Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The Frequently Asked Questions are grouped by topic as listed below.
- How do I get my child enrolled in a school of my choice? - some points to consider
- Apply early. Don't wait till the last day.
- Apply to more than one school.
- Know the law/check the school's Admission Policy.
- What is the admission age for Grade 1?
- Compulsory school-going age (Grade 1) is 7 years in the year that the child is in Grade 1.
- For admission to Grade R it is 4 turning 5 by 30 June in the year of admission. However, a school must give preference to children aged 5 years turning 6 years by 30 June of that Grade R year.
- What documents are required to register a child at a public school?
- Birth certificate.
- Immunisation card.
- A transfer card/letter.
- Last school report card for learners who have been to school.
- A study permit issued by Home Affairs for foreign learners.
A child may be registered provisionally if these documents are not available. The parent must be given reasonable time to submit them.
- Is it important to enrol a child for Grade R?
Yes. Early childhood development assists learners to cope better later on in their school careers.
- Can a child be refused permission if they do not live in a school's feeder zone?
The WCED has not declared any feeder zones/areas.
- Can schools charge a non-refundable deposit before accepting learner?
No. Schools may not charge a fee before accepting a learner.
- Where do parents go if they do not find a place?
Parents may approach their local district office.
Tel: 023 348 6000
Tel: 023 348 4581
Eden & Central Karoo
Tel: 044 803 8300
Tel: 044 803 8317
Tel: 021 514 6700
Tel: 021 514 6708
Tel: 021 514 6793
Tel: 021 900 7203
Tel: 021 900 7206
Tel: 021 370 2000
Tel: 021 370 2035
Tel: 028 214 7300
Tel: 028 214 7379
Tel: 021 860 1200
Tel: 021 860 1206
Tel: 021 467 2000
Tel: 021 467 2000
WCED Call Centre: 0861 923 322 (If you unsure of which district to approach)
- How do I apply for Home Schooling?
- The education received by the learner at home must:
- meet the minimum requirements of the curriculum at public schools; and
- be of a standard not inferior to the standard of education provided at public schools.
- The parent(s) must contact the principal of a registered school of their choice regularly to keep in touch with the latest developments in education.
- The parent(s) must ensure that the learner registers in time and correctly for applicable examinations and that he/she sits for such examinations.
- Neither the education department nor a school shall be held responsible for any shortcomings and/or other deficiencies in a learner's scholastic achievements.
- The parents are responsible for all expenses regarding the learner's education.
The application form for Home Schooling, WCED 087, is available here.
For more information, contact:
Mr DD Louw
Tel: 021 467 2653
Fax: 021 467 2565
- The education received by the learner at home must:
- Can a school withhold results or refuse a child access to school because of outstanding school fees?
No learner can be denied admission or otherwise discriminated against on grounds of the parent's inability or failure to pay school fees.
- Who qualifies to apply for exemption from payment of school fees and how does one apply for exemption?
Parents may be exempted from paying school fees depending on their combined annual gross income.
The categories for the purpose of exemption are as follows:
- If the combined annual gross income of the parents is less than ten times the annual school fees per learner, the parent qualifies for full exemption;
- If the combined annual gross income of the parents is less than thirty times but more than ten times the annual school fees per learner, the parent qualifies for partial exemption;
- If the combined annual gross income of the parents is more than thirty times the annual school fees per learner, the parent does not qualify for exemption.
The categories are applicable if the annual school fees are determined in terms of section 39 of the Act.
A parent who wishes to be exempted from payment of school fees for each individual learner at a particular school must apply in writing to the chairperson of the governing body on the form that may be requested from the school.
- Where do I find vacancies on your web site?
For a list of current vacancies, click here.
- Can I register as an unemployed teacher with the WCED?
Download the registration form here.
- Who should foreign educators seeking employment in South Africa contact?
Contact the Directorate: Education Labour Relations & Conditions of Service of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), telephone 012 312 5934 / 6047.
- What is the procedure for suspending a child at a public school?
The governing body of a public school may, after a fair hearing, suspend a learner from attending the school as a correctional measure for a period not longer than a week.
