Best private schools in South Africa and their cost

Gert Svaiko

Are you moving to South Africa from the UK and are on the lookout for the best private schools for your kids? With literally thousands to choose from, it’s not always easy to make a choice between so many options!

Our post covers the best private schools, the cost of private schools in South Africa and an overview of each school as well as information on how to apply.

And, if you need to sort out your money in both British pounds (GBP) and South African rands (ZAR) when moving, the money services provider Wise can help. With the Wise account, you can send, hold, convert and spend in over 40+ currencies with low, transparent fees and the mid-market exchange rate.

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Table of contents

11 best private schools in South Africa

Here’s the list of 11 private schools with the best 2023 matric results. Because of the large number of private schools in South Africa, for this list we considered only the well-known schools with a yearly fee of over R130,000 (around £5.400).¹

It’s also good to know that there’s a discount on the tuition fees if you pay in full by a certain date or have more than one child attending the school. On the other hand, there are other fees you may need to cover. Depending on the school there can be extra fees for extracurricular or remedial classes, lunch, uniforms and so on.

SchoolAverage distinctions¹Fees for college / high school (grades 8-12)TypeLocation
St John’s College4.13R352,616² or around £14,700 (Tuition and termly boarding)All-boysJohannesburg, Gauteng
SAHETI4.00R148,252.25 – R169,458³ (around £6,190 - £7,080)Co-educationalJohannesburg, Gauteng
Redhill School4.00R161,500 – R187,200⁴ (around £6,750 - £7,820)Co-educationalJohannesburg, Gauteng
Roedean School3.80R341,456 – R360,087⁵ or around £14,270 - £5,050 (Tuition and termly boarding)All-girlsJohannesburg, Gauteng
Kingsmead College3.80R153,930 – R181,440⁶ (around £6,430 - £7,580)All-girlsJohannesburg, Gauteng
Crawford College Sandton3.70R153,500 – R178,000⁷ (around £6,410, - £7,440)Co-educationalJohannesburg, Gauteng
St Andrew’s Senderwood3.70R305,945 – R320,680⁸ or around £12,790 - £13,400 (Tuition and boarding)All-girlsJohannesburg, Gauteng
St Mary’s Waverley3.70R319,930 – R335,470⁹ or around £13,370 - £14,020 (Tuition and termly boarding)All-girlsJohannesburg, Gauteng
Durban Girls’ College3.60R267,400 – R274,200¹⁰ or around £11,180 - £11,460 (Tuition and weekly boarding)All-girlsDurban, KwaZulu-Natal
Herzlia High School3.50R129,528 – R161,004¹¹ (around £5,410 - £6,730)Co-educationalCape Town, Western Cape
King David Linksfield3.36R178,776 – R188,160¹² (around £7,470 - £7,870)Co-educationalJohannesburg, Gauteng
📚 Read more: How to open a bank account in South Africa?

St John’s College

At the top of the list with an average distinction of 4.13, is St John’s College that is based in Houghton, Johannesburg. This Christian, African school was founded in 1898. The school accepts boys from Grade 0 to Grade 12 into the Pre-Preparatory, Preparatory and the College.
Both boys and girls are accepted in The Bridge Nursery School and Sixth Form.

St John’s College follows the traditions of the Anglican church, but also celebrates the traditions of other faith communities. To balance the academic demands, St John’s has a diverse and rich extracurricular cultural and sporting programme.¹³


SAHETI School was set up by a group of founders under the leadership of advocate George Bizos in 1974. The school is welcoming to all students of diverse backgrounds. Known for its contemporary teaching methods, academic excellence and rich cultural life, SAHETI ranks among the top independent schools in South Africa. Around 1300 boys and girls study in the school’s Playschool, Pre-Primary School, Primary School and High School.

The school’s campus has been professionally recognised for its wonderful design and has received awards from the Institute of South African Architects. The expansive grounds area has space for impressive sports facilities for a wide variety of activities.

SAHETI School is situated in Senderwood, Bedfordview, on the eastern outskirts of Johannesburg.¹⁴


Redhill School

With over 115 years of history, this secular co-educational school is one of the strongest in the country. Redhill focuses on developing their students' creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The school aims to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all students to reflect the many-faceted culture of South Africa itself. Redhill offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, from sports to culture.

