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 8 mentors, who have the necessary skills and experience to best assist grade 8 students as they transition from the Prep to the College.

How does it work?

Choosing a mentor:

As mentioned, grade 8 students are assigned to one of four specific mentors for the duration of their grade 8 year. They 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.

When do students see their mentor?

Students meet for ten minutes in their mentor groups at the start of each day, and for 20 minutes every second Friday. The early-morning meetings are to facilitate an absentee check and 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.

How many students are typically in a mentor group?

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.

The role of the individual mentor:

Individual mentors will ideally stay with mentees from grade 9 to 12, moving into each new grade with them. Mentors will report to the 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:

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.

The Director of Mentorship:

The Director of Mentorship oversees the effective functioning of the mentor system, organises Web of Care meetings and ensures the Grade Mentors have regular contact with the individual mentors within their grade of responsibility. This person also organises and chairs the Mentorship meetings with Grade Mentors.

Web of Care:

These meetings are timetabled for every Friday, which means that all members of staff are in theory available to attend these discussions. Academic staff members are asked in advance 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 that were raised. The relevant Grade Mentor and individual mentor manages and executes the action plans as decided upon at these meetings.

Who to Contact

Parents and students should always contact the Grade Mentor and individual mentor first, even if the concern is related to academics or sport. The matter will then be relayed to either the Academic Director, the Director of Sport, or the Director of Mentorship, 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 to meet the Grade Mentors and individual mentors. The following members of staff are officially Grade Mentors for 2019:

Sonja Victor Anel-Swanepoel Juliet-le-Fleur Melanie-Cloete-EnglishHOD

Grade 8

Mrs Sonja Victor


Grade 9

Anel Swanepoel


Grade 10

Dr Herman Kitshoff


Grade 11

Mrs Juliet Le Fleur


Grade 12

Mrs Melanie Cloete