Choosing the right high school
Most schools are pretty quick to mention their matric pass rates, this is understandable as this is what the media loves, but far more import is the bachelors pass rate. A bachelors pass is more or less what matric with exemption was in the past – essentially it allows these students to apply for tertiary studies at Universities.
The image below shows the bachelors pass rates for all Western Cape schools and plots them according to fees charged. For more information read our blog.
Individual Interests and Needs
Having identified the best schools in your area that you can afford, the final school choice decision depends on your individual child.
You might want to consider the culture of the school – do they offer sport, music, cultural activities? Do they compete academically in competitions like the Eskom Science Fair? What does your child love to do? Does the school offer this? Is it a big and vibrant school or a small and quiet school? What temperament does your child have?
It is worth saying that you need to consider the home language of the school and the dominant racial culture at the school. Will you child be comfortable there and able to make friends? You also need to consider what subjects are on offer for matric and whether they will open the right doors for your child’s further study or employment.
You don’t need to wait for a problem to emerge to find out what support the school can offer academically or emotionally. Do they offer extra classes after school? Do they have a school counselor?
Visit school open days, held in February to March each year
Be sure that you pick up application forms and submit them before the due date, which generally will be three to four school terms BEFORE you start high school (that is, in the first term of Grade 7). Visit the open days so that you can get a feel for the school. If they don’t have an open day, make a point to visit. Talk to the students and ask them about their experience of the school. Try to meet other parents to find out about uniform and text book costs and any second hand shops the school might organise.
Understand your financial commitments in full
What are the school fees? What additional fees will you have to pay for application, textbooks, outings, camps, uniforms, etc? Does the school offer any bursaries or scholarships? If you want your child to attend a school that you cannot afford, click here for fee subsidy/exemption information and a list of Cape Town’s scholarship providers