Premier College’s abrupt closure leaves parents stranded

Premier College. Picture: Good Maps

Premier College. Picture: Good Maps

Published Jan 11, 2024

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Cape Town - A little over a week before Premier College learners were preparing to return for the start of the academic year, the college informally broke the news via a WhatsApp group text that the college would not be reopening.

In the message sent on Monday at around 3 pm, the school stated that the college had been forced to close its doors “owing to the termination of the lease by the St Marks Church and the failure to secure alternative premises despite numerous attempts”.

Parents were then informed they could register learners at Focus College in Wynberg Stonefountain College in Athlone or “any other school of your choice”.

Speaking anonymously, an Athlone mother said her 16-year-old daughter was about to enter Grade 11 when they were informed of the closure.

“And I mean, a week before school opens, institutes are not even open yet to even apply at other schools. And I feel this was just a bit uncalled for,” she said.

The College was expected to reopen on January 17.

“Last year, there was a cleaner who used to work at the church, he told us that the school was closing. For months, we’ve been asking teachers if it is closing and they said ‘No, it's not’. And then when we went to go and fetch reports in December, we asked ‘Is school closing?’ and they told us in our faces ‘No, school isn't closing’,” she said.

“This is the year where you prepare for your studies and she’s got big dreams and to just put kids down like this, what about the matriculants of this year? What’s going to happen to them? A few of them are going to give up because I mean, to be stressed out like this and only a child.”

Attempts were made to reach the school but Cape Argus did not receive any response.

Gugulethu grandmother Sheila Magwashe’s grandson was preparing to start Grade 11 this year at the college. Magwashe was informed of the college’s closure through the same WhatsApp message sent in the group chat.

“It was at the last minute. Just nine days before the school reopens. Now I and the other parents are still struggling. We don't know where to go, will the kids be accepted?”

She said Monday was the first time she was informed of the closure.

“Normally I get messages almost every week or second week about school fees or things that are going on at the school but never told that they were going to close this year.”

On the reason given for the closure, she said: “It sounded funny, we don't accept that as an explanation.”

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