The Best And Worst Schools In SA 2019

There are many factors to take into account when deciding on what makes a school great, such as consistency, performance, affordability and safety. Compiling data from various sources, we put together a list of the best schools in the country for the year ahead.
Jason Snyman
2019-02-16

There are many factors to consider when assessing the best schools in South Africa. How are the students performing? How many students are writing and passing matric? What is the price range, and how difficult is it to get your child enrolled? How safe is your child?

The 2018 matric pass rates have just been released, and we’re starting to see an abundance of articles popping up declaring this or that school the absolute best in the country – for a variety of reasons. We decided to take a look at as many of these lists as we could and compile a list of the ultimate, undisputed top schools in the country.

Consistency

The Department of Education’s School Performance report for 2018 reveals that there were 101 South African high schools to maintain a 100% matric pass rate since 2014. This list, therefore, gives us an idea of which schools have consistently performed the best over the last five years.  

While all of the schools on this list can boast this achievement, we have to take the number of students into account as well. Of course, the more pupils you have writing matric, the harder it is to nail that 100% mark. 

So, ranked by the number of pupils that passed, the top ten schools to consistently achieve a 100% matric pass rate could be considered as follows:

• Hoërskool Garsforntein (357 matriculants);

• Hoërskool Waterkloof (344 matriculants);

• Hoërskool Nelspruit (267 matriculants);

• Afrikaanse Meisieskool (220 matriculants);

• Durban Girls High School (218 matriculants);

• Bellville High School (217 matriculants);

• Menzi High School (212 matriculants);

• Westville Girls High School (204 matriculants);

• Westerford High School (167 matriculants);

• Eunice Secondary School (158 matriculants)

Three of these schools are in Gauteng, three in KwaZulu-Natal, two in the Western Cape and one apiece in the Free State and Mpumalanga.

The ten worst-performing schools in the country all came from Limpopo and KZN, all falling below the 40% pass rate mark for the last five years. The most consistently terrible of all of these was Mahlaba Secondary School – at only 5.3%.

Twelve schools recorded a 0% pass rate – up from nine schools last year. These included Limpopo’s Senwane, Letshekga-Malokwane and Ramaroke high schools.

Performance

When students excel, it’s safe to assume that the school they are attending is well-funded, well-organised and well-staffed. For that reason, we also need to take a look at the average amount of distinctions (80% or more for a subject) achieved by the pupils in the top ten best-performing schools in the country.

Business Insider South Africa compared data, cross-referenced with information provided by Gradesmatch – the career guidance and education site – to reveal which schools offered the best academic results in 2018. These schools were as follows:

• Herschel Girls’ School (average of 5.3 distinctions per pupil);

• Springfield Convent Senior School (average of 4.14 distinctions per pupil);

• Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof (average of 3.59 distinctions per pupil); 

• Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool (average of 3.59 distinctions per pupil);

• Rustenburg Girls’ High School (average of 3.57 distinctions per pupil);

• Star College Durban (average of 3.45 distinctions per pupil);

• Michael Oak Waldorf School (average of 3.42 distinctions per pupil);

• Al-Falaah College (average of 3.41 distinctions per pupil);

• Inkamana High School (average of 3.38 distinctions per pupil)

• Westerford High School (average of 3.28 distinctions per pupil);

Five of these schools are found in Cape Town, two in Durban and one apiece in Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Vryheid. 

It’s also worth noting that all of these schools cost over R40 000 a year, per student, with the exception of Inkamana (R32 500) and Bloemhof, which is the most affordable at R30 560. The most expensive, by far, is private school and top performer Hershel Girls’ School, at R109 000 a year. 

Best Schools In The Country 2019

Any one of the top-performing, most consistent schools mentioned above could easily grace a top ten list of the best schools in the country. Unfortunately, a quality education often comes with a hefty price tag. The best schools in the country are also among the most expensive – many of them quite easily going over the R100 000 mark per year. 

Our top ten list last year contained Bishops Diocesan College (Western Cape), Westerford (Western Cape), Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool (Gauteng), Rustenburg Girls (Western Cape), Star College Cape Town (Western Cape), Eden College Durban (KZN), Star College Durban (KZN), Springfield Convent of the Holy Rosary (Western Cape), Inkamana School (KZN) and Herschel Girls School (Western Cape) taking the number one spot.

This year isn’t much different, with perhaps the addition of Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof, Hoërskool Garsforntein and Hoërskool Waterkloof. 

It just goes to show that though so many schools are being failed by the government’s educational system; many more schools are trying their very best despite of it.

Alternatively, private schooling – with that hefty price tag – offers a very real chance of success.   

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