How to Apply at South African Schools in 2025: Public and Private

How to Apply at South African Schools in 2025: Public and Private.

Applying for schools in South Africa can seem like a daunting task, especially when considering the varying requirements across different provinces and the distinct processes for private institutions. This guide aims to simplify the process, providing you with a roadmap for public and private school applications across South Africa.

Public Schools: Understanding Provincial Requirements


  • Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) Admissions Online: For public schools in Gauteng, applications are made through the GDE’s online admissions portal. Parents need to register an account, fill in the necessary details, and select their preferred schools. It’s crucial to apply within the designated application period, usually announced on the GDE website and through media outlets.

Western Cape

  • Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Online Admissions: Similar to Gauteng, the Western Cape has an online system for school applications. Parents should visit the WCED’s online admissions website, complete the application process, and submit the required documents. Deadlines are strictly enforced, so keep an eye on the WCED announcements.


  • Direct School Applications: KwaZulu-Natal does not currently have a centralized online application system for public schools. Parents need to apply directly at the school of their choice, typically starting from March to the end of the school year. Required documents include the child’s birth certificate, proof of residence, and the parent’s ID.
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Other Provinces

For other provinces like Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and North West, the application process is more traditional, requiring parents to apply directly at schools. While some provinces are moving towards online systems, it’s best to contact the local education department or the school directly for the most accurate and current application procedures.

Private Schools: A Different Approach

Research and Shortlisting

  • Start Early: Begin your research at least a year in advance. Private schools have different admissions criteria and deadlines. Visit school websites, attend open days, and read prospectuses to understand what each school offers and expects from applicants.

Application Process

  • Application Forms: Once you’ve shortlisted schools, the next step is to fill out application forms. These are usually available on the school’s website or by contacting the admissions office directly.
  • Supporting Documents: Submit the required documents, which typically include the child’s birth certificate, latest school report, and sometimes, recommendation letters from previous teachers.
  • Entrance Assessments: Many private schools require entrance exams or assessments to evaluate academic levels, aptitude, and sometimes, compatibility with the school’s ethos. These can range from written tests to interviews or both.
  • Application Fees: Be prepared to pay a non-refundable application fee for each school you apply to. Fees vary widely, so check with each school.

Financial Considerations

  • Tuition Fees and Scholarships: Understand the cost of tuition and additional fees. Many private schools offer scholarships and bursaries based on academic merit, talent in sports or arts, or financial need. Inquire early about these opportunities as they often have separate application processes and deadlines.
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Final Thoughts

Whether applying to public schools across South Africa’s provinces or navigating the private school sector, the key is to start early, stay organized, and adhere to deadlines. Each province and private school has its own set of rules and timelines, making it crucial to gather information directly from reliable sources. By planning ahead and following each step carefully, you’ll increase your child’s chances of securing a spot in your school of choice, setting them on a path to educational success.

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