Can schools withhold the results of learners whose parents have been unable to pay school fees? Scorpion Legal Protection answers.
Public vs private schools
Whether or not a school can withhold a learner’s results depends on whether the school is public or private.
When you send your child to private school, you enter into a contractual agreement with the school as a private institution. Much like with any other business, you are bound by the terms and conditions of the contract. If parents fail to pay the school fees or other fees as detailed in the contract, this is seen as a breach of contract, and the school is entitled to take action according to their policies and procedures. This could include suspending the learner or withholding their academic results. However, you should always refer back to the contract to see exactly what is and is not allowed.
Public school does not work the same way. No public school is allowed to suspend or withhold a learner’s results due to non-payment of fees, as laid out in the South African Schools Act.
Exemption from paying school fees
Public schools may not suspend, withhold results or even take action to enforce payment of fees by parents if the school has not first processed an application for exemption to determine whether the parents qualify to be partially or fully exempted from paying.
If your child is suspended or denied academic results by a public school you can do the following: -
- Contact your child’s school and request that your child be admitted back to school or request that they provide you with your child’s academic results, as the suspension or withholding of results is against the law.
- If you are unable to afford school fees, contact the school’s governing body (SGB) to get help applying for partial or full exemption from the payment of fees.
- If you are not happy with the outcome of the application for exemption, lodge an appeal with the head of department at the Department of Education’s district offices.
Scorpion’s legal department can help with advice and paralegal assistance. If you are not sure about what to do, contact us immediately on www.scorpion.biz via our Live Chat or leave a comment on our Facebook page.
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* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.