It is never easy when moving children from their current school. Moving them to a new school in another country is all the more challenging. That’s why finding the right school in Cape Town often tops the list of requirements for the prospective immigrant or homecomer.
Our School Search in Cape Town is an integral part of our relocation services, as we know the importance of the right school for your child.
We have helped hundreds of families settle into Cape Town already.
School Search Cape Town FAQ’s
At what age do children start school?
Children need to be 5 years old and turning 6 by the 30th of June in order to start Grade 1 in South Africa. If you feel that your child is not ready for Grade 1, the first year of school, you can wait for the next year before enrolling your child. Many schools do a readiness test to see if your child is ready to start school.
What age does the equivalent of high school / secondary school start?
Most children in schools in South Africa will start high school at the age or 12 or 13, depending on what age they started Grade 1.
What are the school terms?
The schools in South Africa have four terms. The first term is from January – April, the second term is from April – June, the third term is from July – September and the last term is from October – December.
When does the school term start?
The school terms in South Africa start between the 14th and 21st January, depending which province the school is situated in.
When are the summer holidays?
The South African schools have their summer holidays over the Christmas season, from December to January.
Should I just look at private schools?
No, you don’t have to only look at private schools when considering a school for your children. There are some government schools in Cape Town that have an excellent standard of education and above-average sports facilities.
Do my children need study permits?
Children that are not South African citizenship holders or permanent residency holders will require a study permit in order to attend any type of school. Schools are prohibited from allowing children to start until an appropriate study permit is in place.
What is matriculation?
Matriculation is the name for the final exams that the children will write in Grade 12, their last year of schooling. In order to enter into university, you would need to have a ‘matric certificate’ and have completed these exams to the standard required by the universities.
Are there waiting lists for the schools?
All schools in South Africa work differently. The private schools that are regarded as the best schooling available in South Africa, usually have a waiting list and sometimes only accept children if their parents or siblings attended the school. However, when it comes to government schools, it works on the area you live in and if you fall into their catchment areas.
What do I need to bring with me when applying for a place in a school for my children?
The documents that you will need to bring with you when applying for a school is:
- Your child’s birth certificate
- Your child’s immunisation certificate/card (injection history).
- Your child’s last school report and a transfer card, only if your child was enrolled in another school.
- Some private schools will want your child do an entrance exam.
Are there foreign language schools?
Yes, there are many international schools in and around South Africa that cater for other nationalities and languages.
When is it best to view the schools?
There is no best time to view schools in South Africa. Schools are willing to set up appointments for viewing at any time of the year, but the appointments would need to be in school hours and not during the school holidays.
Is there entrance exams?
Most of the private schools will make your children write an entrance exam. Some of the other schools in South Africa will only conduct entrance exams to assess the child in order to see if they are ready for the grade that you are applying for.
Does the school need to meet the children?
Most schools in South Africa will want to meet the children and the parents.
Can children enroll partway through a year?
It is not ideal to start school in the middle of the year, but many schools will allow you to enroll partway through the year. What the school may do is ask you to wait for the beginning of a new term rather than enrolling in the middle of the term.
Are pass rates or school ratings available?
Yes, each individual school will be able to provide you with the pass rate statistics for their school.
Does it matter where I live?
If you are looking to enroll your children in a government school in South Africa, it definitely matters where you live. If you do not fall into the catchment area of the school you will not be able to send your child to that school.
With private schools it doesn’t matter where you live, however it is more convenient to be closer to the school for traffic and time reasons.
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