ConCourt hears school admissions case

2013-05-09 14:30
(Picture: <a href=\\\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\\\>Shutterstock</a>)

(Picture: Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Rivonia Primary School in Johannesburg could have admitted one more Grade 1 pupil when asked, the Constitutional Court heard on Thursday.

This was because the school had the lowest pupil-to-class ratio in Grade 1 in its cluster, Matthew Chaskalson argued for the Gauteng education department.

"That Rivonia had the lowest ratio in the cluster and the second lowest in the district is not in dispute," he said.

The department is challenging the school's refusal to admit a child for the 2011 year on the grounds that it was full.

Unplaced children

Chaskalson said that by the end of 2010, there were 3 000 unplaced primary school pupils in district nine alone, and 1 000 in the Rivonia Primary School cluster.

District nine was just one of the 15 education districts in the province, and each had children who were still unplaced.

Other children on the school's "A1" waiting list - for children who had siblings at the school or who lived in the area - had found places elsewhere.

So, the school could have accepted just one more child, Chaskalson submitted.

The child lived in the area and the classroom ratio was already low.

The school had suggested that the child be placed instead at Parkhurst Primary School, but that was "across two CBDs", submitted Chaskalson.

He said there was no "feeder zone" in terms of department regulations, because school governing bodies already had their own "feeder zones" and "catchment areas".

It was clear that the pupil concerned would fall within the school's own catchment area.

School admissions processes

He said section 13.1 of the School's Act gave the department's head of education the power to admit a pupil because an admissions policy was a non-binding guideline from which the department could depart.

Sections six to nine of the same act set out school admissions processes.
Section seven stated that school applications be made to the education department, and not to a school governing body (SGB).

Section nine stated that if there was a refusal, an appeal could be made to the MEC for education.
He said the school could only form policies.

"It's not a power to dictate who will be admitted and who won't be admitted," he said.

If there was exclusion, notice should be sent to the head of department, and to the parents.
He said decisions needed to be based on fairness.

Packed court

If the school had had to form a new class to take the pupil, that would have been unfair for the school.

The court was packed for the case with members of the public seeking extra seats in the upstairs media gallery.

A small protest took place outside the court by people dressed in clothes associated with the lobby group Equal Education, which intended making a submission as a friend of the court, and the ANC Women's League.

According to lobby group Section27, after the school refused to admit the pupil, the education department intervened and instructed its SGB to override its policy and admit the pupil.

The case is expected to determine who has the final say about how many children are admitted to a school, in what language they are taught, and who is excluded from a school on the basis of an SGB's admission and language policies.
Read more on:    constitutional court  |  section27  |  johannesburg  |  education

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
23 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.