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Mentorship System

Mentorship System

Oakhill makes use of a system of mentors at the College level. While many schools use the term ‘tutor’ to refer to the pastoral role of teachers, we believe that the term ‘mentor’ more accurately describes the holistic role of individual members of staff and the responsibilities they have towards the students in their care. All students from Grade 9 to 12 are given the opportunity to select their mentor, while Grade 8 students are assigned to one of four specialist grade mentors, who have the necessary skills and experience to best assist grade 8 students as they transition from Prep School to College.

Grade 8 students are assigned to one of four specific mentors for the duration of their Grade 8 year. They have the option to choose a new mentor for Grade 9 and will have the opportunity of staying with their newly assigned mentor or choosing a different mentor at the end of each academic year.

Students meet for ten minutes in their mentor groups at the start of each day, and for 20 minutes every second Friday. These early-morning meetings facilitate an absentee check and allow for the mentor to relay any important information from the morning memo to the students. It is also an opportunity to briefly connect on a different level with students and to possibly pick up on any concerns or problems. Mentors are also encouraged to arrange mentor outings with their groups every once in a while.

Because students are given the opportunity to choose their mentors, mentor groups are not evenly sized. They range in size from about six to 14 students and are comprised of students from all grades. The Grade 8 mentor groups are more evenly sized and are mostly made up of Grade 8 students.

Individual mentors will ideally stay with mentees from Grade 9 to 12, moving into each new grade with them. These mentors will report to a grade mentor on each of their mentees and will talk to his/her mentees during web of care meetings. Mentor groups are the nuclear families within the College mentor system. Mentors are therefore responsible for the total well-being of the students in their care.

Grade mentors are in charge of their respective grades, essentially becoming grade experts. While the individual mentors shift to the next grade with their mentees, each Grade mentor remains in charge of his/her grade. They plan and oversee all grade-related activities, such as camps, etc. They report back to the Director of Mentorship during regular mentorship meetings. Grade mentors have an added disciplinary responsibility that individual mentors do not have, and are responsible for managing detention and other forms of disciplinary action.

Web of Care meetings are timetabled for every Friday, where academic staff members are asked to put forward names of students whom they feel need to be discussed from a mentoring perspective. The ultimate aim of these discussions is to create manageable and appropriate action plans and systems of care for students who were raised. The relevant Grade mentor and individual mentor manages and executes the action plans as decided upon at these meetings.

Individual and Grade mentors are the first port of call if parents and students have any concerns, even if the concern is related to academics or sport. The matter will then be relayed to either the Heads of the FET or GET Phases, the Academic Director, or the Director of Sport, depending on the nature of the particular concern. Parents are therefore urged to always “cc” the relevant Grade Mentor when an individual mentor is emailed, and vice versa.

There are opportunities during the academic year for parents to meet the Grade mentors and individual mentors.

The following members of staff are the Grade mentors for 2021:

  • Grade 8 Mentor – Sonja Victor
  • Grade 9 Mentor – Kate Buchanan
  • Grade 10 Mentor – Kevin Kruger
  • Grade 11 Mentor – Anel Swanepoel
  • Grade 12 Mentor – Melanie Cloete

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