Schools are almost full: WCED makes urgent call to Parents to enrol children

By Minister Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education:

To date, schools in the Western Cape have processed 128 545 applications for placement for the 2016 school year.

So far, 118 429 learners have been placed.

Parents were encouraged to apply to schools by the 30th June 2015. Parents who now still need spaces at schools need to urgently approach their nearest schools or the closest district office to find out which schools still have spaces available.

We cannot guarantee places in schools of choice, but will do our utmost to place children appropriately.

It is crucial that parents who have failed to enrol their child for the 2016 school year to do so urgently and before the end of the 3rd term to ensure that they secure a place for their child.

Planning for the school year ahead requires great deal of work and involves various structures within the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), including head office, the districts, principals, educators and school management teams.

Last year, we introduced the new online School Admission Management Information system (SAMI). The system was developed to simplify the management of learner enrolment.

The system makes it much easier for schools to capture applications for places and to share this information with other schools and officials.

The SAMI system is currently being used to direct learners to schools that have spaces available.

Our officials have been using the system to generate lists of learners accepted at more than one school. Those parents whose child has been accepted at multiple schools are currently being notified that they need to choose which school to send their child to.

There are currently 3 470 learners who have been accepted at more than one school.

2 257 of these learners are Grade 8 learners who have not confirmed if they are taking up their places.

We expect that learners will continue to migrate to the Western Cape from other provinces in search of a better education and access to opportunities.

Included in our planning for 2016, is the allocation of additional mobiles to schools, as well as additional LTSM being ordered for predicted growth.

3 new schools are being opened and approximately 190 additional mobile classrooms are being sourced to meet demands.

9 replacement schools have also been completed and learners and teachers will be enjoying access to these brand new facilities by the end of this year.

Each year we plan as best we can for the influx of additional learners from other provinces.  The inward migration into the Western Cape has huge financial and planning implications, impacting on the provisioning of education resources and the overall management of the system.

We have to prioritise according to the greatest need across the whole province, and available budget. Our current budget is under considerable pressure.

We appeal to all parents to honour enrolment deadlines for their children. Failure to enrol children on time places a massive burden on our officials at the start of the school year, and disrupts teaching and learning time.