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Ruffled feathers over school admissions

Johannesburg - The announcement of the start of the 2014 public school campaign by Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy on Monday has been met with mixed emotions, with threats of a go-slow by the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

Creecy said parents could start picking up 2014 application forms for Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners in Gauteng.

File photo: Parents queue up at a primary school in Fordsburg as they try to register the children. Picture: Itumeleng English. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Schools would accept applications from April 17 to May 21, 2013.

“There will be provision made for late registration where a family has an unforeseen need for a place in a Gauteng school.”

Creecy said starting the admissions in the second term would ensure all schools were ready to operate from the first day of the next schooling year.

“Knowing the number of learners coming to schools in 2014 enables us to prepare early for school infrastructure, learner- and teacher-support material, and furniture,” she said.

Creecy also said that by June this year, 13 new schools would have been opened, and a further nine were still under construction in preparation for next year.

Among those who were not happy with the government’s plan was Melanie Buys, from the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools.

Buys said the school governing bodies (SGBs) had been informed, not consulted, over the time frames for the application process – a situation she said was not ideal.

This was reiterated by Kathy Callaghan, from the Governors’ Alliance, who said her organisation had raised numerous concerns about the early start but that these had not been addressed.

The Star has seen a letter written by Matthew Scott-Wilson, chairman of the Governors’ Alliance, addressed to the Gauteng Department of Education, stating that bringing application dates forward has no benefit to the process.

“We still had unplaced learners in mid-January 2013 being foisted on schools,” he said.

The National Association of Parents in School Governance, however, supported early registration, saying it would help early sourcing of teachers and material.

Matakanye Matakanye, secretary for the National Association of School Governing Bodies, urged support for the MEC’s plan.

About the threats of a go-slow, Sadtu said it had not consulted with governing bodies.

Documents required when applying for a school place

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