The Best High Schools in Cape Town

Best High Schools in Cape Town

Are you on the lookout for the best high schools in Cape Town, South Africa, eager to know what each has to offer? We understand the pivotal role high school education plays in shaping our children’s futures.

So, which schools truly stand out in this vibrant city, providing students with an education that empowers them academically and prepares them for the challenges of tomorrow?

Cape Town, known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, is not just a picturesque destination but also home to some of the country’s finest educational institutions. Let’s dive into the realm of education in Cape Town and discover the high schools that shine the brightest.

Top Best High Schools in Cape Town

In our pursuit of excellence, let’s explore the top high schools in Cape Town regarded as the best when it comes to high school education.

1. South African College School (SACS)

Founded in 1829 by the government, South African College High School (SACS) stands as the oldest high school in South Africa. Located at Newlands Ave, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa, the school’s enduring legacy is a testament to its rich history and commitment to education.

The Best High Schools in Cape Town

South African College School (SACS) is an all-boys school, catering to male students in grades 8-9 under General Education and Training (GET) and grades 10-12 in Further Education and Training (FET). The curriculum encompasses Grade 12, IEB National Senior Certificate, and Cambridge GCE “As” and “A” levels, spanning an age range of 14 to 18.

The school has impressive sporting facilities at SACS including 5 rugby fields, 2 basketball courts, 2 swimming pools (one heated), a spacious gym, 3 cricket fields, 10 cricket nets, 2 squash courts, and 5 tennis courts.

Notably, SACS is one of the four schools in Cape Town where the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating student, providing an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. The school boasts an illustrious list of alumni, including Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, former Deputy Prime Minister of South Africa; Sebastien Rousseau, Olympic swimmer and South African record holder; and Eric Lloyd Williams, a distinguished journalist and World War II correspondent.

  • Tuition: R 57,200
  • Boarding: R 63,000

2. Wynberg Boys’ High School (Public)

Wynberg Boys’ High School, established in 1841 by John McNaughton, stands as a top prestigious public school in Cape Town, being the second oldest school in South Africa. Situated at Lovers Walk, Wynberg, Cape Town, 7800, the school caters exclusively to male students aged 14 to 18.

The Best High Schools in Cape Town

The institution boasts an impressive array of facilities, including modern classrooms, well-equipped science laboratories, two state-of-the-art computer centers, a boarding house accommodating 110 students, a 1000-seater Hall, a 160-seater auditorium and music center, an outdoor amphitheater, a museum, staff accommodation, a library, and a media center, along with various technology rooms.

Wynberg Boys’ High School places a strong emphasis on sports, offering outstanding facilities such as a fully equipped gymnasium, a heated swimming pool, hockey Astros, glass-backed squash courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, rugby fields, and the WBHS cricket field.

In addition to academics and sports, the school promotes holistic development through the Wynberg CREATE program. This initiative allows students to enroll in short courses covering diverse subjects such as computer game design, cooking, personal finance, music for non-musicians, carpentry, and more.

Wynberg Boys’ High School takes pride in its notable alumni, including South African cricket legend Jacques Kallis, South African Hockey Team member Wayne Denne, Worcester Warriors head coach Gary Gold, Comrades Marathon founder Vic Clapham, former South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, South African politician Andrew Feinstein, and Professor of tropical medicine Michael Gelfand.

  • Tuition: R55,100 per annum
  • Gender: Boys

3. Westerford High School (Public)

Established in 1953 by the government, Westerford High School stands as a leading co-educational institution in Cape Town. The school, situated at 220 Main Rd on the corner of Main and Mount Road in Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa, caters to students aged 14 to 18 in grades 8 to 12. It follows the National Senior Certificate (IEB) curriculum and is a day school, not offering boarding facilities.

Westerford High School is renowned for its student-focused approach, emphasizing a well-rounded education. The school takes pride in its robust academic curriculum, mandatory sports program, and vibrant cultural activities. Westerford High School’s motto, “Nil Nisi Optimum” meaning “Nothing but the best,” underscores its commitment to providing comprehensive educational value to its students.

Westerford High School encourages students to participate in external practical and theory examinations, such as those offered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, UNISA, and Trinity Guildhall. The school also prioritizes sports, offering a variety of options such as basketball, cricket, indoor hockey, road running, tennis, water polo, cross country, hockey, netball, rugby, soccer, and squash as part of its comprehensive sports program.

  • Tuition: R53,000 – R59,000
  • Facilities: No Boarding Facilities

4. Rustenburg Girls’ High School (Public)

Rustenburg Girls High School, established in 1894 by Reverend Benard PJ Marchand and located at 44 Campground Rd, Rosebank, Cape Town, South Africa, has a rich history and is currently regarded as one of the top schools in the Western Cape.

