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Gauteng’s most sought-after schools
Top row: Boksburg High School (Boksburg, Ekurhuleni), Hoerskool Akasia (Akasia, Tshwane) and Mondeor High School (Mondeor, Johannesburg) are the three Gauteng high schools that received the most applications for the 2018 grade 8 intake after the first online registration period. Bottom row: Phumlani Secondary School (Katlehong, Ekurhuleni), Ribane-Laka Secondary (Mamelodi East, Tshwane), and Forte Secondary (Dobsonville, Johannesburg) are the three no-fee schools that received the most applications and had reached their capacity by November 1. Pics: Google Earth

We all want our children to go to good schools, right? And, let’s face it, some schools are way better than others. Who wants to send their seven-year-old to a school with broken toilets and no sports fields?

And when it comes to high schools, we want our teenagers to get the best chance of passing Grade 12 in a school that has properly stocked science labs, computers and class sizes small enough for teachers to handle.

But what if you can’t get your child into the school you want?

On November 1, when Gauteng’s online registration system opened for late applications for grades 1 and 8 for the 2018 school year, I took a look to see which public school options were available for my youngest, who’s starting high school in 2018. Not one of the four high schools near to where I live, and to which I’d choose to send my child, had places available.

In fact, by November, 402 schools had “received applications beyond their capacity” and were not available for late applications, Panyaza Lesufi, the head of Gauteng’s Education Department (GDE), said in a media statement when the online registration system opened again for late applications.

The GDE posted a PowerPoint document entitled High pressure areas and schools. Schools that are not available for late applications on its website. There were 457 schools on the list, but three of the schools were listed twice, and there were a couple of mistakes in the numbering so altogether there were 451 not-available schools on the list – 248 primary schools, 201 high schools and two “combined schools”. You can see where all the full schools are in an interactive map at the end of this story.

Big demand for a small number of high schools

The most striking thing about the department’s list of “full schools” is how a small number of high schools seem to have received a huge number of applications for grade 8.

According to Lesufi, by 1 November, 98,928 of next year’s grade 8s had been placed in a school. Incredibly, 40,292 applications – 40% of the number that have been placed – were submitted to just 34 high schools.

Each of those high schools received more than 1,000 applications for grade 8. The combined capacity of those 34 schools was just over 8,300, according to the GDE. So more than 20,000 parents who applied to one of those schools at the beginning of this year would have been turned down and their child offered a place in another school.

There are 616 high schools listed on Gauteng’s latest available masterlist, so those 34 really popular schools are just 5% of the high schools.

What’s also interesting is that all these schools, except for one, are fee-paying schools. Phumlani Secondary in Katlehong is the only school that isn’t a former Model C school and it’s the only one that’s a no-fee school.

These are the 34 Gauteng high schools that got more than 1,000 applications for grade 8:

