Why Bishops is a WCED school and not IEB?


  • Bishops is a Cape Town school, and our links with other WCED schools, and with the Department itself, are strong, profitable and nurtured.
  • WCED runs several training days and has very good communication with schools via their Subject Advisors, and Bishops is fully a part of all those processes (in some cases in a guiding role).
  • WCED has no history of administrative hiccoughs in the running of their Matric exams.
  • The standard of the exams in WCED remains good.
  • WCED are very active in providing training and ongoing support of all kinds for teachers in the area.
  • CASS requirements involve many local moderation meetings which our staff are obliged to attend.
  • Many of our staff mark for WCED and thus gain insights into those processes that directly and positively influence the preparation of our students
  • Our experience is that the proportion of our students who go on to UCT and complete their studies without failure or drop-out is just as good as the average reported by IEB


  • The exams that IEB set are based on the same syllabus as the national exams
  • In our area there are very few IEB schools with whom we would develop useful synergies and exchange of ideas
  • The cost per candidate of writing IEB Matric exams is of the order of R 4 000.


  • All Gr 9 learners in the country, whether writing provincial or IEB matric, fulfil CASS requirements, and this is administered within provinces, so in our case by the Western Cape Education Department.
  • Universities are on record as saying that a symbol gained in an IEB exam counts for exactly the same as the same symbol from any other Board, and this is confirmed by the country’s qualifications monitoring body Umalusi.

All that said, it should be clear that we gain real advantages, both educationally and administratively, from our link to WCED, and little to be gained (at significant cost to parents) by allying with IEB. Add to that our school’s determination to be a South African school in a South African context, part of which means showing solidarity with the exciting and overdue changes that are happening in the state-driven educational system in this country, despite some of the uncertainties that attend that.

In some subjects there is a feeling that the style of the IEB examination (and we have to admit that final examinations influence teaching styles and pedagogy whether we like it or not) is ‘better’ – but these subjects are in the minority.

This analysis is reviewed constantly, and not just after examinations.

The AP Maths exam is available only through IEB, and not from the national Department, and so of course we link with IEB on that issue.

M S Bizony
March 2016