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Chapter 10

LEARNER MATTERS

10.1 DISCIPLINARY MATTERS

10.1.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The Bill of Rights, Chapter 2, [Act No. 108 of 1996 [BoR]
  • The South African Constitution Act 108 of 1996 [SAC]
  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
  • Further Education and Training Act No. 98 of 1998 [FETA]
  • Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Act 2013 [FETC]

 

GUIDELINES

  • Guidelines for the consideration of Governing Bodies in adopting a Code of Conduct for Learners (Published under General Notice 776 in Government Gazette 18900 of 15 May 1998) [NG SGB CC]

 

POLICY

  • Admission Policy for ordinary public schools [NP ADP]

EasternCape

REGULATIONS

  • EC Regulations Relating to Behaviour by Learners in Public Schools [Reference B1 EC BEHAVIOUR]

FreeState

ACTS

  • Free State School Education Act, (Act No. 2 of 2000) [Reference B2 FS EDACT]

Gauteng

GUIDELINES

  • Gauteng Provincial Government: Department of Education- Code of Conduct for Members of Governing Bodies of Public Schools and Procedures for handling Learner Misconduct [Reference B3 GAU MISCONCUCT]

 

CIRCULARS

  • Circular 4 of 2014 Prohibition of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools (Reference B3 4/2014]
  • Circular 3 of 2014 The prohibition of public schools from releasing learners from school during internal assessments/examinations [Reference List B3 3/2014]

NorthWest

ACTS

  • North West Schools Education Act, Act no. 3 of 1998 [Reference B8 NW EDACT 3/1998]

 

REGULATIONS

  • Regulations relating to the Disciplinary Proceedings Dealing with Misconduct of Learners – (Provincial Notice 7014 of 2011) [Reference B8 7014/2011]

WesternCape

REGULATIONS

  • Regulations relating serious misconduct of learners at public schools, extract from Western Cape Provincial Gazette, No. 5190, 31 October 1997 [Reference B9 5190/1997]

Also see “IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL ASPECTS OF THE WESTERN CAPE REGULATIONS ON SERIOUS MISCONDUCT” at the end of this document.

10.1.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Disciplinary Matters

(See Reference List C CONDUCT, for an example of a Code of Conduct for a school)

  1. Code of conduct
    • Section 8 of the South African Schools Act provides that a governing body of a public school must adopt a Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct must aim at establishing a disciplined and purposeful environment to facilitate effective education and learning in schools and nothing contained in this Act exempts a learner from the obligation to comply with the code of conduct of the school attended by the learner. The Code of Conduct must be subject to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, the South African Schools Act, 1996 and provincial legislation. It must reflect the constitutional democracy, human rights and transparent communication which underpin South African society.
    • The Code of Conduct must inform the learners of the way in which they should conduct themselves at school in preparation for their conduct and safety in civil society. It must set a standard of moral behaviour for learners and equip them with the expertise, knowledge and skills they would be expected to demonstrate as worthy and responsible citizens. It must promote the civic responsibilities of the school and it must develop leadership. The main focus of the Code of Conduct must be positive discipline; it must not be punitive and punishment oriented but it should facilitate constructive learning.
    • Each school must develop its own Code of Conduct. In formulating a Code of Conduct as a consensus document and before adopting it, the governing body must involve the parents, learners, educators, and non-educators at that school. After the adoption of the Code of Conduct, each stakeholder must receive a copy thereof. The above stakeholders must also be consulted when the Code of Conduct is reviewed annually or when any amendments are made.
    • The purpose of a Code of Conduct is to promote positive discipline, self-discipline and exemplary conduct, as learners learn by observation and experience.
      The Code of Conduct must suit the development of the learners and be appropriate to the different school levels. The language used must be easily understandable to make the content accessible. The format should be user-friendly.
    • The Code of Conduct must contain a set of moral values, norms and principles which the school community should uphold.
      • The preamble to a Code of Conduct
        The preamble to a Code of Conduct should contain the principles, philosophy and ethos contained in the preamble to the South African Schools Act.  Reference should be made to the fact that, while the State has the obligation to make education available and accessible, this must be complemented by the commitment and acceptance of responsibility by the other partners in education, inter alia, learners, educators and parents.
        The preamble should direct the Code of Conduct towards a culture of reconciliation, teaching, learning and mutual respect and the establishment of a culture of tolerance and peace in all schools.
      • The legal authority for the control and discipline of learners
        In terms of section 3(4)(n), of the National Education Policy Act, Act No. 27 of 1996, the Minister of Education must determine national education policy for the control and discipline of learners at education institutions.  This policy shall be directed at the advancement and protection of the fundamental rights of every person guaranteed in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, Act No. 108 of 1996.  The South African Schools Act, Act No. 84 of 1996, section 8(1) empowers a governing body of a school to maintain discipline in a school. The Code of Conduct must prescribe behaviour that respects the rights of learners and educators.
        Learners must understand that action may be taken against them if they contravene the Code of Conduct.

        • When action is taken against learners they should be informed why their conduct is considered as misbehaviour or misconduct and why they are to be disciplined or punished. The punishment must suit the offence.  Nothing shall exempt a learner from complying with the Code of Conduct of the school.
        • An educator at the school shall have the same rights as a parent to control and discipline the learner according to the Code of Conduct during the time the learner is in attendance at the school, any classroom, school function or school excursion or school related activities.
        • The principal or an educator, upon reasonable suspicion (sufficient information), has the legal authority to conduct a search of any learner or property in possession of the learner for a dangerous weapon, firearm, drugs, or harmful dangerous substance, stolen property, or pornographic material brought on to the school property. (A search may be performed in terms of the following Acts of general application: Control of Access to Public Premises and Vehicles Act, Act No. 53 of 1985; Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992; Arms and Ammunition Act, Act No. 75 of 1969). During a search human dignity shall be observed and learners shall be searched in private by persons of their own gender, preferably in the presence of at least one other person. A record must be kept of the search proceedings and the outcome.
        • A learner who falls pregnant may not be prevented from attending school. A pregnant girl may be referred to a hospital school for pregnant girls.

10.1.3Principles and Values underpinning Disciplinary Matters

  • Democracy
    The Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No. 108 of 1996, enshrines the rights of all people and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. The school must protect, promote and fulfil the rights identified in the Bill of Rights. All learners and partners at a school have the democratic right to due process and to participate in decision-making about matters affecting them at the school. They also have the right to have their views heard about these matters.

    • Non-discrimination and equality
      No person may unfairly discriminate against a learner. All learners shall enjoy equal treatment before the law and shall receive equal protection and benefits of the law.
    • Privacy, respect and dignity
    • Every learner has inherent dignity and has the right to have his/her human dignity respected. That implies mutual respect including respect for one another’s convictions and cultural traditions. Every learner also has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have his/her person or property searched or his/her possession seized. However, the principal or an educator may search learners based on his/her reasonable suspicion followed by the use of search methods that are reasonable in scope.
  • Non-violence and the freedom and security of a person
    • Every learner has the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner. Corporal punishment has been abolished. Educators and learners have to learn the importance of mediation and co-operation, to seek and negotiate non-violent solutions to conflict and differences and to make use of due process of law.
    • Learners have the right not to be locked up in solitary confinement or detention.
    • The philosophy of the disciplinary system is based on human dignity and on respect and consideration for others and not on fear or assault.
  • Freedom of expression and right to demonstrate and present petitions
    • Freedom of expression is more than freedom of speech. The freedom of expression includes the right to seek, hear, read and wear. The freedom of expression is extended to forms of outward expression as seen in clothing selection and hairstyles. However, learners’ rights to enjoy freedom of expression are not absolute. Vulgar words, insubordination and insults are not protected speech. When the expression leads to a material and substantial disruption in school operations, activities or the rights of others, this right can be limited as the disruption of schools is unacceptable.
    • Learners have the right to agreed procedures with the governing body for expressing and resolving school-related grievances, including due process, a method of appeal and a right to assemble peacefully on the school property at a time and place designated by the principal. Problems or issues should, as far as possible, be resolved at the school.
    • However, the disruption of schools is unacceptable.
  • School environment
    Learners have the right to a clean and safe environment that is conducive to education. Security of property, well-cared for school facilities, school furniture and equipment, clean toilet facilities, water and a green environment, absence of harassment in attending classes and writing tests and examinations, all create an atmosphere that is conducive for education and training.
  • Education
    • The Constitution enshrines the right of every one to education and to further education which the State must make progressively available and accessible;
    • The South African Schools Act provides that education is compulsory for learners from the year in which such learners reach the age of 7 years until the last school day of the year in which such learners turn 15 years or the ninth grade, whichever comes first. It also makes provision for due process before a learner may be removed or expelled from a school. The right of a learner to education cannot be taken away when the learner is expelled from school. Therefore, in the case of expulsion, the Head of Department must find a school place for an expelled learner who is of school-going age,
    • In cases of suspension and expulsion, placement in an alternative school setting, e.g. reassignment to another class, correctional education under supervision after school hours, a special school for learners with behavioural disorders, etc., are options which could be considered in conjunction with a school psychologist or a social worker. Suspension with the intent to expel a learner is part of a process to be decided by the Head of Department. The governing body may suspend a learner as a punitive measure if due process has been followed.
      Education and learning can be successful if the learners are committed to self-development, education and learning, and the educators are dedicated to education and teaching.
    • The right to education includes the right to attend all classes, to learn and be taught in all approved subjects, to be informed regularly about school progress, to make use of all school facilities, and to have the potential of all learners fully developed.
  1. Rights and responsibilities of learners
    • School and classroom rules
      • School rules are designed to regulate the general organisation of the school, and relationships between the principal, educators and learners. Classroom rules are designed to give effect specifically to the relationship between educators and learners in the classroom, and may include classroom interactions and management;
        learners must be involved in the formulation of school and classroom rules and must conform to such rules;
        all rules are to be consistent with the overall Code of Conduct, be clear and understandable and make provision for fair warning;
      • each learner should be provided with a copy of the school rules at the beginning of each school year;
        younger learners at primary schools should be informed verbally of school rules;
        classroom rules should be posted in the classroom. The consequence for breaking the rules should also be included. The punishment must fit the offence and be graded to make provision for repeated offences. These rules should make provision for fundamental fairness and fair warning; and
        learners must be expected to know and to adhere to school and classroom rules. Ignorance of these rules is not an acceptable excuse.
    • Learning and school work
      Learners must commit themselves to do their school work during classes, complete assigned homework and catch up on work missed because of absence. Disruption of schools is unacceptable.
    • Security and care of school property
      As the school has been developed for the use of all the learners attending the school, it is the privilege and obligation of every learner to protect and carefully use all the facilities and equipment so that others who come after them can also enjoy the privilege. The parent or legal guardian of anyone who intentionally misuses, damages or defaces any school property should replace it or pay for the property so damaged.  Destruction of property is a punishable offence.
    • School attendance
      • The right of learners to basic education places the obligation on them to attend school regularly during school hours. Should a learner be absent his/her parent or legal guardian must notify the school to explain the absence.
        Learners have the responsibility to learn and develop their full potential, i.e. academic, occupational, social, sport, spiritual, art and cultural potential. They should actively participate in the learning process and decision making and have the opportunity to talk about their problems.
      • Learners can expect educators to maintain a high standard of professional ethics and to be present to teach their classes, assist them with their learning difficulties, report on their progress and look after their well-being. There should be a relationship of mutual trust and respect between learners and educators.  Victimisation of the one by the other is unacceptable.
      • The Learner Representative Council should represent the interests and views of the learners within the school. They should also promote proper conduct of learners but do not have the authority or right to punish other learners.
        A school may establish a liaison mechanism between learners and educators.
  2. Responsibilities of parents with respect to the Code of Conduct
    • The ultimate responsibility for learners’ behaviour rests with their parents or guardians. It is expected that parents will
      • support the school, and require learners to observe all school rules and regulations and accept responsibility for any misbehaviour on their part; and
      • take an active interest in their children’s schoolwork and make it possible for the children to complete assigned homework.
    • Parents should attend meetings that the governing body convenes for them.
    • Parents have the right to take legal action against any educator, learner or person who unlawfully violates the constitutional rights of their children e.g. corporal punishment, injury to a child, etc

10.1.4Maintaining Discipline

  1. Discipline
    • Discipline must be maintained in the school and the classroom to ensure that the education of learners proceeds without disruptive behaviour and offences. Its goal is to teach and lead learners to self-discipline.
    • The disciplinary process must be expeditious, fair, just, corrective, consistent and educative. Where possible the parent should be informed and involved in the correction of the learner’s behaviour. Learners should be protected from abuse by adults or other learners.
    • Restraint is the act of controlling the actions of learners when such actions may inflict harm to others or to the learner, or violate the rights of other learners or educators. Educators may use reasonable measures where necessary to prevent a learner from harming him/herself or others.
    • The South African Schools Act, 1996, empowers school authorities to discipline learners, but it is beyond the law to delegate this authority to fellow learners. Learners are partners with other members of the school and are not in charge of the school.
    • Every educator is responsible for discipline at all times at the school and at school related activities. Educators have full authority and responsibility to correct the behaviour of learners whenever such correction is necessary at the school. Serious misconduct must be referred to the principal of the school. However, a mechanism must be created at schools to handle disciplinary problems to reduce the load of the principal.
    • Any corrective measures or disciplinary action must be commensurate with the offence/infraction. Corrective measures may become more severe with subsequent repeated infractions. Suspension or expulsion may follow. Learners should not think that they cannot be suspended or expelled simply because it is their first offence or infraction of a rule or policy, but such decision should be taken by the right authority.
    • In cases where a learner cannot adjust to the school and where his/her behaviour is objectionable in that it violates the rights of others, he/she will be referred to the principal. Through consultation with his/her educators, and the site of learning based team in consultation with the parents or guardians every effort should be made to assist him/her to adjust. This will include referral to the education support services for treatment. If all these efforts fail, the principal will refer the matter to the governing body, which may make a decision in the best interest of the learner and the other learners at the school.
  2. Punishment
    Punishment is a corrective measure or a penalty inflicted on an offender who has to suffer the consequences of misconduct in order to maintain the orderly society of the school.  Corporal punishment shall not be administered and a person who contravenes is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction which could be imposed for assault
  3. Dispute resolution
    Educators as disciplinarians must resolve disciplinary problems which are not serious enough to be referred to the principal. A liaison mechanism, or objective and impartial adjudicator between learners and educators, should be set up to resolve disputes. In cases where learners are involved in gangs, the principal should not confront them but the governing body should set up a negotiation mechanism.
  4. Prevention, proactive advice, counselling, penalties and corrective measures
    In cases of minor offences corrective measures may be applied. These measures could include one or more of the following:

    • verbal warning or written reprimand by an educator or a principal;
    • supervised school work that will contribute to the learner’s progress at school, the improvement of the school environment, provided that the parents are timeously informed and the security of the child is assured;
    • performing tasks that would assist the offended person;
    • agreed affordable compensation;
    • replacement of damaged property; and
    • suspension from some school activities, e.g. sport, cultural activities.
      Suspension from school should only be considered after every effort has been made to correct the behaviour of the learner.
  5. Offences that may lead to suspension
    Provincial regulations must be consulted in the compilation of a list of offences which may lead to suspension of a learner.