Redhill is the only school in South Africa that offers students the possibility of graduating with either an IEB or International Baccalaureate (IB) qualification.

Redhill School is located in Morningside, Sandton, in the city of Johannesburg.¹⁵

Roedean School

Roedean in South Africa was founded in 1903 as a sister school to the esteemed Roedean in Brighton, England. This prominent all-girls’ boarding and day school has over 750 pupils from Grade 0 to Matric. Students can enrol in Junior and Senior school (grades 0–12).

With progressive teaching methods, innovative curriculum and leadership programs, the Roedean school’s mission is to arm young girls and women with all the skills they need to succeed.

The school campus has a wide range of facilities to support a well-rounded education.¹⁶

Kingsmead College

Kingsmead College is a Christian school that was founded in 1933 by educationalist Doris Vera Thompson. The school opened its doors to girls in 1934. Based on Christian values, the school aims to cultivate in its students a love of learning and to prepare pupils for career and leadership challenges ahead of them.

Kingsmead College provides a rounded education to girls from Grade 000 to Matric. Students have access to a variety of sporting activities and facilities as well as cultural extra-curricular activities.¹⁷

Crawford International Sandton

Crawford International Sandton College is focused on academic excellence as well as developing students' leadership skills.

Students at Crawford have a choice of more than 20 subjects and are encouraged to pursue special areas of interest as part of the school's holistic approach to education. Students are also encouraged to participate in various extracurricular activities.

Crawford International Sandton has vast and varied facilities and offers many extracurricular activities that are included in the tuition fee.¹⁸

St Andrew’s Senderwood

St Andrew's School for Girls was founded in 1902 by two young Scottish women, Jean Fletcher and Jessie Johnson and has become one of the top schools in South Africa. This Christian school has a motto to educate girls who are ‘Skilled for Life’ and offers day school as well as boarding facilities.

There are four schools on St Andrew’s campus: Preschool (co-educational from three months to five years of age); Junior School; Senior School; and Saturday School, uBambsiwano.

With the graduating class of 2023 St Andrew’s celebrated the 35th consecutive year with a 100% pass rate.¹⁹

St Mary’s Waverley

St Mary's School is a leading Anglican all-girls boarding school. Founded by the Anglican clergyman the Reverend John T. Darragh in 1888, it is the oldest school in Johannesburg. St John’s College was also founded by John T. Darragh and is St Mary’s brother school. Students can enrol from Junior School to High School.

Following international educational trends, St Mary’s aims to develop young women, who know themselves and their place in the world.

St Mary’s School has leading and varied facilities for the academic, cultural, sports and spiritual aspects of the school – including the beautiful St Mary cathedral.²⁰


Durban Girls’ College

Durban Girls’ College was established in 1877 and is a successful South African school. The school is located high above the city on Durban's Berea. DGC is an independent IEB school for girls from Grade 00 to Grade 12, with weekly boarding available from Grade 7.

This independent Christian school aims to inspire their students to fulfil their potential through a dynamic educational experience.

DGC has comprehensive sporting and cultural programmes.²¹

Herzlia High School

Herzlia High School is an independent Jewish Day School with an open admissions policy – everyone is welcome. However, all students are asked to respect the Jewish ethos and are required to study Hebrew until Grade 9 and Jewish Studies until Matric.

In addition, it’s required to participate in Jewish religious, cultural and other events. Students can enrol starting from year 7.²²

King David Schools

King David High School in Johannesburg, Linksfield is a Jewish Day School and was established in 1955 as a community school. This proud school is one of the top schools in South Africa and a part of the King David Schools.

These schools form a network of Jewish day schools in Johannesburg offering nursery through high school education across five campuses

King David Schools currently have 2,700 students enrolled in their family of schools.²³

How many private schools are in South Africa?

South Africa has 2,282 private schools as of 2022, according to Statista.²⁴

How much do private schools cost in South Africa?

While South African schools don’t make it on our list of most expensive countries to study in, the cost of private schools can still be relatively high.

