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The journey through SA schools

Each year more than 1 million new pupils start their formal schooling in grade 1. Over the next 12 years the numbers will drop off as many fail or leave school. Eventually around half of those children who started grade 1 will have reached grade 12. While the decline in numbers is mostly consistent between grades there is an exception: grade 10. Many pupils seem to reach and then remain their for a while, probably repeating the grade a few times. Many of them drop out entirely so the numbers of students in grade 11 and 12 plummet.

In the table below you can view the number of pupils enrolled in each grade from 2007 to 2022. If you hover or click on a block you can see the progression for that cohort from the earlier grades onwards.

Hover or click on the table to see how many students progress.

 
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
Gr 1
1172659
1122114
1105186
1116899
1177089
1208973
1222851
1235901
1244208
1208992
1186829
1163477
1150672
1142573
1118607
1083190
Gr 2
1051255
1031821
1003071
994410
1003353
1074788
1116427
1149894
1164050
1182132
1141325
1117527
1124343
1114489
1109319
1100624
Gr 3
1067684
1017656
1003394
972668
957209
967373
1025185
1073447
1106895
1118913
1124312
1102908
1095221
1103834
1098434
1093526
Gr 4
1091594
1050860
1018450
1002645
974860
966349
964630
1036378
1088804
1126126
1130949
1145084
1153845
1145307
1127877
1112643
Gr 5
1036163
1043012
1007928
978983
957203
939025
923562
929735
979360
1025674
1046370
1060638
1089050
1091826
1097094
1087311
Gr 6
1002266
1001852
1011105
978016
946427
935446
909095
804517
800799
947015
978130
1017602
1038271
1063717
1073761
1073524
Gr 7
896545
964345
969519
980747
941291
912528
902099
875311
884994
899622
924167
960151
1017848
1040722
1062877
1072712
Gr 8
930522
926603
989609
1001180
1008110
971509
942345
935624
931766
952628
971367
995994
1057640
1108205
1096255
1127946
Gr 9
958009
902656
925417
1009327
1049904
1096113
1073060
1048823
950512
905066
894113
820836
930960
982574
1038850
1022822
Gr 10
1116765
1076527
1016360
1039762
1094189
1103495
1146285
1139872
1112604
1104749
1075925
1033799
1045424
1104452
1081618
1148437
Gr 11
920716
902752
880515
841815
847738
874331
834611
897342
928983
901097
892784
862009
861035
867783
954069
928050
Gr 12
626358
595216
599626
579384
534498
551837
597196
571819
687230
704533
661116
643802
640714
628190
750478
775630

The progression of children through school is more obvious in the chart below. The pattern of steady decline in grade numbers runs until grade 10 when it rises sharply. This is where some learners get "stuck". Many of them will drop out of school at this point and the grade 11 and 12 numbers drop by around 30% from their grade 10 peak.

This has been a consistent pattern for many years. In 2018 we took a closer look at this pattern and how it converted to tertiary education and future prospects.

Hover or click on the chart for more detail.