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Taryn Smith
5 minute read
25 Nov 2019
8:00 am

‘Does government really care about my unplaced little one?’

Taryn Smith

The government has vowed to find schools for the 14 000 children who are still unplaced by 30 November 2019. Our guest writer shares her experience of finding a school for her son going to Grade 1.

Watching your child grow from baby to a toddler at a pre-school is certainly a highlight in life. You see how much they grow from been a needy baby to becoming an independent little person. The next phase ‘big school’ this comes so fast and  as a parent you now have the mammoth task of choosing a school which would suit your child and fit in with your daily life.

This is our story, sadly.

Big government announcement- ‘School enrollment is now open’

That morning driving to work, all I could think about is that hopefully the system doesn’t crash before I get to submit my child’s information. First thing when I get in, is log on immediately, create an online profile. The system is slow and not doing what I need it to do fast enough, I then get my brother and his wife to log on and try from their respective computers in the hopes that if mine crashes they are logged on and ready to complete the application on my behalf. I selected 3 respective schools in my area, one which was 1.27 km’s another 5,4kms and lastly one near my place of work. The first two schools selected puts us on the A list for acceptance because it’s in the relevant radius from our home (well according to their system).

Fortunately I was able to complete the application in a matter of minutes-phew I did it and on the first day the applications opened.  Happy parent (well for now anyway)

On the same day my husband drops off all the required documents at the three schools we applied at, as we didn’t want our application at the bottom of the barrel.

We received SMS’s from the respective schools confirming that our documents have been received and verified-Yay go us- process followed and completed on the same day applications opened.

Big government announcement- ‘School placement will be confirmed by the end of August’

 The end of August finally arrives and nothing but a SMS to say placement will happen mid-October to end October

The wait continues

Mid October arrives-still no communication received

End October arrives and still no communication received

My husband then goes to the district office (6 times) only to be told every time there is nothing they can do and we must pray to God for a placement for our child.

We receive a SMS at 2.30pm on the first Saturday of November saying: Dear parent, if you have not received an offer of placement for grade 1 and grade 8 child for admission 2020, please kindly visit your nearest district on Sunday 3 November 2019 from 9am -4pm

Off we go to the district on Sunday at 8.30 am- where the queue is already around the building with frustrated parents andthen hear that the SMS sent out on Saturday was incorrect!

We sat in the queue for three LONG hours only to be told that the schools we selected are not in our district(yet this was never told to us when applying as we were in the A list) , are high pressure schools and are filled to capacity So what does that mean for our child, we ask the lady who sits there with a smug look on her face. Your child will not get a place in those schools, these are the schools available to you. Three options are then presented to us all of which are no where near where we stay or work. If you not happy fill out this Dispute form and you will get a response in seven working days. This form is then added to the already high pile of forms.

What a waste of our morning leaving feeling frustrated, irritated and angry. We have done everything the government has asked from us and still no school for our child-ARGGGGGGGG!

Tuesday

Receive an SMS saying that we must not go to the district office and they will communicate to us via SMS as to where our kid has been placed. After sitting there for three long hours as per the instruction -FRUSTRATED!

So what now?

Panic

Desperation

Research private schools are available in our area. Go directly to schools to see if they can place our kid.

It’s the end of the year and we still don’t know where our child has been or will be placed. Kids from other areas have been placed in schools in our feeder area which in itself is sad and very unfair.  Is this a fair way to treat already stressed out parents-NO

Trust the system they say…every child will have a seat( in an already overcrowded class room). We have decided to go with a private school not only because it was the only option but because the number of kids per class is small and our child can get the individual attention he needs to learn optimally. We are very disappointed in the way the school placement process has been done. But the real question is, DOES THE GOVERNMENT ACTUALLY CARE?


Taryn Smith, lover of life. Enjoys spending time with family and friends. Mom of two, supported by a village. Loves dancing, mostly in the kitchen.

Motto in life: Choose kindness always 

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