When it comes to education and schools in Johannesburg, expats will have plenty of choice. There are many government-run public schools of varying quality, independent private schools as well as international schools. The majority of expats send their children to private or international schools in and around the city.
The waiting lists for the best schools in Johannesburg can be long, and expats are advised to apply as far in advance as possible if they want their children to attend their school of choice.
Public schools in Johannesburg
Some government schools in Johannesburg have excellent track records. However, those supported solely by government funding are generally understaffed, and have limited resources. The better public schools are those that obtain additional funding from fee-paying parents, alumni donations and governing bodies.
Though these schools are still limited to offering the standard South African curriculum, the quality of education and facilities is higher than at regular public schools. Parents will have to pay fees at these institutions, but the prices are much lower than those of private and international schools.
Private schools in Johannesburg
There are a number of good options for private schools in Johannesburg. As they are funded privately, they have more freedom in terms of what curriculum they offer. Many private schools teach through the lens of a particular religion, such as Catholicism, or an alternative educational philosophy, like Montessori.
Many private schools have excellent academic standards as well as a wide range of extra-curricular activities, all taking place within pristine facilities. Fees at these schools can be high, though they are generally lower than international school fees.
International schools in Johannesburg
There is a handful of international schools in Johannesburg serving the expat population. These schools offer foreign curricula such as that of the UK, the US or the International Baccalaureate.
The main advantage of international schools is that they allow expat children to continue with a familiar, globally recognised curriculum. They're also an ideal place for both children and parents to make friends with other expat families. Though fees are high and waiting lists long, most parents agree that the quality of education is well worth it.
Special needs education in Johannesburg
In light of the extremely limited resources of public schooling in Johannesburg, we advise parents of children with special needs to make use of the private education sector instead.
Some mainstream private schools offer extra support while giving the child the benefit of mixing with a greater number of peers. However, not all mainstream schools are equal in this regard – some schools offer more support and are more experienced with special-needs children than others. If more specialised and individualised support is needed, there are a number of private schools catering specifically to children with special educational needs.
Tutors in Johannesburg
Tutors in South Africa are most frequently used when a child is having trouble with a particular subject, or in the run-up to major assessment periods such as the matric final exams. Expats may find tutors useful for purposes such as learning a new language, maintaining a mother tongue, and catching up to an unfamiliar curriculum.
Reputable companies include Brightsparkz Tutors and Goodie Tutors, both of which offer one-on-one in-person or online tutoring based on the needs of the client.
►Education and Schools in South Africa gives information about the national school system
►For school recommendations, see International Schools in Johannesburg
"More or less every friend I have made has been through the school my children go to. It is an international school, so we are making friends with people from all over the world. This has been brilliant for the kids – what a great way to learn about the world!" Read more about Clara's expat experience in sunny South Africa.
Are you an expat living in Johannesburg?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Johannesburg. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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