As stipulated in the South African Schools Act of 1996, all children between the ages of 7 and 15 are compelled to attend school. Parents and guardians should ensure that all learners of this age are registered to go to school and that their children attend school regularly.
It is the responsibility of every parent and guardian to ensure that their children are registered for the following year, well before the end of the current school year. Parents may register children who are supposed to start school next year, near their home or workplace between April and October of each year. It is however important to check the registration deadlines of individual provinces.
According to the Admission Policy for Ordinary Public Schools:
The admission age of a learner to a public school to—
- Grade R is age four turning five by 30 June in the year of admission;
- Grade 1 is age five turning six by 30 June in the year of admission.
The principal of the school must give a parent/guardian the admission policy of the school and explain it. A public school may not administer any test for admission to a school.
Documents that are needed when making an application include the:
- Birth certificate (Note that baptismal certificates will not be regarded as proof of birth date)
- Immunisation card; and
- Transfer card or last school report card for learners who have been to school previously.
Additional documents required if one is not a South African citizen are:
- Study Permit
- Temporary or permanent residence permit from the Department of Home Affairs; or
- Evidence that you have applied for permission to stay in South Africa
Public school or independent school?
You are free to choose whether to register your child at a public school or at an independent school. Public schools are state controlled and independent schools are privately governed. Independent schools must be registered with the Provincial Education Department. Public schools must be established by the MEC for education in the province.
You can check with the Provincial Education Department if the school you wish to enrol your child in is registered before you make any registrations and payments.