GDE Admissions: Navigating Schools of Specialisation and Combined Schools in Gauteng

When registering your child for school in Gauteng, you may come across the term “School of Specialisation”. These schools are a fantastic opportunity for learners with specific talents. In addition to this, parents also have the option to apply to combined schools. This article will explain what Schools of Specialisation are, and provide guidance on the application process for both Schools of Specialisation and combined schools through the GDE Admissions system.

What is a School of Specialisation?

A School of Specialisation is a school that focuses on a particular field such as academics, sports, arts and culture, or music. These schools are designed for learners who show specific talent and aptitude in their field of specialisation. As of now, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has 20 Schools of Specialisation which offer fields including:

  • Performing & Creative Arts
  • Engineering
  • Maths, Science & ICT
  • Commerce & Entrepreneurship
  • Sports

How to Apply to a School of Specialisation

Parents can apply to Schools of Specialisation through the GDE Admissions Online System. During the application process, select the “Schools of Specialisation” option. It’s important to note that applicants will be required to complete a Placement Test, which may include a written academic test, audition, or participation in a sporting trial. Only learners who pass these tests will be accepted into the school. Additionally, Schools of Specialisation do not use school feeder zones for placement, so you can apply even if you don’t live close to the school.

Understanding Combined Schools

Combined schools are educational institutions that offer both primary and secondary education. This could be an ideal choice for parents who prefer a continuous education experience for their children without changing schools.

Applying for Grade 1 and Grade 8 at a Combined School

Parents are allowed to apply for Grade 1 and Grade 8 at combined schools. If the school offers Grade 1, it will be listed on the GDE Admissions Online System, and the application process is the same as for any other school. For Grade 8, if the school’s name is not on the system, it is advisable to inquire directly from the school.

If Your Child is in Grade 7 in a Combined School

If your child is currently in Grade 7 at a combined school and you wish to apply for Grade 8, check if the school is listed on the GDE Admissions Online System for Grade 8 applications. If it is, you can apply through the system. However, if you want to apply to a different school, you can apply to any secondary or high school through the GDE Admissions Online System.


GDE Admissions provides parents with various options for specialized and combined education. By understanding the options and requirements of Schools of Specialisation and combined schools, parents can make informed decisions that best suit the talents and educational needs of their children.