School Suburb Municipality No. of applicants Capacity No-fee/
fee-paying?
Boksburg High School Boksburg Ekurhuleni 1563 420 Fee-paying
Hoerskool Akasia Akasia Tshwane 1525 240 Fee-paying
Mondeor High School Mondeor Johannesburg 1515 360 Fee-paying
Pretoria High School for Girls Arcadia Tshwane 1512 343 Fee-paying
Alberton High School Alberton Ekurhuleni 1473 175 Fee-paying
Sir John Adamson High School Winchester Hills Johannesburg 1422 320 Fee-paying
Hoerskool President Ridgeway Johannesburg 1350 360 Fee-paying
Northcliff High School Northcliff Ex 3 Johannesbur 1288 280 Fee-paying
Benoni High School Benoni Ekurhuleni 1285 335 Fee-paying
Hoerskool Gerrit Maritz Pretoria North Tshwane 1251 200 Fee-paying
Germiston High School Germiston Ekurhuleni 1226 245 Fee-paying
Edenvale High School Edenvale Ekurhuleni 1198 303 Fee-paying
Lenasia Secondary School Lenasia Johannesburg 1182 240 Fee-paying
Rand Park High School Randpark Ridge Johannesburg 1154 300 Fee-paying
Krugersdorp High School Krugersdorp Johannesburg 1139 280 Fee-paying
Hoerskool Birchleigh Kempton Park Ekurhuleni 1137 315 Fee-paying
Hoerskool Langenhoven Capital Park Tshwane 1136 319 Fee-paying
Florida Park High School Florida Johannesburg 1110 315 Fee-paying
Pretoria Boys’ High School Brooklyn Tshwane 1104 320 Fee-paying
Parktown Girls’ High School Parkview Johannesburg 1094 210 Fee-paying
Jeppe High School for Girls Kensington Johannesburg 1082 207 Fee-paying
Sunward Park High School Boksburg Ekurhuleni 1078 385 Fee-paying
Edenglen High School Edenvale Ekurhuleni 1072 280 Fee-paying
King Edward VII High School Houghton Johannesburg 1071 244 Fee-paying
Hoerskool Suiderlig Vanderbijlpark Sedibeng 1064 200 Fee-paying
Willowmore High Benoni Ekurhuleni 1046 256 Fee-paying
Jeppe High School for Boys Kensington Johannesburg 1035 223 Fee-paying
Rand Meisieskool-Girls School Parktown Johannesburg 1033 255 Fee-paying
The Glen High School Waterkloof Glen Tshwane 1033 237 Fee-paying
Bryanston High School Bryanston Johannesburg 1027 207 Fee-paying
Sutherland High School Centurion Tshwane 1027 271 Fee-paying
West Ridge High School Roodepoort Johannesburg 1025 315 Fee-paying
Queens High School Bez Valley Johannesburg 1023 290 Fee-paying
Phumlani Secondary School Katlehong Ekurhuleni 1012 210 No-fee
Popular primary schools

In contrast to the high schools, only three primary schools got more than 1,000 applications each for grade 1 by November: Laerskool Akasia, Laerskool Theresapark and Bryanston Primary School.

These are the 20 Gauteng primary schools that had received the most applications for grade 1 by November 2017:

School Suburb Municipality No. of applicants Capacity No-fee/ Fee-paying
Laerskool Akasia Akasia Tshwane 1339 200 Fee-paying
Laerskool Theresapark Theresapark Tshwane 1080 180 Fee-paying
Bryanston Primary School Bryanston Johannesburg 1011 120 Fee-paying
Hamilton Primary School Pretoria Central Tshwane 897 97 Fee-paying
Laerskool Silverton Silverton Tshwane 877 301 Fee-paying
Alberton Primary School Alberton Ekurhuleni 837 160 Fee-paying
Mondeor Primary School Mondeor Johannesburg 787 160 Fee-paying
Alston Primary School Germiston Ekurhuleni 786 280 Fee-paying
Laerskool Oos-eind Sunnyside Tshwane 755 237 Fee-paying
Arcadia Primary School Arcadia Tshwane 753 102 Fee-paying
Alberview Primary School Randhart Ekurhuleni 748 160 Fee-paying
Selcourt Primary School Springs Ekurhuleni 746 200 Fee-paying
Florida Primary School Florida Johannesburg 738 160 Fee-paying
Germiston South Primary school Germiston Ekurhuleni 713 200 Fee-paying
Constantia Kloof Primary School Roodepoort Johannesburg 712 160 Fee-paying
Meredale Primary School Meredale Johannesburg 708 160 Fee-paying
Laerskool Danie Malan Pretoria North Tshwane 699 194 Fee-paying
Laerskool Rachel De Beer Pretoria North Tshwane 686 223 Fee-paying
Horzon View Primary School Roodepoort Johannesburg 684 160 Fee-paying
Laerskool Meyerspark Meyerspark Tshwane 670 207 Fee-paying

According to Lesufi, 123,450 grade ones and 98,928 grade eights had been placed in a school by November. But that’s only 77% of the 285,834 learners who applied before November. That means more than 60,000 learners who had applied early had yet to be placed in a school.

There’s a lesson in this for parents: if you want to get your child into the school of your choice, apply early.

The interactive map below shows where the schools that were full by November 2017 are (red dots), and where those that were therefore likely to still be open for late applications (yellow dots). Hover over the dots and zoom in to explore the schools yourself.

 

Passmark was made possible by funding from the
Taco Kuiper Fund for Investigative Journalism at Wits University.