Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Enrolment of learners in Public Schools

How do I get my child enrolled in a school of my choice? - some points to consider

Start early
Some schools are very popular and in great demand. Parents often approach these schools years in advance to find out about their admission processes. So, if you have your mind set on a particular school, contact them as soon as possible.

Do your homework.
Be clear. Consider your child's needs and friends, distance, convenience, subject choice, reputation, boarding facilities, family history.

Know the law
Schools are largely autonomous. In other words, the school governing body determines policy. Admission and language are two such policies which they determine. When you apply to a school, you enter into an agreement primarily with the school. The school therefore decides whether to admit your child or not. District or head office officials therefore cannot force a school to enrol your child. District and head office officials can only ensure that the correct procedures have been followed and that nobody has been unfairly treated or advise parents which schools still have available places.

Know the procedures

  • Schools start admitting learners from the beginning of the preceding year and they should provide parents with an answer.


  • Complete the school's application form.
  • Expect a reply from the school in writing.
  • If your child is not accepted, expect to be given a reason.
  • Schools are not permitted to enrol more pupils than the building can accommodate.
  • If you are informed that your child's name has been placed on a waiting list, it is important
        for you to find out by when you will receive a final answer. In the meantime, you should be
        looking at other schools; in which case your district officials should be able to help.
  • If your application fails, you may appeal in writing to the school to reconsider their
        decision. The school should inform you in writing of the result of your appeal.
  • You may appeal to the MEC for education only if you have clear evidence that the learner's application was deliberately treated unfairly or if the learner has been discriminated against.
  • If your child has failed a grade, then she or he has the right to return to that school.
  • What is the admission age for Grade 1?

    Compulsory school-going age (Grade 1) is 7 years in the year that the child is in Grade 1.

    Should a parent wish to enrol a child in Grade 1 when the child is 5 years old and turning 6 by 30 June of the Grade 1 year, she will have to apply to the district director who will arrange for the child to be assessed for school readiness.

    For admission to Grade R it is four turning five by 30 June in the year of admission. However, a school must give preference to children aged 5 years turning 6 years by 30 June of that Grade R year.

    What documents are required to register a child at a public school?

    Immunisation card,  Birth certificate,  A transfer card or last school report card for learners who have been to school.

    A child may be registered provisionally if these documents are not available; and the parent must be given reasonable time to submit them.

    Is it important to enrol a child for Grade R?

    Yes, Early Childhood Education assists children in becoming better learners.

    They learn through purposeful, structured play while having fun with their peers; however, attendance to grade R is not compulsory.

    Can a child be refused registration because he/she doesn't fall under a feeder zone? What are feeder zones?

    The Admission Policy does not make provision for feeder zones.

    Do parents have a right to lodge an appeal against the decision by the school not to admit a learner?

    Section 9 of the South African Schools Act No.84 of 1996 (SASA) states that any learner or parent of a learner who has been refused admission to a public school may appeal against the decision to the Member of the Executive Council of that particular province. This does not mean that the original decision of the school will be changed.

    Where should a child who has been refused admission on the basis of age go? (For example, a child who is 16 years old who wants to do basic education)

    Section 3 of the South African Schools Act, provides for compulsory attendance of learners at school between the ages of 7 and 15 or the completion of Grade 9, whichever comes first.

    A learner who is 16 years of age or older who has never attended school and is seeking admission for the first time or who did not make sufficient progress with his/her peer group is advised to enrol at an Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) centre.

    May a school demand a non-refundable registration fee?

    A school may not demand such a fee. A school may request a parent to make a part-payment towards the school fees of the next year - but this should not be linked to securing a place at the school.

    Home Schooling

    How do I apply for Home Schooling?
    1. The education received by the learner at home must:
      1. meet the minimum requirements of the curriculum at public schools; and
      2. be of a standard not inferior to the standard of education provided at public schools.
    2. The parent(s) must contact the principal of a registered school of their choice regularly to keep in touch with the latest developments in education.
    3. The parent(s) must ensure that the learner registers in time and correctly for applicable examinations and that he/she sits for such examinations.
    4. Neither the education department nor a school shall be held responsible for any shortcomings and/or other deficiencies in a learner's scholastic achievements.
    5. The parents are responsible for all expenses regarding the learner's education.

    The application form for Home Schooling, WCED 087, is available here.

    School Calendars

    Where can I find a school calendar?

