Cape Town 120725- Most of the shops in town are closed.Picture Cindy6 waxa.Report

Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal school for gifted children in Assagay outside Durban was not registered with the provincial Education Department before its closure.

An attorney for Mary Young, the former principal of Verity Preparatory and College, confirmed on Sunday that it had not been issued with an Education Management Information System (Emis) number because a fifth and final signature was required on its application.

However, attorney Nicole Bradshaw maintained that the school was operating with the “knowledge and consent” of a department official who worked with independent schools.

Before that, the department had said that the school – which was established in 2009 – was in the process of registering.

It later conceded this meant it was not registered.

Under the South African Schools Act of 1996, it is law for independent schools to be registered with the relevant provincial department.

The school must meet requirements related to pupil enrolment, teacher qualifications, and the suitability of buildings and grounds.

Recently The Mercury reported on how, as owners of Verity Schools SA, Mark and Mary Young founded the school.

In the midst of a messy legal battle between the husband-and-wife team, the high school ceased to operate.

In a letter to parents, signed by Mark, he said he was evicted from his home and the school premises in March.

Parent Brendi Richards then told of how she was in a panic because thousands of rand in fees which she had paid in advance were not refunded, and she struggled to enrol her Grade 11 son at a new school.

Despite reports, Mark contended that liquidation was not under way.

Simon Lee, of the Independent Schools Association of SA (Isasa), cautioned that regardless of whether parents were satisfied with the quality of education at an unregistered school, it was vulnerable to being shut down by the department.

Isasa does not count any schools exclusively for gifted children among its members. - The Mercury