South African private schools that are cheaper than public schools

There is a growing demand for private schools that are providing private school quality education at a price point comparable to many government schools.

This is according to co-founder of Spark Schools, Stacey Brewer, who said that parents traditionally have had to either had to bite the bullet to pay for private schooling or take their chances in a government schooling system that’s creaking at the seams.

“We’re deliberately positioned at the lower end of the cost curve in private education, because we want to create a more inclusive education landscape and disrupt the accepted norm that private schools are only for an elite few,” said Brewer.

“Fees for 2020 will be R25,500 for primary school children and R33,000 per high school child – without receiving a cent in subsidies from government,” she said.

The cost of schooling

A January 2019 report by Old Mutual found that you can now expect to pay millions of rands for a private school education in South Africa.

“If your child starts grade R in 2019 you can expect to pay between R1,400,000 and R3,400,000, for public or private education respectively, over their school career,” said Marius Pretorius, head of marketing: retail savings and income solutions at Old Mutual Personal Finance.

This amount includes a primary school, high school and three-year university qualification, he said.

“The truth of the matter is that education is expensive. If you’ve saved any money and your child is entering a public primary or high school in 2019 you can expect to pay on average about R37,000 this year, while a private primary school and private high school will set you back R92,400 and R148,300, respectively.

“When it comes to university education, parents can expect to pay R64,200 in 2019, on average,” he said.

The competition

Spark is not the only player in this market with a number of other competitors also promising a private school education for slightly more than government school fees.

Below is an overview of the other big players in the space and how much it costs to send a child to these schools.


In July 2019 listed education group AdvTech said that it was growing its offering in the ‘mid-fee schools’ sector through its ‘Pinnacle’ brand.

Fees at these schools can vary greatly depending on the area and the grades that a student is in.


Another listed education group Pembury said that its PLG Schools aim to bridge the financial gap between government school fees and the elite Independent School fees, bringing the benefits of independent school learning to more young people.

It currently boasts more than ten schools across Gauteng, the North West and Limpopo, with facilities for students from Grade R through to matric.

Each school has vastly different fees depending on the area and the grades that a student is in.

  • Pricing at PLG Willow View Academy starts at  R28,600 for Grade R, rising to R56,560 for Grades 11-12;
  • Pricing at PLG Mellow Oaks Academy starts at R33,000 for Grade R and rises to R57,200 for Grades 8 – 12;
  • Pricing at PLG Hartbeespoort Academy starts at R28,600 for Grade RRR and rises to R59,950 for Grades 10 – 12.

Read: South Africa is introducing a new school qualification

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South African private schools that are cheaper than public schools