A Durban mother broke down in tears as her efforts to get her Grade 4 son into school failed yesterday

“I don’t know what to do. My son is crying. I am desperate and frustrated,” she said.
Last year the Musgrave mother was among the first to apply for a spot at a nearby school, but in July she was informed that her application had failed.

“My son went to a school that becomes an all-girl school from Grade 4, so he had to move. I made enquiries to find out why the application failed, but I was told that the principal could not entertain my queries,” she said.

The mother then contacted the Department of Basic Education and was referred to several other schools in the area.

“I was turned away because they were all full. On Monday the department gave me a letter to take to one school, but the principal shouted at me in front of my child and other parents, and I was told there was no place in the school.”

The mother went back to the department and was given another letter instructing the same school to enrol the child.

“I got all the documents and filled them, but I was told that my application was on hold.”

Her son is among several pupils left without a school the first day of the academic year.

DA education spokesman in the province Mbali Ntuli said: “There really isn’t a working system to solve this problem. It happens every year. The department needs to look at a new system.”

Department spokesman Sicelo Khuzwayo was unable to provide the number of pupils who are without schools in the province.

“Each school has a benchmark that they do not go beyond. Also, schools know how many pupils they can control in each class, so they cannot take every pupil who applies. What usually happens is that a pupil who is not placed is put on a waiting list and is then called to enrol when someone drops out.”