    • Offences that may lead to such suspension include, but are not limited to the following:
      • conduct which endangers the safety and violates the rights of others;
      • possession, threat or use of a dangerous weapon;
      • possession, use, transmission or visible evidence of narcotic or unauthorised drugs, alcohol or intoxicants of any kind;
      • fighting, assault or battering;
      • immoral behaviour or profanity;
      • falsely identifying oneself;
      • harmful graffiti, hate speech, sexism, racism;
      • theft or possession of stolen property including test or examination papers prior to the writing of tests or examinations;
      • unlawful action, vandalism, or destroying or defacing school property,
      • disrespect, objectionable behaviour and verbal abuse directed at educators or other school employees or learners;
      • repeated violations of school rules or the Code of Conduct;
      • criminal and oppressive behaviour such as rape and gender based harassment;
      • victimisation, bullying and intimidation of other learners;
      • infringement of examination rules; and
      • knowingly and wilfully supplying false information or falsifying documentation to gain an unfair advantage at school.
    • Suspension and expulsion
      • A governing body may, after a fair hearing, suspend any learner from school or from a hostel who has been found guilty of contravening stipulations of the Code of Conduct:
        • for a period not longer than 5 school days; or
        • for a reasonable period not exceeding one week, pending a decision by the Head of Department on the recommendation of the governing body as to whether or not the learner is to be expelled from the school.
        • A learner who is suspended or expelled from a hostel is not necessarily suspended or expelled from the school concerned.
        • Learner who has been expelled, or his/her parent, may appeal against the decision of the Head of Department to the Member of the Executive Council, within seven days of the decision to expel him/her.
      • SASA as amended by the Basic Education Law Amendment Act No 15 of 2011 in Section 9(11)(a) determines as follows:
        “(11) (a) If an appeal in terms of subsection (4) by a learner who has been expelled from a public school is upheld by the Member of the Executive Council, the Member of the Executive Council must ensure that a suitable sanction is then imposed on the learner within 14 days of the date on which the appeal was upheld.
        (b) For the purposes of the imposition of a suitable sanction contemplated in paragraph (a), the provisions of subsections (8) and (9) apply with the changes required by the context.”

        • In cases of disciplinary transfer, the Head of Department must find a school place for a learner until the learner is beyond compulsory school-going age, as the right of a learner to basic education cannot be violated.
        • All decisions leading to suspension or expulsion must take cognisance of applicable laws, e.g. a learner whose parent is unable to pay the school fees determined by the governing body may not be suspended from classes or expelled from the school.
    • Due process
      • The South African Schools Act makes provision for due process including a fair hearing before a learner may be suspended from the school by the governing body. Due process guarantees a learner a fair hearing before a learner may be suspended for a period of one week or be-expelled from the school by the Head of the Department.
      • Any learner alleged to have violated any rule that may require suspension or expulsion, must be brought to the principal. The principal shall hear the evidence and then decide on the action to be taken. Such action must include that the principal must inform the parents in writing of the proposed action and arrange for a fair hearing by a small disciplinary committee (tribunal) consisting of members designated by the governing body. This tribunal must not be intimidating to the learner. In the case of very young learners special arrangements must be made for the hearing and the parents or guardians could represent the learners.
      • The disciplinary committee so appointed must conduct the hearing in accordance with the provincial regulations laid down by the Member of the Executive Council.
      • The Principal can under no circumstances be the ‘investigator’ and the Chairperson (or a member of the panel) in the disciplinary. His only possible role after investigating, could be that of initiator / ‘prosecutor’.
      • For the hearing the learner must –
        • be informed of and understand the charges of which written notice should be given at least five days before the time also indicating the date, time and place of the hearing;
        • receive such particulars on the charges as he/she may be entitled to according to law, if he/she so requests:
        • get the opportunity to be heard and tell his/her side of the story and to present the relevant facts;
        • not be prohibited from being represented by legal counsel, in which case written explanation of the charges must be given, or, in less serious cases the learner may be represented by a member of the LRC, parent, guardian or educator;
        • be heard by an impartial person(s);
        • be treated with dignity during the process;
        • be informed in writing of the decision of the governing body on whether or not he/she is guilty of misconduct, and the penalty to be imposed in the case of suspension or expulsion; and
        • have the right to appeal to the MEC if he/she is aggrieved by the decision of the governing body.
      • The governing body must keep a record of the proceedings of the hearing, and
        • may inform, in writing, the Head of Department of its decision to suspend a learner; or
        • must inform the Head of Department within twenty-four hours of its recommendation for expulsion of the learner.
      • Subject to any provincial law a learner may only be expelled by the Head of Department.
  6. Serious misconduct and the law
    Serious misconduct which may include offences according to the law must be investigated by the police and referred to the Court if necessary. Serious misconduct must be handled in terms of the government notice and regulations promulgated by the Member of Executive Council in the Provincial Gazette of the province concerned.
  7. Compulsory attendance
    • Subject to the South African Schools Act and any applicable provincial law, every parent must cause every learner for whom he or she is responsible to attend a school from the first school day of the year in which such learner reaches the age of seven years until the last school day of the year in which such learner reaches the age of fifteen years or the ninth grade, whichever occurs first.
    • The Minister must, by notice in the Government Gazette, determine the ages of compulsory attendance at school for learners with special education needs.
    • Every Member of the Executive Council must ensure that there are enough school places so that every child who lives in his or her province can attend school as required by subsections (1) and (2).
    • If a Member of the Executive Council cannot comply with subsection (3) because of a lack of capacity existing at the date of commencement of this Act, he or she must take steps to remedy any such lack of capacity as soon as possible and must make an annual report to the Minister on the progress achieved in doing so.
    • If a learner who is subject to compulsory attendance in terms of subsection (1) is not enrolled at or fails to attend a school, the Head of Department may –
      • investigate the circumstances of the learner’s absence from school;
      • take appropriate measures to remedy the situation; and
      • failing such a remedy, issue a written notice to the parent of the learner requiring compliance with subsection (1).
        FREE STATE

        In order to ensure compulsory school attendance, the MEC may designate officers on the staff establishment of the Department to act as school attendance officers and he or she may determine their powers and duties.

    • Subject to this Act and any other applicable law –
      • any parent who, without just cause and after a written notice from the Head of Department, fails to comply with subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months; or
      • any other person who, without just cause, prevents a learner who is subject to compulsory attendance from attending a school, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
        FREE STATE

        A person who, during school hours, employs a learner who is subject to compulsory school attendance, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment fora  period not exceeding six months.

        A person who hinders or obstructs a school attendance officer in the performance of his or her functions, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a  period not exceeding six months.

    • Exemption from compulsory attendance
      • A Head of Department may exempt a learner entirely, partially or conditionally from compulsory school attendance if it is in the best interests of the learner.
      • Every Head of Department must maintain a register of all learners exempted from compulsory school attendance.

10.1.5Initiation Practices

No principal, educator or learner may allow or participate in any act or practice which involves initiation practices or may cause or contribute to the humiliation, degradation, harassment, assault, crimen injuria, intimidation or maltreatment of learners.

There should be a relationship of mutual trust and respect between learners, and between learners and educators. Victimisation of the one by the other is unacceptable, and peer pressure cannot be regarded as a justification for engaging in acts of victimisation.

The Learner Representative Council should represent the interests and views of all the learners and promote proper conduct of learners. However, no learner has the right or authority to punish other learners.

Learners should be protected from abuse by adults or other learners and learners’ behaviour must be free of any violence and in line with the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.

  1. Responsibilities of principals and governing bodies
    A principal must ensure that no initiation practices take place in his or her school, including hostels, or during any school activities away from the school premises. The principal must put systems in place to encourage learners to bring such practices to his attention and to ensure that such learners be free from victimisation. The Head of Department must ensure that this system is in place in every school in his or her province.
    The principal, as head of the institution in terms of section 16(3) of the Act, has a primary responsibility to ensure that learners are not subjected to crimen injuria, assault, harassment, maltreatment, degradation, humiliation or intimidation from educators or learners and must protect learners from such practices. A principal must also take reasonable steps to ensure that such practices are not caused by peer pressure.
    A disciplinary system is based on human dignity and on respect and consideration for others and not on fear or assault. Educators have a duty to care for and protect learners from violence because of their in loco parentis status.
    If any initiation practices or acts take place through the actions of learners, the school governing body as the authority responsible for the discipline of learners, must take appropriate action in terms of section 8 of the Act or a Code of Conduct to prevent such practices and to protect learners from such practices.
    If any initiation practices or acts take place in a school and members of staff are involved or allow such actions to take place or fail to take the necessary precautions to prevent such practices from taking place, the employer must take disciplinary actions in terms of applicable law against such perpetrators.
  2. Responsibilities of educators
    Educators must protect, promote and respect the rights of learners.
    Every educator is responsible to assist the school governing body with discipline at the school and school related activities.
    Every educator has a duty to control the actions of learners when such actions may inflict harm to others or to the learner, or violate the rights of other learners or educators. Educators must take reasonable measures where necessary to prevent a learner from harming himself or herself or others.
    In cases where a learner cannot adjust to the school and where his or her behaviour is objectionable in that it violates the rights of others, an educator has the obligation to refer such a learner to the principal and to inform the learner’s parents and the school governing body.
    An educator at the school has the same rights and obligations as a parent to protect, control and discipline a learner according to the Code of Conduct during the time the learner is in attendance at the school, or at any school function, school excursion or school related activity.
  3. Prohibition of corporal punishment and initiation practices
    A person may not administer corporal punishment to a student/learner.  Any person who contravenes is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a sentence which may be imposed for assault.
    A person may not conduct or participate in initiation practices at public and private further education and training institutions.  Any person who contravenes is guilty of misconduct and disciplinary action must be instituted against such a person.  In addition, a person may institute civil action against a person or a group who manipulated and forced that person to conduct or participate in any initiation practices.
    For the purposes of this Act, “initiation practices” means any act which in the process of initiation, admission into, or affiliation with, or as condition for continued membership of a school or a further education and training institution, a group, intramural or extramural activities, inter-institution sports teams, or organisation –

    • endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person;
    • undermines the intrinsic worth of human beings by treating some as inferior to others;
    • subjects individuals to humiliating or violent acts which undermine the constitutional guarantee to dignity in the Bill of Rights;
    • undermines the fundamental rights and values that underpin the Constitution;
    • impedes the development of a true democratic culture that entitles an individual to be treated as worthy of respect and concern; or
    • destroys public or private property.
      In considering whether the conduct or participation of a person in any initiation practices falls within the definition above, the relevant disciplinary authority must take into account the right of the student not to be subjected to such practices.

      IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL ASPECTS OF THE WESTERN CAPE REGULATIONS ON SERIOUS MISCONDUCT

      • The disciplinary hearing takes place before a disciplinary committee
      • The disciplinary committee consists of :
        • An SGB member who chairs it
        • At least two other SGB members
        • At least five members in total
      • It may not include learners, the principal or anyone with a possible conflict of interest: (learners or the principal, though they may not be on the disciplinary committee, may be used as witnesses, and the principal may be the “prosecutor”)
      • Documentation
        • Both parents and learners must be given written notice of a hearing
        • Receipt of the notice must be acknowledged
        • The notice must provide the following:
          • Five school days’ notice of the hearing
          • Enough information on the alleged misconduct for the learner to prepare a defence
          • What the learner will be charged with
          • The learner must be informed that:
            • S/he has the right to be accompanied by his/her parents and to be represented by another person, including a lawyer if so desired
            • S/he will be allowed to question both witnesses and the chairperson
            • S/he will have access to all relevant documents and information, and must be given such access
      • During the hearing only those who are formally and legally members of the Hearing Committee, or who are presenting the case, presenting evidence or are part of the hearing (such as the charged learner and/or his/her representatives) may be present in the room.
      • If the governing body recommends expulsion, the following documents must be provided to the department:
        • The minutes of the meeting at which the decision was taken
        • A copy of the learners’ record, including any previous interventions by the school and the learners’ response to such interventions
        • Reasons for recommending expulsion
        • A full record of the proceedings of the disciplinary committee and the governing body
        • Any written representation submitted by the learner, the parents of the learner or the learners’ representative
        • Copies of any correspondence between the school and the learners’ parents
        • Administrative information
          • The Head of Education has fourteen days to respond to the school’s recommendation
          • The learner may be suspended from attending school during these fourteen days
          • If the Head of Education turns down the recommendation for expulsion, an alternative sanction from the school’s code of discipline must be imposed

 

10.1.6Cell Phone Policy

Cell phones play an increasingly important role in the lives of learners and schools have to accommodate the implications of this change in their policy. See Chapter 10.10

Also see Chapter 1.3 Developing of Policies

10.2 ADMISSION AND TRANSFERS

10.2.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No. 108 of 1996 [BoR]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
  • The South African Constitution Act 108 of 1996 [SAC]
  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
  • Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 as amended by Government Gazette No. 33851 of 7 December 2010 [BDR]
  • The Aliens Control Act, 1991 as amended by Government Gazette No. 1537 of 6 October 1995 [ACA]

EasternCape

CIRCULARS

  • Circular No 6 of 2014 The Administration of Learner Admissions in all Public Ordinary Schools [Reference B1 6/2014]

FreeState

ACT

  • Free State School Education Act, No. 2 of 2000 (Amended) [Reference B2 FS EDACT]

 

GUIDELINE

  • Free State Forms for Learner Registration and Admissions, [Reference B2 FS LRA]

Gauteng

REGULATIONS

  • Gauteng Province Education: Regulations on Admission of Learners to Public Schools 2012 –    Published under General Notice 4138 of 2001(PG 129 of 13 July 2001) [as amended by General Notice 1160 of 2012 (PG 127 of 9 May 2012)]  [Reference B3 GAURL ADMIN]
  • Amendments to Regulations Relating to Admissions in GAUTENG March 2018 [Reference B3 GAURL ADMIN 2019]

KwaZulu-Natal

CIRCULARS

  • KZN Circular 39 of 2015: Administration of Learner Admissions in Public Schools in 2016 [Reference B4 39/2015]

Limpopo

CIRCULAR

  • Circular 67 of 2016 Limpopo Admission in Public Schools in 2017 [Reference B5 67/2016]
  • Circular 43 of 2017: Limpopo Admission in Public Schools for 2018 [Refenence B5 43/2017]

NorthWest

ACT

  • North West Schools Education Act, Act no. 3 of 1998 [Reference B8 NW EDACT 3/1998]

(In addition to SASA, see the NorthWest Schools Education Act, Act no. 3 of 1998, Section 2. (a), (b) on admissions to schools.)

10.2.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Admissions and Transfers

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework to all provincial departments of education and governing bodies of public schools for developing the admission policy of the school.
  2. Administration of admissions
    • The Head of Department must determine a process of registration for admission to public schools in order to enable the admission of learners to take place in a timely and an efficient manner. The Head of Department and the school governing bodies should encourage parents to apply for the admission of their children before the end of the preceding school year. “Parent” means the parent or guardian of a learner, the person legally entitled to custody of a learner or the person who undertakes to fulfil the obligations towards the learner’s education at school.
    • The Head of Department is responsible for the administration of the admission of learners to a public school. The Head of Department may delegate the responsibility for the admission of learners to a school to officials of the Department.
    • The admission policy of a public school is determined by the governing body of the school in terms of section 5(5) of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (No. 84 of 1996). The policy must be consistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (No. 108 of 1996), the South African Schools Act, 1996 and applicable provincial law. The governing body of a public school must make a copy of the school’s admission policy available to the Head of Department.
    • The Head of Department must co-ordinate the provision of schools and the administration of admissions of learners to ordinary public schools with governing bodies to ensure that all eligible learners are suitably accommodated in terms of the South African Schools Act, 1996. Subject to this policy, it is particularly important that all eligible learners of compulsory school going age are accommodated in public schools.
      The Free State School Education Act states that notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), the responsible Member may, if the Department lacks the material or administrative resources to provide for compulsory school attendance in accordance with subsection (1), by notice in the Provincial Gazette, provide that in the calendar year, compulsory school attendance shall not apply to learners who fall within age-groups which are specified in the notice.
    • The admission policy of a public school and the administration of admissions by an education department must not unfairly discriminate in any way against an applicant for admission.
      The Free State School Education Act states that:

      17(4B)   The language policy of of a public school shall be developed within the framework of the following principles:

      17(4B) (a)       The education process should aim at the development of a national democratic culture with respect for the country’s diverse language communities;

      17(4B) (b)       Where reasonable practicable, a learner shall have the right to language choice in education;

      17 (4B) (c)      School language policies shall be designed to facilitate the maximum participation of learners in the learning process;

      17(4B) (d)       Special measures shall be taken by the governing body to enable a learner to become competent in the language of teaching of their choice and where reasonably practicable if there is a place available in the relevant grade the public school must admit the learner;

      17(4B) (e)     Where no public school in a district offers the desired language as a medium of learning and teaching, the Department upon request, may make provision for instruction in the chosen language;

      17(4B) (f)      On completion of the ninth grade of education a learner should have acquired satisfactory levels of competence in at least two of the official languages.

    • A learner is admitted to the total school programme and may not be suspended from classes, denied access to cultural, sporting or social activities of the school, denied a school report or transfer certificates, or otherwise victimised on the grounds that his or her parent –
    • Is unable to pay or has not paid the required school fees;
    • does not subscribe to the mission statement and code of conduct of the school; or
    • has refused to enter into a contract in terms of which the parent waives any claim for damages arising out of the education of the learner.
    • The governing body of a public school may not administer any test relating to the admission of a learner to a public school, or direct or authorise the principal of the school or any person to administer such a test. Where placement in a specific course or programme, e.g. technical field of study, dance or music, is required and where it would be in the educational interest of a learner, he or she may be requested by the Head of Department to undertake a suitable test to assist a placement decision.
    • The name of a learner must be removed from a school’s admission register when the learner –
      • leaves the school after grade 12 or after completing the compulsory school attendance period, or is granted exemption from compulsory attendance according to section (4) of the South African Schools Act;
      • applies for a transfer to another school and the transfer is effected;
      • is expelled from school; or
      • passes away.
    • If a learner of compulsory school going age fails to attend school, the Head of Department may act in terms of section 3(5) and (6) of the South African Schools Act, 1996.
  3. Documents required for admission of a learner
    • A parent must complete an application form for admission, which should be made available to him or her by the principal of the school together with the admission policy and the code of conduct for learners of the school. The principal must ensure that parents are given whatever assistance they may require to complete the form.
    • When a parent applies for admission of a learner to an ordinary public school, the parent must present an official birth certificate of the learner to the principal of the public school. If the parent is unable to submit the birth certificate, the learner may be admitted conditionally until a copy of the birth certificate is obtained from the regional office of the Department of Home Affairs. The principal must advise parents that it is an offence to make a false statement about the age of a child. (See Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 (No. 51 of 1992).) The parent must ensure that the admission of the learner is finalised within three months of conditional admission.
    • On application for admission, a parent must show proof that the learner has been immunised against the following communicable diseases: polio, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis B. If a parent is unable to show proof of immunisation, the principal must advise the parent on having the learner immunised as part of the free primary health care programme.
    • When a learner transfers from one public school to another, the principal must complete a transfer card and hand it to the parent, or forward it to the principal of the receiving school. The learner’s transfer card must be attached to the application form for admission to the receiving school.
    • If the transfer card is not available, the principal of the receiving school may admit the learner and place the learner in a grade on the basis of the following documentation:
      • the last report card issued by the previous school;
      • other equivalent documentation from the previous school; or
      • a written affidavit of the parent stating the reason for not having the transfer card and the grade the learner attended at the previous school.
  4. Admission of non-citizens
    • The South African Schools Act, 1996 and this policy apply equally to learners who are not citizens of the Republic of South Africa and whose parents are in possession of a permit for temporary or permanent residence issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
    • A learner who entered the country on a study permit must present the study permit on admission to the public school.
    • Persons classified as illegal aliens must, when they apply for admission for their children or for themselves, show evidence that they have applied to the Department of Home Affairs to legalise their stay in the country in terms of the Aliens Control Act, 1991 (No. 96 of 1991).
  5. Learners with special education needs
    • The rights and wishes of learners with special education needs must be taken into account at the admission of the learners to an ordinary public school. The South African Schools Act, 1996 requires ordinary public schools to admit learners with special education needs, where this is reasonably practical. Schools are encouraged to make the necessary arrangements, as far as practically possible, to make their facilities accessible to such learners.
    • Where the necessary support which would facilitate the integration of a learner in a particular educational context cannot be provided, the principal of the school must refer the application for admission to the Head of Department to have the learner admitted to a suitable public school in that province or to a school in another province.
    • Before the Head of Department refers a learner as contemplated in the previous paragraph, the Head of Department must arrange for consultation with parents, educators and other support personnel concerned. These consultations must form part of the assessment of the learner before the learner is referred to another public school. This process should be handled as a matter of urgency to facilitate the admission of a learner as soon as possible to ensure that the learner is not prejudiced in receiving appropriate education.
    •  Assessment and consultation relating to a change of placement must be carried out by a team based at the school in consultation with parents, educators and other relevant support personnel. The Head of Department of the province concerned must approve the placement.
  6. Age requirements for the admission of a learner to an ordinary public school or different grades of a school
    • Learners are to be admitted to public schools and placed in different grades in the school according to the age requirements.  A learner may be allowed to enter grade 1 at age five turning six by 30 June in the year of admission. For grade 0 (otherwise known as grade R – the reception year), the age is four turning five by 30 June in the year of admission.
    • The statistical age norm per grade is the grade number plus 6.
      Example:
      Grade 1+6=age 7
      Grade 9+6=age 15
      Grade 12+6=age 18
    • A learner must be admitted to grade 1 if s/he turns 7 in the course of that calendar year.
    • If a learner has been admitted to a public school at an age above the age norm for a grade, such learner must, as far as possible, be placed in a fast track facility, or with his or her peer group, unless it is not in the educational interest of the learner. In the latter case the learner must be placed in a suitable lower grade, and an accelerated programme must be worked out for the learner to enable him or her to catch up with the peer group as soon as possible.
    • The age-grade norm does not apply to a learner who is already enrolled at a public school on 1 January 2000, except that the previous paragraph may apply if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the learner.
    • A learner who is 16 years of age or older and who has never attended school and who is seeking admission for the first time or did not made sufficient progress with his or her peer group, must be advised to enrol at an Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) centre.
  7. Repetition
    • A learner who has repeated one or more years at school in terms of this policy is exempt from the age grade norm, except that, if a learner is three years older than the norm age per grade, the Head of Department must determine whether the learner will be admitted to that grade.
    • In principle, learners should progress with their age cohort. Repetition of grades seldom results in significant increases in learning attainment and frequently has the opposite result. The norm for repetition is one year per school phase where necessary. Multiple repetitions in one grade are not permissible.
    • The norm is not to be construed as promoting the practice of automatic promotion. A learner’s needs must be attended to through the efforts of the learner, and his or her teachers, with support from the learner’s family and peers.
  8. School zoning
    A Head of Department, after consultation with representatives of governing bodies, may determine feeder zones for ordinary public schools, in order to control the learner numbers of schools and co-ordinate parental preferences. Such feeder zones need not be geographically adjacent to the school or each other.
    If a feeder zone is created –

    • preference must be given to a learner who lives in the feeder zone of a school or who resides with his or her parents at an employer’s home in the feeder zone;
    • a learner who lives outside the feeder zone is not precluded from seeking admission at whichever school he or she chooses. However, access to a chosen school cannot be guaranteed;
    • a learner who lives within the feeder zone of a school A must be referred to the neighbouring school B, if school A is oversubscribed. If school B is oversubscribed, an alternative school within a reasonable distance must be found by the Head of Department. If that is not possible, school A must admit the learner;
      • the preference order of admission is:
      • learners whose parents live in the feeder zone, in their own domicile or their employer’s domicile;
      • learners whose parent’s work address is in the feeder area; or
      • other learners: first come first served.
    • A school with a specific field of study, e.g. a technical school, must have much larger feeder zones to accommodate learners with specific aptitudes, interests or needs.
  9. Register of admission
    • The principal of a public school must keep a register of admission to the school. All admissions of learners to the school must be recorded in the register of admission. The register must contain the name, date of birth, age, identity number, if applicable, and address of the learner as well as the names of the learner’s parents as defined in the South African Schools Act, 1996 and their addresses and telephone numbers, where applicable.
    • Entries in the register of admission must be verified against the birth certificate or identity document of the learner concerned.
    • Officials of the provincial education department must have access to the register of admission.
  10. Rights and obligations of parents
    • The governing body of a school must inform all parents of learners admitted to a school of their rights and obligations in terms of the South African Schools Act, 1996, and any applicable provincial law. Parents must specifically be informed about their rights and obligations in respect to the governance and affairs of the school, including the process of deciding the school budget, any decision of a parent meeting relating to school fees, and the Code of Conduct for Learners.
    • Parents have an obligation to support their children to attend school regularly.
  11. Home education
    • A parent who wishes to provide home education for his or her child must apply to the Head of Department for registration.
    • The Head of Department will register such a learner if he or she is satisfied that the conditions stipulated in section 51 of the South African Schools Act, 1966, are complied with.
  12. Right of appeal
    Any learner or parent of a learner who has been refused admission to a public school may appeal against the decision to the Member of the Executive Council in terms of section 5(9) of the South African Schools Act, 1996.
  13. Admission demands
    • The Principal may be confronted by demands of either parents or officials to ‘admit’ certain learners. It is important to understand that the policy in this regard is an SGB policy.
    • The occurrence must be reported to the SGB forthwith and the Principal should not become involved in a dispute with either the Department or the SGB on the matter.
    • In urgent matters the Principal should receive the learner(s) in/on the premises and proceed to supply their parents with the admissions documents that are normally exchanged, pending finalisation of their status.

