Schools for your children
Schooling In South Africa
When moving to South Africa, you have a wide range of schooling options, from state-funded schools to private and international ones. We hope that this overview of the education system in South Africa will help you to make an informed decision on which school to enroll your child into.
It is compulsory for children from the age of seven (grade 1) to the age of 15 (grade 9), to attend school. In total, the education system runs all the way from grade RR (otherwise known as pre-school) to grade 12. Kindergarten is known as 'grade RR' in South Africa, and primary schools are generally divided into junior preparatory schools (grades 0-3) and senior preparatory schools (grades 4-7) before children attend high school (otherwise known as college) from grades 8-12. Many senior preparatory schools act as feeder schools for high schools/colleges.
- The above mentioned schools can accommodate Grade 1 to Grade 12: (see attached list of Primary and High School) here.
Please see the list of Pre-schools here.
Aside from international schools, there are three main types of schools in South Africa – public government-funded schools, governing body-funded schools and private schools. Most parents in South Africa need to pay for their child's schooling.
Local vs International Schools
Many international schools have good reputations and are a popular, but expensive choice. As with state schools, private and international schools in South Africa should be accredited by the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education Training (Umlazi).
Most international schools teach lessons in English, with the exception of German and French schools, which teach bilingually. Many schools teach traditional foreign languages as an option and, depending on their location, more niche languages such as Zulu and Afrikaans.
South African schools follow a January – November school year, with state schools adopting a four-term system and most private schools having three terms. International schools usually follow an August to June school year, which is different from most local and private South African schools, where school years run from mid-January to early December.
At state schools, holidays usually last for two to three weeks between each term and four or five weeks in December when the school year ends. At private schools, it works slightly differently, with holidays usually lasting a month between each term and around five weeks at the end of the academic year.
Popular international schools in South Africa include:
Spouse Group (Spice Group)
SU International initiated an organization specifically for the spouses of international students, staff, postdoctoral fellows and visiting academics, called the Spice Group. The Spice Group meets every Tuesday for excursions and other activities on campus. This is a great way to meet others that also recently moved to Stellenbosch and can definitely help in settling into the town and the South Africa culture. The group is run by volunteers and serves as a starting point to help you find your feet. They can also provide other general support that you might need.