Choosing the Right School for your Children in South Africa
When it comes to choosing a school for your child, it can sometimes seem like a major task. If you know what you should be looking for, it will make the job a lot easier.
Even though basic education is available to all South Africans, the more that you are willing to spend on school fees does have an impact on the level of education your children will receive.
What you should know
There are three types of schools in SA: private schools, government schools and what used to be known as model C schools. Model C schools are government schools that are partly funded by the parents. The fees for private schools are the highest, then model C school and lastly are government schools.
A private school will set you back anywhere from R2 500 to R2 900 per month and a government school will only cost you around R500 per month – a BIG difference! Roughly 60% of all the government schools in South Africa are regarded as no-fee schools. This means that they are free to any family who cannot afford to pay the fees.
If the school fees are more than 10% of the parents’ income, they will not need to pay any fees at all. If the fees are between 2.5% and 10% of their income then they will qualify for a partial exemption.
When you have figured out what amount of money it is that you can afford to pay, go to the school and talk to the teachers – this will help you make a final decision. You should make sure that you check to see what facilities, services and programs they have to offer, and decide whether or not these will meet the needs of your child. You need to try and choose a school that offers the types of things that your child is interested in.
What is the first step to take?
Schools generally only accept children who live within a certain distance from the school, so it is advisable that you start locally first. Start with the closest school and then work your way further away from your home to find a school that you are all happy with.
There are some schools that do not have libraries and some that do not have water on the premises, which is one of the reasons that you need to keep your eye out for a few things when looking for a school for your children
- A few things to find out from the schools you visit
- Are there any laboratories?
- Doe they offer musical programmes at all?
- What sports do they offer?
- Do they help to get your kids ready for college or not?
- Do they big or small classes?
- What is the pass rate for matric students (grade 12)? Private schools tend to have higher pass rates
- What are their views on bullying?
By Robbie Ragless