Also Chapter 1.3 Developing of Policies

10.3 PRIZE GIVING PRACTICES

10.3.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
  • Further Education and Training Act No. 98 of 1996 [FETA]

10.3.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Prize Giving Practices

  1. Prize-giving Awards Policy (Also see Chapter 5, Sport and Cultural Activities)
    The following are some general principles to consider when compiling a Prize-giving Award Policy:

    • Prize-giving committee
      • A Prize-giving Awards Committee will be established and can/will consist of the Principal, the School Management Team (SMT) and the educators in charge of all respective disciplines: Academics, Cultural-, Sport- and other activities. SGB-members in charge of certain relevant activities should also be included in the Committee.
      • The composition of the Committee is reviewed annually.
    • Nominations
      • Award nominations, with relevant motivations, are to be prepared by the educator in charge of the relevant discipline in advance and presented to the Awards Committee meeting in writing. Nominations not submitted on the required date, will not be considered for the prize-giving ceremony.
      • Final awards are made at the discretion of the Committee.
      • Nominations for achievements and the level of achievement in Outside Activities can also be considered.
      • All awards should be recorded properly for inclusion in the Learner Profile and in the school’s archives.
    • Budget
      • Each discipline must budget properly for new – or the repair/replacement of old trophies.
      • No trophies or medals will be bought without the permission of the Committee.
      • The school is responsible for the engraving of the trophies which will be done annually
      • Requests or proposals for sponsorships must be presented to the committee for consideration in accordance with SGB policy.
    • Policy
      • Compiling the Prize-giving Award Policy will be the responsibility of the Principal and the SMT.
      • The Principal and SMT, with input from the Prize-giving Committee, will also consider the number of Award Ceremonies and the scheduled time on the year plan.
      • The Prize-giving Awards Policy is reviewed annually.
  2. Possible prize-giving award categories
    The following are some categories/awards to consider when compiling a Prize-giving Award Policy

    • FOUNDATION PHASE (GRADES 1 TO 3)
      • The element of competition should not be part of a Prize-giving Award Policy in the Foundation Phase.
      • Learners can be recognized for academic achievement throughout the year with stars, stickers and good work stamps.
      • At the year-end award ceremony, every child can be awarded a card / certificate in acknowledgement of his / her personal effort, progress and achievement.
    • INTERMEDIATE-, SENIOR- AND FET PHASES
      • Academics
        Academic awards are presented at end of year awards ceremonies to grades 4 to 11.  Grade 12 pupils receive awards at an award ceremony after completion of preliminary examinations.  Considering the end of year rush, schools can even consider holding their award ceremonies at the start of the first term.

        • Grades 4 to 7
          • Awards to every learner for every subject above 80%;
          • Academic awards for an average of 80%, calculated on all subjects;
          • Top 10 awards for the learners who were the top 10 academics in their respective grades (average of 80% or more);
          • Academic award for the highest average per grade;
          • Academic honours at the end of grade 7 for 80% average for each year since grade 4.
        • Grades 8 to 12
          • Awards to every learner for every subject above 80%;
          • Academic awards for an average of 80%, calculated on all subjects;
          • Top 10 awards for the learners who were the top 10 academics in their respective grades (average of 80% or more);
          • Academic award for the highest average per grade.
          • Academic honours at the end of grade 12 for 80% average for the best six academic subjects for each year since grade 8.
      • Sports – and cultural activities
        • Best participator per discipline and per grade/age group
        • Best achiever per competition/festival (local, provincial, national, international)
        • Best all-rounder per grade
        • Best achiever per team/age group for each discipline
        • Team captain/leader
        • Provincial -, National – or Inter-national participation per discipline
        • Sports girl/woman of the year per grade and per phase
        • Sports boy/man of the year per grade and per phase
        • Overall sports girl/women of the year
        • Overall sports boy/man of the year
        • Cultural Achievement per grade
        • Overall Cultural Achievement
      • General
        • School Trophy for the most spirited Individual
        • SGB trophy for overall achievement & contribution to the school
        • Esprit de Corps per grade: The highest accolade that the school can bestow on a learner. This award is given to learners who have had a high profile, excelled in a number of fields, who are loyal, supportive, of good character and integrity and are wonderful ambassadors for both their parents and the school (as many as qualifies).

10.4 REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL OF LEARNERS

10.4.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]

Gauteng

GUIDELINES

  • Determination of Guidelines for Establishment, Election and Functions of Students’ Representative Councils of Learners – Published under General Notice 1059 of 1997 (PG 342 of 24 March 1997) [with effect from 24 March 1997] [Reference B3 GAU SRC]

10.4.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on The Representative Council of Learners

  1. The South African Schools Act states that a Representative Council of Learners (RCL) at the school must be established at every public school enrolling learners in the eighth grade or higher and such council is the only recognized and legitimate representative learner body at the school. Subject to policy made in terms of section 3(4)(g) of the National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996), the Member of the Executive Council must, by notice in the Provincial Gazette, determine the functions and the procedures for the establishment and election of representative councils of learners.  The Member of the Executive Council may, by notice in the Provincial Gazette, exempt a public school for learners with special education needs from complying if it is not practically possible for a representative council of learners to be established at the school.
  2. Introduction
    The South African Schools Act provides for greater participation by learners in the democratic functioning of schools. Every public school enrolling learners in grade eight and higher must establish a RCL. This also underlines the fundamental constitutional principles of co-operative governance and participative management. The South African Schools Act also provides for learners to be represented on the School Governing Bodies of their school.  This will provide the learners with a legitimate role to play in school governance.  The implications above for all public schools are that they must:

    • have in place a RCL elected through a democratic process;
    • regard the RCL as the only legitimate and recognized learner body in the school; and
    • put in place measures to ensure that the RCL are representative of the racial and gender demographics of the learner population.
  3. Goals and objectives of an RCL
    • The RCL represents learners in the SGB;
    • In appropriate situations, an RCL provides learners with an opportunity to participate in decision-making regarding the school;
    • The RCL educates learners to function within democracy;
    • It must build unity among learners in the school;
    • It should address the needs of all learners in the school;
    • The RCL keeps learners informed about events in the school and in the school community;
    • The RCL encourages good relationships within the school between learners and educators, and between learners and non-teaching staff;
    • It encourages good relationships within the school between teachers and parents of learners; and
    • The RCL establishes fruitful links with other schools.
  4. Minimum Requirements of a Constitution of a Students’ Representative Council
    • The Constitution will indicate clearly the name by which the Students’ Representative Council wishes to be known.
    • The Constitution will set out clearly such information as is necessary to ensure effective communication with the Students’ Representative Council by interested parties.
    • The Constitution will set out such aims and objectives as are feasible and which fall within the framework established by law.
    • The Constitution will indicate which activities the Students’ Representative Council shall perform in the furtherance of its aims and the achievement of its objectives and which fall within the framework established by law.
    • The Constitution will set out procedures for meetings of the Students’ Representative Council and its Executive Committee.
    • The Constitution will stipulate that members of the Students’ Representative Council and members of its Executive Committee may hold office for a period not exceeding one year.
    • The Constitution will stipulate that a decision to amend the Constitution shall require a two-thirds majority of the total membership of the Students’ Representative Council after all members have been informed of such proposed amendments in writing at least two months in advance.
    • The Constitution will stipulate that if too few members are present at the meeting contemplated in the above paragraph above, a second meeting shall be called exclusively for this purpose at least two weeks after the first meeting.
    • The Constitution will stipulate that if two-thirds of the members are not present at this second meeting, the proposed amendments may be effected by two-thirds of the members present.
    • The Constitution will stipulate that all amendments to the Constitution shall be submitted to the Head of Department for confirmation that they are consistent with the provisions of the School Education Act, 1995 (Act No. 6 of 1995) and its regulations, and that until such confirmation is received, no amendment to the Constitution shall be valid.
  5. Elections
    • The Teacher Liaison Officer
      The teacher liaison officer must be an educator at the school concerned.  The main function of this educator should be to guide and organise the RCL and develop a sense of leadership in the members of the RCL.
    • The election of the Executive Committee
      The duly elected representatives shall elect from among their ranks at least the following office-bearers of the Students’ Representative Council, who shall comprise the Executive Committee of the Students’ Representative Council –

      • a President;
      • a Treasurer; and
      • a Secretary.
        No member of the Students’ Representative Council may hold more than one office in the Executive Committee of the Students’ Representative Council.
    • Processes
      Process of electing the classroom representatives

      • The process of electing classroom representatives involves learners in all classes. Each teacher will assist in ensuring that the democratic principles are adhered to.
      • The election of Representative Council of Learners (both Class Representative and Executive Committees) must be conducted at the beginning of January of each academic year.
      • The Teacher Liaison Officer will conduct the RCL elections.
      • Each Class must elect at least one representatives to the RCL structure.
      • Class Representatives will in all instances (with the exception of single gender schools) be represented by both genders i.e. one boy and one girl.
      • The Teacher Liaison Officer will pronounce the day of the elections of the Class Representatives at least five days before the actual elections.
      • During the first three days before the elections, the Teacher Liaison Officer shall coordinate and monitor the nomination process.
      • On the fourth day after the announcement of the elections date the Teacher Liaison Officer shall organize and coordinate a MANIFESTO DAY where all the nominated candidates shall present their Manifestos to their fellow classmates.
      • The Teacher Liaison Officer shall coordinate these elections, and the class/grade educators shall assist in monitoring the election proceedings in the classroom.
      • The elections of the Class Representatives shall be by secret ballot.
      • Counting shall be done in the presence of all learners in the class but in the absence of the nominees.
      • The formal announcements of the election results shall be done in the presence of all learners in the school preferably during morning assembly. The date of the Executive Committee Elections shall be announced at this assembly/meeting and it shall take place ten days after this event.
    • The process of electing the school’s RCL executive committee.
      The RCL Executive Committee will be the structure that will carry the mandate of learners within the school. The teacher liaison officer will ensure that the election process adheres to the principles of free and fair elections.

      • The elections of the schools RCL Executive Committee shall take place in January, immediately after the Class Representatives elections.
      • All learners in the school shall have a right to nominate candidates to serve in the RCL Executive Committee.
      • Only learners in the RCL (i.e. Class Representatives) shall be eligible to be nominated
      • The Teacher Liaison Officer shall pronounce the day of the elections at least ten days before the actual elections.
      • During the first five days before the elections, the Teacher Liaison Officer shall manage and monitor the nomination process.
      • Two days before the elections, the Teacher Liaison Officer shall organize a MANIFESTO DAY where all the nominated candidates shall present their Manifestos to the student body.
      • A day before the elections, the Teacher Liaison Officer in conjunction with the School Management Team shall dedicate an hour of the day to caucus time where Class Representatives shall be taking mandates from their Classmates on who to vote for and for what position.
      • Only Class Representatives shall be eligible to vote for the RCL Executive Committee.
      • The elections of the Executive Committee shall be by secret ballot.
      • Counting shall be done in the presence of all Class Representatives but in the absence of the nominees.
      • Announcements of election results shall be done in the presence of all Class Representatives including the nominees.
      • The Principal and the SGB Chairperson shall co-acknowledge (in writing) the RCL members that shall have been elected as the Executive Committee.
      • The School’s RCL Executive Committee shall have six Office Bearers – the President, Deputy President, Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations Officer (PRO).

10.5 LEARNER PROFILES

10.5.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
  • Further Education and Training Act No. 98 of 1996 [FETA]

 

Note:  As provincial policies differ, principals should consult their provincial websites on the completion of the learner profiles

10.5.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Learner Profiles

  1. The object of completing the learner profile is to assist those whose function it is to aid the pupil at all times during and after his school career. Such a record is especially valuable at various stages of a learner’s school career, e.g.:
    • At the end of grade 7;
    • At the end of grade 9;
    • When a pupil leaves school before completing the course; or
    • At the end of the secondary school course.
  2. At these stages both the pupil and the parents concerned need sound advice on:
    • The field of study which the pupil should take;
    • The choice of subjects to be made as well as the level; and
    • The future career of the pupil.
  3. The value of an individual learner profile:
    • Every school is to compile an individual profile on learners who attend the school.
    • The use of such profiles in a school system follows inevitably on the application of certain basic principles of sound education:
      • The principle of educating the pupil as a whole;
      • The principle of individualization, i.e. the observance of individual differences.
    • A Learner Profile is a continuous record of information that gives a holistic impression of a learner and a learner’s progress and performance. It assists the teacher in the next grade or school to understand the learner better and therefore to respond appropriately to the learner.
    • Learner Profiles should be kept at school and will be moved from one school to the next on the request of the principal of the next school. The school management of the receiving school has an obligation to request the Learner’s Profile from the previous school within three months of the learner’s admittance. The Learner Profile for every learner must be safeguarded and should accompany learners throughout their schooling career. The security of the Learner Profiles and the updating of required information rest with the school management.
    • The parents and other stakeholders have a right to access and view the Learner Profile on request. However, this should be done in the presence of the school management. The Learner Profile is a confidential document and should be treated as such. Under no circumstances should sensitive information such as the health status of the learner be divulged to anyone without the written permission of the parent(s) or guardian(s). Under no circumstances should the profile be moved from the school unless it is for reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph.
    • The Provincial Departments of Education are responsible for providing pre-printed files /folders for the Profiles. These pre-printed files/folders should be designed such that a Learner Profile includes the following information:
      • personal information;
      • medical history;
      • schools attended and record of attendance;
      • participation and achievements in extra-curricular activities;
      • areas needing additional support; and
      • learner performance.
    • In cases where the files/folders need repair, the school principal concerned should make a request to the district office for a replacement.
    • The compilation of Learner Profiles should be started at Grade R and should continue until the learner completes Grade 12.
    • Once the learner has passed Grade 12 or exited the schooling system for any reason whatsoever, the learner profile should be stored in the last school attended for a period of three years where after it should be destroyed.
    • The Learner Profile replaces all previous continuous record documents that have been used by schools, such as record cards, tutor cards, Edlab cards, etc.

Note:  This information falls under the definitions of The Protection of Personal Information Act [POPI] – and the school should also develop policies as regards the safeguarding of the personal information of each learner.

