By Ilse Fredericks

Fifteen Western Cape schools have earned a place on a list of 100 top South African schools.

Called the Circle of Excellence, the list contains 31 Gauteng schools and 27 KwaZulu-Natal schools, including Hilton College.

The 15 Western Cape schools are Bergvliet High, Bishops Diocesan College, The Centre of Science and Technology (Cosat); Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt, DF Malan High, Herschel Girls' School, Livingstone High, Paul Roos Gymnasium, Rondebosch Boys' High, Rustenburg High School for Girls, SACS, St Cyprian's School, Settlers High, Tygerberg High and Westerford High.

About 15 schools were also honoured by the Western Cape Education Department in 2008 for their excellent performance in the 2008 National Senior Certificate exams.

The 100 schools were identified by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

Schools that had excelled in education and consistently delivered successful candidates for the Allan Gray Fellowship Programme were selected.

Anthony Farr, the foundation's CEO, said finding the institutions had not been easy.

"A concerning reality of the secondary school system in South Africa is the relatively small pockets of educational excellence that exist," Farr said.

He pointed out, however, that the number of schools on the list had increased from 73 schools in 2008 to 100 in 2009.

Joh Dorfling, principal of DF Malan High, said she was proud of the school's achievement.

"We are very happy and excited about it," Dorfling said.

SACS headmaster Kenneth Ball said the school was very pleased to be recognised by the foundation.