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Choosing a school is a very important decision; to make it easier, we have listed some things which you might want to consider. We have also included some resources to give you more information

Your child's age will determine what kind of school he goes to; creche, kindergarten, primary school or high school - see The Schooling System for more information about this.

Public or private school? This depends on the type of school leaving certificate you would like your child to attain. Most public schools offer the state NSC but some do have the IEB NSC. Private schools almost all offer the IEB NSC and this is generally considered, nationally and internationally to be the higher qualification.

How long will your child go to school in South Africa? - if your child will be only partly schooled in South Africa and later attend school in a country with a better recognised schooling system, it may be easier if your child has attended a private school while in South Africa.

Your child may also want to do a university course not offered in South Africa or attend a tertiary institution which does not accept the state NSC.

Bear in mind that not all South African universities are internationally recognised and some of these may lose this recognition in future. This might mean that your child has to attend an overseas university (you can view the global ranking of SA Universities here. To find out if a certain degree or course would be accepted outside of South Africa, you would need to contact the qualifications certification authority in that country).

Cost Private schools are significantly more expensive than public schools. Here is a rough indication of the amounts:

Public schools which perform well are generally more expensive; starting at around R20 000 for the first year of schooling and reaching upwards of R 45 000 for the final year.

Private schools range in costs but kindergarten starts at around R40 000. The fees tend to increase as the children progress, so Grade 12 fees range from R65 000 to over R100 000 depending on the school.

Schools are generally very up-front about their fees and you can normally download them from the school's website. Tuition fees may well not be the only cost; ask about extra costs such as: Exam fees, Development levies, Consumable and Extra-mural costs and any other costs to make sure that you have all the relevant figures.

The rate of achievement of previous scholars at a particular school is also an important factor; many schools post these results on their websites.

Also consider the culture and ethos of the school; some schools focus solely on academics, some encourage more participation in sports and others value a more holistic approach. Some schools develop an elitism while others do not. Look at school websites and Facebook pages and chat to other parents to find out more about the school.

Other factors to consider are:
  • The ratio of children to teacher in the classroom
  • Which languages are taught to Grade 12
  • Co-education or single sex schooling
  • The school's location
  • Aftercare possibilities
  • School transport
  • Boarding school or Day school

You may well have other requirements not on this list which you should also consider carefully.

Choose several schools and apply to all of them as soon as possible - education is at a premium in Johannesburg so it is not always easy to get in to a specific school. Most schools require a deposit when you apply but this is usually not exhorbitant.

Here are some resources to help you find the right school:

Department of Basic Education, NSC Schools Performance Report 2014
Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa School Finder
The Pre and Primary School Guide
SA Schools
Jozikids Schools
Private Schools.co.za
School Guide

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