Things you should know about public schooling

Things you should be aware of when entering the formal schooling system

1. You should enrol your child in a school between 1 August and 31 October of the preceding year

2. A Grade R applicant must be at least four years old and turning five or older by 30 June in their Grade R year.

3. A Grade 1 applicant must be at least five years old and turning six or older by 30 June in their Grade 1 year.

4. Under the South African Schools Act of 1996, education is compulsory for all South Africans from the age of seven years (Grade 1) to the age of fifteen years, or the completion of Grade 9.

5. You are free to choose whether to register your child at a public school or at an independent school. Public schools are state controlled and independent schools are privately governed.

6. Independent schools must be registered with the Provincial Education Department. Public schools must be established by the MEC for education in the province.

7. You can confirm with the Provincial Education Department if the school you wish to enrol your child in is registered before you make any registrations and payments.

8. No public school may require your child to write an admission test, or prevent them from coming to school because you have not paid or cannot pay the school fees. They can, however, take legal action against you for not paying your school fees.

9. To register the following documents are compulsory:

  • Application form from the school
  • Official birth certificate of your child
  • Immunisation card of your child
  • If you are moving your child from one school to another, you should submit their latest school report, and a transfer card

10. If your child is not a South African citizen, include the following documents:

  • Study permit 
  • Temporary or permanent residence permit or proof that you have applied for permission to stay in South Africa.

11. There are public schools that make provision for pupils who are unable to pay. To read more about the criteria on how to qualify for not paying, download this school fees guideline from the Department of Basic Education. 

Read about the School Leaver's Certificate here.