On a mission for school admission

Twin brothers, Raqib Moosa, 13, and Hafiz Moosa’s, 13, high school applications were unsuccessful.

This Friday is D-Day for parents who have applied for high school admission for their children. June 17 is the deadline for parents to confirm whether they’ll be accepting a school’s offer of placement for their children next year.

Those who have not been successful will be placed on waiting lists or can appeal their declined applications.

A number of parents who are still on a mission to secure admission for their children at schools close to home, shared their experiences with the Plainsman.

Mother Lamees Moosa, 44, from Tafelsig said she applied to various schools in Mitchell’s Plain and each of her applications were unsuccessful.

Lamees Moosa, 44, from Tafelsig said she applied to various schools in Mitchell’s Plain and each one of them was unsuccessful.

They’re struggling to find a school to accept her twin boys, Hafiz Moosa, 13, and Raqib Moosa, 13, she said.

“I am one of those parents who had applied online from the WCEDs website. We had placement issues happen to my eldest son as well as my daughter. She is finishing her matric examinations at Balco College recently due to issues of admission. I have applied at eight schools and most of them are filled to capacity,” said Ms Moosa.

“It is a concern when children are not in school physically,” she said.

Another parent, Nicole Hermanus, 34, from Portland said she’s applied to seven high schools for her daughter who needs to start Grade 8 next year.

“I am a single mother, the only one working. I applied to schools closer to home. We are five minutes away from Mondale High School and Spine Road High School as it will be safer for her instead of travelling,” she said.

Ms Hermanus has appealed the declined applications. Some have been responded to, others are still pending and one school has confirmed that her daughter does not meet the school’s entrance requirements.

“It is stressful as you don’t know come Friday June 17 whether she will be accepted and placed. It is disappointing to not be accepted at a school closer to home. We are very concerned for her safety most of all, as travelling would not be affordable for us,” said Ms Hermanus.

Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond said the department had started the process early, so that they could ensure that as many people as possible confirmed acceptance of their places at schools, by Friday June 17, to allow for other pupils to get access to those schools.

“Some parents are fortunate to be accepted at more than one school – but hold onto more than one place, while making their decision,” said Ms Hammond.

“In the past, this could take months.”

The department is therefore encouraging parents to make that decision by Friday June 17 so that places are “freed up” at other schools so that other pupils like Ms Moosa’s children, will have the opportunity to enrol at a school.

The process to place pupils is only beginning now, and many places will be freed up by those that are “double-parking” with acceptance at more than one school, Ms Hammond said.

“The WCED has no influence over the decisions made by school governing bodies (SGBs) in terms of their own individual admission processes and policies,” she added.

“The decisions are made by individual SGBs using the information provided on the WCEDs web platform. The form used is the same for all public schools – therefore eliminating any discriminatory practices.”

If a pupil has not been accepted at a school, the parents are advised to first engage the school governing body to establish the reasons why the application was unsuccessful, get clarity on the admission process followed and to motivate for the application to be reconsidered.

Parents are advised to stay in touch with the school and request that the pupil be placed on a waiting list as some places could still open as parents confirm.

Ms Hammond said parents should allow for some time after Friday June 17, as schools then can contact parents after the confirmation deadline – after this date, schools will be able to know with certainty who has accepted places or not.

Following this, if a parent wishes to appeal to the Education MEC, then they may do so, said Ms Hammond.

“They must please contact the district office urgently. We need to ensure that as many learners as possible register this year so that we can plan appropriately to place all learners for 2023.”

A teacher from a school in Mitchell’s Plain said their projected enrolment was based on how many pupils left the school.

And even if pupils declined their admissions from more than one school they’ve been accepted to, it doesn’t mean that spaces are opening up, the teacher said, adding that Grade 1 and Grade 8 pupils were struggling with admissions because there were not enough schools.

“People come here and insist that their child must be considered, however, there are transport and safety issues but the WCED should accommodate the pupils,” said the teacher.

“If there is space at the more privileged school, the government must provide transport, provide transport and take them to a place where they can be schooled,” the teacher said.