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

SchoolLERNumber of learners
Ogwini Comprehensive21.02 998
Sinethezekile Combined School33.12 552
Enkululekweni Primary School33.92 268
Thamela Primary School31.42 259
Mthonjeni Primary School30.22 054
Lovu Primary School36.22 028
Esididini Primary School32.61 986
Groutville High School23.31 953
Carl Malcomess High School30.31 937
Nonhlevu Secondary School30.21 841


SchoolLERNumber of learners
Palmridge Secondary School36.12 596
Kwadukathole Comprehensive School93.22 424
Kanana Primary30.72 394
Mampudi Primary School34.92 306
Ebomini Primary School31.82 289
Johannesburg Polytech Institute (Independent)252.32 271
Tembisa Secondary School26.72 214
Kaalfontein Primary School32.92 139
Curro Thatchfield (Independent)261.12 089
Basa Tutorial Institute (Independent)75.02 026