As a new permanent or temporary resident of Cape Town the educational needs of your children will depend on a host of factors from age to their first language. A broad understanding of the school system in Cape Town will help tremendously with working out your options and providing further avenues to explore.

Cape Town schools overview

There are both public and private primary and secondary schools in Cape Town (collectively known as ordinary schools). Public schools are run by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), all of which teach in english from grade 4. Reception class is grade 0.

The school year runs from mid-January to early December.

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Cape Town public schools

Cape Town is split into four school districts: Metro Central, Metro East, Metro North and Metro South. The schools within these districts include both fee charging and ‘no fee’ schools. Standards vary considerably between different schools and, while preference is given to children from within each school’s catchment area it is possible to enrol in a school in a different area.

Schooling is compulsory from Grade 1 to Grade 9 – the period known as General Education and Training (GET). Non-compulsory Grades 11 and 12 are known as Further Education and Training at the end of which students sit their ‘matrics’ – the exams which are required for tertiary education.

Most public schools have a uniform policy.

Enrollment for the following school year should be done between 1st August and 31st October. Permanent residents can apply directly to the school in which they wish to enrol whereas temporary residents will need to first obtain a study permit from the Department of Home Affairs.

Cape Town private schools

There are over 190 independent or private schools in the Western Cape province including international schools (which tend to be the most expensive).

Each independent school has its own admissions policy but, again, if your child is a temporary resident a study permit is necessary in order to enrol.

The following are all highly regarded independent schools in Cape Town.Reddam House, Greenpoint – a non-denominational co-ed which caters for pre-primary through to pre-college. Fees rise to ZAR 74,000 per annum. St Georges Grammar School, Mowbray – Anglican co-ed catering for pre-primary to Matric. Fees rise to ZAR 62,000 per annum. German School, Tamboerskloof – a bilingual German/English, non-denominational co-ed catering for Grades 1 to Matric. Fees rise to ZAR 50,000+ per annum. Herschel Girls School, Claremont – a girls only Anglican school for Grades 0 to Matric. Tuition fees rise to ZAR 69,000 per annum. SACS, Newlands – a boys only non-denominational school for Grades 0 to Matric. Fees rise to ZAR 32,000 per annum. The following are international schools in Cape Town. Fees stated for tuition only. Blouberg International School – Pre-reception to year 11. IGCSE, A- and AS-Levels. Fees up to ZAR 37,000 per annum. Chesterhouse International School – Pre-reception to Grade 12. GCSE, A- and AS-Levels. Fees up to ZAR 62,500 per annum. International School of Cape Town – Pre-reception to year 12. GCSE, A- and AS-Levels. Fees up to ZAR 74,000 per annum. American International School of Cape Town – Elementary to high-school. Fees ZAR 23,100 per annum. Hout Bay International School – Pre-primary to year 13. An International Baccalaureate school. Fees up to ZAR 71,200 per annum.