A checklist on how to choose an online school that’s right for your child.

If you’re not sure whether online schooling in South Africa is suitable for your child, or which online school will be the best fit for them, this checklist will help make that choice a whole lot easier.

Before you even begin learning more about online schooling, first find out how your child actually learns, and what factors impact their ability to be at their best.


Many children feel overwhelmed by the ‘real world’ school system – the noise and number of students in class, the reality of physical bullying, and the challenge of early morning traffic and the time taken to travel to school. All of these can impact their ability to absorb information and reach their full potential.


Other children who are auditory learners or have learning barriers can feel left behind by an education system that doesn’t play to their strengths – they may need to play back a lesson at a slower pace or watch a recorded lesson in their own time and space that suits them, and not feel stigmatised for this.


On the other hand, top students and multi-talented achievers may loathe the limits placed on them by traditional schools, where they are either held back by what they feel is a plodding pace of study, or can’t find the time they need to devote to their other talents.


An online school like Teneo can address all these individual needs, and change a child’s learning outcomes for the better.


Teneo offers three learning formats to choose from:


  • Live: Participate in a full school day’s scheduled live lessons taught by qualified teachers according to your daily timetable. All live lessons are recorded to revisit later.
  • Live + Recorded: Participate in scheduled live lessons taught by qualified teachers according to your daily timetable, and for the other half of the day’s coursework watch pre-recorded lessons in your own time to stay on track. All live lessons are recorded to revisit later.
  • Recorded: Watch pre-recorded lessons taught by qualified teachers at a time you choose to stay on track with your daily coursework.


The Live option is best for students who need more routine and structure and direct engagement with live teachers in a classroom setting, interacting with fellow students, with the option to revisit lessons at their own pace. 


The Recorded option is great for students who prefer independent learning and who thrive in a space of freedom and flexibility. 


And the Live + Recorded option is for students who like the combination of a little structure but also want to pursue outside passions and interests and learn in their own time.

A checklist for choosing an online school

Whatever learning format you feels fits your child best, these questions should be top of mind when making your choice of school:

1. Are the teachers qualified and is the school accredited?

  • All Teneo teachers are qualified and registered with SACE (South African Council for Educators). 
  • Teneo is registered with three different examination boards: SACAI and IEB for students following the South African curriculum, and Pearson Edexcel for those who want to follow the British International curriculum. 
  • Teneo students can achieve their South African Matric NSC certificate and apply to tertiary institutions in South Africa and abroad.


Tip: When asking about teachers’ credentials, be specific and also check that the school is accredited with credible, legitimate examination boards that are accredited with the Umalusi Council..

2. What guarantees are in place to make sure the school puts students’ needs first?

  • Teneo classes are led by qualified teachers, and assignments and tests are set and marked by these same teachers, so that students get personal feedback – teaching is not outsourced to third-party tutors.
  • Communication with parents and students is open and easy. Parents get regular feedback in real time, and can track their child’s progress and class attendance through the Canvas Parent Observer app.  And Teneo’s Family Portal allows students and parents to log tickets for technical, academic and general support. 


Tip: Ask what parent and student platforms are in place to allow interactions with the teacher and for parents to raise any queries that arise. 

How will I know whether my child will get individual attention and support?

  • Teneo offers a choice of 3 learning formats to address the needs of different learning styles and preferences.
  • Teneo offers live lessons with teacher interaction and playback recordings of all lessons.


Tip: Ask whether the school offers live lessons and recordings of live lessons, and whether qualified teachers lead the teaching, as opposed to outsourcing to third-party providers, such as tutors.

4. How does the school measure success?

  • Teneo applies a holistic approach to allow each child to reach their full potential and explore their interests.  
  • Teneo provides enrichment opportunities and rigorous curriculums to make sure students remain engaged and challenged. For the third year, Teneo students have secured a place in the top 10 SACAI matriculants in South Africa. In 2023, Teneo outperformed the national average matric pass rate and bachelor pass rate.
  • Teneo partners with extramural and social clubs to equip students with far more than academic knowledge, to help them to grow into well-rounded adults who can take their place in the world of further study and work.

