School out of line?

2017-01-24 06:01

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After submitting an application for his granddaughter to Southfield Primary School, Paul Phillips says he felt the school discriminated against children from Parkwood.

Phillips says he went to the school recently to hand in an application form for his grandchild to enrol in Grade R in 2018 but, according to him, felt discriminated against as a school official said it “does not cater for Parkwood”.

“On Wednesday 18 January I visited the school to submit the application for enrolment for Grade R for 2018 intake for my granddaughter at the secretary’s office. Accepting and noticing while filing the application that our application is still early, I noticed only a few applications in the file. I requested from the lady an indication of a possible date of response on the application as to pay the registration fee timeously,” Phillips explains.

Phillips says he was asked which area his grandchild was from.

He says the response was what offended him – he was told that Parkwood was “not their area”.

“I was totally surprised at the response given. I paraphrase her response: ‘Parkwood is not our area.We first have to cater for children from the Southfield area, their friends and family’,” Phillips recalls.

School principal Bevil Velensky refutes Phillips’s allegations of discrimination.

He explains the school’s admission criteria: “With our admissions we first cater to siblings of pupils or past pupils of the school. Then we also cater to the people who are, so to say, on the doorstep of Southfield Primary School.

“Saying we do not cater to Parkwood is untrue as currently we have a makeup of 9% Parkwood pupils at the school.”

He says Phillips’s application was not rejected when the form was handed in.

Phillips and Velensky confirm they held a meeting yesterday morning to address the issue and come to an amicable solution.

“I have spoken to Phillips regarding our admissions criteria and apologies were exchanged with regard to the experience. Going forward we will communicate to our applicants what the admissions criteria and processes are,” Velensky says.

Phillips says addressing the matter directly with the principal was fruitful.

“I am glad I was able to air my concerns to and with the principal.

“I do understand the dynamics with regard to admissions, but I do, however, disagree with some of the criteria for admission at all public schools. I still feel this needs to be looked at again as public schools should be open for anyone to apply at,” Phillips says.

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