Cape Town, 9 March 2016: The Schools and Education Investment Impact Fund of South Africa (Schools Investment Fund), the Royals Management Company and housing developer, Cosmopolitan Projects officially launched the latest school in the Royal Schools group, Royal Schools Alberton, at a launch event today. The school forms part of an R80 million deal funded by the Public Investment Corporation, (PIC) – acting on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), and Old Mutual for the development and operation of three low fee independent schools over a five year period.
Established across Gauteng, the schools are set to reach 3250 learners, with two of the existing schools, Princess Park College Pretoria and Queens Private School, having expanded to include more learners. Located in the Leopard’s Rest housing development in Alberton, Gauteng, Royal Schools Alberton opened its doors to 1070 learners in January this year with 48 educators.
This deal is one of four of its kind for the Schools Investment Fund, a fund established by the PIC, GEPF and Old Mutual to address the shortage of affordable schools in South Africa. The dual objective of this R1.2 billion Fund is to finance education infrastructure and other education-related requirements while delivering commercially acceptable returns to investors. A total of R1 billion has already been allocated for education projects throughout South Africa.
“Offering quality education at affordable fees is very much the essence of the Schools Investment Fund mandate,” says Lala Steyn, Asset Manager from Old Mutual Alternative Investments, a boutique of Old Mutual Investment Group and the manager of the Fund. “The launch of Alberton School is a reiteration of the common vision of a group made up of investors, educationalists and a management team who are committed to the development of affordable quality schools that cater for a broad base of underprivileged children,” she explains.
Under educational specialist and businessman, Dr Bennie Fourie, the Royals Management Company, has been tasked with renovating and expanding a number of existing inner-city schools in Pretoria as well as developing a new school in Gauteng.
“The launch of Alberton takes the Royal Schools deal one step closer to reaching our vision – to provide affordable, quality independent education to 8000 leaners by 2020,” explains Dr Bennie Fourie, Managing Director of Royals Management Company. “We have an experienced management team in place. Our partnerships with the Schools Investment Fund as well as Cosmopolitan Projects are enabling the achievement of this vision. SEIIFSA provides the funding and Cosmopolitan Projects is our development partner that provides access to land within their affordable residential developments as well as cost effective development of quality infrastructure”.
The Royals Schools core management team comprises four individuals with a combined education experience in excess of 60 years, backed by a professional teaching and support staff. The team has a long-standing working relationship with a track record of good education results and effective business management that has proven their ability to successfully manage the two existing Pretoria-based schools, Princess Park College Pretoria and Queens Private School, which were expanded to accommodate 1 600 leaners, doubling their combined existing capacity.
Anton Crouse, Managing Director of the Cosmopolitan Projects / Central Developments Property Group, says: “We are very proud of what we have accomplished here in partnership with Old Mutual and Royals Management Company. We acknowledge and value their contribution as specialists in the private education industry. We are in a very fortunate position to provide something South Africa desperately needs at the moment: good quality, affordable education. We will keep on developing as many of these schools as we can. This is only the first of many.”
The launch of Royal Schools Alberton comes after the recent launch of Meridian Cosmo City last month, another low fee independent school that is part of the Meridian Schools partnership that the Schools Investment Fund is also invested in.