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Dear Parents and Guardians

This fortnight's newsletter will be brief as we are in the middle of exams for most of the College and there have been no school assemblies in which achievements have been recognized. I do, however have some news and thoughts to share.

We have been doing some research on the effective reach of the newsletters across all three campuses and it has shown that approximately half of the emails sent are opened. In order to have greater impact with regard to communication, we are looking at changing the day of the release of the newsletters to see if that produces a better response in terms of readership. So much information is shared via these newsletters and it is important that they are read as widely as possible. We intend having a brief survey early next year to see if sending the newsletter on a Monday or Tuesday will result in a greater readership or not. The downside of this would be that the week’s activities and achievements, as covered in the Friday assembly, would not reach parents at the same time as the boys but it may be worth trying.

Values Statement
The boys have been widely involved in the creation of a statement that tries to capture our school values. While we are aware that the boys from the Prep have used the acronym MITRE to describe the values of Manners, Integrity, Togetherness, Respect and Empathy, these boys represent just under half of the boys in the College and so we asked the College boys to come up with a list of values they felt should be ones we have as our unique values. These were debated in Tutor groups and given to the staff for further comment. The end result appears below and is the five top values from that exercise. It is our intention to have these values at the forefront of all we do, linking into our revised Vision Statement and tying into the various other school policies. The statement has also been ratified by Council.

Institutional values are a foundational and aspirational declaration. They are intrinsic guidelines, not dependent upon any particular situation, for making choices that shape behaviour, and that determine what may be expected from that institution. They are a uniting set of desired qualities that play a critical role in organizational culture.

Values determine just how the institution conducts its business and are deeply held ideals and priorities; their underlying assumptions influence the institution's day-to-day behaviours as well as longer-term planning.

They are simply what we believe in – as a school

  1. Courage
    The ability to be brave in the face of adversity, exhibiting not only physical courage but, more importantly, moral courage and courage of one's convictions. Having the strength to stand up against injustice not only with opponents but also with friends and peers.
  2. Humility
    Having a modest view of one's own performance. Recognising personal ability and privilege yet not being boastful, understanding that others may not be in the same position. Not thinking less of oneself but thinking of oneself less.
  3. Integrity
    The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that are lived in everyday life. Doing what is right, according to personal, family and institutional beliefs whether or not anyone is watching.
  4. Kindness
    The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Treating others well, as they would like to be treated. Having a gentle, empathetic heart and a forgiving nature that recognizes others may fail yet remaining kind and understanding.
  5. Respect
    Respect for self, for others, for the school facilities, the property of others and the environment. Lived respect allows for disagreement in an appropriate manner, recognizes the importance of good manners and how we treat each other. Respect is shown not only to those like us but also to those different from us in terms of appearance, beliefs and world outlook.

Vision Statement
I trust that parents have read the revised Vision Statement which was sent out this week. The statement was revised by a committee of Council, with very careful thought to each word and phrase and my thanks go to all involved in its creation. My thanks too go to those parents who wrote in to share their thoughts and ideas. If you have not read it as yet, it is on the school website.

Closing thoughts
I subscribe to an online newsletter, the Marshall Memo, which is a collection of educational material, curated from a wide range of articles and shared in summary, together with the original links. I often find inspiration from these articles and share them with the teaching staff or the parents and boys.

A few weeks ago, I read an article that spoke about the dangers of personalizing good or evil by associating a single person with that act of good or evil. The author, Cathryn van Kessel, said “Heroification creates larger-than-life, perfect heroes separated from their community context, while villainification shifts our perspective away from systemic (or structural) harms to the individual evil-doer. In both cases, complex and enmeshed processes between and among individuals, communities, and broader society are flattened into a focus on one person.

It is easier for us to condemn an individual rather than look at the context in which that individual operated and those who contributed to the deed of evil. Similarly, creating a hero, doesn’t give adequate credit to those who worked alongside her or him. This was fascinating to me and I encourage those interested to read the full article at “Deindividualizing Evil and Good in Social Education” by Cathryn van Kessel in Social Education, October 2022 (Vol. 86, #5, pp. 347-354).

I wish you all well for the upcoming few weeks. Our Grade 10s began their Epic this week and we wish them a safe and happy experience in the Cederberg. Our Grade 9s will also be departing shortly on their various camps and again, I wish them a safe and enjoyable time wherever they are. To all boys, may this time of examinations be both challenging and rewarding, free of anxiety and giving an opportunity to show what has been learned this past year.  

Kind regards

Antony Reeler


The Robert Gray Medal is the most prestigious and only award which the school can bestow on an OD who has made a significant and exceptional contribution in his field of endeavour, or to society in general.

It is with pleasure that the Selection Committee announce the names of the latest award winners of this prestigious medal.
Congratulations to Prof Haroon Bhorat, Dr Greg Mills and Bishop Christopher Gregorowski.

The criteria of which are as follows.

  • The recipient must be a living old boy.
  • The achievements must be of a nature that exemplify the philosophy, values and spirit of Bishops and the ODU. The characteristics of courage, compassion, a willingness to fight for truth and justice and a genuine concern for his fellow man must be present.
  • The contribution/achievements must be of such a nature that they have had a significant impact for the good of society.
  • The contribution/achievements must have been made over a sustained period (at least 10 years).
  • While the recipient’s achievements might have brought personal material gain, this must not have been the driving motivation for the endeavour.

Professor Haroon Bhorat

Haroon is a Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He obtained his PhD in Economics through Stellenbosch University, studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Cornell University research fellow. He is currently a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), established in 2019 by the President. He also served as an economic advisor to former Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and to former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.  His work has been in policy making in South Africa and centres on issues of economic growth and development.

Dr Greg Mills 

Greg is the head of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation, established in 2005 by the Oppenheimer family to strengthen African economic performance. He holds degrees from the Universities of Cape Town (BA Hons) and Lancaster (MA cum laude, and PhD), and was, first, the Director of Studies and then the National Director of the SA Institute of International Affairs from 1994-2005. He is a member of the advisory board of the Royal United Services Institute; and author of many books. He is currently working on a comparative study understanding why some countries succeed where others fail. He was appointed to the Advisory Panel of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 2022.

Bishop Christopher Gregorowski 

Bishop Christopher matriculated from Bishops in 1956, and after a brief engagement with the secular world, was ordained a priest and subsequently a Bishop in the Anglican Church of South Africa. His active protest and action against apartheid began in 1958, to work for freedom, justice, and the alleviation of poverty. A major development in Christopher's spiritual life took place three years into his ministry when motivated by a desire to minister among African people, he learned isiXhosa, and engaged in ways to build bridges of understanding.  He was for a time the Rector of St Thomas’, Rondebosch.

Full citations will be available with the award.


The History boys get to experience the incredible expertise of Dr Kathy Wheeler, Museum Curator while Dr Paul Murray is in Cambridge. To read more about it click here.

One of the favourite things on the ODU Calendar is the Sophy Gray Awards that showcases the amazing art produced by the Bishops matric boys.  To read more and see who the winners are, please click here.

The ODU Committee members welcomed the 2022 cohort of matrics to the ODU.  We are excited to be involved in many of the special moments of the matrics.  David Carter, President of the ODU shared his experience of final assembly, valedictory and prize giving in This Article.

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