A learner may be expelled from the school by the Head of Department pending a decision taken by the governing body of a public school in consultation with the provincial Head of Education.
- What do I do if my child is bullied at school?
See the Learner Discipline and School Management document here.
- Can a child be expelled from school because she is pregnant?
Section 9(3) of the Constitution, entitled "Equality", states that:
The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth."
See the WCED Policy on managing learner pregnancy document here.
- If I did not obtain my NSC Certificate, what can I do?
Candidates who did not obtain a NSC Certificate but want to complete their NSC, can register as a private candidate to re-write the failed subject(s) at the next November NSC Examination.
Year marks/SBA (School Based Assessment marks) are valid for three years (the year in which a candidate wrote the NSC Examination for the first time and for the next two years).
Private candidates must register at a private education institution (one that is registered to offer the NSC Examination and is registered with the WCED as an Exam Centre) in order to obtain a year mark/SBA mark for the subject(s) that they wish to re-write.
- When do I register?
Registration for repeater candidates usually takes place from 15 February to 15 March of the year the examinations are written.
- Where do I register?
WCED Examination client contact centre
Grand Central Towers
Lower Parliament Street
Contact telephone numbers:
021 467 2910 | 2911 | 2912 | 2913 | 2914 | 2915
- Where can one apply for a copy of a matric certificate?
From the examinations section of a Provincial Department of Education.
Enquiries regarding replacement certificates from the Western Cape Education Department may be made at the following telephone number: 021 467 2000
- How long does it take to obtain a new copy of a matric certificate?
The Statement of Results is obtainable immediately after you have made a request.
A copy of a matric certificate takes 8 to 10 weeks.
- What will happen to learners who wrote but failed their Senior Certificate?
Learners who failed their matric may re-write the Senior Certificate in May/June. Only candidates who have already written their Senior Certificate and need one or more subjects to obtain their certificate qualify to write the May/June examinations. Registration closes on 31 January 2019.
The Department of Basic Education will develop a qualification for adults which will be equivalent to matric for candidates who did not obtained their matric under the old curriculum.
- What can parents do at home to build the Literacy and Numeracy skills of their children?
See our comprehensive list of 'tips' for building the reading, writing and calculating abilities of children at home.
- What is an assessment accommodation?
Assessment accommodations are changes in procedures or using tools that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for special educational needs arising from a physical disability, learning difficulty, learning disability or behaviour and/or psycho-social disorder which creates a learning barrier for the learner.
- What is a concession?
A concession refers to an act or instance of conceding, granting or yielding. For example an immigrant learner in the Intermediate or Senior Phase only has to meet the progression/promotion requirements in ONE of the two official languages on at least First Additional Language level and obtain a rating of Moderate Achievement (Level 3) in that language. Concessions in respect of languages may also be applied to learners who experience barriers related to deafness, aphasia and dyslexia or learners who have been diagnosed to have a mathematical disorder, such as dyscalculia.
- Who may apply for assessment accommodations?
Learners who have special educational needs arising from a physical disability, learning difficulty, learning disability or behaviour and/or psycho-social disorder which creates a barrier for the learner achieving his/her full potential in an assessment. It may also apply to those who experience medical, social, emotional or domestic challenges during an assessment or examination period and who have addressed a direct submission to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Assessment Committee.
- Will assessment accommodations be granted to a learner who has difficulty with the language of learning, teaching and assessment due to the fact that it is not the learner’s home language?
No. Accommodations or concessions will not be granted where the primary area of difficulty is with the language of learning, teaching and assessment due to the fact that it is not the learner’s home language.
- When may I apply for differentiated assessment and accommodations?
Grades R–9: Ongoing Grades 10–12: By October of their Grade 10 year.
Applications for differentiated assessment and accommodations in Grades 10 to 12 should have been done as early as the Foundation Phase (Grades R–3) or at least by October of their Grade 10 year, except in a situation where the need arises at a later stage.
- What is the purpose of an assessment accommodation?
Assessment accommodations are designed to equalise opportunities for all learners by addressing the barriers which learners may experience. Assessment accommodations also support learners to enable them to give a true account of their knowledge and/or skills.
