What types of schools do most expats in your city choose for their children?
The South African Schools Act (1996) established a national school system and recognized two categories of schools: public and independent schools. Public schools are state controlled and independent schools are privately governed. Since 1994, there has been a significant increase in independent schools; there are more than 1500 registered with the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa.
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What are some examples of these schools?
The schooling system in South Africa is divided into primary, secondary and tertiary studies. Officially, primary school covers grades one through seven, but can include grade 0 (kindergarten) at the discretion of the school. Application can be made through the local provincial education department for the child to start at an earlier age than usual if the parents feel their child is ready for school.

An excellent local primary school is the Primary School Dirkie Uyes, located on the Bluff. It features sports fields and facilities, a computer center and an afterschool care center.

Secondary school (high school) covers grades eight through twelve. The certificate of completion is called the Matric and is awarded on two levels: standard and higher. Upon finishing secondary school, students have the option of either going on to college or university or entering the workforce immediately. University acceptance is based upon a “Matric exemption,” which signifies that a student has achieved a minimum standard. Popular local secondary schools include Kingsway High School and Hilton College (boys only).
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Is there a lot of competition for spots in local schools?
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Are pre-schools also widely available (for children approx. 2 to 5 years old)?
Yes; one that is particularly popular is Moyeni Pre-Primary, located in Athlone Park.
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How are most kids transported to and from school?
The majority of children will be driven by their parents or use the school bus service.
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When does the typical school year start and end?
The school year begins in January. Public schools have four terms and the independent schools have either three or four terms.
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Is there anything else I should know about local schools?
The public schools in South Africa all follow a uniform, governmentally-prescribed curriculum, while the independent schools adhere to a wide variety of educational philosophies.

When students say they have their matric, it means they have passed grade 12. Matric is the word used more often than not for the term grade 12, which is the final year at high school. University acceptance is largely based upon the matric.
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