 Tip: Ask what the school’s success criteria are. Ask what policy is in place for further studies and learning support.

5. Does the school also offer opportunities to connect socially with classmates and pursue other interests?

  • Teneo offers over 20 extramurals with partners who operate across SA, providing an opportunity to interact and connect with peers through common interests.
  • Teneo also provides multiple collaborative and connecting opportunities through live lessons and online group projects.
  • Along with social activities, workshops and clubs, Teneo students are allocated to a classroom to meet their classmates and teachers weekly for fun activities, to share news and knowledge, celebrate birthdays and have a good catch-up.


Tip: Ask what in-person extramurals and collaborative opportunities are on offer.


A well-established, well-run online school will have all the necessary processes, procedures and resources in place to make sure each child feels safe, seen and supported. In that sense, Teneo ticks all the boxes!


Wondering whether it’s wise to move to online schooling in SA?

Parents and students got a taste of online schooling during the Covid-19 lockdown, and many saw immediate benefits over ‘bricks and mortar’ schools. We’ll take a deep dive into why digital schooling is on the rise in South Africa.

When the pandemic hit our shores, it pushed schooling into the digital space,  and made it a more popular alternative to traditional schools. Teneo first opened its doors pre-pandemic in 2018, and was ahead of the curve back then. But the curve has caught up. Why? Because online schooling offers very real benefits for both parents and students.

A solve for schooling issues in SA

Parents often find themselves stuck between the proverbial  ‘rock and a hard place’ when it comes to finding a school for their child. 


Government schools struggle to accommodate the influx of new learners each year – and semigration to other provinces like the Western Cape hasn’t helped. As a result,  students are placed in ‘catchment area’ schools, often with less than ideal educational standards. To add to this, private schools are utterly unaffordable for the average South African family. 


It’s no wonder that online schools across South Africa have stepped into the gap by offering an excellent education at an affordable cost, with accreditation from both local and international examination boards like SACAI, IEB and Pearson Edexcel.


Teneo is currently one of the largest online schools in South Africa and is something of a pioneer in the space. Here’s why.

Pioneering education the Teneo way

Teneo offers parents persuasive and practical reasons to make the move to online tuition, through the following:

Calibre of teaching

All students are able to access high quality school lessons taught by qualified teachers registered with the South African Council for Educators (SACE). Many of our teachers are successful at the examiner level.

Range of subjects

Teneo offers the widest range of subjects in the country, provides schooling in two languages from Grade R to 12, and offers live teaching and recorded lesson formats led by accredited professional teachers.

Prepping students for the work world of the future

Tech is woven into every aspect of our work lives making digital literacy a key skill. Teneo preps students for this way of working by making them comfortable in an online environment and through their interaction with edtech tools like Canvas. They also learn online etiquette through Zoom meetings and webinars, and adopt vital ‘soft’ skills like time management.  

Addressing neurodivergent students

With attentional disorders on the rise, and Gen Z and Alpha increasingly distracted by their phones, Teneo provides an antidote to this – live lessons led by teachers, backed by recordings of these lessons, which students can play back as often and whenever they want, for revision on the day or ahead of tests and exams.

Flexibility and mobility

Teneo’s online environment offers families a way to learn at their own pace and place, with their unique needs prioritised. This frees up families who travel a lot or need to relocate, and enables talented kids to pursue activities outside school hours – such as national or international show-jumping, gymnastics or robotics competitions.

Value for money

Teneo’s enrolment data shows that 94% of parents feel online schooling provides better value for money than traditional schools. With the cost of living crisis crippling the average budget, schools like Teneo provide real value for money, skipping out-of-pocket costs for expensive uniforms, outings and meals at school.

So, what do our parents ultimately get out of the Teneo online experience?

Says a happy parent Matsipa: “It is an exceptional experience to be a part of Teneo. The teachers are patient, acknowledge every child’s individuality and provide good guidance whilst nurturing them to be the best possible versions of themselves. My son has learned to work independently and navigate the system. He has blossomed into a goal-orientated, confident, compassionate, competent young man.”


