South Africa, 13 June 2018: “If I buy in Kensington will my kids get into Jeppe?” “Will owning a house in Mowbray get Tanya into Rustenburg?” “Is that Lansdowne house in Livingstone’s catchment area?”
Online property company PropertyFox gets asked questions like these daily. Most parents are preoccupied with whether to buy property in an area that may secure a spot at one of the country’s best schools. To assist buyers with better decision making, PropertyFox commissioned research into South Africa’s feeder zones and catchment area policies. Today it released the first ‘PropertyFox School Feeder Zones guide.
The company’s research ring-fenced 65 of the top public high schools according to academic success at matriculation level. It found that:
- 6 specified their preferred suburbs (9%)
- 6 specified their preferred primary feeder schools (9%)
- 29 gave preference to learners who lived close to the school (44%)
- 25 had no explicit zones (38%)
Crispin Inglis, co-founder and CEO of PropertyFox – which sells houses at a low commission to ensure customers get the best deal – says, “It is hard for parents to get to grips with exactly where to buy property so that they have the best chance of being accepted into a specific school. And it is a catch-22 because until you have an address and apply, you won’t know if you will get in.”
“Catchment area information is extremely hard to find so our aim was to give parents some direction as to how to approach their property search, or how to find a school near their home. We’ve shared as much information as possible – from provincial legislation around policies through to hints as to which suburbs are viable options near schools.”
PropertyFox also researched average house prices in some of the top school suburbs in the country – from Rondebosch and Durbanville in the Cape, to Northcliff in Jozi, Glenwood in Durban and Selborne in East London.
Inglis continued that the feeder zone guide is aimed squarely at property buyers in the market for a house in the R1.5-million and above level who want to buy near their school of choice.
Some of the key take-outs:
- Although guided by the province, each school has jurisdiction over its admission policy as set by the school governing body (SGB). Living in a feeder catchment area is never a guarantee of admission, it’s rather a contributing criterion.
- Legislation varies from province to province about feeder zones. In 2018, a default 5km radius for feeder zones applied in Gauteng. The updated 2019 policy gives preference to learners based in feeder zones, along with siblings, and pupils from primary schools that are closest to the high schools in the area.
- In the Western Cape, there’s no explicit provincial feeder zone policy, but the research shows some SGBs do sway preference towards certain areas.
- KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape also don’t have explicit provincial feeder zone policies, but many schools have SGB-determined catchment areas.
- In the Free State, provincial policy gives preference to learners living near a certain school.
- Competition for SA’s top public schools is high. Research for the guide revealed that some parents put their kids’ names down for school when they’re still in utero. Others camp outside desired schools all night and some change address, moving as close as possible to their coveted educational institute.
PropertyFox partnered with independent education researcher Kerry Petrie on the project. She made personal contact with the person responsible for admissions at each of the public schools listed to compile the guide. Petrie says that public education in South Africa is complex as a result of the country’s history, “It is heartening that many schools have expanded – or are planning to expand – their radius to make sure they accept learners from further afield, giving people from diverse, less affluent suburbs access to the country’s top schools.”
Some private schools were also included from a property location perspective. To download the report and for more information on PropertyFox, visitPropertyfox.co.za.