Who and what is the Pestalozzi Trust?
The Trust is a registered public benefit organisation, which supports its members when they come into in conflict with the authorities, in connection with their home schooling.
Does the Trust help all homeschoolers who encounter problems?
No, only our members. If a member comes into conflict, regarding his home education, with the education department, welfare or police, the member immediately calls the emergency number of the Trust. The Trust then assists the family individually. Members receive the emergency number in the members’ pack when they join the Trust.
Is the Trust affiliated to a curriculum supplier?
No, the Trust is independent of any curriculum supplier. Members of the Trust make use of a wide variety of curricula and educational approaches.
Is the Trust affiliated to the education department?
No, the Trust is not affiliated to the education department.
Does the Trust register its members with the Department of Basic Education?
No, the Trust is not affiliated to the education department and does not register its members with the various provincial education departments. Registration with the PED is done by parents themselves; it can’t be done by a third party.
Should I register?
First read these articles and visit this page. According to the law homeschooling children of compulsory school-going age need to be registered as home learners with their provincial education department. To register with the Department, complete the online form. Please first study the Policy that you are expected to have read before you submit the form, as well as the law applicable to homeschoolers in South Africa. Study the law and policy carefully, to ensure that the requirements that you have to meet do not conflict with your child’s best interests. As a family you have to decide whether it will be in your children’s best interests to be registered.
Ever since 1996, when homeschooling was first provided for in the law in South Africa, there have been various problems with the registration process and requirements, which the Pestalozzi Trust and homeschooling associations and leaders have repeatedly pointed out to the DBE. As a result of these various problems the majority of homeschooling parents regard it as not in the best interest of their children to be registered. They regard it as both an infringement of their right to direct their child’s education and of a child’s right to receive an education that would be in his/her best interest. At present many homeschoolers also don’t register, since they are waiting for the BELA Bill to be signed into law. It will seriously impact homeschooling, and homeschoolers are not sure how it will influence them if they are already registered at that stage. Another reason why they don’t register is because they don’t agree with the home visit that departmental officials need to conduct before an application for registration can be approved.
When you submit the form to the Department, please keep a record of everything submitted and also proof that you submitted it. You possibly won’t hear from the Department soon – there generally is a very long waiting period to process applications. Please contact us if you have any problems with registration or if you fail to receive any reaction, so that we can bring it to the attention of the officials. Contact us at email@example.com if you have any further questions or need specific advice.
May families who are registered join the Pestalozzi Trust?
Yes, they may apply for membership of the Trust, if they have not yet encountered problems from the education department, welfare or police, regarding their home education.
Joining the Trust
Why should I join the Pestalozzi Trust?
The Trust backs its members up when in conflict with the state regarding their homeschooling, when they have to defend their child’s right to basic education. As members of the Trust they can ensure that their children learn according their best interests, without the interference and demands of strangers, who don’t know the children.
My daughter is 3 years old and I am currently homeschooling her and intend on doing so her entire schooling career. How necessary is it to join the Pestalozzi Trust at this stage and if not necessary now when would you suggest I start looking at this option?
You may join the Trust now as an Associate Member family. This membership category is for families whose children are not yet or no longer liable for compulsory schooling. Although the membership category does not provide legal support, families receive information and may attend meetings of the Trust at members’ fees. The membership fee for Associate Membership is R560 per family per annum.
At the beginning of the year in which your child turns 7, you may apply for Standard Membership of the Trust at R1080 per family per annum.
What are the criteria for approving an application?
The Trustees may turn down an application without having to explain their reasons.
However, an application is seldom turned down
- if the learners are being taught in their own homes;
- if the whole form has been completed and signed by both parents, and the correct payment for membership fee has been received;
- if the learners are under the supervision of the parents when necessary, and are not left alone at home, without adult supervision;
- if it is clear that the parents ensure that their children receive an education and if the parents are involved in this education;
- if no legal action has been threatened or brought against the family’s home education or anyone associated with it, or if the family has not been contacted by any school or education official, social worker or other government official concerning their children, their home education, or absence from institutional school; and
- if the family have not been investigated for or charged with child abuse, neglect, or any other related charges.
Should both parents sign the form?
Yes, the parents should be in agreement about the education that their child receives, and both should sign the agreement with the Trust.