Let’s look at the fees of some private schools:

Redhill School annual fees²⁵R128,250 – 139,000 (about £5,360 - £5,810)R159,125 – R163,200 (about £6,650 - £6,820)R166,000 – R187,200 (about £6,940 - £7,820)
St John’s College annual fees²R114,011 – R120,163 (about £4,760 - £5,020)R161,709 (about £6760)Tuition fee: R206,768 (about £8,640)

With termly boarding: R352,610 (about £14,740)

Reddam House Helderfontein annual fees²⁶R131,248 – R141,307 (about £5,490 - £5,910)R149,544 – R170,114 (about £6,252 - £7,112)Tuition fee: R179,749 – R189,026 (about £7,515 - £7,900)

With termly boarding: R313,917 – R323,194 (about £13,120 - £13,510)

Depending on the school you might also need to cover other fees such as registration, uniforms, textbooks, camps, etc. Make sure to check with the school in advance, so there are no surprises.

You’ll still find private schools that fit different budgets, but expect to pay on average R71,500 (about £2,990) for primary school and R105,100 (about £4,390) for high school, according to Business Tech’s data from 2023.²⁷

If you want to make your pounds go further, consider sending the tuition and other fees over safely and securely using the Wise account. It’s not a bank account but offers many similar features.

With Wise, you get the mid-market exchange rate for all currency conversions, with no margins added on top and no hidden fees – just a small currency conversion fee that you can see up front.


Which are the most expensive private schools in South Africa?

Hilton College located in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, is the most expensive private school in South Africa. The annual fee for 2024 is 397,660 rand (roughly £16,500) and covers only boarding and tuition. Hilton College can be considered the most luxurious private school in South Africa.

MichaelHouse, St Andrew’s College in Makhanda, Roedean School for Girls, St John’s College, and Kearsney College are the other high-flyers, with fees around 350,000 rand (£14,600).²⁸


How to apply to a private school in South Africa?

When applying to a private school, you should do it before the cut-off date between August and October. It’s a good idea to double-check timelines as well as specific requirements for the school(s) you’ve selected and apply as soon as possible to ensure your child will have a place.

When applying to a school to enrol your child, you generally need to submit the following documents:²⁹

  • birth certificate
  • proof of immunisation
  • or transfer card and last school report for learners who have been to school previously

People who are not South African citizens, also need the following:

  • a study permit
  • a temporary or permanent residence permit, or proof that they have applied for permission to stay in South Africa.
📚 Read more: Buying property in South Africa as a Brit

What are the admission requirements?

Admissions requirements will vary somewhat between schools. In general, private schools will want to see the students have good grades as well engagement and achievements in extracurricular activities.

Most schools will also have admission tests and interviews, so you’ll want to be prepared in advance. You can also consider hiring a tutor to make the process smoother.

It’s always a good idea to contact the school directly, as many schools will provide guidance on the admissions process.

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Sources used:

  1. BusinessTech – 2023 matric results: Top-performing private schools in South Africa
  2. St John’s College – Schedule of Fees 2024
  3. SAHETI School – Schedule of Fees
  4. Redhill School – School fees 2024
  5. Roedean School – School Fees
  6. Kingsmead College – Fees 2024
  7. Crawford International Sandton – 2023 Fee Structure
  8. St Andrew’s – Fees 2024
  9. St Mary’s – Fees 2024
  10. Durban Girls’ College – Fees 2024
  11. United Herzlia Schools – 2024 Fees
  12. King David School – Fees 2024
  13. St John's College – Homepage
  14. SAHETI School – Homepage
  15. Redhill School – Homepage
  16. Roedean School – Homepage
  17. Kingsmead College – Homepage
  18. Crawford International Sandton – Homepage
  19. St Andrew's School for Girls – Homepage
  20. St Mary's School – Homepage
  21. Durban Girls' College – Homepage
  22. Herzlia High School – Homepage
  23. King David Schools – Homepage
  24. Statista – Number of schools in South Africa in 2022, by sector
  25. Redhill School – Fees 2024
  26. Reddam House – Fees 2024
  27. BusinessTech – What it costs to send a child to private vs public school in South Africa
  28. IOL - South Africa’s most expensive private schools in 2024
  29. Eastern Cape Education – Educ2 Word count 259 Application for admission to a registered private school

Sources last checked on date: 26-Feb-2024

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