- Does an assessment accommodation mean the standard of the assessment is different from the normal assessment and will these learners have an advantage over other learners?
No. The standard of assessment will not be compromised, nor will the learner be given an unfair advantage over his or her peers.
- Why must I apply for an assessment accommodation in every phase?
Because a learner’s assessment accommodation needs may change over time and accommodations need to be progressively re-evaluated.
- What process if followed to determine if a learner is in need of an assessment accommodation?
An initial assessment will be conducted using a system of screening, identification and assessment of barriers.
- What does the system of screening, identification and assessment of barriers entail?
- It is a process that starts with the teacher who gathers information and identifies learners who are at risk of experiencing learning breakdowns and/or dropping out of school. The teacher then provides teacher-developed classroom-based interventions to address the support needs of the identified learners.
- The school-based support team (SBST) then responds to the teacher’s request for assistance with support plans for learners experiencing barriers and requests assistance from the district-based and circuit-based support teams if necessary.
- The district-based and circuit-based support teams assess the eligibility of requests made by the SBST and provide direction in respect of any concessions, accommodations, additional strategies, programmes, services and resources that will enhance the school-based support plan.
- What must be done if a learner is in need of an assessment accommodation?
The school captures the request and, in the case of learners with barriers to learning, the application is routed to the district senior psychologist for further action.
- What must be done if a learner is an immigrant?
The school captures the request and the application is routed to the district assessment coordinator for further action.
- What documentation must be submitted to the district when applying for an assessment accommodation/concession?
The application form printed from CEMIS as well as supporting documentation (SNA 1 and 2) such as evidence of scholastic support, SBST intervention, and medical reports from psychological and healthcare professionals (where applicable) must be submitted by the school to the district-based support team.
- What documentation must be submitted to the district when applying for immigrant status?
- Completed application form printed from CEMIS
- The relevant official documentation issued by the Department of Home Affairs and study permit.
- The relevant official documentation issued by the school where the learner entered the South African school system for the first time.
- How do I know if a learner is approved for an assessment accommodation or immigrant status?
- The school will be able to see the outcome of the application on CEMIS.
- A letter will be published on CEMIS, detailing the accommodations/concessions granted or rejected with a reason for the rejection.
- The following accommodations are available for learners with:
- Vision impairment: Enlarged print (18pt or 20pt), additional time, special aids (e.g. magnifier, electronic reader), computer (typing or audio file), digital player/recorder, separate venue, other (will be specified).
- Blindness: Adaptation of paper (Braille transcription/computer to produce typed scripts), additional time, reader/scribe, computer (audio file), digital player/recorder, separate venue, other (will be specified).
- Deaf or hard of hearing (a concession is made for these learners to offer only one official language at First Additional Level in Grades 10–12): Reader/scribe, additional time, sign language interpreter, rephrasing of questions, computer (typing), separate venue.
- Deaf and blind: Assessment accommodations for these learners must be determined on an individual basis and should include multiple approaches of intervention and support as well as a separate venue.
- Physical impairments (may result in barriers to assessment because of impaired functioning of the hands, arms, legs, upper body and/or neck): Additional time, reader/scribe, computer (typing or audio file), prompter (planner), handwriting, periods of rest, separate venue, other (will be specified).
- Speech or communication impairment (which involves an inability to speak and difficulty in expressing oneself e.g. aphasia): Additional time, oral assessments, reader/scribe, spelling, computer (typing or audio file), digital player, separate venue.
- Autistic spectrum, anxiety and attention deficit disorders (these are conditions that may cause learners to become disorientated): Prompter (planner), additional time, scribe/reader, personal assistant, computer (typing or audio file), digital player/recorder, separate venue.
- Specific medical conditions (for example severe diabetes, epilepsy, chronic pain, back injury, HIV and AIDS): Additional time, scribe/reader, personal assistant, prompter (planner), computer (typing or audio file), digital player/recorder, separate venue.
- Which concessions are available for learners with a learning difficulty, such as a problem with Mathematics (dyscalculia)?
