Everyone in South Africa – whether they are South African or not – has a right to a basic education. Policies also say that a government school must admit learners without discriminating against them. You can read more about this here.
Steps you can take
Here are steps you can take when enrolling your child in school:
Enrol your child for a place at school. You should start this in August in the year before your child enters school.
If you are in the Western Cape, you must enrol your child online: click here to start. If you are in Gauteng, click here to start. In some provinces, you must go to the school that you want your child to enrol in and get application forms.
If you are having difficulty with this, we advise that you contact your local education office. Find your nearest office here. You can also contact our Scalabrini Advocacy Whatsapp line on 0782603536.
If you have enrolled your child for school online, you must follow up on this application. The education department should send an SMS to you, but we advise that you check up on your application regularly. You should get an update about your application in the middle of June. If you have not submitted an application online, the school might contact you directly, but we advise you to follow up with the school directly.
If your child is not enrolled in any of the schools because the schools are too full, you must try to get the child into other schools. To do this we advise that you we suggest contacting your local education office. The local education office may have a list of available spaces in other schools. Find your nearest office here. You can also go directly to other schools and ask them for advice on whether they are open to applications. You can also contact our Scalabrini Advocacy Hotline on 0782603536 for advice.
If you are told that your child cannot enrol in school because your child does not have documentation in South Africa, or needs additional documentation, then you must give the school the Department of Education Circular 1 of 2020. To do this, you can download the Circular and print it. Take it to the school with a clinic card, birth certificate, or an affidavit about your child’s identity.
The Circular says that your child can be registered at a school with any document showing their identity. This could be a clinic card, or a birth certificate, or even an affidavit made at a police station by you as the child’s parent or caregiver. Contact the Scalabrini Centre’s Advocacy Whatsapp Line for more information and assistance on 0782603536.
If you, as the parent or caregiver, do not have documents in South Africa, contact the Advocacy Whatsapp Line on 0782603536 for further information about the processes that you may need to follow with the Department of Home Affairs.