10.6 SCHOOL UNIFORMS

10.6.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]

 

GUIDELINES

  • National Guidelines on School Uniforms, (Government Notice No.173 in Government Gazette No. 28538 of 23 February 2006) [NG SU]

10.6.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on School Uniforms Schedule

  1. Introduction
    • School uniforms serve important social and educational purposes, and should be retained in those public schools that choose to do so.
    • The purpose of these guidelines therefore is to ensure that practices related to school uniform do not impede access to education in any manner and do not infringe any constitutional rights of persons.
    • The guidelines also seek to reduce the cost of school uniforms, especially for the poor, such that the obtaining of a uniform does not deter attendance or participation in school programmes.
    • This aim will be best achieved by rationalising the current extensive range of uniform options, and limiting the number of uniforms required by a single school, and, where practical, discouraging the “single supplier” approach to school uniform.
    • Furthermore, in response to growing levels of violence in some of our schools, many parents, teachers, and school officials see school uniforms as one positive and creative way to reduce discipline problems and increase school safety.
    • The adoption of a school uniform can promote school safety, improve discipline, and enhance the learning environment. In addition a school uniform is also useful in:
      • assisting school officials in the early recognition of persons not authorised to enter a school;
      • helping parents and learners resist peer pressure that leads children to make unnecessary demands for particular and often expensive clothing;
      • decreasing theft, particularly of designer clothing, jewellery and expensive footwear;
      • minimising gang violence and activity;
      • instilling discipline in learners; and
      • helping learners concentrate on their schoolwork.
  2. Key elements of the guidelines
    • Schools, through their School Governing Bodies, should determine their choice of school uniform in terms of these guidelines.
    • In exercising this choice, schools must ensure that access to education for pupils enrolled at the school or those seeking enrolment to the school is not impeded in any way.
    • The cost of the school uniform should not constitute an unaffordable financial burden on parents.
    • This choice can be exercised within a range of suggested options for schools, listed in the table below, in order to benefit from economies of scale and to limit the cost implications of a change of school.
    • The uniform must allow learners to participate in school activities with comfort, safety and decorum.
    • The range of school uniforms should be geared to reflect a South African identity. In this context, the range of school uniforms should be as follows:
      For Boys For Girls
      ESSENTIAL ITEMS ESSENTIAL ITEMS
      Trousers (short, long) or tracksuit pants Skirt, dress, gymslip or tunic or trousers (longs) or tracksuit pants
      Shirt (button up or golf) Shirt (button up or golf) or blouse
      OPTIONAL ITEMS OPTIONAL ITEMS
      Tie (school design) Tie (school design)
      Jersey or other suitable top for colder weather conditions Jersey or other suitable top for colder weather conditions
      Socks Socks
      Footwear e.g. shoes or sandals or “tekkies” Footwear e.g. shoes or sandals or “tekkies”
      Sunhat Sunhat
  3. Principles
    • Schools are discouraged from having more than one uniform. A basic school uniform could be adapted for local seasonal conditions, or for variations in weather and climate.
    • No child may be refused admission to a school because of an inability to obtain or wear the school uniform. Schools, through their School Governing Bodies, should make an effort to assist learners who are unable to afford a school uniform. The establishment of second-hand shops, run by schools, is therefore strongly encouraged.
    • Refusal to wear the approved school uniform may be treated as a disciplinary matter in terms of the Code of Conduct.
    • Individual interpretation and implementation of uniform specifications, particularly in respect of fabric, make and manufacturer should be allowed, within a reasonably flexible guideline.
    • Clothing for other purposes, such as physical education, arts and crafts, should be simple and universally available. Shorts, T-shirts (or golf-style shirts) and suitable footwear are all that is required for many activities. No child should be excluded from an activity because of an inability to obtain or wear such clothing, within the usual bounds of safety and decorum.
    • Where items of clothing are required in addition to the normal uniform, such as “First Team shirts”, the school should endeavour to make such items available to learners selected to represent the school.
    • School Governing Bodies should take account of the circumstances of the school community, and be sensitive to them when designing a new school uniform.
    • Uniforms should show sensitivity to age and gender. Certain clothing and styles e.g. T-shirts and boxer shorts might be better suited to younger learners.
    • A “Proudly South African” approach should be promoted to stimulate local industry and assist in bridging the gap between the formal and informal economies.
    • The role that school uniforms can play in assisting unemployed people, especially rural people, gaining access to the economy needs to be explored. Persons participating in an Expanded Public Works Programme could, for instance, produce school uniforms, possibly through the establishment of cooperatives.
  4. Guide to adopting a new or amended school uniform
    School Governing Bodies intending to introduce a new or amended uniform should make their decision in terms of these guidelines.  Parents and other critical stakeholders should be involved or informed from the very outset, as their support will be critical to a successful adoption of the new uniform.

    • Suggested process for decision making
      • The School Governing Body, working with the School Management Team, should communicate details of the proposed new or amended uniform to parents, including a statement that consideration has been given to the national guidelines in terms of range, style, colour and accessibility.
      • The communication to parents should also include:
        • the estimated cost of the proposed uniform;
        • an invitation to parents to make input before the final decision is taken;
        • an invitation to learners in secondary schools to make input before the final decision is taken;
        • the means by which the final decision to adopt the new or amended school uniform will be taken. This could be at the general meeting of parents that is held annually to approve the school budget or through some suitable form of ballot that would ensure maximum participation by parents.
        • the transitional measures that will be taken to manage a smooth change over from the old to the new.
    • Major changes to school uniforms should not be made at intervals of less than seven years, unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise.
  5. Other factors and issues
    A learner transferring from one school to another might require a period of grace to obtain the appropriate school uniform. Schools should be reasonable when dealing with requests of this nature. During this interim period the learner should be allowed to wear all or part of the uniform of the previous school.
    The following information is provided to assist in determining a school uniform policy or dress code and in the management of school uniforms.

    • Religious and Cultural Diversity
      • A school uniform policy or dress code should take into account religious and cultural diversity within the community served by the school. Measures should be included to accommodate learners whose religious beliefs are compromised by a uniform requirement.
      • If wearing particular attire, such as yarmulkes and headscarves, is part of the religious practice of learners or an obligation, schools should not, in terms of the Constitution, prohibit the wearing of such items. Male learners requesting to keep a beard as part of a religious practice may be required by the school to produce a letter from their religious teacher or organisation substantiating the validity of the request. The same substantiation is applicable to those who wish to wear particular attire.
    • Freedom of Expression
      The uniform policy of a school or dress code should accommodate the wearing of, for example, an HIV and AIDS ribbon or badges of approved charity organizations, especially for specific events or days. Such items should not contribute to disruption by substantially interfering with discipline or with the rights of others. Thus, for example, a uniform policy may prohibit pupils from wearing gang or political party insignia. A uniform policy may also prohibit items that undermine the integrity of the uniform, notwithstanding their expressive nature, such as a T-shirt that bears a vulgar message or covers or replaces the type of shirt required by the uniform.
    • School Mottos or Wearing of Messages
      Schools should not impose a form of expression on pupils by requiring them to wear badges or items of uniform bearing a message that is in conflict with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. School mottos that express positive values are encouraged.
    • School Uniforms as Part of an Overall Safety Programme
      • Uniforms by themselves cannot solve all of the problems of school discipline, but they can be one positive contributing factor to discipline and safety.
      • Schools should use other initiatives, in conjunction with uniforms, to address specific problems in their community such as truancy reduction initiatives, drug prevention efforts, community efforts to limit gangs, a zero tolerance policy on weapons, character building, and conflict resolution programmes.
    • Families That Need Financial Help
      • In many cases, school uniforms are less expensive than the clothing that learners typically wear in their leisure time. Nonetheless, the cost of purchasing a uniform may be a burden on some families. Schools, through their governing bodies, should make provisions for learners whose families are unable to afford uniforms and develop an assistance plan that takes into account the financial means of the school and its wider community.
      • Examples of possible types of assistance include:
        • the school, where feasible, provides new or second hand uniforms to learners whose parents cannot afford to purchase them;
        • community organisations or businesses provide uniforms or contribute financial support for uniforms as part of a structured donor programme;
        • parents work together to make uniforms available to indigent learners;
        • second-hand uniforms donated by out-going learners are made available to incoming pupils on a charitable basis; and
        • grants, secured from a local foundation or bequests from deceased estates could cover the cost of uniforms for families that cannot afford to buy them.

10.7 TRANSPORT OF LEARNERS

10.7.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
  • The Public Finance Management Act, 1999 as amended by Government Gazette No. 38735 of 30 April 2015 (Act No 1 of 1999) [PFM]

 

REGULATIONS

  • Regulations for Safety Measures at Public Schools (Government Gazette 22754, 12 October 2001 and 29376, 10 November 2006) [NR SMP]

 

POLICY

  • National Learner Transport Policy as published in Government Gazette No. 39314 of 23 October 2015 [NP  LT]

Note:

  • A Learner Transport Scheme is mainly a provincial matter and therefore principals should be aware of and consult the relevant provincial policy documents on this matter.
  • The principal could also consult the nearest Traffic Departement for provincial and even municipal by-laws.

EasternCape

POLICY

  • Determination of  Policy Relating  to Scholar Transport [Reference B1 EC ST]

KwaZulu-Natal

CIRCULARS

  • KZN Circular 24 of 2010 dated 30-03-2010: Safety Measures: Learner Transport [Reference B4 24/2010]
  • KZN Policy on Learner Transportation for Public Schools published 1 March 2013:(This includes forms for permission for schools to undertake activities off campus) [Reference B4 KZN LT2013]

Mpumalanga

POLICY

  • Mpumalanga Department of Education: Scholar Transport Policy, 2012 [Reference B6 MP ST2012]

NorthWest

ACTS

  • North West Schools Education Act, Act no. 3 of 1998 [Reference B8 NW EDACT 3/1998]

 

POLICIES

  • Departmental Policy on Learner Transport, (North West Education Department) [Reference B8 NW LT]

Gauteng

POLICIES

  • Gauteng Learner Transport Policy   [Reference B3 GP LTP]

10.7.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Transport Of Learners

School-managed transport schemes

  • Schools that transport learners themselves, or organise any type of learner transport, must ensure that all the required transport regulations are complied with. Vehicles must also be checked regularly [at least every six months] for roadworthiness and safety. If the school is using an outside bus company, the Principal must annually obtain a certificate from the bus company that:
    • the vehicles are in good condition;
    • the driver holds a valid and appropriate license; and
    • the transport company holds sufficient public liability insurance.

The checklist for checking busses and mini-buses prior to departure must be filled in by the supervising teacher or coach, who shall delay or prevent departure if he/she is not satisfied with the condition of the bus or of the driver.

A fully equipped first-aid kit should be available at all school or institution events, outings and tours, and should be kept on vehicles for the transport of learners to such events.

  • A vehicle checklist should be compiled or obtained. Special attention should be given to tyres, brakes, brake lights, indicators, windscreen wipers, steering column, lights, the general condition and the permitted number of passengers.
  • In the case of learners making use of public transport, schools must ensure that their learners get on and off the bus in a controlled manner by
    • arranging supervision when learners get on and off the bus at the school
    • appointing a senior learner as a bus prefect to supervise learners on the bus
    • providing learners using learner transport with a code of conduct, and
    • providing supervision for learners who have to wait for the bus in the afternoon.
  • When learners or staff participate in activities as part of the school beyond normal school hours or off the school premises, their safety is still the responsibility of the school.
  • Written consent for outings and other activities
    • Schools must obtain a letter of consent from parents for their child to go on any outing or excursion. In the case of separated/divorced parents, only the parent with legal custody should sign the letter of consent. The letters of consent must be filed. Parents must be fully informed of the nature of the activity, any risks involved, the teacher(s) accompanying the learners, times of departure and return, and contact telephone numbers.
    • A letter of consent is not to be confused with an indemnity form. The school may not take a learner on an outing or activity if the parent or guardian has refused or failed to give written permission and alternative arrangements need to be made for those learners.  Indemnity forms only indemnify the school against claims from the parent for injuries to him/herself or his/her property. No parent can ever sign away his/her child’s right to claim against the school or individual persons. Indemnity forms which attempt to protect schools against such claims have no legal validity and failure or refusal by a parent to sign such a form cannot be used to refuse a child’s entry to the school or participation in any school activity or outing.
  • Transport of learners in school buses bought or hired out of the school fund –
    • When the SGB purchases a school bus for transporting learners, attention must be given to the insurance of passengers and the driver, indemnity, liability, roadworthiness and the public driving permits;
    • The principal and Governing Body must work in conjunction with the company appointed to transport learners, in promoting good order, discipline and safety.
  • Transport of learners in private vehicles
    • Often learners are transported by educators and parents in private vehicles in connection with a school’s co-curricular programme. It is best to avoid this practice as far as possible because the issues of liability become very complex.
    • When learners are transported privately the following should be taken into account:
      • The principal must make sure that all drivers have a legal driver’s license.
      • The vehicles must be roadworthy and properly licensed.
      • The driver and the school must have proper liability insurance.
      • All traffic regulations must be strictly obeyed.
      • A learner should not be transported privately unless a letter of consent is received from the parent/guardian.

Also see Chapter 1.3 Developing of Policies

10.8 FEEDING OF LEARNERS IN NEED

10.8.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Constitution Act 108 of 1996 [SAC]
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Children as ratified by the Republic of South Africa on 1st May 1996 [UN RCSA]
  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996,  Section 34 (1) [SASA]

 

REGULATIONS

  • National Norms and Standards for School Funding, Government Gazette Vol. 400, No. 19347, 12 October 1998 [NR NSSF]
  • Amended National Norms and Standards for School Funding (Government Gazette 394 in GN 40818 of 28 April 2017) [NR 40818/2017]

 

GUIDELINES

  • The National Programme of Action for Children launched by the government in May 1996 [NG PAC]

10.8.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Feeding of Learners in Need

  1. What is the school feeding scheme?
    The school feeding scheme – or as it is officially called: the National School Nutrition Programme – aims to foster better quality education by:

    • enhancing children’s active learning capacity;
    • alleviating short-term hunger;
    • providing an incentive for children to attend school regularly and punctually; and
    • addressing certain micro-nutrient deficiencies.