Catering to female students aged 14 to 18, with the standard Grade 8 & 9 General Education and Training Phase (GET) and Grade 10 – 12 Further Education and Training Phase (FET) curriculum, Rustenburg Girls High School offers a diverse range of experiences. These include extramural activities, academic-related outings, leadership development programs, Dialogue Days, guest speaker sessions, workshops, and the provision of iPad devices to students.

Rustenburg Girls High School takes pride in providing students with an impressive range of facilities to support their physical well-being. The campus boasts nine tennis/netball courts, a swimming pool, two hockey/cricket fields, and an Astroturf playing field, offering girls the chance to actively participate in various sports. Whether it’s cricket, cross-country, netball, or water polo, there’s a sporting activity for everyone.

But it’s not just about sports – The school places a strong emphasis on cultural enrichment, especially in the vibrant music department. Imagine being part of an orchestra, choir, chamber choir, jazz band, wind band, string quartet, vocal quartet, string ensemble, or savuyisa (marimba band). These opportunities allow our students to showcase their talents in prestigious events like the Cape Town and Kaapse Afrikaanse Eisteddfods.

  • Tuition: R53,000 – R59,000
  • Boarding: R62,939 pa

5. Bishops Diocesan College (Private)

Located at 65 Campground Rd, Rondebosch, Cape Town, Bishops Diocesan College has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1849 by The Rt Revd Robert Gray, Bishop of Cape Town. The school caters to male students from grades 8 to 12, following the National Senior Certificate curriculum (IEB curriculum).

This esteemed institution is renowned for its academic excellence, consistently ranking among the best schools in South Africa for Matric. In 2014, Bishops Diocesan College achieved a remarkable 100% pass rate.

Beyond academics, Bishops Diocesan College offers a diverse range of sporting activities to its students, including athletics, basketball, chess, cricket, cross country, cycling, golf, hockey, mountain biking, rowing, rugby, soccer, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and water polo.

Notably, Bishops Diocesan College is one of only four schools offering the prestigious annual Rhodes scholarship, providing ex-students the opportunity to attend the University of Oxford. The school has produced prominent individuals such as Raymond Ackerman (founder of Pick n Pay), Ian Donald, Mark Shuttleworth, Nizaam Carr, Richard Cock, and many others.

  • Tuition: R158,000
  • Boarding: R278,000
  • Founded in 1849, Bishops is one of the oldest independent schools, known for academic excellence and a comprehensive education.

6. Herschel Girls’ School (Private)

Established in 1922 by The English Church Schools Association, Herschel Girls School stands as a prominent educational institution and is located at 21 Herschel Rd, Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa. This all-girls school has gained recognition for its affiliation with the Anglican church and has become renowned as one of the country’s leading educational institutions for girls.

The school caters to students in Grades 10 to 12, offering the National Senior Certificate (NSC) curriculum. With an age range from 14 to 18, Herschel Girls School is committed to providing a comprehensive and empowering education to its students, aiming to mold them into future global leaders.

Beyond academic excellence, Herschel emphasizes a well-rounded approach to education. The school actively encourages participation in sports and cultural activities, including music, art, and drama. Sporting options range from swimming, water polo, and tennis to hockey, netball, and cross country. The institution also boasts state-of-the-art ICT facilities, fostering a conducive environment for students to enhance their learning experiences and acquire essential computing skills.

  • Tuition: R62,550 – R127,100
  • Boarding: R110,600

7. Rondebosch Boys’ High School (Public)

Established in 1897 by Reverend Benard PJ Marchand, Rondebosch Boys High School is not only one of the oldest educational institutions in South Africa but also ranks among the top schools academically. Situated on Canigou Ave in Rondebosch, Cape Town, the school has been a prominent fixture in the educational landscape for over a century especially when it comes to male education.

Catering to male students in the age range of 14 to 18, Rondebosch Boys High School follows the Grade 10–12 National Senior Certificate curriculum, with a focus on the IEB curriculum. The school has garnered recognition for its outstanding performance in the National Senior Certificate examinations.

The school’s commitment to sports is evident in the variety of options it provides, including athletics, basketball, rowing, swimming, tennis, water polo, winter sports, cross country, golf, hockey, squash and others.

Notably, Rondebosch Boys High School boasts an impressive list of alumni, including renowned individuals such as cartoonist Zapiro, politician Ryan Coetzee, cricket player Gary Kirsten, and Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology and Medicine Allan M. Cormack. These notable figures have emerged from the school, contributing to various fields and leaving a lasting impact on the global stage.

  • Tuition: approximately R61,500
  • Boarding: approximately R56,000

8. St. Cyprian School, Cape Town

Established in 1871 by Rt Revd Robert Gray, the bishop of Cape Town, St. Cyprian School in Cape Town is a distinguished private institution for girls. The school is not just known for its academic achievements but also for its commitment to charity and community engagement, fostering a spirit of giving back among its students.

