themselves, fear of failure, concern about making mistakes, nitpicking over one mark in a test, out-of-the ordinary competitiveness and an inability to handle disappointment. Anxious parents can easily visit their anxiety on their children; parents who are determined that their boys will do their best and achieve at the top level can place enormous pressure on their children to the extent that they become very anxious. They often do achieve but the question is, “at what price?”

One of our teachers reported last year that, after starting a test for a very capable group of boys, he received 37 questions during the first 20 minutes. All of the questions, bar 2, were unnecessary, essentially boys checking whether they were doing the right thing, so scared were they that they might not perform at the very highest level. After tests we often have boys quibbling over one mark; many boys have to know what other boys’ marks are, they compare marks and we hear that some parents are even aware of other boys’ marks.

We even have cases of parents contacting teachers three weeks before a test asking about the content so that they can assist their sons to prepare in advance. And in the guidelines about WhatsApp groups last week I said that teachers would not give out test content and homework to parents – it is the boys’ responsibility to obtain that information. In his newsletter last week, Guy Pearson asked parents not to become involved in team selection, to let the process evolve and accept that when “dropped”, the boy who replaces him is better at that stage and their son should be able to be gracious and congratulate his replacement. If necessary, the boy should chat to the coach, not the parent.

I think parents should have “high “expectations of their child – but these need to be reasonable and realistic. Parents should encourage and not pressurise. If we pressurise and are over-competitive for our boys we disempower, we don’t teach them responsibility or resilience or self-motivation. Instead we carry them in a pressure cooker, so that they have a terrible fear of failure, aren’t allowed to make mistakes and so aren’t prepared for College or real life.

Before the Grade 7 Leavers’ Dinner each boy writes a letter of appreciation to his parents which is placed on their table for their parents to read. A while back a boy wrote to his mother: “Thank you for not being a helicopter parent”. Knowing the boy and his parents, I have a good sense of what he meant: thank you for giving me space; thank you for letting me make mistakes and take responsibility for them; thank you for not rescuing me on every occasion when I was sad or unhappy; thank you for not making me work towards your goals in academics and other school activities.

Enjoy the weekend.

Kind regards


Friday 7 February 2020

Inter-house Sports Day

Venue: Lutgensvale

Time: 14h00 to 17h00

Friday 14 February 2020 Half-term

No sport this weekend

Please Take Note




Boys who have sports practices before school are expected to change into their khakis for the start of the school day. The only boys who may spend the day in sports kit are those that have their Phys Ed lessons before short break.

Sports Day

Come and support your boys and enjoy the "House Spirit". The Tuck Shop will be open. Please click HERE for the programme.
Stationery Donations
The stationery that was collected at civvies day was donated to Athwood Primary. Mrs Kieswetter, our Librarian, was accompanied by some of our boys to deliver the goods. The boys were able to visit a few Grade 6 classes and meet some learners. There was a lot of interest from both sides to learn more about each other. The Bishops boys want to go back some time in the future and spend a bit more time with the kids at Athwood. Mr Petersen, the principal, was delighted with the stationery as the school serves a really poor community. At the end of the visit Mr Peterson very kindly gave each Bishops boy a gift pack.
World Read Aloud Day
Staff read and acted out The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson to celebrate the power and joy of reading. Visit our Facebook Page for more pictures.
Fir Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700
Phone:+27 (21) 659 7222 | Fax: +27 (21) 659 7227