10 Western Cape schools inundated with grade 8 applications

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Ten schools in the Western Cape are ranked as the most in demand, receiving thousands more applications for grade 8 learners. The popularity of the schools may be linked to good matric, the layout of the school and extracurricular programs.

Leading the pack is Claremont High, with over 4 000 applications for 103 spaces for a grade 8 class, followed closely by Spine Road High in Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats, with 4 000 applications while only 246 spaces are available.

Authorities say all learners will be placed, but unfortunately, it might not be at the school of their choice.

With the schools set to open this week, many will be starting their high school journey with uncertainty.

Ten schools in the province prove more popular than others in the race for space.

Previous and current learners at Spine Road say they can understand why.

“Academically, the school is very good; we have excellent teachers, 100%. They always strive and take their time to put the learners in place attitude-wise and the school has a lot of activity. Three years I did robotics in competitions and it was very good, actually, for the first time I was introduced robotics at school. The school is very nice and they support many extracurricular activities for learners. It is a good platform, especially for learners who want to do things like medicine or architecture and some schools do not support that. Like myself, I want to do that. Spine Road is a very nice school.”

The top ten schools are all in the Metro, receiving an average of 97 percent more applications than they can accommodate.

Western Cape Department of Education spokesperson Bronagh Hammond says the trend is not so different for Grades R and Grade 1 in several schools.

“I had a look at some of the figures; it looks like the Eerste River and Kuilsriver area are receiving a lot of applications but also you have a high school that receives a lot of applications. You got Luhlaza in Khayelitsha, which is receiving a lot of applications; you got Westerford because the school is known for its academic results. So, it varies and it depends on that community and the other extra mural activities and physical science and mathematics focus areas, there are a lot of factors at play.”

The department says they are usually inundated with more applications at the end of January, especially from learners migrating from other provinces.

It says it had planned to build 21 more schools but because of budget cuts, they can only build 10.