A learner who is experiencing a mathematical disorder may, in Grades 10–12, be exempted from offering Mathematical Literacy or Mathematics. Provided that another subject from Group B (please refer to the National policy pertaining to the programme and promotion requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R–12, published in Government Gazette No. 41321 of 15 December 2017), is offered in lieu of Mathematical Literacy or Mathematics and that such learner complies with the promotion requirements (CEMIS: Exemption from Mathematics).
- Which concessions are available for learners with a learning difficulty, such as a problem with spelling and/or grammar (dyslexia or aphasia)?
These learners may offer only one official language at First Additional Level in Grades 10–12, provided that another subject from Group B (please refer to the National policy pertaining to the programme and promotion requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R–12, published in Government Gazette No. 41321 of 15 December 2017) is offered in lieu of the other official language that is not offered and that such learners comply with the promotion requirements.
- What is the waiting period for the approval of an application for an accommodation/concession?
The average processing time for an application is 12 weeks after receipt by the district office.
- What can I do if the application for an assessment accommodation was unsuccessful?
Parents have 10 working days from the notice of the outcome of the application to appeal in writing to:
Grades 1–9: District director Grades 10–12: Provincial Assessment Accommodations Appeals Committee via Ms Lisl van Rensburg,
email: Lisl.vanRensburg@westerncape.gov.za or
tel. no.: 021 467 2541.
- When can an answer be expected after an appeal has been lodged?
A recommendation for the approval/dismissal of the appeal will be provided within five working days after an independent panel has been constituted. An accommodation/concession decision may be appealed only once within two months of receipt of the original decision. Only the original application will be considered on appeal. No additional information will be considered. The WCED reserves the right to request further assessment.
- What can I do if there is an emergency (e.g. a learner has an injury)?
In the case of a temporary medical condition (e.g. a broken arm), the assessment accommodation may apply for a limited time only. In Grade 12 (from Term 3 onwards), the application along with the necessary documentation (medical, psychological or healthcare professional report) must be submitted to Ms Gail Laguma at the Directorate: Assessment Management, email: Gail.Laguma@westerncape.gov.za or tel. no.: 021 467 2913.
- How much additional time is allowed per category of impairment?
Impairment Additional time that may be made available Physical disability/repetitive strain injury 5 to 10 minutes per hour to accommodate slower writing speed. Learning disability 20 minutes per hour for perusal/formulating/writing/checking answers. Chronic pain 15 minutes per hour for standing and/or moving around. Vision impairment Double time for learners who are blind, and time and a half for learners with poor vision. Hearing loss 20 minutes per hour for perusal/formulating/writing/checking answers. Any other disability not identified above Any of the abovementioned time allocations, not exceeding 20 minutes per hour.
- Who may be used as a reader or scribe and how much will they be paid?
The reader or scribe may not be a family member of the learner. Preferably they should be qualified teachers (but this is not a necessity) from the same centre and must be drawn from a panel of readers identified and trained by the WCED. Currently the WCED has not been allocated funds to pay for scribes, readers or reading aid devices (computer, voice recorder, digital recorder, etc.). If an external writer and/or scribe is used, the parent/guardian is responsible for compensating the persons involved.
- What are the requirements for a reader or scribe and how are they trained?
The district offices identify a panel of scribes and readers or any other persons required to assist learners during assessments and examinations. The Directorate: Inclusive and Specialised Education Support at Head Office ensures that readers and scribes are trained prior to the examinations.
- Who may apply for an endorsed certificate and what does it mean?
Learners in Grades 10 to 12 learners who experience barriers to learning may apply to complete the National Senior Certificate (NSC) with an endorsement, which is for learners who, despite assessment accommodations, cannot meet the stipulated requirements of the NSC.
- What must a learner do if he/she would like to be considered for alternative promotion requirements with an endorsement?
The leaner must register both as a learner with a barrier to learning and a learner offering the NSC with an endorsement.
- What does it mean if I am promoted with an endorsed certificate?
A learner registered in terms of paragraph 27 above must offer and complete the internal and external assessments of not fewer than five subjects including:
- One official language, provided that it is offered on at least First Additional Language level and it is the language of learning and teaching;
- Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy; and
- Life Orientation.