An expert shares the legal steps you can take if your child gets turned down by schools

Most parents are in tune with the new system of school applications happening earlier in the year, before the child goes to school. But what do you do when your child still gets rejected after you've followed all instructions?

A Parent24 reader reached out to us recently with this very problem, and we approached an expert on her behalf, to clear things up.

Here's the question - scroll down for the answer:

Good day,
I'm a 27-year-old mom and I'm so stressed about what I'm going to do with my son next year, because all three schools that I have applied to rejected him.
Two schools said it's full, then the last said I didn't send all documents, but I did it all online.

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Hello Anonymous,

Although you do not mention which grade or Province this admission is for, I am presuming it is for Grade 1, Western Cape, as Gauteng apparently has not yet started placing according to their call center adviser.

Even though the schools have indicated that they are “full” you have a right to appeal the decision of the school. In terms of SASA Section 5(9), any learner or parent of a learner who has been refused admission to a public school may appeal to the MEC against the decision. This has to be done in writing to the School Governing Body and the MEC (Member of the Executive Council – of your provinces Department of Education) of the school. 

In Western Cape, where they are doing online registrations, the documents must also be physically handed into the schools applied at. In your case, the one has indicated that you have not submitted all documents, I suggest you take them to the school again. 

District offices should also assist parents to place learners whenever district intervention in the admission process is required.

The best parents can do when handing in hard copies of documents:

1) Always keep a copy for your own records (admission form ID and Birth Certificates and Clinic Card). Never leave your only one copy with them!

2) Make a receipt note of whom (the staff member of that school) it is you handed the documents to.  

Although this is a very stressful time for parents, they must remember that The Constitution of SA and the SASA, mandates that every child of legal school-going age be placed in a school. It might not be your school of choice but must be in the area nearest to your residence or place of employment. 

All the best,

Sue Larkin


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