It is necessary to complete the teaching schedule?
Yes, it is necessary. If it changes from day to day, please indicate it on an appendix.
Which children’s details should I fill in on the form?
You may include all your children’s details, including those who are preschool and those who are no longer liable for compulsory schooling. Then the Trust has all the details, and you need not complete a form again later. Children are liable for compulsory schooling from the first school day of the year in which they turn 7, up till the last school day of the year in which they turn 15. Many homeschoolers prefer to remain members of the Trust till the children have finished school, so that they have the services of the Trust available, should they need guidance to be allowed in a tertiary institution.
How shall we know if our application with the Trust has been accepted?
After your data have been checked by the personnel of the Trust, you’ll receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt, and requesting you to upload your proof of payment or your proof of stop order. Subsequently, after the proof of payment has been received, you will receive an official letter of confirmation of your membership. You will then have access to your members’ pack, containing the emergency number, as well as other information meant specifically for members, which is available on the online database.
Membership of the Trust covers 12 months. Do the 12 months start when joining the Trust, or from January to December?
The membership period stretches over 12 months, from the date of joining the Trust (for example from 1 June 2020) to 12 months after that date (for example to 1 June 2021).
How shall we know that our membership has expired?
You will be reminded 60 days before your membership expires, and again 30 days before the date of expiry, as well as on the date of expiry. If you forget to renew, you will again be reminded 30 days after the date of expiry that your membership has already lapsed.
How do I submit the application form?
You join online at this link. All the instructions are on the form.
How and when do we pay the membership fee?
You may make the payment when completing the form, and upload the proof of payment or proof of a stop order when prompted to do so by the online database system.
How much is the membership fee?
membership fee is R1200 per family per annum. If you join before you take your
children out of school, or within 3 months of taking them out of school, you
pay the reduced fee of R1080 per family per annum.
PLEASE NOTE: Existing members who renew on time (before their membership lapses) stay on the membership fee level at which they joined. Therefore they don’t pay the increased membership fee in future.
How do we pay the membership fee?
You may pay once-off, or you may pay by stop order. Please use the reference provided in the e-mail sent by the system. Ask your bank to ensure that the reference appears on OUR bank statement, so that we can link your payment to your account.
How do I take my children out of school?
Keep in mind that it is not illegal to take your children out of school to homeschool them. You therefore do not need the permission of the education department, the school, the school personnel or the school board of the school to take your child out of a school. You have entrusted your child to the school for a period of time. However, during this whole period when your child attended school, in terms of the Children’s Act, the responsibility of your child’s education was nevertheless squarely on your own shoulders. The responsibility for the teaching and education of your child remains with you as the parent from the day that you register your child’s birth with the Department of Internal Affairs. You need not ask for permission or prove that you are capable of teaching your child yourself.
- Join the Pestalozzi Trust, before taking any steps to remove the child from school. The reason why you should join before contacting the school is that the Trust does not accept applications from families who have already experienced conflict with the authorities in connection with their home schooling.
- Thank the school for their services to you as a family up till then, and inform them that you won’t be using their services in future. Depending on your relationship with the school, you may give notice personally, per e-mail or by telephone. Some schools will hand over a transfer certificate for your child, and others not. It is not always clear how a specific school will handle the matter. Unless you want to place your children in school again at a later stage, you probably won’t need a transfer certificate.
- Many parents prefer to give notice when the child is already back from school, and therefore won’t be going back to school again. Make sure that you are aware of the details of the contract that you signed with the school. Some schools require a notice period of 3 months. Please contact the Trust immediately if any conflict ensues.
May I teach my neighbour’s children (or any other children) at my home?
You may do that, but the children will NOT receive home education. Home education is defined in the law as education at the child’s own home. If the child is being taught outside of his own home, he does not receive home education.
If you do that, you will be running a small private or independent school. This is the way the law sees it. Read about the legal aspects of cottage schools here.
May unschoolers join the Trust?
The Trust does not prescribe to its members which curriculum to follow. Members of the Trust therefore follow a large variety of curricula. Parents should decide which curriculum is in their child’s best interest, and follow that curriculum.
Which is the best curriculum to follow?
The best curriculum is the curriculum which is in the best interest of your child, and which will fully develop his/her personality.