    The school calendar for 2013, is available here.

    The school calendar for 2014, is available here.

    School Fees

    Can a school withhold results or refuse a child access to school because of outstanding school fees?


    No learner can be denied admission or otherwise discriminated against on grounds of the parent's inability or failure to pay school fees.

    Who qualifies to apply for exemption from payment of school fees and how does one apply for exemption?

    Parents may be exempted from paying school fees depending on their combined annual gross income.

    The categories for the purpose of exemption are as follows:

    • If the combined annual gross income of the parents is less than ten times the annual school fees per learner, the parent qualifies for full exemption;
    • If the combined annual gross income of the parents is less than thirty times but more than ten times the annual school fees per learner, the parent qualifies for partial exemption;
    • If the combined annual gross income of the parents is more than thirty times the annual school fees per learner, the parent does not qualify for exemption.

    The categories are applicable if the annual school fees are determined in terms of section 39 of the Act.

    A parent who wishes to be exempted from payment of school fees for each individual learner at a particular school must apply in writing to the chairperson of the governing body on the form that may be requested from the school.


    Where do I find vacancies on your web site?

    For a list of current vacancies, click here.

    Can I register as an unemployed teacher with the WCED?

    Download the registration form here.

    Who should foreign educators seeking employment in South Africa contact?

    Contact the Directorate: Education Labour Relations & Conditions of Service of the Department of Basic Education (DoBE), telephone 012 312 5934 / 6047.

    Disciplinary Measures against learners

    What is the procedure for suspending a child at a public school?

    The governing body of a public school may, after a fair hearing, suspend a learner from attending the school as a correctional measure for a period not longer than a week.

    A learner may be expelled from the school by the Head of Department pending a decision taken by the governing body of a public school in consultation with the provincial Head of Education.

    What do I do if my child is bullied at school?

    See the  Learner Discipline and School Management  document here.

    Can a child be expelled from school because she is pregnant?


    Section 9(3) of the Constitution, entitled "Equality", states that:
    The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth."

    See the  WCED Policy on managing learner pregnancy  document here.

    National Senior Certificate Examinations

    If I did not obtain my NSC-Certificate, what can I do?

    Candidates who did not obtain a NSC-Certificate but want to complete their NSC, can register as a private candidate to re-write the failed subject(s) at the next November NSC Examination.

    Yearmarks/SBA (School Based Assessment marks) are valid for three years (the year in which a candidate wrote the NSC Examination for the first time and for the next two years).

    Private candidates must register at a private education institution (one that is registered to offer the NSC Examination and is registered with the WCED as an Exam Centre) in order to obtain a yearmark/SBA-mark for the subject(s) that they wish to re-write.

    When do I register?

    Registration for repeater candidates usually takes place from 3 February to 14 March of the year the examinations are written.

    This form is only for candidates that wrote the NSC examination between 2008 and 2013. The completed form (including supporting documentation) can be mailed or hand delivered to the address on the form or faxed to 021 461 5637.

    Only candidates who wrote the 2014 Supplementary Exams have until 15 May 2014 to register.

    Where do I register?

    WCED Examination client contact centre
    2nd Floor
    Grand Central Towers
    Lower Parliament Street
    Cape Town

    Contact telephone numbers:
    021 467 2910 / 2911 / 2912 / 2913 / 2914 / 2915

    Where can I find previous results?

    For results from previous examinations are available here.

    Where do I find past examination papers and memoranda?

    A list of past question papers and marking memoranda is available here.

    Copies of Certificates

    Where can one apply for a copy of a matric certificate?

    From the examinations section of a Provincial Department of Education.

    Enquiries regarding replacement certificates from the Western Cape Education Department may be made at the following telephone number:  021 467 2000

    For an application form and instructions on how to apply for a replacement certificate, click here.

    How long does it take to obtain a new copy of a matric certificate?

    The Statement of Results is obtainable immediately after you have made a request.

    A copy of a matric certificate takes 8 to 10 weeks.

    Completing your Senior Certificate (old curriculum)

    What will happen to learners who wrote but failed their Senior Certificate (old curriculum)?

    Learners who failed their matric (old curriculum) may re-write the Senior Certificate in May/June. Only candidates that have already written their Senior Certificate and need one or more subjects to obtain their certificate qualify to write the May/June examinations. Registration usually takes place between 1 August to 30 September in the year preceding the examination.

