The following policy regarding grade classifications and promotion and progression at special schools, sections and units for learners experiencing barriers to learning will henceforth apply:

1. Schools/sections/units for severely mentally handicapped (SMH) learners and schools for learners on the autistic spectrum
1.1 All grade classifications, such as "Junior Group", are hereby abolished.
1.2 In order to effect uniformity in the sector, the following grade classifications will apply for these learners in future:

SMH pre-school Year 1 (younger than 5)
SMH pre-school Year 2 (5-year olds)
SMH Foundation Phase Year 1
SMH Foundation Phase Year 2
SMH Foundation Phase Year 3
SMH Intermediate Phase Year 1
SMH Intermediate Phase Year 2
SMH Intermediate Phase Year 3
SMH Senior Year 1
SMH Senior Year 2
SMH Senior Year 3
SMH Occupation-oriented Education Year 1
SMH Occupation-oriented Education Year 2
SMH Occupation-oriented Education Year 3

1.3 The national progression policy will be applicable to the above schools in future.
1.4 A learner will only be granted one year extra time in a phase, whereafter the learner must be placed in the following phase.
1.5 Should the school be of the opinion that a learner should remain in a phase for a fifth year, application therefor must be made to the Head: Education with the required motivation via the district office.

2. Schools of Skills
2.1 The following grade classifications will apply for schools of skills in future:

Grade 7
Grade 8
Grade 9

2.2 All other grade classifications, for example, "Grade 8 Special", are hereby abolished.
2.3 The following policy will apply for the admission and placement of learners in grades and for progression purposes:
2.3.1 A learner will be considered for placement in a school of skills if he/she has spent an additional year in both the Foundation and Intermediate phases.
2.3.2 The learner must progress to Grade 6 in an ordinary public school in order to be admitted to a school of skills school/section. Such learner is then placed in the school of skills in Grade 7.
2.3.2 Should individual learners who do not fulfil these requirements be recommended for placement in a school of skills, the director of the relevant EMDC must provide a motivation.
2.4 Should a learner who has been promoted to Grade 7 in an ordinary school be placed in a school of skills, the learner must be placed in Grade 8 unless the school is of the opinion that the learner should spend a further year in the same grade. The same progression policy that applies for ordinary public schools will apply for schools of skills. This determines that a learner may only spend four years in a phase. Should the school be of the opinion that the learner should remain a further year in the phase, a written application and motivation must be submitted to the Head: Education via the district office.

3. N courses

In terms of national policy, with effect from 1 January 2007, schools may no longer offer Further Basic Education (FBE) and N courses. The N2 and N3 courses must be phased out in 2007 and 2008 respectively. No N courses may therefore be initiated this year.

4. Other special schools

The same grade classification applies in all other special schools as applies in ordinary public schools. Should these schools have an SMH and/or a school of skills section, the grade classifications and progression policy, as set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, will apply for such section(s).

5. ELSEN units at mainstream schools

Learners must be placed in grades based on individual assessments.

The progression policy for ordinary public schools is also applicable to ELSEN units.

6. Youth care and special youth care centres

Learners must be evaluated on admission and placed in a grade not more than two grades lower than the learner's age-group norm in ordinary public schools. Should the learner already be 18-years old and cannot be placed in an appropriate grade using this principle, the learner can, at the most, be placed in Grade 9. The curriculum must be adjusted for each learner according to his/her educational and developmental needs. An individual education and development plan must therefore be developed for every learner.

7. Age for leaving school for all special schools
7.1 Learners in special schools/sections/units must leave the school at the end of the year in which they turn 18.
7.2 Should a school be of the opinion that a learner older than 18 should remain at the school longer to complete the educational programme and will benefit from it academically, application must be made to the Head: Education via the district office. The application must include a strong motivation, which is supported in writing by the relevant EMDC director.


Principals of schools are requested to ensure that the information is updated on CEMIS on a weekly basis. CEMIS will be adjusted to make provision for the above-mentioned policy. You are requested to classify your learners according the above policy and to amend the CEMIS accordingly.

9. The above policy comes into effect from the date of this circular.

DATE: 2007:04:24