The school caters to students in Grades 8 and 9, focusing on General Education and Training (GET), and Grades 10-12, providing Further Education and Training (FET). Upon completing Grade 12, students receive certification through the IEB National Senior Certificate and Cambridge-exit A level.

St. Cyprian’s School emphasizes a holistic educational approach, combining academic excellence with a strong sense of social responsibility. The age range of students attending the school is from 14 to 18 years.

For those interested in exploring more about St. Cyprian’s School, you can visit their website at stcyprians.co.za.

In addition to academic pursuits, the school places a significant emphasis on sports. Girls at St. Cyprian’s actively participate in a variety of sports, including athletics, basketball, futsal, indoor hockey, swimming, tennis, water polo, cross country, hockey, and netball. This diverse range of sporting activities contributes to the overall development and well-rounded education of the students.

9. Wynberg Girls’ High School (Public)

Established in 1884 by The Kerkraad of the Dutch Reformed Church, Wynberg Girls’ High School stands as one of South Africa’s oldest and most esteemed all-girls institutions. Situated in Cape Town on Aliwal Road, this educational hub has been providing quality education to young women for over a century.

Wynberg Girls’ High School, renowned not only for its historical significance but also for its academic excellence, offers a comprehensive educational experience for female students aged 14 to 18. The school places a strong emphasis on four key pillars: academics, sports, service, and culture. In addition to the standard curriculum for Grades 8–12 leading to the National Senior Certificate, Wynberg Girls also integrates the Cambridge AS Levels course for English and History.

The school boasts a wide array of facilities, including a library, sports fields for hockey, cricket, netball, and tennis, swimming and diving pools, computer labs, a gym, music and art studios, science labs, and much more. Students have the opportunity to engage in various team and social sports such as hockey, indoor hockey, netball, tennis, badminton, cross country, athletics, swimming, diving, water polo, chess, synchronized swimming, aerobics, and sailing.

Wynberg Girls’ High School encourages participation in regional events like the Western Cape Arts Festival and Eisteddfods. To meet the spiritual needs of its diverse student body, the school supports organizations such as the Christian union, Capstone, and the Muslim Students’ Association.

Notable alumni from Wynberg Girls’ High School include accomplished individuals like Natalie Du Toit, a renowned swimmer; Ingrid Jonker, a celebrated poet; Jean Doyle, a distinguished sculptor; Kirstin Lewis, a skilled archer; and Ina Paarman. The school’s legacy is not only rooted in its history but also in the achievements and contributions of its graduates across various fields. Visit their website at wynghs.co.za for more information.

10. The American International School of Cape Town

Founded in 1997, the American International School of Cape Town (AISCT) stands out as the best private high school in Cape Town and is situated at 42 Soetvlei Ave, Sweet Valley, Cape Town, South Africa (7806). Catering to both male and female students aged 14 to 18, AISCT follows the USA credit-based system, proudly holding accreditation from ACS WASC for its USA high school diploma and offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

The Best High Schools in Cape Town

This school boasts a diverse community, drawing students and teachers from around the globe. The learning environment at AISCT is characterized by an intimate setting, with an average class size of 16 students and a commendable student-teacher ratio of 10:1. The curriculum aligns with U.S. standards, providing students with a U.S. High School Diploma upon graduation. The academic calendar adheres to the northern hemisphere timeline, commencing in August and concluding in June.

AISCT places importance on holistic development, requiring students to engage in community service, participate in innovation terms, and successfully complete senior projects as part of their graduation criteria. The school’s commitment to a well-rounded education extends to the realm of sports, offering activities such as soccer, basketball, cross country, and swimming throughout the academic year.

Extracurricular programs at AISCT cater to various interests, including competitive sports, art programs, social justice initiatives, technology, yearbooks, and leadership activities like Model United Nations (MUN). Moreover, private activities such as music, drama, dance, and Ubuntu Soccer further enrich the student experience. AISCT’s dedication to academic excellence, global diversity, and comprehensive development sets it apart as a premier institution in Cape Town.

Best Private High Schools in Cape Town

  • The American International School of Cape Town
  • Springfield Convent School
  • Riverside College
  • Helderberg International School
  • Constantia Waldorf School
  • Somerset College
  • DSK German School
  • Newberry House Montessori School
  • Cannons Creek Independent School
  • St. George’s Grammar School
  • St Cyprian’s School

What’s the School Scene in Cape Town Like?

In Cape Town, schools come in all sizes, offering a spectrum of academic standards. Sports also play a significant role in ensuring a quality education while keeping students active and healthy.

For international students, Cape Town is an excellent destination with well-established public universities. Private school costs vary, ranging from R5,800 to R99,700 annually. Westerford High School boasts a solid 100% pass rate for several consecutive years.

Cape Town’s high schools offer diverse strengths, from academic rigor to strong sporting traditions and a commitment to cultural diversity. Choosing the right high school in Cape Town is a significant decision, and these top schools provide a glimpse into the remarkable educational opportunities available in this vibrant city.

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