Western Cape allocates over 120 000 places for grades 1 and 8

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Western Cape schools are full ahead of the start of the new education year. While still collating new information, the provincial department of education says it has placed over 99 percent of all learners. In early December, only 688 learners still needed to be placed. However, an influx of late applications is expected just before school starts next week.

Over 120 000 places have been allocated to learners for grades 1 and 8 for the 2024 school year.

During the online application period, which ran for a month between March and April last year, the department provided pop-up sites across the province to assist parents.

The district offices have been accepting walk-in applications since the online applications closed.

Around 18 000 new learners arrive in the Western Cape every year from outside the province.

An influx of new learners who have not applied yet is expected next week.

Western Cape Education Department Spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, says people are asked to be patient.

“We have indicated that our schools are full; that is the reality. Our schools are full now, so if you do want to apply in the Western Cape and you are only applying now, you will have to wait to be placed because obviously it takes time. It takes planning, and that’s the reality right now.”

Hammond says that with the immense budget cuts announced last year, the number of new builds needed to meet the ever-growing demand for placement had to be adjusted.

“It resulted in a large R716 million budget cut for the Western Cape Education Department. We went down from 21 schools that were being built to 10 new schools that are being built, but obviously, we are working extremely hard to ensure that those schools are up and running as soon as possible.”

Hammond says the extortion crisis in the building sector also hampered the construction of schools and it had to approach the courts for protection.

In high-demand areas, 496 extra classrooms have already been added to accommodate learners.

New figures around the demand for placement are expected later this week.