    School feeding is a small part of the Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa, which was introduced in 2002 and involves the Departments of Health, Social Development, Land Affairs and Agriculture. The school feeding programme is therefore just one of a range of projects that respond to nutritional needs, and does not try to respond to all problems around poor nutrition, hunger or food security.

  2. Who is eligible for school feeding, and are they being fed?
    The selection for the school feeding scheme works in two ways. First, whole schools are selected for funding for this programme because most of their learners come from poor families. Within selected schools, learners are selected by age or grade or some other criteria for feeding. The minimum policy is to feed all Grades from R up to Grade 7 for 156 out of approximately 196 school days per year.
    Research found that not all children entitled to school feeding received food. While 90% of eligible children were reported to be receiving free food at school in the rural areas, only 56% of eligible children in the urban areas were receiving food. On the other hand, urban children who were receiving food at school got it more regularly than those in the rural areas.
  3. How does school feeding work in practice?
    Feeding schemes provides only a small amount of food to help to relieve child hunger and also to relieve poor caregivers from some of the burden of worry when they are unable to provide enough food for their children.
    There are a number of common problems with school feeding schemes that parents, teachers and school governing bodies should watch out for:

    • While there are 22 approved meal plans, many providers have chosen “cold” menu plans that don’t require cooking facilities. The menu consists of brown bread with margarine, peanut butter and jam, served with a powered milkshake supplement enriched with micro-nutrients. In practice, it appears that children do not always receive all the food that is officially allocated. While the urban schools reported that their stocks were sufficient to provide food regularly, the rural schools did not always have all the ingredients available.
    • Parents talk of food disappearing from schools and in some cases, there has been corruption and theft by people providing the food.
    • In many areas there is no system of accountability to the parent body. Many caregivers do not know whether their children receive food regularly. Some say that all children in the class receive food, others believe that the programme is only for children whose parents are unemployed, or only for orphaned children.
    • Schools do not always operate properly, closing half-way through the morning or not opening at all. During the rainy season the roads in rural areas can become impassable – meaning the bread truck cannot get through to deliver bread and school feeding cannot happen. The milkshakes require water and schools without potable water reported children with diarrhoea.
  4. Who is excluded from school feeding?
    As with the No-fee Schools and School Fee Exemption policies, children living in areas where schools are too far and/or not operating are practically excluded from the National School Nutrition Programme. But there are also exclusions inherent in the design of this programme. Young children under six years old who are not yet at school cannot access food through the programme.
    As from 2009, the Department of Education expanded its school nutrition programme to 1 500 secondary schools which fall in the category of the poorest of the poor.  The so-called “quintile one” school pupils receive daily meals during school time to ensure they receive at least one decent meal per day so they can concentrate on their school work.

 

The scheme is frequently subject to provincial instructions normally contained in circulars. The Principal must ensure that the scheme is administered as such.

10.9 HOME SCHOOLING

10.9.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]

 

POLICIES

Policy for the registration of learners for home education (Government Gazette No. 20659, November 1999) [NP RHE]

FreeState

ACTS

  • Free State School Education Act (Act No. 2 of 2000) [Reference B2 FS EDACT]

 

GUIDELINES

  • Free State Application Form for Home Education, [Reference B2 FS AHE]
  • Free State Home Education Compliance Checklist, [Reference B2 FS HECC]

KwaZulu-Natal

GUIDELINES

  • Manual for the Registration of Learners to Receive Education at Home, 2006 [Reference B4 KZN EH]

WesternCape

GUIDELINES

  • Registration of a Learner to Receive Education at Home [Reference B9 WC EH]

Mpumalanga

GUIDELINES

  • Administration of Home Education [Reference B6 MP AHE]

Gauteng

GUIDELINES

  • Home Education Registration Process [Reference B3 G EH]

10.9.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Home Schooling

(See Reference List C HOME ED, for a proforma of an application form for Home Schooling)

  1. Definition of Home Education
    Home education is –

    • a programme of education that a parent of a learner(s) may provide to his/her own child at their own home.
    • In addition the parent may, if necessary, enlist the specific services of a tutor for specific areas of the curriculum; or
    • a legal, independent form of education, alternative to attendance at a public or an independent school.
  2. Application for registration
    • A parent of a learner of compulsory school-going age must apply to the Head of Department to register each learner(s) to receive education at home, for the following compulsory phases of education: Foundation Phase (grades 1-3), Intermediate Phase (grades 4-6) and Senior Phase (grades 7-9). The age grade norms determined by the Minister in terms of the Act apply to a learner in home education (Government Notice No. 2433 of 1998). A parent of a learner, who is no longer of compulsory school-going age or grade as contemplated in section 3 of the Act, need not apply for registration for home education.
    • A parent of a learner with special education needs referred to in section 3(2) of the Act, who wishes to register his or her child for home education, must also apply for registration.
    • A parent must complete the prescribed application form for home education, which should be made available to him or her by the Head of Department or a duly authorised official, together with the conditions for registration. The contact address of a person from whom information pertaining to the provincial curriculum for the school phase of the learner, which also specifies the minimum standard of education, must also be provided to the parent. The parent must forward the completed form and a copy of the birth certificate of the learner to the Head of Department or the designated official. A pro forma application form is hereto attached for the guidance of provincial departments of education.
  3. Conditions for registration of a learner for education at home
    • The Head of Department, before setting conditions and considering registration in terms of section 51(2) of SASA, must obtain at least the following information from the parent pertaining to:
      • supporting arguments to substantiate that education at home will be in the interest of the learner    and that the learner will benefit from it, will be able to exercise his or her fundamental right to education, and will be taught at least as regularly and as well as in a public school. To determine what would be in the best interest of the learner, the parent must declare the highest education standard achieved by him or her, the hours of the day and the minimum days per year during which the parent plans to teach the learner, information about the programme that will be followed and the learning resources that will be available; and
      • the proposed curriculum to be used for home education for approval.
    • The learner programme must suit the age and ability of the learner. It will comply with the minimum requirements of the curriculum in public schools of the province and will not be inferior to the standard of education provided at public schools. The curriculum must comply with the language policy and the outcomes (standards) specified for each of the phases.
    • The learner will receive at least 3 hours contact teaching time per school day.
    • The education provided at home must be consistent with the values contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996) and the Act. Parents who choose home education for reasons related to curriculum, philosophy and pedagogy must not instill unfair discrimination, racism or religious intolerance in learners. The education must be consistent with the values contained in the Constitution that all role players must adhere to.
  4. Registration of a learner for home education
    • The Head of Department must take all reasonable steps to respond within 30 days after receipt of the application on the prescribed form. If he or she is satisfied that all conditions have been complied with, the Head of Department must register the learner for home education and provide the parent with a certificate of registration. If not, he or she must inform the parent in writing of the reasons for the application not being successful.
    • The registration under paragraph 9 remains in force until the learner reaches the end of each phase or until it is revoked. If a learner was educated at a public or independent school prior to being educated at home, the parent must obtain a transfer certificate from the school.
    • If the Head of Department refuses to register the learner, the parent must be informed that he or she may appeal in writing to the Member of the Executive Council in terms of section 51(4) of SASA.
    • The procedures prescribed in section 3(5) or (6) of SASA must be applied against a parent of a learner of compulsory school-going age who, for whatever reasons, is not registered for home education, and is not enrolled at a public school or a registered independent school, or is exempted from compulsory school attendance in terms of section 4 of SASA.
    • A learner who is registered, must keep his/her proof of registration e.g. the registration number.
      FREE STATE

      NOTE

      The Governing body of a public school may not refuse an application for the enrolment of a home-based learner at such school for additional educational support if the school has the capacity to provide the services requested at a negotiated and reasonable fee.

      The public school concerned shall not benefit from the enrolment of home-based learners in terms of educator learner ratio for the purpose of educator provisioning.

  5. Duties of the parent for the monitoring of home education
    • After the learner has been registered for home education, the parent must perform the following duties:
      • A record of attendance must be kept.
      • A portfolio of the work of a learner must be kept. Up-to-date records of progression of a learner must be maintained. A portfolio of the work of the learner with evidence of intervention and other education support given to the learner must be kept. Such records must be made available for inspection by a duly authorized official of the provincial department of education.
      • The parent must keep evidence of continuous assessment of the learner’s work, which reflects the learner’s progress towards achieving the outcomes of the learning programme. Evidence must also be kept of assessment/examinations at the end of each year of home education and at the end of grades 3, 6 and 9 stating whether or not the outcomes for these grades have been achieved.
      • The parent must keep all relevant assessment results for a period of three years for monitoring by the Head of Department.
      • At the end of every phase, the parent should appoint an independent, suitably qualified person(s) approved by the Head of Department at the parent’s own expense for the assessment of the learner’s progress at the end of the phase that the learner is completing. A parent may approach a public school or a registered independent school for assistance in obtaining such services. The person(s) must submit a statement to the Head of Department confirming that the learner so assessed has indeed reached the required level.
      • Should a learner be admitted to a public school or registered independent school, the parent must request the Head of Department in writing to terminate the learner’s registration for home education.
  6. Withdrawal of registration
    • The Head of Department may withdraw the registration of a learner who is receiving education at home, after having made a reasonable effort to obtain or verify relevant information, if –
      • any information contained in the application is false;
      • any of the conditions in paragraph 8 are not complied with; or
      • any of the criteria set in section 51(2)(b) of SASA are no longer complied with.
    • In accordance with section 51(4) of SASA, the registration may be withdrawn only after the Head of Department has –
      • informed the parent in writing of his or her intention to take action and the reasons therefore;
      • granted the parent an opportunity to make representations to him or her in relation to such action; and
      • has considered any such representations.
    • The Head of Department must inform the parent in terms of section 51(4) of SASA that he or she may, in writing, appeal to the Member of the Executive Council against the withdrawal of registration.
    • If a learner is within the compulsory school attendance age when the registration contemplated in terms of section 51 of SASA is withdrawn, such learner must then attend a school (either public or independent). A parent who fails to comply with the provisions of section 3 SASA regarding compulsory school attendance will, unless the learner is properly registered in terms of section 51 of SASA, be guilty of an offence.
  7. Re-admitting learners in a public school from Home Schooling
    • There is no national policy on this matter.
    • The learner must submit:
      • Proof of registration as home school learner;
      • A report on his performance as home school learner
    • In the case of a learner who wants to be permitted to a public school at a grade higher than Gr 9, the report on the learner’s achievement must show that the requirement for internal assessment and promotion has been met.
    • If the principal suspects that a learner is not up to standard for his/her age, the school can submit the learner to a test to determine the school/academic level of the learner.
    • If the learner tests lower than the expected level, the school can place the learner in the appropriate grade after consultation with the parent/s or guardian.
    • The principal and SMT must bear in mind that in the GET-band, a learner has a three-year margin per phase. A learner is allowed to fail only once per phase.
    • If the parent/guardian refuses the recommendation of the school, the principal should refer the matter to the local district office.
    • In cases where re-admission is requested, shortly before or during exams, it is recommended that the Principal should consult the local district office.

10.10 CELL PHONE POLICY FOR SCHOOLS

10.10.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) [SAC]
  • The Bill of Rights, Chapter2, Act No. 108 of 1996 [BoR]
  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]

 

GUIDELINES

  • Guidelines for the consideration of Governing Bodies in adopting a Code of Conduct for Learners (Published under General Notice 776 in Government Gazette 18900 of 15 May 1998) [NG SGB CC]

10.10.2Guidelines for the Development of School Policy on Cell Phones

Firstly, there is no national policy on cell phones in schools.

Secondly, it must be noted that this manual can only provide a draft generic cell phone policy framework for schools within which each school can develop its own policy. Each school is unique and therefore each school governing body (SGB) needs to develop its own cell phone policy, as this cell phone policy must be linked to the school’s own individual Code of Conduct for learners. The Code of Conduct is developed by management in or after consultation with the teachers, parents and learners.

What follows are only guidelines for schools to develop their own policies.

  • General rules regarding cell phones:
    • Cell phones with cameras and/or audio recording capabilities are not allowed on the school premises;
    • No IPODS, MP3-players or similar electronic devices may be brought to school;
    • Cell phones should be carried on the person of the owner and not carried in school bags;
    • Cell phones will not be lent or borrowed;
  • Parent responsibilities:
    • Parents are strongly urged not to allow their children to bring cell phones to school.
    • Children should only be allowed to bring a cell phone to school, if this is an essential communication tool, to be used after school hours as a means of communication between the children and their parents / guardian. If a parent insists that a learner should carry a cell phone on the school premises, the cell phone will be accompanied by a letter from the parent to indemnify the school against loss of or damage to the phone.
    • The parent will co-sign the school’s Code of Conduct which includes the school’s regulations/policy on the use of cell phones on the school premises.
  • Learner responsibilities:
    • A learner will not be allowed to carry more than one cell phone or more than one SIM card on the school premises.
    • Cell phones will be switched off during and between lessons.
    • Cell phones will not be used to:
      • Disrupt a lesson by sending SMSs, playing games or any other disruptive actions;
      • Receive or distribute pornographic material;
      • Send or distribute insulting, hateful or degrading messages to other learners or people;
      • Communicate with fellow learners during the course of lessons by means of SMSs or any other means;
      • Communicate with family members during the course of lessons without the consent of the educator;
      • Store academic material for use during tests or examinations.
  • Confiscation:
    • The confiscation period of a cell phone is one term or the equivalent of one term;
    • The educator, who confiscated a cell phone, will hand it over to the secretary. The secretary will enter the details of the confiscated phone in a register and a receipt will be issued to the owner.  The parents of the owner will be notified.
    • Confiscated phones will be locked away in the schools safe.
    • Any cell phone that rings / beeps, is used for any purpose whatsoever, is handled / played with or displayed during school hours, will be confiscated for the duration of a term (or the equivalent length of time). The SIM card will also be retained for the duration of the confiscation period.
  • Liability:
    The school will not be held responsible for theft, damage to or misuse of cell phones on the school premises.

