Johannesburg has a wide varieties of neighbourhoods and schools, and where you choose to live can have a substantial influence on where you choose to send your children to school, or vice versa. Here is an overview of the main schools in the area's expats tend to live. We also have a recorded webinar inside our members club which you can access for just $30 here. Or you can join us FREE on our next monthly Moving to South Africa webinar here.
Many expats choose to live in the more recently developed northern suburbs of Fourways, Dainfern, Lonehill and surround areas, as this is typically where many of the international schools are, so while convenient, it can be an eye-opening and life changing experience to step outside of the expat bubble and investigate other areas of Johannesburg.
So if you have school going children, take the time to research all of the different options available, as what might be a popular choice won’t necessarily be the best choice for your child.
To break it down, there are three main types of schools in Johannesburg:
If you are moving around every few years, it may help to keep curriculum consistent thus International school maybe your preferred option. However often International Schools have higher staff turnover (due to attracting expat teachers who are also moving) and their nature have a very transient community. If you are planning to be in Joburg for longer than 2/3 years you may also want to look at a local South African School where your child will be exposed to South African sporting and cultural activities, and can develop longer term friendship groups. Be aware though that many schools in South Africa are single sex, and operate on 3 term system, with holidays at different times of the year than you maybe used too.
Most importantly, it’s advisable to set up a meeting and go to the school itself to really get a feel for whether it will meet your needs. It’s also critical that you start the research process early, as spaces fill up quickly, and it may require a number of calls, visits to get your child a place.
To help you get started we have a FREE School guide outlining things to look for when visiting a school, questions to ask yourself, and the head teacher, and what to research.
Background Information on South African Education System:
Academic Year runs from January to December (its common for children to be held back a year if born November/ Dec, or put forward a year)
Holidays: Private Schools run on a 3 term system, and Government schools mainly 4 term system. All schools have a long summer holiday over December / January.
Times: 7:30am to 2:30pm with sports and other activities in the afternoon
Playgroup - 18months - 3 years
Pre School - (3 - 6yrs)
Grade 000 = 3 turning 4yrs,
Grade 00 = 4 turning 5yrs,
Grade 0 (also known as Grade R) 5 turning 6yrs.
Primary school: (6 - 13yrs)
Grade 1 is the year your child turns 7years,
Grade 7 turn 13 years.
High School: (13 - 18yrs)
Grade 8 is the year your child turns 14years
Grade 12 is the year your child turns 18years.
Grade 12 often referred to as Matric (matriculation).
You need a Matric Exemption to attend a South African university.
PLAY GROUP / PRE-SCHOOL (18months - 6years)
Most private schools offer pre-school facilities from Grade 0 (5 turning 6yrs). There are a number of Nursery/ Playgroup options in every suburb in South Africa Montessori and Reggio Emilia are very popular philosophies here in SA.
Small World Playschool and Pre School - Rosebank / Parks Area (18months - 6yrs)
French Pre School - Fourways
The Willows - Sandton Area (18months +)
BlueBird - Craighall Park (Rosebank area)
LaunchPad - Various (18months - 6 years)
Mikinder - Fourways
Primary & High School
Midrand (Waterfall and Kyalami)
Between Joburg and Pretoria, Midrand is home to many of the larger companies. It has much more affordable housing and much more space (brilliant for horse ridding!) Also near the American school.
AISJ (American School). (International School, Co-Ed, 3 - 18 yrs)
Kyalami Prep (Co Ed, Private, 3 - 6yrs)
Beaulieu (Co Ed, Private, 3 -13yrs)
Summit College (Co Ed, Private, 2 - 18yrs, Day & Boarding)
Cornwall Hill (Co Ed, Private, 3 - 18yrs, Day & Boarding)
Lots of properties to choose from, and lots of high security estates. Dainfern, Fourways Gardens, and Cedar Lakes are some of the bigger ones, which are built around golf courses, and have very international transient communities.
Dainfern College (Co Ed, Private, 5 - 18yrs, Christian)
Crawford (Co Ed, Private, 3 - 18yrs)
St Peters (Private, Co Ed for college 13 - 18yrs, Girls and Boys schools for prep and primary, 5yr - 13yrs, Anglican)
British International School (International School, Co Ed, 4- 18yrs)
Fourways High School (Government, Co Ed, 13 - 18yrs)
Heron Bridge (Private, Co Ed, 3 - 18yrs, Christian)
Lonehill is one of Joburg's newer suburbs, set just outside Bryanston and gives good access to William Nicol Drive and the N1. Lonehill is home to a nature reserve - where you can go hiking and head out for a pretty picnic, or stroll down to the small dam.
Crawford Co Ed, Private, 3 - 18yrs
Lonehill Academy - Co Ed, Cambridge Syllabus, 4 - 19yrs
Central Living, Large Properties, Lots of cluster homes to choose from. Near good South African schools, and close to buses for the American school and other International Schools. Be careful the traffic can build up and a 10 minutes journey quickly becomes 45mins / 1 hour.
