In 2022, Western Cape school admissions opened on Monday, 14 March and will close on Friday, 15 April. I’ve rounded up the most frequently asked questions to guide you on how to apply for your child’s high school in 2023.
Note that I have just gone through this entire process with my own son, Noah this year. We’ve attended a handful of Open Days and I did thorough research on the topic for my latest piece as featured in News24 / Parent24: Your complete National High School Application Guide. For the article, I interviewed several Admissions Secretaries as well as the National Department of Education to get the ‘inside scoop’. I will be completing the exclusive feature series in due course.
Personally, I love Wynberg Boys, Rondebosch and Westerford. I can’t comment on the girls schools, obviously. Noah has sat for several exams and interviews for both music and academic scholarships so I’ve really had experience in several application departments. I’m also a class rep / link for the current grade 7’s at our school, so I’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions from moms.
Note that this article is intended for parents of current grade 7 learners in 2022 who are applying for high school placement for grade 8 in 2023.
How many schools must I apply to?
You SHOULD apply to a minimum of 6 high schools. While the WCED stipulates to apply to 3 schools, I highly recommend applying to at least 6. This is because the average school (in Cape Town) receives an average of 1500 applications for grade 8, and can only place an average of 180.
BUT REMEMBER: Some high schools have a priority to place their current grade 7s in the junior / primary schools. As an example, Rondebosch Boys High School only have about 50 external learners they can place as they take the grade 7s from Rondebosch Boys Primary. They also have an obligation to Old Boys and siblings. So your chances of getting in to some schools are actually 1 in 30 or a 3.3% chance. Please apply to as many schools as possible.
I’m not saying this to stress you out. When you apply on the WCED system, a notification pops up to tell you that you’ve applied to a school with a high demand. It will then prompt you to apply to more schools.
For personal reference, I applied to 7 schools. The WCED portal does allow you to apply to schools in order of preference. I’m pretty sure that a school can see if they’re your first choice.
How do I apply?
Government schools will ONLY receive applications through the WCED online portal this year. This means that you need to apply HERE (https://admissions.westerncape.gov.za/admissions/login) until 15 April.
NOTE: Some private schools (following the IEB or Cambridge curricula) will require that you submit with both the WCED and with them.
Also, some government / public schools / DBE curriculum will allow you to email or drop off supporting documents such as copies of academic certificates. You should check the admissions page for each school you’re applying to for confirmation.
What documents do I need to submit with my application?
Parents and guardians MUST upload the following documents:
- The last official school Report Card | Results of the learner, for learners who have been to school.
- ID | Birth certificate | passport of the learner; OR
A study permit (foreign learners); OR
Proof of application (study permit) or a police affidavit
- Proof of residence
(Note that you will have to supply certified, physical copies of these documents WITHIN 7 DAYS should your child be accepted at a school)
In what format should my documents be?
Your documents should be in pdf, jpg, jpeg or png format. If you only have physical / printed copies of your documents, then you can take them to an internet cafe or office to have them scanned and emailed to you. Below is a screenshot of the current online portal.
The Birth Certificate should be an Unabridged birth certificate which means that it has the name of both parents on it. The online system also requests that it has both parents’ details on it, including the ID numbers.
You can apply for your child’s South African unabridged birth certificate at your nearest Department of Home Affairs. In order to apply for your unabridged birth certificate, you will require the following documents: Copy of your ID document; Copy of your child’s abridged birth certificate/ your child’s ID number.
Does my child need to supply an immunisation card for high school applications?
This is not required on the WCED portal for high school applications, but I do recommend having your child vaccinated against potentially life-threatening illnesses such as tuberculosis and polio.
Note that it is a requirement for primary schools which might be relevant for siblings in this blog post.
Does my child need to be vaccinated against Covid for high school applications?
The WCED has not stated this as a requirement, but you can have children over 12 years of age vaccinated against Covid-19. You can register your child HERE (https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/)
How do I find out if my child has been accepted to a school?
YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED via SMS or email on 27 MAY 2022! You can track your applications online, but the system will also display your results on 27 May.
Do NOT block places at schools. Wees lekker. Parents must confirm or decline their child’s school. Once accepted, you have 7 days to submit physical, certified copies of your supporting documents such as proof of residence and birth certificate.
How long do I have to accept an offered place at a school?
You have from 27 May to 17 June to make your decision. After 17 June, parents have 3 days to accept an offer at a school. Wees wakker.
What if my child did not get accepted to any schools?
You will find a full list of who to contact in your area HERE (https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/learner-enrolment-faq) or alternatively, you can contact the local WCED district office for advice.
For further info, please visit the WCED website via this link: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/admissions-202223
Lastly: good luck. I know it’s tough and stressful. I will be sharing more info on the process and sharing tips for current grade 6s on how to increase their chances for high school acceptance in 2024. I think it’s best to prepare our children by sharing the stats and demand for high school placement in 2023 to manage their expectations and prepare them for any chances of disappointment.
Sending love! xxx