These are the biggest schools in every province in South Africa

While the average South African school has 470 learners attending, some 27 institutions in the country have in excess of 2,000 pupils – predominantly in the country’s most populated provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.

These are some of the stats made available by the Department of Basic Education in its Ordinary Schools Masterlist.

According to previous data compiled by independent data journalists at PassMark, South Africa’s median school size shows the massive disparity that exists between schools – something that is echoed across provinces.

Based on 2016 data, the median number of learners at SA schools is 412. That means that half of the almost 24,000 public schools on the South Africa (about 12,000 schools) have fewer than 412 pupils.

The lowest quartile has fewer than 200 learners, while the highest quartile has more than 720 – up to the highest number of learners at a school, which is 2,998 learners at Ogwini Comprehensive school in KwaZulu Natal.

Using data from the Department of Education, we have listed the 10 biggest “ordinary” schools (primary, senior and combine) in every province, as at the start of 2017 (the latest available data from the department).

According to the data, the average number of learners across all listed SA schools where data was provided (24,486 schools) was 468.

Learner-Educator Ratio

With such large numbers of learners, however, comes some educator issues – particularly when it comes to class sizes.

As part of the data collected by the department, the number of educators is also given, giving us insight in the average class sizes at these schools.

Class sizes are often a point of interest to parents, with smaller class sizes giving educators a better opportunity to pay more attention to learners.

Smaller class sizes are also a big draw point of private and independent school – though this comes at a price.

According to the Department of Basic Education, as of March 2018, the national average LER (Learner-Educator Ratio) for government primary schools was one teacher to every 35.2 students.

However this dropped to a national average of 27.7 students to a teacher at the secondary school level. The LER of each of the biggest schools listed below is also included.


KwaZulu Natal

School LER Number of learners
Ogwini Comprehensive 21.0 2 998
Sinethezekile Combined School 33.1 2 552
Enkululekweni Primary School 33.9 2 268
Thamela Primary School 31.4 2 259
Mthonjeni Primary School 30.2 2 054
Lovu Primary School 36.2 2 028
Esididini Primary School 32.6 1 986
Groutville High School 23.3 1 953
Carl Malcomess High School 30.3 1 937
Nonhlevu Secondary School 30.2 1 841

Gauteng

School LER Number of learners
Palmridge Secondary School 36.1 2 596
Kwadukathole Comprehensive School 93.2 2 424
Kanana Primary 30.7 2 394
Mampudi Primary School 34.9 2 306
Ebomini Primary School 31.8 2 289
Johannesburg Polytech Institute (Independent) 252.3 2 271
Tembisa Secondary School 26.7 2 214
Kaalfontein Primary School 32.9 2 139
Curro Thatchfield (Independent) 261.1 2 089
Basa Tutorial Institute (Independent) 75.0 2 026

Western Cape

School LER Number of learners
Bastion Primary School 23.2 1 900
Imperial Primary School 28.0 1 877
Ukhanyo Primary School 30.5 1 740
Liebenberg Primary School 27.1 1 737
Gene Louw Primary School 15.9 1 713
Itsitsa Primary School 34.9 1 710
Wesfleur Primary School 29.7 1 692
Parkdene Primary School (George) 26.4 1 690
Langeberg Secondary School 26.1 1 671
George Secondary School 24.1 1 666

North West Province

School LER Number of learners
Boitekong Combined 29.3 2 167
Promosa Primary School 29.7 1 781
Paardekraal Combined 31.3 1 753
Moitshoki Mofenyi Combined 40.4 1 698
Mphe-Bana Secondary School 32.4 1 653
Gontse Combined 37.3 1 640
Majakaneng Combined 35.5 1 633
Retlakgona Primary School 37.0 1 626
Diamantrif Combined 47.6 1 617
Odi Combined 40.0 1 598

Free State

School LER Number of learners
Unity Primary School 32.3 1 935
Matla Primary School 28.3 1 814
Kopanelang Thuto Primary School 34.2 1 779
Lemotso Primary School 34.7 1 771
Tjhebelopele Primary School 34.8 1 740
Iketsetseng Comprehensive Secondary School 25.0 1 723
Credo Primary School 33.4 1 701
Lehutso Primary School 32.0 1 696
Kegomoditswe Primary School 34.4 1 619
Letlotlo Primary School 29.2 1 608

Eastern Cape

School LER Number of learners
Khotso Junior School 58.0 2 030
Lehana Secondary School 25.3 1 925
Humansdorp Secondary School 20.6 1 916
Zamokuhle Combined 33.9 1 832
Idyoki Public School 21.1 1 814
Imbasa Public Primary School 32.7 1 801
Graslaagte Primary School 32.0 1 790
Alfonso Arries Primary School 39.8 1 749
Kwanoxolo Primary School 30.3 1 697
St John’s Road Primary School 36.0 1 619

Limpopo

School LER Number of learners
Northern Academy Secondary (Independent) 30.4 2 400
Tshivase Secondary School 25.9 2 249
Liivha Combined School 26.9 2 122
Mbilwi Secondary School 28.3 2 040
Jane Furse Comprehensive School 26.6 1 970
Makgoka High School 25.5 1 966
Thengwe Secondary School 24.0 1 897
W.M. Kgatla Primary School 41.6 1 789
Mahlasedi Primary School 34.8 1 703
Jim Chavani High School 30.6 1 655

Mpumalanga

School LER Number of learners
Ndela Secondary School 24.6 2 338
Osizweni Primary School 21.4 2 074
New Ermelo Primary School 32.3 2 068
Shapeve Primary School 22.3 1 960
Eikeboom Primary School 37.8 1 813
Siyafundza Primary School 29.9 1 732
Pine Ridge Combined School 38.3 1 722
Sakhisizwe Primary School 32.7 1 668
Mdumiseni Primary School 29.0 1 651
Jabulani Primary School 35.6 1 603

Northern Cape

School LER Number of learners
Vaal-Oranje Primary School 33.2 1 794
Bankhare-Bodiling Intermediate School 31.2 1 652
Deben Primary School 23.1 1 597
Wrenchville Primary School N/A 1 528
Kathu Primary School N/A 1 519
Westerkrim Primary School 29.8 1 519
!Xunkhwesa Combined School 26.4 1 503
Noord-Kaap Primary School 24.9 1 495
Die Kuil Primary School 25.1 1 429
Hantam Primary School 32.3 1 389

Read: It costs over R400,000 a year to attend South Africa’s most expensive school

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These are the biggest schools in every province in South Africa