Curro reports rising pupil numbers, despite Covid-19

Curro Foundation School in Roodeplaat, Kameeldrift North of Pretoria.
Curro Foundation School in Roodeplaat, Kameeldrift North of Pretoria.

Private school group Curro has reported a positive influx of new pupils despite Covid-19, though the pandemic has had an effect, particularly on its nursery schools.

The group said on Wednesday that the industry faced “structural changes”, and it would be converting  nursery schools to primary schools and assisted learning facilities to better utilise its facilities.

Learner numbers increased by 5% to 59,967 during the group’s half year to end-June, though the numbers declined in nursery schools, which are not a compulsory stage of schooling.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell 23% to 38.7c, or headline earnings of R160m. In the year-earlier period, the group had reversed a deferred tax liability of R53m.

Headline earnings is a widely used profit measure in South Africa, stripping out certain one-off items to give a better indication of underlying performance.

The group said that in June, when schools reopened, enrolments had exceeded the previous year, but collections were under pressure.

“Although the collection of school fees has seen some improvement from a low point reached in April 2020, it is still not at the same levels as per the pre-Covid-19 period,” the group said.

“It remains difficult to estimate the bad debt expense for the full year,” the statement read.

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