The aim of this policy document is to promote and facilitate the admission of learners from any race to the school.  It reflects the democratic principles of the National Education Department to comply with its constitutional responsibility to ensure learners’ access to quality education.




The right to basic education and to equal access to educational institutions is not only contained in the Constitution, it is also included in the Education Bill that has been adopted by the Legislature.  Subject to the stipulations no learner may be refused access to a school on grounds of race, gender, origin (ethnic or social), religion, belief, colour, culture, provable inability to pay school fees, language or age.




  • According to this Act and any applicable act, every parent should let every learner that he or she is responsible for, attend a school from the first school day of the year such learner reaches the age of seven years, until the last school day of the year in which such learner reaches the age of fifteen or the ninth grade, whichever occurs first.


  • The Minister of Education determines through notice in the Government Gazette the ages of compulsory school attendance for learners with special educational needs.


  • Each member of the Executive Council should ensure that there is sufficient place in schools so that every child resident in his or her province can go to school as required by sub-sections.


  • If a member of the Executive Council cannot comply with the sub-sections, due to a lack of space at the date of the implementation of this Act, he or she should take steps to correct any such lack of space as soon as possible, and he or she should report to the Minister annually regarding the progress with this action.


  • If a learner who is subject to compulsory school attendance, according to the sub-sections, is not enroled at a school or fails to attend one, the head of the department can:


–  investigate the circumstances regarding the learner’s absence from


          –  take applicable steps to correct the matter; and

          –  at failing to effect such correction, direct a written notice to the parent of

  the learner demanding compliance with the sub-sections.


  • According to this Act and any other applicable act:


  • any parent who fails to comply with the sub-sections without sound

reason and after a written notice from the head of the department, is

guilty of an offence and at being found guilty, subject to a fine or prison

sentence for a period of no more than six months




  • any person who prevents a learner, who is subject to compulsory

attendance, from attending school, is guilty of an offence and at being found guilty, subject to a fine or a prison sentence for a period of no more than six months.





  • A head of department can exempt a learner fully, partially or conditionally from compulsory school attendance if it is in the best interest of the learner.


  • Each head of department should keep a register of the learners who are exempt from compulsory school attendance.




  • A public school should admit learners and serve their educational needs without any unfair discrimination.


  • A public school may not apply any test that relates to the the admission of a learner to a public school, or instruct or authorise the principal or any other person to apply such test.


  • No learner may be refused admission to a public school on grounds of his or her parent:


–  not being able or failing to pay school fees as determined by the governing

   body according to Section 39;

–  not subscribing to the mission of the school;

–  refusing to enter into a contract in terms of which the parent relinquishes

   any claim for damages that may result from the education of the learner.


  • The Minister can, in consultation with the Council of Education Ministers, by means of notice in the Government Gazette, determine age requirements for the admission of learners to a school or to different grades in a school.


  • According to this Act and any appplicable act, this admission policy of a public school is determined by the governing body of such school.


  • In the determining of the placement of a learner with special educational needs, the head of department and the principal should take into consideration the rights and wishes of the parents of such learner.


  • An application for admission of a learner to a public school should be addressed to the Education Department in a way determined by the head of the department.


  • If any application is refused according to any sub-section, the head of the department should notify the parents in writing of such refusal and the reason for it.


  • Any learner or parent who has been refused access to a public school, can lodge an appeal against the decision at the Member of the Executive Council.




Principals, in the first instance, and their deputy principals and staff members to whom authority has been delegated, should be responsible for the administration of admission to a school.  District directors should inform principals and/or other educational structures regarding the admission policy and the procedures that should be followed.  District coordinators should render continuous support to schools.  Principals, or groups of schools, may in cooperation with the district director organize themselves into Registration and Admission Committees in order to facilitate and organize the admission programme in their areas.  This should enable them to manage the admission of learners to their schools more effectively, as well as to monitor and verify the movement of learners between schools.




Learners who are currently registered at schools should in principle stay in the same school and therefore do not need to register annually.  Learners who wish to attend a specific school for the first time, should register before the end of the relevant year for the beginning of the following year.  All registrations should be completed by the tenth school day of the following year.


The following categories of learners should register:


  • learners who will turn seven in the relevant year 
  • learners of school age (between 7 and 15 years old) who have not registered yet
  • learners who are going to complete the highest grade in their current school and who will want admission to the following phase, e.g. from a primary to a secondary school, etc.
  • Learners who wish to be admitted to another school for other reasons, e.g. transfer of parents.




Principals and central registration offices should ensure that preference is given to learners from the school’s feeding area.  Transfer of learners from other schools should only be done if valid reasons are supplied for such transfers.




All documents, including IDs, birth certificates, transfer cards, reports, etc., should be checked and verified carefully before admission to a school is effected.




  • GRADE ONE:  A learner should not be admitted to a primary school unless he or she should reach the age of seven in the year of admission.
  • If the school holds the view that a learner is under the school age and no documentary proof to the contrary can be submitted, the principal may in consultation with the district office refuse the relevant learner admission to the school, while attention should be given to the official channels through which proper documentation can be obtained.
  • Learners of school age who have been out of school for a period of time, or who have not been attending school at all, or who are above the age for the specific grade, should be brought to the attention of the circuit manager.
  • Persons of 16 years and older who have never before attended school and who want to be admitted for the first time, should obtain permission from the head of education (or the person authorised by him or her), before they may be admitted to a school.




Learners with special educational needs (LSEN) should be admitted to the LSEN class only when they have been recommended for such class by an educational resource centre, and only after thorough and valid evaluation.




  • Learners who live in the natural feeding area of the school should be given preference.
  • If a learner lives within school A’s natural feeding area and that school’s capacity has already been exceded, such learner should be admitted to the next school nearest to him or her.
  • The home address as on the municipal water and electricity account of the parents who live within the natural feeding area of the school is regarded as the permanent residential address, only if the school has accommodation for the child.  An electricity and water account can also be requested as proof of residence.