Private schools vs government schools in SA – pricing and class sizes compared

1Life Insurance has released a new report showing how South Africa’s newest private school chains compare to government schools in pricing and class sizes.

The report specifically focuses on the new place of “chain” private schools in South Africa and how they stack up against the country’s public schools.

It highlighted that public schools have traditionally offered a higher standard of education and improved facilities, but have become prohibitively expensive with the majority of high-end private schools charging more than R100,000 a year in matric.

In comparison, government schools have made strides in improving their facilities on offer – and are much cheaper (between R20,000 and R40,000 per year). They have also become vastly oversubscribed with expectations that educational standards would slip as they are forced to accommodate more students.

This has resulted in a clear gap in the market, said Lebogang Montjane, executive director of the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (Isasa).

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that the majority of new schools are being set up in the R15,000 to R35,000 per annum range, and this is where many of the new ‘chain’ schools can be found,” he said.

“These chain schools maintain that using innovative teaching approaches allows them to charge less, but maintain a good standard of education.”



Spark is currently the cheapest private school option in South Africa with a R19,100 annual charge  – cheaper than any other government school in the same area.

The school uses a blended education model, meaning it is aligned to the CAPS Curriculum (used by government in South Africa). It also works towards international standards, including Singapore maths and UK literacy levels.

Extra-murals vary from school to school, depending on what providers are willing to offer – at extra charge – on the premises.

The group has 12 schools and currently only offers up to Grade 7, but will start providing high school classes as each year of current students progresses through the system.

ADvTECH and Curro 

Other school groups that have also taken a strategic approach to providing affordable education include ADvTECH and Curro Schools.

Compared to Spark, ADvTECH and Curro offer different school “brands” for different affordability brackets.

The key differences in price range are due to smaller classes, and other add-ons in the higher-end offerings.

ADvTECH Academies are a collection of different education brands, with fees starting from R40,870 per year in Grade 1 in the lowest priced schools. ADvTECH’s premium school, Crawford College, charges R84,870 per year in the same grade.

Similarly, Curro Academies is that group’s “cost sensitive” model, which it said, ensures the lowest possible fees without compromising academic standards.

This type of school allows up to 35 children per class, with some of their schools charging R30,000 a year for Grade 1.

Curro Schools is the premium brand, and the fees for grade 1 are R69,540 a year with 29 children per class.

Read: Why private schools are an excellent investment opportunity in SA

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Private schools vs government schools in SA – pricing and class sizes compared