It looks like online schools offer an outstanding solution for families, across the country, looking for access to quality education.

How top online schools in South Africa like Teneo use tech to enhance the learning experience

The merging of live teaching and leading edtech* is making online schools more mainstream. For those who want to study online, South Africa is already ahead of the curve – and Teneo is setting a new benchmark for the benefit of teachers, students and parents.

Today, almost all schools use tech in one form or another. The only difference is that online or e-schools teach through technology while traditional schools teach with technology. It’s an important distinction.


For traditional schools, tech is simply a plug-in or add-on tool that doesn’t fundamentally alter the learning experience – think of using a tablet rather than, say, a paper notebook to write in. 


For Teneo, the tech is the teaching, with live teacher-led lessons recorded for playback and uploaded to a learning management platform where parents and students can access them at any time. 


On top of this, the tech puts the teacher, student and parent in the driving seat, through a data-rich dashboard that enables greater collaboration and control.

How Teneo connects teachers and students

Teneo’s live lessons and lesson recordings are a huge advantage. There’s a set daily timetable with live lessons taught online by a professional teacher, just like in a traditional school. In this space, students can interact, ask questions and get direct support from their teachers.


Every live lesson is recorded so students can revisit the lesson as many times as they want, or ‘attend’ the class if they’re absent. Nothing of the lesson is lost – not those spontaneous questions students ask or those impromptu segues where teachers go into richer detail.


Students find the recordings make it so much easier to take notes, revise work and go over subjects they struggle with, at a pace they prefer. Overall, this makes for a better online learning experience because: 


  • study is self-paced – students can go slow or speed up
  • no learning is lost – students don’t need to rely on a friend’s notes to catch up on missed classroom content
  • exam study is made easier – students can refresh their memory by revisiting the recordings at any time in the year


How teachers fit into tech-based online learning

Tech can never fully replace teachers – that human touch makes a huge difference, especially in the deeply emotional and constantly evolving space of learning. 


To this end, Teneo’s teachers share the exact same responsibilities as teachers at any other school – they facilitate each child’s unique academic journey and help them complete it successfully. 


They create and curate content, evaluate student work fairly and consistently, track academic progress, provide feedback, support and opportunities to meet, and upskill themselves through ongoing professional development.


On top of this, when it comes to exam papers, teachers bring critical contextual knowledge to the table. As subject specialists, their knowledge of the curriculum, subjects and students allows them to set exams at the right level, with relatable questions that take their students’ lived realities into account, and with a range of questions that reflect what the students have learnt.


But while teachers are irreplaceable, tech can take the online learning experience to a whole new level. Teneo makes sure teachers have the tech tools they need to keep up with their curriculums, catch up students who are struggling, and keep all kids engaged.


Every single student has a front row seat – there’s no one sitting at the back of the class missing out on the magic. 

How tech empowers students and enables parental involvement

Teneo gives students a full view of their own work, with a greater degree of control. They have multiple digital tools through which to connect with teachers and peers.


Teneo also offers parents a range of tech tools to help monitor their child’s progress. The Canvas Parent Observer app gives parents a 360° view of their child’s schedule, assignments, assessments and test scores, and attendance. 


Says Teneo Academic Lead, “Our strength lies in our ability to track participation and progress via the data we capture on students’ attendance and marks. Parents can monitor their child’s participation and encourage them to take proactive steps to improve.” 

How tech can help students evolve, connect and integrate

Teneo parents see dramatic changes in their kids: they’re more independent, better able to manage their time, and generally more fulfilled, as the flexibility of the tech platform allows them to pursue other passions, like endurance sports, TV acting, or even a small side business or hobby.


Teneo high school parent comments how their son has flourished personally and academically: “The teaching methods taught him time-management skills, self-discipline and the importance of research. In addition, he’s learnt to deal with challenges beyond his control, by being accountable if his internet connection fails due to loadshedding, and communicating such issues to his teachers and the support team on time.”