10.10.3Guidelines for the Implementation of Cell Phones in the Classroom

(With acknowledgement to Kobus van Wyk’s website, e4Africa. For more tips and other useful information on technology in the classroom, visit Kobus van Wyk’s website)

Implementation of cell phones in the classroom
Implementation of cell phones in the classroom
  • The cell phone in the classroom
    • When the use of cell phones in the classroom becomes a problem – because its use is viewed as distracting to learners – some schools ban its use altogether.  You can imagine how learners resist this restriction.
    • Most learners in schools – even the poorest ones – have cell phones in their pockets or bags.  Efforts to curb the explosive use of these devices are bound to be countered with learner schemes to use them in an illicit way.
  • Isn’t there a better way to handle the situation?
    How about using the fascination of learners with their cell phones to improve learning?  This can be done if innovative ways are found to harness the phones in the hands of learners as teaching and learning tools.  This approach has many apparent advantages:

    • Learners already own cell phones – you do not have to buy technology devices for them.
    • You don’t have to introduce technology into the classroom – it is already there.
    • Since the instruments are the property of learners, you don’t have to protect equipment against vandalism.
    • Children love their cell phones and are keen to show off what they can do with them.
  • Pilot projects are under way to determine practical applications of mobile phones in the classroom.  A few simple uses are already evident:
    • By sending an interesting text message (SMS) in a target language to learners on a regular basis (even after school hours) their literacy is enhanced.  Imagine how you could build the vocabulary of your class.
    • Mobile ‘novels’ are already available where learners receive bite size instalments.
    • When learners use the camera function of cell phones, they can record images of science experiments, or other visual displays, for future revision.
    • Some vendors of educational software are developing programs suitable for classroom use.  With a cell phone a learner can see and hear, without disturbing the rest of the class.
    • The ubiquitous use of cell phones makes them ideal tools for teaching and learning.  Keep your eyes – and minds – open for developments in this area in the future.
  • Why must teachers move towards digital inclusion?
    The opposite of the digital divide is digital inclusion.  You are digitally included when you have access to digital resources and have learned how to use them – you have crossed the divide and are reaping the benefits of access to the digital world.
  • Teachers, are you digitally included?
    You should be! Teachers play a critical role in helping learners to move towards digital inclusion.  But teachers must hurry up – learners are overtaking them.  Many learners have cell phones in their pockets.  They seldom use these devices to make calls – they don’t have money to do so.  They mainly use them to send text messages and pictures – in digital format – to their friends.
  • Where does this leave the teacher?
    • A cell phone used to send and retrieve digital information is a digital device.  Learners using such devices are digitally connected – they have achieved a measure of digital inclusion and are no longer on the wrong side of the digital divide.
    • Children are mostly using technology for entertainment. Those who have their own computers, or have access to them at home, use them to play games; they download music videos and movies; and they interact with their friends on Facebook.  When their digital inclusion is through cell phones, they use these devices for social networking. It is debatable how much learning takes place in this way.  For meaningful and directed learning to happen, they need guidance – guidance that only their teachers can give them.
    • Sadly, some teachers have not yet made the transition to become digitally included – they are left behind, while the learners are surging ahead.  Learners need guidance, but how can they be guided if their guides have been left behind?
    • The role of teachers is an important one. You have to guide them so that their tools of choice – computers and cell phones – are used gainfully as learning aids. In this way they will build skills required for prospering in the twenty-first century.

(Another very useful website for Science and Technology educators is www.saasta.ac.za. The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) aims to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering and technology in South Africa. SAASTA is business Unit of the National Research Foundation.)

See also The SAOU Legal Service Newsletter 2/2016

10.11 SOCIAL MEDIA

10.11.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) [SAC]
  • The Bill of Rights, Chapter2, Act No. 108 of 1996 [BoR]
  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]

 

GUIDELINES

  • Guidelines for the consideration of Governing Bodies in adopting a Code of Conduct for Learners (Published under General Notice 776 in Government Gazette 18900 of 15 May 1998) [NG SGB CC]
  • Cyber Bullying – An Initiative of the Department of Basic Education [NG CYBER BULLYING]

10.11.2Guidelines for Participation on Social Media Networks

Frame of Reference

Digital technology and social media are inescapable facts of modern life: they are not simply going to go away, and they bring with them numerous different, new and special circumstances, obligations, rights expectations and pitfalls. It is thus essential that schools get to grips with them, get used to them, come to terms with them and carefully regulate them.

The following is an initial attempt to do so, and these guidelines are for the use of or participation in social media activities for employees or learners. The guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge, so it is incumbent on employees and learners to check every so often to ensure that they are up to date with the latest expectations, and to take time to review these guidelines.

Guidelines

  1. The cyberworld is big
    A social media blunder is a critical problem with the potential to injure learners, employees, guests and others:  to lose confidential information and date; to set back progress previously made by the school; and to open up the user or the school to possible litigation.
  2. It’s your responsibility
    • What you write is ultimately your responsibility.
    • Recognise that what you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.
    • If anything which you write or intend to publish seems inappropriate, use caution.
    • If you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit “send”.
    • If you are at all uncomfortable with anything you are considering putting online, review what you have written, try to figure out what is bothering you, and either fix it or discuss your misgivings with a member of staff.
    • Be sensitive about linking to content: re-directing to another site may be regarded as implying an endorsement of its content. It doesn’t matter who wrote the original: if you re-tweet, share, on-publish, ‘like it’ or in any other way pass it on, you are part of the chain of publication and can be held liable for the content.
  3. Laws apply in the cyber world
    • The laws that apply to your conduct in the real world apply also to your conduct in any part of the Cyberworld.
    • The right to freedom of expression is not unlimited: it must constantly be balanced against other rights, and especially other people’s rights, such as the right to privacy, dignity and an unimpaired reputation.
    • Understand that it is against the law to harm someone’s reputation or dignity, and it is regarded as harassment to do something that the user of social media is aware, or ought to be aware, may cause harm (whether mental, psychological, or physical) to another person.
  4. The social media voice is loud
    • If you own a business, manage an organisation or run a school, make sure that the voice is properly managed.
    • Drinking and tweeting is as bad as drinking and driving: don’t do either.
    • Don’t be a bully, a yob, a pig or a meanie – not on-line and not off-line.
    • Don’t joke about bombs – doing so could get you into serious trouble.
  5. There is no such thing as private
    • In the digital age, you are responsible for constructing your own privacy: be very vigilant about what you post online.
    • Don’t ever think you are anonymous online.
    • Familiarise yourself with privacy settings and avoid sharing information you may not wish to have in the public domain.
    • Realize that if in any way you have any sort of public profile, even when acting or speaking in what you regard as your personal capacity, your particular position will be known to many in the potential audience and you are highly likely to be regarded, misunderstood or misrepresented as presenting an official position.
    • Also bear in mind the five P’s: if you don’t want the police, your parents, your principal, a predator or a potential employer to read it or to know about it, don’t put it online.
  6. Perception can be reality
    • In online networks, the lines between public and private, or personal and professional images, are blurred.
    • Just by identifying yourself as a school employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about the school in the minds of community members, parents, learners and the general public. You are also creating perceptions about yourself with your colleagues and your managers.
    • If you choose to join or engage with the school’s learners and families in a social media context, do so in a professional manner, ever mindful that in the minds of the learners, families, colleagues and the public, you are an employee of this school.
    • Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with the school’s beliefs and professional standards.
  7. Online actions have consequences
    • Your reputational asset is massively important, and the reputational harm you can suffer by getting it wrong online is potentially far more serious than any legal or disciplinary consequences.
    • Take care not to share compromising images or inappropriate messages.
    • Recognise that electronic messages are permanent, transferable records which can affect the reputation of people, schools, companies and other organizations – and if you cause them harm, you may find that it costs a lot to say sorry.
    • You can be fired if you breach the duty of good faith that you owe to your employer, or if you bring the name of your employer into disrepute online.
    • You can get expelled from your school or university if you bring the name of the educational institution into disrepute online.
  8. All users have a responsibility for the safety of learners
    • When school employees, especially coaches and teachers, choose to join or engage with social networking groups, they do so as employees of the school and have responsibility for monitoring the content on such networks, and addressing inappropriate behaviour which may occur. This includes acting to protect the safety of minors online. The same responsibility rest on all other users – parents, learners, guests, everyone
    • The blurring of social and professional lines is to be avoided, as it can result in embarrassing or otherwise inappropriate revelations. Special care must be taken by and about educators who “befriend” learners on Facebook or similar social media platforms.
    • Educational employees, but also learners and parents, have a responsibility to maintain appropriate employee-relationships, whether on off or duty.
    • Both case law and public expectations hold educational employees to a higher standard of conduct than the general public.
  9. Be honest, open and transparent
    • Your honesty – or dishonesty – will be quickly noticed in the social media environment.
    • If you are posting about your work, use your real name and identify your employment relationship with the school.
    • Be clear about your role: if you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out.
    • If you publish to a site outside the school’s network, you must use a disclaimer to state in clear terms that the views expressed are yours alone and that they do not necessarily reflect the views of the school.
  10. Protect confidential information
    • Be thoughtful about what you publish: you must make sure that you do not disclose or use confidential information.
    • Learners, parents and colleagues should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval: for example, ask permission before posting someone’s picture on a social network or publishing a conversation that was meant to be private. Note that learner photos require parental consent before publication.
    • It is acceptable to discuss general details of about projects, lessons, or events and to use non-identifying pseudonyms for an individual (e.g. Teacher A) so long as the information provided does not make it easy for someone to identify the individual or violate any privacy laws.
    • Recognise and accept that public social networking sites are not the place to carry on school business with learners or parents.
  11. Online doesn’t mean it’s free
    • Just because it’s available online, doesn’t mean something is free for the taking: Trademarks, copyright and fair use requirements must be respected.
    • Where sources are used in any way at all, credit must be given to the sources.
  12. Respect your audience and your colleagues
    • Always express ideas and opinions in a respectful manner.
    • Make sure your communications are in good taste.
    • Do not denigrate or insult others, including other schools or competitors.
    • Remember that our various communities reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view.
    • Be respectful: this includes not only the obvious (no ethnic or racial slurs, personal insults, obscenities, etc.). It also includes proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory.
  13. Add value
    • There are millions of words out there: the best way to get yours read is to write things that people will value.
    • Communication associated with our school should help fellow educators, parents, learners and co-workers.
    • Ensure that all content published is true and accurate, and not misleading in any sense or manner.
    • It should be thought-provoking and build a sense of community.
    • If it helps people to improve their knowledge or skills, do their jobs better, solve problems, understand education better, then it is adding value.
  14. Keep your cool
    • One of the aims of social media is to create dialogue and debate, so people will not always agree on an issue.
    • When confronted with a difference of opinion, stay cool.
    • If you make an error, be upfront about your mistake and correct it quickly.
    • Don’t pick fights.
    • Sometimes it is best to ignore a comment and not give it credibility by acknowledging it with a response.
  15. Be careful with personal information
    • Criminals operate online: don’t give them information that will make their task easier.
    • People can piece together information you provide on different sites and then use it to impersonate you or someone you know, or even re-set your passwords
    • Make sure you understand and make full use of privacy settings.
    • Know how to disable anonymous postings and use moderating tools on your social media sites.
    • Google yourself every couple of months, and check whether any new mentions have popped up – especially those that you are troubled to see there.
  16. Don’t forget your day job
    • You should make sure that your online activities do not interfere with your job.
    • Remember that school technologies provided for educational use. Use of social media for personal use during school time is therefore prohibited.
  17. Bear in mind …
    • Always bear in mind the example of the delete button: before you send anything, ask yourself whether you really want to send it.
    • All social media coverage of oneself or others in or out of the school should be positive in nature.
    • Negative sentiment or disapproval of any level of authority should be dealt with in face to face discussions or utilising the processes or grievance procedures available to do so.
    • It is advised that pseudonyms be used with caution.  Most pseudonyms can be traced to the original name of the user through a search of contacts, hobbies, interests or places visited.
    • Should such a search lead to a staff member’s true identity, the pseudonym will be considered as if it is the person’s actual name and the person represent their actual place of work.
    • It should be noted that all work prepared on the school’s computers is owned by the school. On departure from the school all teaching resources prepared by the teacher involved should be saved on the server or school laptop in a way that others taking over the portfolio can make use of it.

10.11.3Policy on Social Media for learners

  1. Policy purpose
    Social media and general internet use is a valuable part of our society, and it is up to each individual in the school community to make best use of social media to promote the school’s excellence.  The purpose of the Social Media Policy for Learners is to establish rules and provide guidance for learners on the use of social media; to establish a culture of transparency, trust and integrity in social media activities; and to encourage the integration of social media into our teaching and learning environments.

