Extremely late applications for 3 391 learners received since 1 January 2023
The Western Cape Education Department has been hard at work since before schools reopened to complete infrastructure for new learners in 2023, and to find places for all the new applicants we are receiving daily.
We have delivered all 662 classrooms scheduled to be completed by 31 January 2023 on time. This includes our Rapid School Build projects, such as Saxonsea Junior High School which was constructed in just 65 working days!
The remainder of the 842 classrooms announced last year are on track for delivery by the 31 March 2023 deadline.
Our officials, government partners, contractors, communities, and schools, have done a fantastic job. It comes at great personal cost to many of them: they gave up their end-of-year holidays, working straight through in the best interests of our learners.
We cannot thank them enough, especially as they continue to deliver at an astounding rate.
Over and above the unprecedented 842 classrooms we committed to, we will deploy an additional 70 mobile classrooms to areas where the need for placement is greatest, and to cope with the challenge that extremely late applications pose.
Admissions update (data as of 6 February 2023)
As of 6 February 2023, we have resolved 120 485, or 98.8%, of the unique Grade 1 and Grade 8 placement applications for the 2023 school year, and are in the process of placing 1 476, or 1.2%, of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for the 2023 school year.
It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of the cases where placement is still in progress are new applicants who arrived this year.
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 2022; and
- Extremely late applications received since the start of this year.
Placement is in progress for just 22 Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for whom applications were received on time. The parents of these learners are either uncontactable, or have rejected the offer of placement.
It is absolutely critical that parents supply us with accurate, current contact details. We are now facing a situation where we have places to offer to parents, but cannot reach them. We appeal to all parents to make sure that they inform us when their contact details change.
Late applicants (received in 2022):
Placement is in progress for 129 of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for whom applications were received after the deadline for applications passed, but before the end of 2022. The majority of these were received in November and December 2022.
These learners are being prioritised at present. Unfortunately, some of the parents of these learners are also unreachable, even when we have places to offer for their children.
Extremely late applicants (received in 2023):
Over the past few weeks, our department has been inundated with brand new, extremely late applications.
We have received new, extremely late applications for 3 391 Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners since 1 January 2023 for the 2023 school year.
We have already placed 2 066 of these applicants, and placement is in progress for 1 325 of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for whom applications were received extremely late.
These applications pose a great challenge for the Department, 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 where the new applicants arrive. Online support links have been sent to parents for additional reading and home learning, while placement is finalised.
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.