And when it comes to preparing students for tertiary study and the tech-enabled world of work, online high school seems to set students ahead of their peers – they’re more resourceful, ready for a challenge, and utterly at ease in a world of tech.

*Edtech or education technology is software and hardware used to enhance teacher-led and student-paced learning to optimise outcomes for students.

A day in the life of a Grade 12 online high school student.

If you’re wondering whether online high school or home schooling in South Africa is the right fit for your child, there’s only one way to find out – spend the day with one of our students!


We asked Cheyenne Victor, a 2023 Grade 12 Teneo student, what online learning is like and what strategies she uses to structure her school day. 

Cheyenne joined Teneo Online School at the start of Grade 10, in the final phase of her high school journey. Why the switch? There were several reasons.


She chose Teneo out of all the high schools in South Africa because it is structured like a bricks and mortar, ‘real-world’ school. With its ‘Live’ school format, Teneo offers live daily lessons led by expert teachers, rather than tutors.


On top of that, Teneo was a total fit for her family. Cheyenne’s father works in Zambia, where Cheyenne now lives. In the past, when the rest of the family lived in SA, his leave didn’t always sync with school holidays and Cheyenne either had to miss out on much-loved family gatherings or miss weeks of schoolwork. With Teneo, she could get the best of both worlds. And it gave her the flexibility to eventually join her father in Zambia.


But more than that, online school gave Cheyenne a chance to pursue her passions in a way that a bricks and mortar school never could. She lives for her photography, and her Instagram feed is filled with wildlife pics taken in the iconic African veld – which she sells online as an entrepreneurial side hustle!


Online school gave her the freedom to get into the bush more frequently, with lessons on the go: “There’s a photo of me with my tablet, attending school while out in the veld!”


But the bush is not only where her heart lies; it’s where she’s headed after school. She’s going to do a three-year course that combines marine guiding with game-ranging, turning her passion into a career path.


So, as she prepares for her final year, we asked her what the online learning experience is like at Teneo, and how she manages to ‘have it all’.

All the details on day-to-day online learning

At a glance, an online school day looks no different to a typical ‘real world’ school day – without the hassle of early morning traffic and time pressure!


6:30 am: Wake up.

7:00 am: Dress, eat breakfast and get ready.

7.30 am: Sit at my desk, open my Teneo calendar and put on music to relax.

7:35 – 7:55 am: Listen to music and jot down important things to do that day

8:00 am: Attend the first class of the day.

2:15 pm: School’s out!

3 – 4 pm: Go to the gym or relax and prepare for the next day.

9 pm: Bedtime.


But the real difference is that Cheyenne’s timetable evolved as she learnt what worked for her and what didn’t. 


Cheyenne recommends taking frequent breaks and limiting after-school screentime is a must. Stepping out into sunlight – natural light – also offers a break from blue light. So it’s important to embrace the power of the pause. 


Cheyenne is also serious about getting a good night’s rest: “Yes, I really do go to bed at 9 o’clock! If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, the next day is really tough.” Sleep, it seems, is one of the secrets to making a success of online schooling.

Discipline and a healthy dose of freedom make all the difference

Cheyenne was first exposed to the online schooling experience during Covid lockdown and had a vague idea of what to expect. But she was totally surprised by the extent to which she could set up her own schedule and determine her day.


“As much as we have a set timetable, I decide what to do during ‘free’ periods,” Cheyenne explains. “Most of the time, I do assignments, but it does break up my day and allows me far more free time than I ever had in my previous bricks and mortar school.”


Cheyenne also uses her free time to chat to friends and grab a lunch, but she’s mindful of the fact that it’s easy to get distracted from schoolwork: “You’re forced to be more disciplined in an online environment. If you don’t, you won’t get very far.”


So, it seems online school really instills self-discipline in students and prepares them for further study after school, in a university or college environment. 


Says Cheyenne, “I had to bite the bullet and accept that I am still in school.” That sense of maturity is baked into the Teneo online learning experience, where students learn not just academic skills but life skills that stay with them long after they leave our school.