    • The School recognises the value of teaching enquiry, investigation and innovation using new technology tools to enhance the learning experience.
    • The school also recognises and accepts its authority and responsibility to protect minors from inappropriate content; and its obligation to teach responsible and safe use of the new technologies, as well as the importance of online social media networks as communication and e-learning tool.
    • In line with these values and responsibilities, the school will exercise its right to limit public access to various aspects of the social media within its own social media environment
    • With a view to implementing the school’s aims and responsibilities, and responding to new technologies, this policy addresses learners’ use of publicly available social media networks, including the following: personal websites, web logs (blogs), wikis, social networks, online forums, virtual worlds and any other social media.
  2. Definitions
    • The following meanings are ascribed to technical terms within the context of this policy:
    • Avatar means: an icon or figure representing a particular person in a computer game, Internet forum, etc.
    • Blogs means: the blogs or journals where authors and users can post a textual, audio and video content, and where some permit others to post comments on their blogs.
    • Guests means: people using the school’s social media space and includes, but is not limited to, visitors, workshop attendees, volunteers, adult education staff and learners, governing body members, Independent contractors, vendors and school consultants.
    • Media sharing means: using websites where users post and share videos, audio files and/or photos as well as tag them to enable searchability. (Examples include YouTube, Flickr, Picasa and Google Video.)
    • Microblogs means: websites and spaces that allow users to post short blog entries. (for example, Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare).
    • Public social media networks means: websites, web logs (blogs), wikis, social networks, online forums, virtual worlds and any other social media generally available to the public or consumers, and which do not fall within the school’s electronic technologies network (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Edmodo, Yammer.)
    • School-approved password-protected social media tools means: those that fall within the school’s electronic technologies network or which the school has approved for educational use.
    • Social media use means: communication, collaborative sharing, and reaching out to learners, employees and guests for educational purposes, using school-provided websites, platforms, resources or documents. Examples include, but are not limited to, Google Apps, Ning, Teacher Tube, Moodle and Gaggle.
    • Social networks means: websites where users can create customised profiles and form connections with other users based on shared characteristics and interests.
    • Users means: learners, employees, guests and others who make use of the school’s networks, systems, computers and devices, or any other such devices brought onto the school premises, for carrying out their social media activities
    • Virtual world means: web or software-based platforms that allow users to create avatars or representations of themselves, and through these avatars to meet, socialise and contact with other users. (Second life is an example of a virtual world.)
    • Wikis means: resources or documents edited collaboratively by a community of users with varying levels of editorial control by the website publisher. (Wikipedia is the best known example.)
  3. Social network provisioning and usage
    • In striving to meet its aims and obligations in terms of media and technology involvement, the school provides password-protected social media tools and school-approved technologies for e-learning and encourages the use of school tools for collaboration by employees.
    • The above notwithstanding, public social media networks outside of those approved by the school may not be used for classroom instruction or school-sponsored activities without the prior authorisation of principal or his/her delegate, and parental consent for learner participation on social networks.
  4. The school’s rights and authority
    • The principal and or his/her delegate are granted authority through this policy to create rules, administrative and other regulations and protocols for the carrying out of the purpose of this policy.
    • Within the social media context, users are required to comply fully with this policy and its accompanying administrative regulations and all other relevant school policies, regulations, rules, procedures, social media terms of use and other legal documents, as well as local, provincial and national laws concerning social media.
    • All cyber actions by users attached to the school in any way must be conducted in accordance with the law, assist in the protection of the school’s resources, ensure compliance with this policy and its administrative regulations, as well as other school policies, regulations, rules and procedures, social media and Internet service providers’ terms, and local, provincial and national laws.
    • The school has a right, but not a duty, to inspect, review or retain any electronic communication created, sent, displayed, received or stored on or over the school’s electronics systems; and to monitor, record, check, track, log, access or otherwise inspect the content of its systems.
    • In addition, and in accord with the law, the school has the right, but not a duty, to inspect, review or retain any electronic communications created, sent, displayed, received or stored on users’ personal computers, electronic devices, networks, internet or electronic communication systems; and also in data-bases, files, software, and media that contain school information and data.
    • Also, in accordance with the law, the school has the right, but not the duty, to inspect, review, or retain electronic communications created, sent, displayed, received or stored on another entity’s computer or electronic device when users bring to and use such other entities’ computers or electronic devices at a school location, function or event, or connect it to the school network and/or systems, or any system that contains school programs, or school data or information.
    • The school will cooperate to the extent legally required of it with social media sites, internet service providers, local, provincial and state officials in investigations or with other legal requests, whether the actions be criminal or civil.
    • If any user believes that there is a conflict in the requirements with which he or she is obligated to comply, the matter must be brought to the attention of a supervisor, principal or media administrator who will follow through with the matter.
  5. School expectations of its learners
    • Responsible staff members are required to ensure that this policy is understood by learners working within their area of control.
    • As the line between professional and personal relationships is blurred within the social media context, the school takes no position on an individual learner’s decision to participate in the use of social media networks for personal use during personal time: however, use of these media for personal use during school time is prohibited.
    • It is the responsibility of all users to consider carefully their behaviour and what they place online when communicating with, or “friending” any individual.
    • Learners and parents must understand that when employees choose to engage with, or join the school’s learners, families or fellow employees in a social media context that exists outside of those approved by the school, the employees are expected to maintain their professionalism as school employees and to accept responsibility for addressing or reporting inappropriate behaviour or activity by learners on these networks.
    • In similar vein, learners and parents need to recognise that staff members have been told that they should not engage in social interaction with learners through social networking sites unless there is an educationally valid context. In the event of a complaint or allegation being received by the school in this regard, the school will follow through and investigate the matter, and responsibility will be on the staff member to demonstrate that the use was appropriate.
    • Users should have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, receive or display on or over the school’s various electronic systems, or the school’s authorised third-party systems, including their personal files or any of the use of these systems.
    • All learners are expected to serve as positive ambassadors for the school and to be respectful in all communications (whether by word, image or other means).
    • Learners may not coerce others into providing passwords, login details or other security access information to them so that they may access social media or locations that they have no authorisation to access.
    • The school reserves the right to access, view, record, check, receive, monitor, track, log, store or otherwise inspect and utilise any or all of its own systems, as well as authorised third-party systems, and to monitor and allocate file server space.
    • Users using the school’s systems or authorized third-party systems in use on or via the school premises or network to transmit or receive communications and information shall be deemed to have consented to having the content of any such communication accessed, viewed, recorded, checked, received, monitored, tracked, logged, stored or otherwise inspected or utilised by the school, and to monitor and allocate file server space.
    • Passwords and message delete functions do not restrict the school’s ability or rights to access such communications or information.
    • Anything posted on a learner’s website or web blog, or any Internet content for which the learner is responsible, is subject to all school rules, regulations and guidelines.
    • The school is entitled to view and monitor a learner’s website or web blog at any time without consent or previous approval.
  6. Inappropriate usage
    • Learners shall not use obscene, profane or vulgar language on any social media network, nor engage in communication or conduct that is racist, harassing, threatening, bullying, libellous or defamatory; or that discusses or encourages any illegal activity or the inappropriate use of alcohol or illegal drugs; improper sexual behaviour, sexual harassment or bullying.
    • Learners may not use their school e-mail addresses for communications on public social media networks that have not been approved by the school.
    • Learners must make it clear that any views expressed are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the school.
    • Learners may not act as a spokesperson for the school, or post comments as a representative of the school, except when authorised to do so by the principal or the principal’s delegate.
    • Learners may not disclose information on any social media network that is confidential or proprietary to the school, its learners or employees, or that is protected by data privacy laws.
    •  Learners may not use or post the school’s logo on any social media network without permission from the principal or his/her delegate.
    • Learners may not post images of other learners on any social media network without written consent from the parent of the learner whose image is to be posted, and also from the principal (or his or her delegate), except in the case of images taken in the public arena, such as at sporting events or public performances.
    • Learners may not post any non-public images of the school premises and property, including floor plans.
    • Because other users of social media networks may view the learner as a representative of the school, the school requires/expects learners to observe the following rules when referring to the school, its learners, programmes, activities, employees, volunteers or communities on any social media networks:
      • A learner’s use of any social media network and a learner’s postings, displays or communications on any social media network must comply with all regulations and laws, and any applicable school or departmental policies.
      • Learners are responsible for their own behaviour when communicating on social media, including being held accountable for the content of the communications that they post, state or on-send on social media locations.
      • Learners should note that information that they place in the social media, even though it may be designated as private, can be accessed for litigation purposes, distributed by friends and can be accessed in various other legal ways.
      • Inappropriate communications may not be posted on social media, including but not limited to:
        • confidential, personally identifiable or sensitive school information about learners, employees and guests;
        • child pornography, sexually exploitative material, bullying/cyber bullying or inappropriate commercialisation of childhood experiences;
        • defamatory or discriminatory statements or images;
        • infringed-upon intellectual property, such as copyright ownership;
        • terrorist threats; and
        • illegal items or activities.
  7. Interaction with social media groups
    • The school recognises that learner groups or members of the public may create social media platforms representing learners or groups within the school.
    • When employees, including coaches and consultants, choose to join in or engage with these social networking groups, they do so as an employee of the school, and their status and standing vis-a-vis their learners is not altered by the fact that engagements take place on social networks.
    • Learners have a co-responsibility for maintaining appropriate teacher-learner and learner-learner relationships at all times, and also for reporting or addressing inappropriate behaviour or activity on social media networks. This includes acting to protect the safety of minors online.
  8. Consequences of any breach of this policy
    • This policy and its various rules, regulations or guidelines, incorporate all other relevant school policies, such as, but not limited to, learner discipline policies, codes of conduct, acceptable use policies, copyright and anti-discrimination policies.
    • General rules for behaviour, ethics and communications apply when using social networking systems and information, in addition to the stipulations of this policy and the school’s various regulations.
    • Users must be aware that violations of this policy or other rules or guidelines on social media may result in loss of access and a variety of other disciplinary actions, including, but not limited to, warnings, usage restrictions, loss of privileges, position reassignment, oral or written reprimands, suspension and/or expulsion, as well as legal proceedings on a case-by-case basis.

Acknowledgements:  in drawing up this policy the GBF has the drawn on the following sources:

  • Don’t film yourself having sex: Sadleir and De Beer
  • Cyber law: maximising safety and minimising risk in classrooms: Bissonette
  • Kodak online; Intel.com; IBM.com
  • South Africa’s Government Communication and Information System; and various school, education district and state social media policies in the USA and Australia

10.11.4Cyber Bullying and Sexting

(With acknowledgement to Kobus van Wyk’s website, e4Africa.co.za)

  • What is Cyber bullying?
    An unintended, unwelcome consequence of technology is cyber-bullying.

    • The prefix cyber is used in many terms to describe new things that are being made possible by modern information and communication technologies, such as computers, cell phones and the internet.
    • We know the phenomenon of bullying among children – when weaker ones are intimidated by others through name-calling, spreading of rumours, threats, breaking their belongings, and physical abuse.
    • Cyber-bullying is the use of technology to achieve the objectives of the bully. Since many modes of technology are available to children, cyber-bullying can take many forms – the methods used are limited only by the child’s imagination and access to technology.  Examples are:
      • Facebook is often used to post nasty comments with the intent of insulting, hurting or harming the reputation of a youngster. These comments could be text, such as “Sally has slept with every boy in the class”; at times they may be in the form of photographs, which have been manipulated into a slanderous image.
      • Cell phones can take this practice to even younger children. Hurtful messages are sent, such as: “You are fat and ugly and we all hate you”. It is even possible to send these messages anonymously – simply buy a SIM card at a supermarket for a few cents, send the messages, and dispose of the card.  Nobody will ever trace the bully – but the damage has been done.
    • The effects of cyber-bullying on children can be the same as that of physical bullying: low self-esteem, frustration, anger, depression, loss of friends, exclusion from social activities, and in severe cases even suicide attempts.
    • Our children are growing up in an environment that has changed dramatically over the past decade and it is an absolute necessity that principals stay on track with developing technology.  Many schools and parents report that cyber-bullying is on the increase in South Africa and protecting our children against it is no longer optional.
    • The first step a principal must take to fight cyber-bullying is to gain an understanding of the problem.
  • What is Sexting?
    An increasing number of children, some even in primary schools, engage in sexting – a practice of sending sexual messages by electronic means. Sexting may be done in plain text format, but in many cases includes pictures. These messages can be posted on social networks such as Facebook, but the most common way of transmitting them is by means of cell phones.
    Sexting is a serious practice with harmful consequences. The moment you put a sex message out in cyber space, you become vulnerable. Your reputation is at risk and one unconsidered act can change your life forever.
  • Tips for Educators
    The principal is responsible for establishing and enforcing policies to contend with cases of cyber-bullying and sexting in the school. Classroom teachers have an even greater responsibility, since they are dealing more directly with learners who may be affected by these practices.

    • What can teachers do?
      • Recognize the reality of cyber-bullying and sexting in your classroom.
        If it is important that the principal recognizes the prevalence of these vices in the school, it is even more important that you must accept the fact that they are more than likely being practised by some learners in your classroom.  Ignoring this reality is the same as closing your eyes to the possibility that some learners are using drugs – you may wish that this is not happening, but it does!
      • Understand clearly how cyber-bullying and sexting work.
        How do learners use technology for these practices?  What are the various forms they take?  This implies that you must have a solid understanding of the technologies your learners are using.  Do they have cell phones?  For what do they use them?  Do they have access to computers?  Are they using social networks?  Do you understand how these tools – which you may be using for teaching – can be abused?
      • Let them know what you know.
        It is important that your learners know that you are aware of cyber-bullying and sexting.  You must be one step ahead of them so that you’re not caught by surprise.  Have open discussions with them in class about the matter.   You can deal with the topic during Life Orientation sessions, but it could also naturally come up during other lessons.  The innocent learners in your class – the potential victims of cyber-bullying and sexting – must be prepared: they need guidance on how to handle these abuses and must know that you are there for them if they need your help.  Similarly, the culprits (or future ones) must be deterred – they need to understand the consequences of their actions.
      • The one thing you must not do is to blame technology for cyber-bullying and sexting.  Banning technology will not solve the problem, and is akin to banning books because of the likelihood that they may contain pornographic material.
    • The safe use of technology is an important twenty-first century skill you must impart to your learners.  Teachers who accept this responsibility are indeed a blessing to their learners.