High School 2023: Everything you need to know to apply now

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School. Photo supplied
School. Photo supplied

Most parents find their child's Grade 7 year stressful. This is when parents are running around, trying to get their kids into a good high school of their choice.

We've put together this guide to assist parents for Grade 8 applications in 2022 for acceptance and placement in 2023.

School admissions open on different dates per province with varying application procedures and required documentation. We've rounded up the most frequently asked questions to guide you on how to apply for your child's high school in 2022.

Note: This guide is for parents whose children are currently in Grade 7 at a government / public school who follow the DBE curriculum. Different guidelines may apply for private schools following different or international curricula, such as IEB and Cambridge.

Read: What the proposed school admissions policy changes could mean for parents 

How many schools must I apply to?

You should apply to a minimum of three high schools, including the high school closest to you. This school would fall under what is considered your "catchment zone".

Even if you do not want to send your child to that particular school, the National Department of Education encourages this.

Note that your catchment zone is significant for Gauteng schools requiring proof of residence, while the Western Cape has not officially identified catchment zones for schools and schools do not require your proof of residence.

When do applications open?

To date, only two provinces have confirmed and thus issued formal communication to schools and districts. We will update this article as more dates are confirmed and released.

  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: 1 March and closes on 30 September
  • Western Cape: 14 March and closes on 15 April.

How do I apply?

There are only two provinces that require you to apply to multiple schools on a single platform. These are the Western Cape and Gauteng. All the other provinces need you to apply directly to the high schools of your choice.

Also read: Shortcomings and missed opportunities: A critical look at the draft school admissions policy 

Do not use

 Photo: Supplied/Natasha Clark.


The Gauteng Department of Education has not announced its application dates or exact process for 2023 admissions. We will update this guide once the information becomes available.

Once the dates are announced, parents can register and submit their applications on their website here. You will be able to register here.

Parents applying for a pupil's first placement in Grade 8 must use the GDE-Online Application Platform and submit the required documentation to the school.

An application for admission to a high school is subject to the particular school's admissions policy, The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 (as amended) and Gauteng's Regulations on Admission of Learners to Public Schools No. 4138 of 2001, as amended 18 March 2019.

Western Cape

Western Cape Government schools will ONLY receive applications through the WCED online portal this year. You need to apply here from 14 March 2022 onwards. 

Note: Some private schools will require that you submit with the WCED and with them. Also, some government / public schools 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. For further info, please visit the WCED website here.

Must see: 'Applying doesn't mean acceptance': What causes admission delays and how to appeal

Kwa-Zulu Natal & other provinces

You apply directly to the schools of your choice. Some high schools have online application forms on their website, and others will require that you hand in papers directly at the school.

It is essential to complete the forms thoroughly and attach ALL the relevant supporting documents. The school's Admissions Committee will assess your submitted application forms.

Should a pupil be accepted, their parents will receive an email confirming acceptance with the next steps. Please note that filling out an application form does not mean automatic approval.

WCED Online Application Portal

Photo: WCED Online Application Portal Supplied/Natasha Clark.

What documents do I need to submit with my applications?

Note that parents need to supply certified, hard copies of all uploaded documents once they are accepted at a school.  

For Western Cape:

  • The last official school Report Card | Results of the pupil, for learners who have been to school.
  • ID | Birth certificate | passport of the pupil; OR A study permit (foreign learners); OR Proof of application (study permit) or a police affidavit.
  • Acceptable proof of residence for either the parent or guardian where the pupil resides (e.g. Water and Lights account issued in the parent's name). 

For Gauteng & all others:

  • The last official school Report Card | Results of the pupil, for learners who have been to school.
  • ID | Birth certificate | passport of the pupil; OR A study permit (foreign learners); OR Proof of application (study permit) or a police affidavit.
  • Acceptable proof of residence for either the parent or guardian where the pupil resides (e.g. Water and Lights account issued in the parent's name).

Possible further requirements:

  • Acceptable Proof of Employment address of the parent.
  • Copies of parents' ID's.

Must read: Schools still turning away immigrant children

Do not use

Photo: Supplied/Natasha Clark.

In what format should my documents be?

For online applications, your documents should be in PDF format. If you only have physical/printed copies of your documents, you can take them to an internet café or office to have them scanned and emailed to you.

The Birth Certificate should be an Unabridged birth certificate which means that it has the name of both parents on it.

You can apply for your child's South African unabridged birth certificate at your nearest Department of Home Affairs.

To apply for the unabridged birth certificate, you will require the following documents: A copy of your ID document, a copy of your child's abridged birth certificate/your child's ID number.

Also see: Will children be denied admission to public school if not fully immunised?

Does my child need to supply an immunisation card for high school applications?

This is not required for high school applications, but it's recommended that your child be vaccinated against potentially life-threatening illnesses such as tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis and measles.

Does my child need to be vaccinated against Covid for high school applications?

This is not a requirement, but you can have children over 12 years of age vaccinated against Covid-19. You can register your child here.

How do I find out if my child has been accepted to a school?

Western Cape:

You can track your applications online. Do NOT block places at schools. Parents must confirm or decline their acceptance to a school.

You do so by tracking applications, OR you can hand in a letter or send an email to the relevant school to confirm your child's place. You MUST upload your accepted choice of school on the system.

For Gauteng & all others:

We do not have the details for Gauteng as yet, so please check with each school for their process and procedures. Ensure that your current contact information and cellphone number is updated at your child's school in Grade 7.

Do not use

Photo: Supplied/Natasha Clark. 

Must read: OPINION | 'This is counterproductive': Mask requirement should be dropped for schoolchildren

What if my child did not get accepted to any schools?

You can contact the National Department of Education here.

For Western Cape:

You will find a complete list of who to contact in your area here; get the local WCED district office for advice.

General Information:

1. Gauteng and Western Cape schools receive approximately 1 500 applications for Grade 8. Most schools can only place an average of 180.

2. KZN schools receive an average of 600 applications and can only seat an average of 200. Please apply to as many schools as possible to ensure that your child gets a place for Grade 8 2023.

3. Gauteng and other provinces work off a 'catchment zone', meaning that the residents in the area may get preference in applications.

4. The Western Cape has not identified catchment zones and instead prioritises children who meet their school's requirements.

5. Some schools may ask for a registration or application fee ranging from R50 - to R250 per application. Schools might also ask for an interview if they are interested in placing your child.

Schools might also ask for a deposit that needs to be paid immediately if your child is accepted. It's essential to ensure that you have some funds available for this process.

Wishing all our parents the best of luck! We will be sharing more articles on high school applications for 2023, so keep an eye on News24/parent.


Share your stories and questions with us via email at chatback@parent24.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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