    The Department of Basic Education will develop a qualification for adults which will be equivalent to matric for candidates who did not obtained their matric under the old curriculum.

    Where do I find past examination papers and memoranda?

    Past question papers and marking memoranda are available here.
      -  in particlar see the availability of a 2008-2010 May/June Exam CD from Edumedia.

    Where do I register?

    WCED Examination client contact centre
    2nd Floor
    Grand Central Towers
    Lower Parliament Street
    Cape Town

    Contact telephone numbers:
    021 467 2910 / 2911 / 2912 / 2913 / 2914 / 2915


    What bursaries or loans are offered by the Department of Education?
    The requirements to be considered for a bursary are Mathematics and Physical Science. Interested learners can contact Lusapho Ndzongo at 021 467 2190 or e-mail

    National Department of Education: Fundza Lushaka bursaries
    The requirements to be considered for a bursary are African Languages, English Language, Mathematics, Technology, Mathematical Literacy, Life Science and Physical Science.
    Interested learners can inquire from the institution of choice or Lusapho Ndzongo at 021 467 2190 or e-mail for more information.

    Also see the WCED's  Bursaries and Financial Aid  information sheet.

    Are there any bursaries available for Further Education and Training (FET) students?


    The Department of Education has introduced the public FET College Bursary Scheme. Through the scheme the Department of Education provides access to vocational education and training at public FET Colleges (See the next topic).

    Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges

    What are FET colleges and what do they offer?

    The FET Colleges are public or private institutions that are established, declared or registered under the FET Act No. 16 of 2006 but do not include:

    • a school offering further education and training programmes under the South African Schools Act; nor

    • a college under the authority of a government department other than the Department of Education.

    Further Education and Training (FET) colleges provide the education and training needed to equip learners with qualifications and skills for a chosen career path.  In addition, learners gain valuable life skills to meet the challenges of the working world with more than just a qualification on paper.

    A list of FET Colleges in the Western Cape is available here.

    What are the requirements to register for FET?

    You must complete Grade 9 (or higher) to register for National Certificate (Vocational).

    Are there any bursaries available for Further Education and Training students?


    The Department of Education has introduced the public FET College Bursary Scheme. Through the scheme the Department of Education provides access to vocational education and training at public FET Colleges  (See the next question).

    How does one apply for the FET college bursary?

    To apply for a bursary, first enrol at a public FET College for National Certificate (Vocational) and then apply for a bursary.

    Registration of Private Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges

    Where can one check if the institution is registered with the Department of Education?

    Contact the Directorate: Private Further Education & Training (PFET) Colleges, Department of Higher Education and Training, telephone 012 312 5878.

    Alternatively you can access this information from the National Register of Private FET Colleges on the Department of Education's web site.
    How does one register an institution with the Department?

    You can apply to the Department of Basic Education (DoBE) or via the Provincial Education Departments.

    Literacy and Numeracy

    What can parents do at home to build the Literacy and Numeracy skills of their children?

    See our comprehensive list of  'tips'  for building the reading, writing and calculating abilities of children at home.

    Adult Education and Training

    When can one register for ABET classes and what programmes / levels are offered by ABET?

    Registration is possible throughout the year.

    There are four ABET Levels:

            Level 1 = Grade 3
            Level 2 = Grade 5
            Level 3 = Grade 7
            Level 4 = Grade 9 or NQF level 1

    Where can one find ABET centres?

    Contact the ABET specialist at your nearest Education District office:
    Education District Telephone
    Metro Central Education District 021 514 6700
    Metro South Education District 021 370 2000
    Metro North Education District 021 938 3100
    Metro East Education District 021 900 7005
    West Coast Education District 021 860 1200
    Cape Winelands Education District 023 347 6001
    Overberg Education District 028 214 7300
    Eden & Central Karoo Education District 044 803 8302/7

    What is the Kha Ri Gude (Literacy Campaign)?

    Kha Ri Gude is a national campaign to bring basic literacy to millions of adult South Africans.

    For contact details in your area please call 0800 202 933.

    What are the options for Adult learners on completion of ABET Level 4?

    Adult learners can continue their studies at a FET Colleges. Colleges offer a variety of part-time and full-time programmes, Short Skills Programmes in the form of learnerships, internships or apprenticeships or Distance Learning options.

    2017 Western Cape Education Department