3 579 extremely late applications for Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners received | Western Cape Government


3 579 extremely late applications for Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners received

16 February 2024

We have been hard at work since before schools reopened to find places for learners in the 2024 school year, and to complete our extensive infrastructure programme to create additional places.

The massive current financial year R716.4 million blow to our overall budget last year came at a time when we needed the funds to build more schools and employ more teachers, as admissions demands ramped up.

Equally damaging was the uncertainty created by the collapse of the national budget process, which meant that we could not enter into contracts or start building projects until late last year when the adjustment budget was announced.

Despite these tremendous challenges, our officials and contractors have been hard at work to deliver new schools and additional classrooms at great speed.

So far, we have completed 255 additional classrooms. Learners are already in class at brand new schools in Belhar, Kwanokuthula, Fisherhaven, Saldanha, Hout Bay and Macassar. New classrooms have been added to existing schools across the province, where demand for placement is highest.

We have a further 317 classrooms currently in construction at new and existing schools, with delivery dates starting from the end of the month.

Since we secured an interdict against disruptions at the construction site of two new schools at Blueridge Sports Grounds, we have been making steady progress toward delivering the first phase later this year.

Construction of Lwandle Primary School is also back on track, and we are hoping to have this completed with 8 classrooms before the second term begins, barring any further delays.

As extremely late applicants arrive, we are determining where we need to redirect resources to accommodate them.

We appreciate the incredible work that our infrastructure team, district officials, schools and contractors are doing in very trying conditions. Many of them skipped their end of year holidays to accelerate completion of classrooms for the new year, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Admissions update

As of 15 February 2024, we have resolved 124 808 or 99.6%, of the unique Grade 1 and Grade 8 placement applications for the 2024 school year, and are in the process of placing 529, or 0.4%, of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for the 2024 school year.

It is important to note that the majority of the cases where placement is still in progress are extremely late applicants.

As such, we must consider applications in three groups:

  • Applications received on time before the deadline;
  • Late applications received after the deadline but before the end of 2023; and
  • Extremely late applications received since the start of this year.

On-time applicants (applied up to 14 April 2023):

Placement is in progress for 25 Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for whom applications were received on time.

These learners are being prioritised at present, but we are facing a challenge with their parents being uncontactable.

We appeal to parents to alert us of any changes to their contact details, so that we can contact them with offers of placement as soon as spaces become available.

Late applicants (applied after 14 April 2023 but before 31 December 2023):

Placement is in progress for 133 of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for whom applications were received after the deadline for applications passed, but before the end of 2023.

We also face problems with contacting these parents, and again urge parents to ensure that the district office has their updated details.

Extremely late applicants (applied from 1 January 2024 onwards):

Over the past few weeks, our department has been inundated with brand new, extremely late applications.

We have received new, extremely late applications for 3 579 Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners since 1 January 2024 for the 2024 school year.

We have already placed 3 208 of these applicants, and placement is in progress for 371 of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for whom applications were received extremely late.

These applications pose a great challenge, as they are arriving daily in an unpredictable pattern, so we are constantly chasing a moving target.

We ask for patience as we make progress in placing these extremely late applicants. They have arrived without warning, and we cannot predict where and when these late applicants will arrive. This has made planning our resource allocation in advance extremely difficult.

It will take some time to redirect resources to cater for these learners, and this is currently underway. We have also printed resource packs for late applicants and provided these to the district offices.

Our officials and schools have done a phenomenal job under extreme pressure to make sure that they find a place for every child.

We are leaving no stone unturned in our effort to place every learner, and we will continue to work to finalise placement for all remaining learners.

We understand that the placement process can cause frustration for parents, and we ask for their patience and assure them that we are doing everything we can to find places for learners as quickly as possible.

Media Enquiries: 

Kerry Mauchline
Spokesperson to Minister David Maynier
Western Cape Ministry of Education