Khayelitsha Special School


About the school

Originally established in 2002 the school has 460 learners ranging from 6 to 8 years old.   These children , primarily intellectually disabled and hampered by learning disabilities often have secondary problems such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy , syndromes as well as developmental delays. The school holistically addresses the academic, social, and emotional needs of students with complex learning disabilities and learning differences. They also take learners who have never been to school but the parents must produce medical referral reports so as to make sure  that they fit into their selection criteria.

What they offer:

Life skills

The most basic of functional skills are those skills that we usually acquire in the first few years of life: walking, self feeding, self toileting, making simple requests. Children with developmental disabilities (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and significant cognitive or multiple disabilities, often need to have these skills taught through breaking them down,  and the use of applied behaviour analysis. It also requires that the educator/practitioner do appropriate task analysis in order to teach the specific skills.

The educators at Khayelitsha special school are trained in this respect and they go out of their way to understand all learning styles .The school makes the most of its surroundings by offering an academic curriculum which incorporates gardening , art appreciation, hospitality, cultural music and dance as well as sports.

Support team

The school counsellor handles admissions and discharges of  learners in collaboration with psychologists of Metro-pole east education district. Learners are counselled regarding personal and scholastic problems, social issues as well as job opportunities. They also offer guidance to parents, teachers and coordinate the functioning of the multidisciplinary team at the school .

There is one physiotherapist at the school. Providing rehabilitation by means of reducing pain restores mobility, reduces need for long term medication or expensive surgery, restore function and promote optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and function. The physiotherapist also educates the learners, parents and educators about various conditions and how to manage them as well as prevent further damage.

There are two occupational therapists available at the school. They render services to learners from 6-18 years old. Occupational therapy is aimed ar the treatment of learners with physical , developmental and or learning disorders through purposeful, graded activities, modification of equipment or methods and prevocational training to promote independence in activities of daily living, enable learners to participate in school activities and most importantly prepare them for life after school.They also have one speech therapist who strives to adopt a holistic treatment approach.

Since most of the learners are susceptible to illness as a result of their particular problems the registered nurse is available to assist learners in need of medical care and supervision , to help monitor the regular use and effectiveness of medication and to liaise with educators , medical professionals and parents.


Khayelithsa special school  has a holistic approach to disability and each child is treated as an individual. They believe that every child has individual learning abilities depending on his/ her disability. This school has a good curriculum based on a variety of offerings / tools to service its students.

Considering its location the school has a low student-teacher ratio, although it would be considered high under normal circumstances. This is a government facility and has a total of 466 learners and each class has about 18 students. The school fees are very affordable.

The infrastructure of the school has not been adapted appropriately to accommodate the needs of the learners and this is vital to ensure the smooth running of the school. The entire school grounds need a lot of work . There are 39 educators , 15 teaching assistants ,3 therapists, 2 administrators. There is a high student teacher ratio 1:18. Such  schools need low student teacher ratios  so as to serve all types of learning disabilities, so that when students struggle in more than one area , the students learning experience is enhanced by specialized attention from a trained teacher.

Overall we would recommend it although a lot can still be done to improve the school as well as the learning experience for the learners.

Contact Details:

Telephone Number: 082 206 1273
Address: Makabeni Road Khayelitsha.
P.O Box 231 Mitchell’s Plain, 7789 

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