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Cape Town – Sending your child to one of the country’s 10 top-performing schools will see you dig deep into your pocket because they do not come cheap.

Education start-up Gradesmatch tallied the cost of the schools and found the least expensive to be Bloemhof High School in Stellenbosch, costing R32 000 a year.

The school is listed seventh on the national education department’s list of the country’s top-performing schools.

First on this list is Eden College in Durban. Getting an education here costs R129 190 a year.

Herschel Girls School in Cape Town is second on the list in terms of academics, followed by Beth Jacobs Girls’ High School (Johannesburg), Springfield Convent of the Holy Rosary (Cape Town), Rustenburg Girls’ High School (Cape Town), Herzlia High School (Cape Town), Bloemhof High School (Stellenbosch), Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool (Pretoria), Westerford High School (Cape Town) and Bishops Diocesan College (Cape Town).

The average annual fees of the schools is R93 177.

They all offer small class sizes, extra-murals such as swimming, hockey, water polo, fencing, rowing and music, and cultural programmes.

Bishops Diocesan College topped the list of the most expensive schools at R158 620 a year.

Springfield Convent of the Holy Rosary costs R79 697, while Rustenburg Girls’ High School R48 500 and Westerford High School R43 972.

Teachers’ union Naptosa president Basil Manuel said school fees were informed by a number of things, including the number of teachers, extra-mural activities and the surrounding community.

“When fees are high, there is an expectation that pupils are getting more and are exposed to more, but it’s not a one-person contribution, it’s the collective that makes it work. 

"The reality is you wouldn’t have had a Siya Kolisi if you didn’t have him at a school that had the facilities and opportunity to discover raw talent. Millions have talent, but no one discovers it.”

Manuel said fees depended on a number of things, including maintenance, the number of teachers and facilities available at the school.

“If you have a hockey field with artificial turf, for instance, the upkeep will cost an arm and a leg. Facilities cost, and the department doesn’t fund all that.”

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said schools determined their own fees.

“We ask that schools do take into account the community it serves and the affordability of fees... or any increases,” Hammond said.

She said tough economic times were leading to a growing number of parents who simply could not afford to pay school fees.

Cape Times