Cottage Schools FAQs

Schools, Centres or  “Cottage Schools”

  • What is the difference between a learning centre and a cottage school?

In the eyes of the law there is no difference between a learning centre and a cottage school. Both should be registered as an independent school to be legal. See the articles on the website on starting a cottage school and on the legality of cottage schools.

In popular terminology a learning centre is regarded as a place of learning which learners may frequent sometimes at their own chosen times or sometimes as full-time students. A cottage school is regarded as a small school, sometimes at someone’s home. Both institutions may make use of home schooling curriculum materials, as a result of which they often are labelled as “home schooling”, which they are not. Home schooling is defined in the law as schooling at the child’s own home.

  • I have a cottage school/learning centre. Which application form should I use?

Use the application form for schools (educational institutions), which you may find here. The List of Learners and the Commitment to Make Payment are part of the Application Documents. Schools should also submit photos of the outside and of the inside of their schools as part of the application.

  • How much is the membership fee for schools? Should each learner’s family join?

 Schools pay a membership fee according to the number of learners in the school. Since the learners are not in home schooling, the families cannot join privately as families. Membership of the school covers the school, its personnel, the learners and their parents.

The membership fee is R400 per learner per annum.

  • Should all the learners in my school/centre appear on the List of Learners?

 Yes, all learners from GrR to Gr12 should appear on it. According to the Children’s Act an institution  now has to offer an Early Childhood Development programme if it daily cares for more than 6 children younger than six. That means that the Department of Social Development will come and inspect the education that you offer to the children in your care. You therefore should add those children to your List of Learners. This law is changing, but we’ll keep our members updated.

The Trust does not handle problems that the centre encounters which are caused by learners who are not on the List of Learners. The membership of the institution will be cancelled if the List of Learners is found to be incomplete.

  • When do I pay the Trust?

 After we have received your signed and completed application form, as well as the List of Learners, and the photos of the inside and the outside of the institution, we’ll invoice you. You may then send us the proof of payment, or commitment to make payments. This will finalize your application. You will receive formal acknowledgement that your application has been accepted, as well as a members’ pack and emergency number.

  • What is the membership period for schools membership?

 Membership stretches from 1 March to 1 March.

  • Can I join the Trust after I encounter problems with the education department, the welfare, the police or the neighbours?

 No, your application will not be considered if you apply for membership after having encountered problems. You should already be a member of the Trust by the time you encounter problems, so that we can support you in the conflict.

  • Do I have to register my learners as home learners with the Provincial Education Department?

 No, your learners are not being home-educated. Home education is defined as education at the child’s own home. If the officials follow the law when handling such a registration, the registration will be turned down. Applying for registration causes many problems for you and the parents of the learners. Therefore do not register your learners with the Education Department, in spite of the instructions of some curriculum suppliers.

  • Can I join the Trust after I encounter problems with the education department, the welfare, the police or the neighbours?

No, the Trust acts only in conflicts between the school and the authorities.