An important factor to think through when choosing a school here in South Africa is to think about whats next for your children. We have interviewed a few families who have transitioned out of the system to give us their reflections back on the choices they made.
Katrin Barass is mother to 3 girls, who left the UK when the girls were 6yrs, 4yrs and 2yrs. Last year they left for Dubai after 4 years here in SA.
Katrins girls all went to Kingsmead Girls School in Rosebank.
Why did you choose to send your children to a local / international school ?
We chose the school because it was the closest to what we left behind. Simple things like uniforms, emphasis on manners and an ethos that we felt would benefit our girls. We chose this over an international school where the turnover of pupils
And staff would be higher.
I would definitely make the same decision again. Kingsmead was a great building block for our girls
How has the transition been taking them into a different system.
For the older two who I actually was worried about, the transition was easy. They filled gaps by reading during the holiday. My youngest has had to have intensive learning support ( 3 lessons a week) to catch up on reading, writing and maths. This has been a year now. I would therefore watch out as to when you transition. So perhaps have the few critical years covered and then move back into the British System. Also choose a school that will provide support within school hours. After school my youngest is not interested or willing to sit at a desk.
Having now left Johannesburg, would you make the same decisions again?
Yes, I would make the same decisions again.
My advice would be:
If you are leaving the SA system, I would transition after 8 years old, (rather than earlier) as the basics will then have been covered.
If you are moving systems Choose a school that understands this transition. A lot of schools in Dubai said they could not help my youngest and would only take her if she was up to her age group level. As a result I didn’t choose what I considered the best school but one that could meet my families needs. I chose keeping my kids together over academic performance.
Be opened minded, I thought my shy oldest would hate moving to a big school. They moved to a school with over 1,500 students. I was amazed when she told me she actually prefers it as there are no groups of popular and unpopular kids. You think small and intimate is the way forward and that your kid will get extra attention but actually sometimes it can make them feel left out by their peers. My concern over it being a big school was blown out of the water.