1. Schools were informed about the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Language Transformation Plan (LTP) in Circular 004/2007, which announced the plan, as well as the orientation workshops which took place in the first quarter.
2. As the LTP complements the national Language-in-Education Policy of 1997 and all other relevant legislation, including the National Curriculum Statement (NCS), these documents must also inform the process of formulating your school's Language Policy.
2.1 The national Language-in-Education Policy of 1997 commits the country to additive bilingualism. Generally speaking, this means adding other languages onto a strong mother-tongue base. Details of this policy are currently being revised and any changes will be fed into this plan as the need arises.
2.2 The National Language Policy Framework (2003); Section 3(4)(m) of the National Education Policy Act, (Act 27 of 1996)
2.3 Norms and Standards regarding language policy published in terms of Section 6(1) of the South African Schools Act of 1996
2.4 Sections 6 and 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996)
2.5 The Pan South African Language Board Act (Act 59 of 1995)
2.6 The National Curriculum Statement (NCS) recognises the importance of mother-tongue instruction and states the following:
  • The additional language should be introduced as a subject in Grade 1.
  • The home language should continue to be used alongside the additional language as long as possible.
  • All learners should learn their home language and at least one additional official language.
  • Learners become competent in their additional language, while their home language is maintained and developed.
  • In addition , the National Curriculum Statement indicates that learners should receive a minimum of three years' tuition in a second additional language.
2.7 Section 5 of the Constitution of the Western Cape (Act 1 of 1998)
2.8 The Western Cape Languages Act (Act 13 of 1998)
2.9 The Western Cape Language Policy (2005)
2.10 The Western Cape Provincial School Education Act (Act 12 of 1997).
3. As indicated in Circular 004/2007, each school must formulate and submit its formal detailed written language policy. The policy needs to be arrived at following extensive consultation with parents and with the signed approval of the school governing body.
4. The EMDC will provide support to schools, on request, in devising or formalising contextually-suitable language policies.
5. In the event of problems or tensions in resolving language policy issues, the WCED, or its appointed agents, will respond to an invitation to play a supportive role until negotiations are completed to the satisfaction of all parties.
6. Schools will shortly receive 3 copies of "Language in the Classroom" to complement other support measures.
7. Schools are requested to submit their policy and implementation plan to their circuit manager by the 31st July 2007. The WCED will review them and give feedback by 31st August 2007
8. If the plan is for a new policy to be phased in to accommodate the needs of the learners, and the ability of the school to staff it appropriately, then the process of phasing it in needs to be spelled out as well.
9. Schools should formally revisit their classification e.g. "Dual" or "Parallel" Medium, and must indicate in the submission to the WCED the current or previous classification, as well as the projected one.
9.1 The written policy should spell out in detail how the dual or parallel medium system will operate so that parents enrolling their children at the school have the assurance that the language needs of their child will be met. For example, if the policy is that certain subjects might be offered only through a particular medium in any given year, dependent on the enrolment figures or staffing options, then that detail should be spelled out.
10. The school language policy should use the headings of the following template:
10.1 Language(s) of learning and teaching of the school (include here any provisos or disclaimers as indicated in 9.1. above so that there is no ambiguity)
10.2 Languages to be offered as subjects and the time allocations for these
10.3 Process for review of this policy (e.g. "subject to annual review after a meeting with the parent body")
10.4 Protection of the rights of learners already on the roll should the language policy change, i.e. changes always to be both negotiated and phased in
10.5 Language(s) of assessment
10.6 Language(s) of communication with parents
10.7 Plans to develop multilingualism
10.8 Plans to accommodate the language learning needs of minority language groups within the school
10.9 Plans to enhance the status of all official South African languages at the school
11. The policy should be accompanied by an implementation plan which covers the above as well as the following:
11.1 Plans for staffing - so that all language learning needs can be met by properly qualified staff, even if these relate to projected staffing plans or targets
11.2 Plans or targets for aligning language curricula and language provision with main feeder schools or those schools which the school feeds
11.3 Plans and budgets for learning and teaching support material to support language programmes
11.4 Plans to keep a record of language requests
11.5 Plans for the managing, monitoring and quality assurance of the implementation of the policy - this necessitates implementation schedules and targets so that the projections are realised.
12. The school language policy must be made available to parents intending to enrol their children, and it must be part of the signed admission agreement entered into upon enrolment.
12.1 The school language policy and its implementation will be reviewed annually by the WCED.
12.2 The school should keep a record of all requests by learners for a different language of learning and teaching, i.e. requests which the school cannot meet. These requests should be sent routinely to the EMDC.
13. Please bring this circular to the attention of all concerned.

DATE: 2007:05:23