Nurturing Students

In addition to the mainstream teaching, opportunities for boys to engage and compete in a wider environment are grasped. There are National Olympiads in Mathematics, Science, English and IT; there is a local Science Expo, with winners going on to a national one; there is a Western Cape Mathematics competition held annually at UCT, and Bishops has often won the inter-schools component of that … but it is vital to nurture not only those boys who are especially talented, but also those who find academic work more difficult. While individual staff members will help with subject-specific concerns, the BSU helps with more general difficulties, and in particular with establishing which boys need extra time in examinations in order to be able to give a fair account of themselves. Several subjects run a Support Programme, which usually consists of a teacher being on duty in the afternoon to help with queries.

Boys who are battling with their studies reach out instinctively for extra help, and parents naturally think first of extra lessons. We do not believe that is necessarily the right way to go. You can see our views on extra lessons made very fully and clearly elsewhere on the Bishops web-site (Academic/Advice on Extra Lessons).

We also realise that there are some boys, usually a few in each grade, who are capable of doing so much more than the South African syllabus requires. For these boys, much of the time spent in the classroom is unproductive, since they already have the knowledge, or the skill … for them it would be much better to be doing something new than going again over what they can already do. When we identify such boys, we encourage their teachers to give them greater freedom to pursue their own interests, and we might take them out of class occasionally to assist with other activities, or to follow up on ideas they have; we do try to discourage boys from signing up for yet more exams/qualifications, because in the end that adds pressure and actually requires narrow focus rather than something a bit more exploratory and adventurous in spirit.