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What to Consider When Choosing a Cottage School in South Africa

Mumtaz Moosa | mumtazs@icloud.com
7 December 2023 | 16:30 CAT

2 min read

Photo Credit: SA Homeschool Suppliers

South Africa faces a unique challenge — a shortage of schools to accommodate the increasing number of new registrations. In response, many parents are turning to tuition centres or cottage schools to provide education for their children. However, recent experiences have highlighted some concerning aspects of cottage schooling. Here are important considerations when choosing a cottage school in South Africa.

Teacher Qualifications: Always inquire about the qualifications of the teachers. Have they been vetted, and are they registered teachers or students pursuing a teaching degree? Some cottage schools may employ former students without teaching degrees, which can be concerning. Don’t hesitate to ask these questions, as parents play a crucial role in ensuring their child’s education.

Curriculum: Examine the curriculum being taught. Cottage schools often rely on independent homeschooling companies, and the costs of these curricula may not be included in the school’s fees. Understanding the curriculum is essential, and registration costs can reach R5000 for some grades. Ensure clarity on this aspect, especially regarding any additional expenses.

Department of Education Registration: Your child must be registered with the Department of Education as a home school learner or through another appropriate category. Even if you don’t receive an immediate reply, having proof of application is vital. This registration ensures that the educational standards are met and recognised.

Textbook Costs: Consider the pricing for textbooks. Changes in curricula by some companies may lead to the need for new textbooks. With some homeschool systems costing over R7500 for textbooks alone, it’s crucial to discuss this openly with the school, factoring it into the overall fees.

Department Registration and Reviews: Check if the school is registered with the Department of Education as an independent school or recognised as an online tuition centre. Online reviews can provide valuable insights into the school’s reputation. Be thorough in researching the school’s credentials and feedback from other parents.

Business Viability: Given the rise of cottage schools, verify their viability as a business option. Some schools may emerge as a means of making a steady income without necessarily meeting the educational standards. Investigate the school’s background and commitment to providing quality education.

As parents, our primary concern is the well-being and education of our children. By carefully considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision when selecting a cottage school for your child’s education.

 

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