The Diocesan College (commonly known as Bishops) is a private, English medium, boarding and day high school for boys situated in the suburb of Rondebosch in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The school was established on 2 October 1849 by the Anglican Bishop of Cape Town.

Diocesan College (Bishops)
Bishop Diocesan College school crest
Camp Ground Road, Rondebosch


School typeAll-boys private school
MottoPro Fide Et Patria
"For Faith and Fatherland"
Religious affiliation(s)Christianity
Established2 October 1849; 174 years ago (1849-10-02)
FounderThe Rt Revd Robert Gray, Bishop of Cape Town
Sister schoolSt. Cyprian's School, Cape Town
HeadmasterMr Antony Reeler
Exam board NSC and Cambridge AS/A Levels (recently introduced)
ChaplainFather Monwabisi Peter
Number of students800 boys
Schedule08:00 - 15:00
CampusUrban Campus
Campus typeSuburban
Colour(s)  Blue
Nickname Bishops
NewspaperMy Bishops Life
School feesR331,000 (boarding & tuiton)
Feeder schools
  • Bishops Preparatory School
  • Western Province Preparatory School
AlumniOD Union (

History edit

The college was founded by Robert Gray, the first Anglican bishop of Cape Town.[1] Robert Gray along with his wife Sophy Gray, founded a number of other schools including the sister school, St. Cyprian's School, Cape Town.

The school's scholarship system was proposed by Lewis Michell, a South African banker, who wanted to represent the British culture in the country and create Anglican church schools based on the English public school system. The school's staff were British and came from an Oxbridge background.[2] In 1901, in ill health, Cecil Rhodes was persuaded to establish a scholarship system at the school, where successful graduates could progress to Oxford or Cambridge.[3]

More than 800 old boys from the Diocesan College served in battle during World War I, with 112 killed in action. The school has a roll of honour commemorating those who took service.[4]

Structure edit

The Woodlands Pavilion, Bishops Museum & Archives, and the Mitre (OD Union Headquarters) viewed from School House facing towards UCT and Table Mountain.

The institution consists of three schools: the college for grades 8–12; the preparatory school for grades 3–7, and the pre-preparatory school for grades N-2. The college is on Campground Road at the main campus, and a small portion of this land is used for the pre-preparatory school. The Preparatory School is situated in Fir Road, Rondebosch close to the college campus.

The college has eight houses: Founders, School and White are the boarding houses, and Birt, Gray, Kidd, Mallett and Ogilvie are for day-scholars. Each house has about 70 to 100 students, and is governed by a house director and an assistant director. The houses are further broken down into tutor groups of about 15 to 20 boys (three or four boys per grade). Each house is equipped with a common room, kitchen, study room, matric room, quad, dining hall, and offices for the head of house and house directors. The preparatory school has four houses: Van der Bijl (for boarders and day-boys), Bramley, Brooke and Charlton.[5] The institution also has the Old Diocesan Union which has over 5,000 active members in 28 branches around the world.[6]

Bishops is renowned as one of the top schools in the country for its academics.[according to whom?] It has consistently ranked within the top 10 schools in the country for Matric,[7] and as one of the top schools in the Western Cape. It is one of four schools in the world to offer an annual Rhodes Scholarship to an ex-pupil to attend the University of Oxford, having been part of the initial Rhodes Scholarship experiment. The school now shares the scholarship with ex-pupils of Herschel School, St. Cyprian's School, and LEAP Schools.[8]

The original HA Molteno Library (which was initially funded by Harry Anderson Molteno as part of the 125th anniversary of Bishops) was designed by Maciek Miszewski and opened in 1977, before which the library had been housed in the Brooke Chapel. It was renovated in 2013.[9]

In 2018, a new trans-disciplinary curriculum was introduced for Grade 9 students called Big Ideas, focusing on sustainability and promoting critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The curriculum was based on the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a way for students to learn about global issues, and culminated in a project undertaken by all students that tackled an aspect of a global issue.[10]

The school enters boys annually into a number of competitions such as the UCT Mathematics Competition and the South African Mathematics Olympiad, and students can qualify for the provincial or national Mathematics teams. The school also participates in the Eskom Science Expo, with students progressing to fairs such as ISEF. Senior boys write the National Science Olympiads, and have achieved top 10 results in the country.[11]

Culture edit

Music is regularly featured in the school's curriculum. This includes daily chapel services and an annual Eisteddfod, which are designed to stimulate a musical interest in everyone.[12] The John Peake Music School underwent extensive renovations during 2002. It now houses two well-equipped teaching classrooms, five offices for the full-time staff, nine instrumental teaching rooms, a dedicated percussion studio, a staff room, two dedicated practice rooms, the Hyslop Concert Hall, a recording studio, a SoundHouse for music technology and two store rooms.[13]

Sport edit

The sports that are offered in the school are:

Controversies edit

In March 2000, five matric boarders were expelled having been found guilty of beating about twenty Grade 9 and Grade 10 students in a hazing 'raid'. Fourteen months prior two boys were also victims of hazing. The school has publicly committed to eradicating the culture of bullying at the school.[14]

A pupil at the school died in June 2012 after catching viral meningitis.[15]

In 2014, a teacher, Leonard Kaplan, who was accused of inappropriate conduct toward students. He was ultimately asked to resign from the school.[16][17] One report in the media stated "similar allegations had been made against Kaplan 19 years earlier but he had been allowed to stay on at the school".[18]

In 2019, history teacher and water polo coach Fiona Viotti immediately resigned after her alleged sexual relationship with a matric pupil was exposed.[19] Details later emerged that Viotti slept with 5 boys between 17 and 18 years old with the first incident dating back to 2015, but the investigation by the South African Council for Educators (SACE) was dropped in 2020 after the SACE spokesperson reported that none of the parents of these boys would allow them to speak to the SACE.[20]

Notable alumni edit

Notes and references edit

  1. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2014). Faiths Across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History [4 Volumes]: 5,000 Years of Religious History. ABC-CLIO. p. 1475. ISBN 978-1-610-69026-3.
  2. ^ Kenny, Anthony (2001). The History of the Rhodes Trust, 1902-1999. Oxford University Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-199-20191-4.
  3. ^ The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power. Oxford University Press. 1988. p. 668. ISBN 978-0-199-87920-5.
  4. ^ Buckner, Phillip; Francis, R. Douglas (2005). Rediscovering the British World. University of Calgary Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-1-552-38179-3.
  5. ^ "House System at Bishops".
  6. ^ "OD Union Homepage".
  7. ^ "Here are the top 11 performing schools in SA for Matric 2017 results". The South African. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Rhodes Scholarship Update".
  9. ^ "Bishops Molteno Library".
  10. ^ "Bishops College offers to future fit education to learners".
  11. ^ "Nurturing Students".
  12. ^ "Music at Bishops".
  13. ^ "John Peake Music School".
  14. ^ Murray Williams (24 March 2000). "Boys expelled from Bishops for bullying". IOL News. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Bishops boy dies of viral meningitis". South African Independent. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Bishops in sex abuse cover up". News24. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  17. ^ Jordan, Bobby (26 May 2014). "Sex-abuse cover-up at top SA school". Times LIVE. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  18. ^ Jordan, Bobby (3 August 2014). "Police launch probe into Bishops sex claims". Times LIVE. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Ex-Bishops teacher Fiona Viotti was victim of sexual misconduct incident". Archived from the original on 20 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Case against Bishops ex-teacher Fiona Viotti closed due to lack of evidence". Archived from the original on 14 December 2020.

External links edit

33°57′50″S 18°28′53″E / 33.96389°S 18.48139°E / -33.96389; 18.48139