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Toddlers 1-3 Years | Ready for Big School?

Q&A: The A – Z of Registering your Child for School

Most of us still remember school terms like Standard 8 and back then our biggest concern was coming up with a creative excuse for not doing our homework or getting more tuck shop money. Today it’s a whole new ball game.

How do the grades in South African schools work?
Grade 000 – Age 3, turning 4
Grade 00 – Age 4, turning 5
Grade 0 (R) – Age 5, turning 6
Grade 1 – Age 6, turning 7

Grades 1 – 9 are compulsory, known as General Education and Training
Grade 10 – 12 are known to be Further Education and Training
Matric (Grade 12) is the year of matriculation and required for tertiary education

Should my child attend a public or private school?
This is totally up to the parents. Every parent would love to give their child the best opportunities possible but the word “best” in itself is debatable. One couple might feel that a private school is the best option, while another couple may have a different belief system and feel that a semi-private or a public school will be best for their child. Some parents would love to send their child to a private school but can simply not afford it. Don’t beat yourself up about this as your best is always good enough for your child.

Please keep in mind that every single child has the opportunity to pass matric and get university acceptance whether they attend a public or private school. In recent years, however, the process of choosing a school has become extremely competitive with parents feeling more and more pressure to send their kids to private schools. Don’t fall victim to this! Do what you believe is right.


When do I have to register my child?
Most schools start accepting applications from July in the year prior to starting school. Many moms, however, are registering their kids from the age of two as it’s not always easy to get into the school of your choice. Private and semi-private schools usually have a waiting list. Do your homework, go to open days and get your child’s name on the waiting list at the school of your choice. It’s wise to register at two or three different schools just to be safe – you don’t want to start looking for another alternative at the last minute and then have to settle for something you might not be happy with.

Your child can be registered at any school, even if it’s not in your area, although the schools are allowed to give preference to kids in the area – which means your child’s name might go on a waiting list.

Are they allowed to test my child before registration?
Absolutely not, it is unlawful and the Department of Education should be notified.

Do I have to pay registration fees?
Public schools are not allowed to charge a registration or any other fee, but private and semi-public schools usually charge a registration fee – payable when you hand in your registration form.

What documents will I need?

  • Birth certificate
  • Immunisation card
  • Last report card or transfer card for children who have been to school previously

For more information, call the Department of Education’s toll-free hotline
on 0800 202 933.

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