Not permitted to attend matric dance because of outstanding school fees? These are your rights

Photo by lucas souza from Pexels
Photo by lucas souza from Pexels

At Parent24 we aim to help parents and students navigate the sometimes tricky minefield of school rules and policies. We answer complex questions where possible, and approach experts for advice.

As matric dance season approaches, this concerned parent has written to us, worried that their son will miss out on his matric dance this year because of late school fees.

"My son's school is hosting their annual matric dance on the last day of the school term. We were informed by the school that he will not be permitted to attend his matric dance because of outstanding school fees.

In addition the matric educators are harassing the learner's constantly about school fees. 

Kindly advise if this is lawful, as the chairperson of the SGB  stated that it is solely a school event, and will be done by the school requirements.

What is confusing about this statement is that this is a public school. Further to this, the learners and parents foot the cost for the event. 

Please advise what recourse do I have as a parent?"  

Also read: Withholding school reports, for any reason, is against the law

We take a look at the law

We spoke to Sue Larkan, founder of Tabansi and an advocate for parent's rights, who again stressed that no learner may be excluded or refused attendance for outstanding fees.

Student's who have any outstanding fees, be it school fees, late textbook fines or other, may not be excluded from: 

1) The curriculum of a Public School 
2) Extra mural activities
3) Excursions or camps
4) Social Activities of a Public School 
5) Report, testimonials, matric certificates, transfer cards and so on

"Additionally," Larkan explains, "the staff may not discuss the account with the learner, or transfer guilt onto the learner."

"The account is not the learners responsibility. School fees is a matter between the parent and the school governing body (SGB) not the teacher." 

Must read: School fee exemptions made easier for single parents

Chat back:

Send us your questions and we'll find the answers where possible. 

WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325

Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

Stay up to date with School Matters here

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1592 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
53% - 8573 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 5405 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 511 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.