St Stithians Private, Boys and Girls School on the same campus, 5 - 18yr ) Methodist
Lycee Francais Jules Verne - International, French School, 3yr - 18yr, Bryanston and Pretoria Campus, runs on European Academic Year
Michael Mount Waldorf Private, Co Ed, 4months - 18yrs
Redhill Private, Co Ed, 3yr - 18yrs
Girls: Brescia House Private, Girls, 5- 18yrs
Great for living close to work, near the main shopping mall, and Gautrain to commute out to Pretoria, or the airport.
Good selection of apartments, or cluster homes and estates.
For family sized homes close to a park and more of a village feel look at Parkmore, which is right next to Sandton, however the houses are free standing. River Club is the closest estate. Beware that the traffic in and around Sandton is very busy particularly when any of the traffic lights go down.
St David’s. - Private, Boys, 5 - 18yrs,
Hyde Park / Sandringham
Mix of exclusive cluster homes, large apartments and grand properties. Most houses have beautiful landscaped gardens, their own security guard and large properties.
walking distance to the Gautrain, nicely placed near Melrose Arch, Rosebank and Sandton. Great mix of old and new apartments along with some great cluster homes. Wanders Cricket ground is here, alongside the Wanders Sports Club which has a really active Rugby / Squash / Tennis amongst other sport communities.
Melrose Arch / Waverly
Similarly to Monte Casino (in Fourways) you will either love or hate Melrose Arch. Its home to the Premium Virgin Gym and exclusive shops and restaurants. Its one of the few places where you can actually eat outside (and not overlook a car park 😉 ). There are a number of penthouses and apartment blocks within the compound, making it an ideal and safe place to live if you are moving to Joburg as a young couple or by yourself. Certainly worth a visit and very popular with tourists who want to shop and drink outside enjoying the sunshine!
St Marys Private, Girls, 3 - 18yrs Anglican (Day and Boarding)
Future Nations Private, New Group of Schools focused on project and digital learning. 18 months - 18 years.
The Parks / Rosebank / Westcliff
Parkview, Parkhurst, Parktown North, Greenside, Craighall Park, Dunked West, Saxonwold, these area’s are mainly free standing properties, lots of large parks, restaurants, and smaller village-like communities. A large number of the streets are lined with beautiful Jacaranda tree’s so well worth visiting around October time.
All these suburbs are very close to one another, and so we have grouped the schools by type below them all.
Parkhurst has a more european feel to it, with a great strip of restaurants, and locally owned shops and antique dealers along 4th Avenue. You often see people walking their dogs, parents (or nannies) with their pushchairs, kids on their bikes, joggers all out and about - particularly at weekends.
The property sizes are smaller and quite close together, great residence association.
Linden - Lies at the foot of Northcliff Hill, a traditionally Africans area hosting the Africans government school), larger properties some with fantastic city views. Great mix of old family run restaurants alongside new trendy coffee shops and entrepreneurs.
Parkview is built around a lovely park, and similarly to Parkhurst has a wonderful strip of shops and coffee shops (go try the egg brunch at Croft and Co). Parkview is more of a family suburb, built around George Hay park, which plays host to many community events hosted by the superb primary and secondary schools in partnerships with the Parkview Residence Association.
Rosebank Very recently renovated with Standard Bank building opening up just last year bringing in hundreds of young professionals to the area. As a result lots of cool new bars, shops and restaurants are now springing up all over the place. The Keys Art Mile being one of them - fantastic place to go hang out on the First Thursday of every month. Lots of apartments and young professionals moving in to the area. Great links to town, Pretoria, and Sandton via the Gautrain.
Westcliff, is where all the old "Randlords" used to live, its one of the oldest parts of the city. With its large properties with incredible views. It is also home to two outstanding (and over subscribed) schools; The Ridge (boys) and St Catherine’s (girls). Early mornings the famous “Westcliff Steps” are full of fitness fanatics and those wanting a challenge, but the view from the top is certainly worth the effort.
Pridwin Private, Boys, 5- 13yrs
St Katharine's Prep, Private, Girls 5 - 18yrs
Kingsmead Private, Girls 5 - 18yrs Anglican
Auckland Park Prep Private, Girls 5 - 13yrs
Roedean Private, Girls 5 - 18yr Anglican
Parktown Girls School Government, Girls, 13 - 18yrs
Parkview Primary Government, 5 - 13yrs, Co Ed
Hyde Park High School Co- Ed (Government) 13 - 18yrs
Kiaros Co Ed, Steiner / Waldorf 5- 13yrs
Student area close to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and WITS (University of the Witswatersrand). Great night life, smaller properties, great diverse vibe, lots of journalists, students, and young families, fantastic local restaurants and new shops opening up all the time.
If you plan to be travelling a lot then Bedfordview is right next to OR Tambo. Has a lovely farm - Gillooly’s, where you can go for picnic by the lake, and check out the beautiful views. Eastgate shopping centre and lots of restaurants.
King David - Jewish
Remedial / Special Schools
Independent School Association South Africa - http://www.isasa.org/
Alphabetical List of Schools - http://www.saprivateschools.co.za/alphabetical.html
Brilliant blog posts all about the Education system in South Africa written by Joburg Expat an American who lived in Dainfern. http://www.joburgexpat.com/2016/05/everything-you-need-to-know-about-south.html
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