Background: In a Facebook post on Monday (17.01.2022), the Trust reported that parents who attempted to register their children for home education have been refused registration. In December, this problem was centred in KwaZulu-Natal, although the problem appears to be spreading to other provinces as well. These refusals related at first to learners who are studying at home, using online (virtual) schools. However, now we are hearing that even those using tutors at home are being refused. This needs to be confirmed but we are concerned that this may be happening.
Why this is serious
Parents who were refused registration could be forced to put their children back into school or face prosecution. It is therefore imperative to fight these refusals to protect the learners’ rights. A refusal must be appealed within 14 days after the refusal letter has been issued, which means it is a time- sensitive issue. Parents simply cannot wait around before taking action!
Officials must not be allowed to implement the policy rigidly as it is not a law. In addition, it seems that in this instance officials are applying the policy inconsistently (some of the affected families have been registered previously) and inflexibly. If officials now interpret the law and policy in this way, not only will it impact the affected families, but it will make it harder to challenge when an official decides that some aspect of your home education is no longer acceptable.
What we have done
Since we last communicated via Facebook PT members have received letters of refusal. Our legal team was briefed on Tuesday and action was initiated on cases of members who have received a refusal.
The legal team instructed that affected home schoolers must be guided by the legal team from the start and in all aspects of this matter, even with the internal appeals. This will ensure that their case will not be affected by technicalities if it has to go to court.
What you need to do
- Urgent: Refused Registration – Contact the Trust
Members and non-members who have tried to register for home education with their Provincial Education Department and have been refused, are urged to contact the Trust immediately. The importance of swift action in this case cannot be over-stated. Remember that you only have 14 days to lodge an appeal, and that it is important that the appeal is handled correctly from the start.2.
- Registering? Contact the Trust First
This incident illustrates the unfortunate reality that registration for home education is not a predictable administrative procedure such as the registration of a birth, but instead increases the probability of families getting into a conflict situation with authorities. If you plan to register in the future, we urge you to contact the Trust before attempting your registration. We can support you to minimize the possibility of your application being refused, and should your application be refused, set you up for the best possible chance of winning an appeal. Please also encourage other people to join the Trust before attempting their registration.
- Don’t change what you are doing – Attend meeting for further information
The Trust is being inundated with calls from concerned home schoolers, some of whom are wanting to change how they are home schooling. We urge you to not change anything that you are doing and that has been working for as long as you have been home educating. The Constitution recognises that your child’s best interests are paramount, and not the inconsistent and inflexible wishes of officials that seem to understand neither home education nor the law on home education.
Trust members are invited to a meeting on the 26 January 2022 – Register immediately by going to this link. The booking systems has a facility for asking your questions. This meeting is likely to be full with many wanting to ask questions. Priority will be given to the questions asked via the booking platform.
The unpredictable outcome when registering for home education, is a result of officials understanding neither home education nor the law on home education, combined with an irrational policy on home education. This is why the Pestalozzi Trust have been using all opportunities to propose a predictable and cogent registration process, and are continuing to do so.
[This is a shortened version of the News Nugget sent to members. We urge members to read full nugget for more information]