Barnstone Education and the Schools and Education Investment Impact Fund South Africa have announced an additional investment as part of the second phase of the Prestige School project, a multi-million rand deal, which will fund the development and operations of six Prestige College affordable independent schools. This brings the total finance allocated to the project to R380 million.
The deal is the latest of its kind for the Schools Investment Fund, an initiative established for the provision of low fee independent schools and managed by Old Mutual Alternative Investments.
The Thornview Prestige College is presently in its second year of operations and the Crystal Park, Prestige College in Benoni, will open in January 2017. Thereafter, four new Greenfield schools will be developed in Gauteng, with two schools set to open in 2018, one in 2019 and one more in 2020. This additional investment should provide education for over 10 000 learners, but the vision goes beyond this to reach 15 000 by 2020.
Prestige is managed by Barnstone Education in association with the founders of Prestige College.
Pierre Tredoux, CEO of Barnstone Education says: “Our vision is to establish a number of schools throughout the country focused on providing quality affordable education in areas where there is a serious need for additional infrastructure. By combining Barnstone’s business expertise with the education skills of the founders of Prestige College we want to develop schools that will provide our learners with quality education, life skills and an understanding of entrepreneurship in order to prepare them for success after school.”
Thana and Robby Pienaar, the founders of Prestige College run the highly successful Prestige Hammanskraal College outside Pretoria. Thana was involved in establishing the school in 1991 and was school principal for many years. Her husband Robby Pienaar, who was COO, joined her in 1997.
“The Prestige project has brought together a committed group of investors, educationalists and a management team with the common vision of providing quality education to underprivileged learners. Phase 2 of the project will further pave the way towards offering this opportunity to as many children as possible,” says Thana Pienaar.
“The Pienaars’ experience and expertise will be invaluable in the success of the new schools,” says Lala Steyn, the Schools Fund manager from Old Mutual Alternative Investments of Old Mutual Investment Group. “Prestige Hammanskraal College boasts an excellent academic track record and since 1991 it has had a 100% matric pass rate. In 2015 the pass rate was 100% with a 64% bachelor pass rate.
Steyn adds that further investment in the Prestige Schools is testament to an increasing quality affordable schools market, which is becoming an area of real growth.
“The successful launch of Thornview Prestige School last year, now in its second year and providing education for 1 380 learners, further demonstrates how the public and private sector can work together to address the challenges of providing quality basic education as a sustainable nation,” added Steyn.