All children, including those who are refugees, have a right to education. Parents are not required to pay school fees if they are unable to afford them, and if fees exceed 10% of the total family income.

Forms to apply for school fee exemptions should be available at your local school.

A child may not be excluded from school due to non-payment of school fees by his or her guardians.

No public school may require an admissions test or reject students based on religion or ethnicity.

Who can attend School?

All children have the legal right to a basic education.

  • No one can be refused admission to school based on race or religion
  • No child can be denied entry to any state school because the parent(s) have not paid
    school fees or are behind on school fee payments
  • You cannot be charged a registration fee, administration fee or be asked to pay fees
    up front at a State school
  • A state school is not allowed to administer any test relating to admission
  • No child can be refused entry because the parent/s don’t subscribe to the mission
    statement of the school

What is the difference between “no fee” and “fee-charging” schools?

If your school is declared a “no fee” school by the Minister of Education (because the school is located in a poor community), you do not have to pay ANY school fees, including activity or extra mural fees

All other State schools are “fee charging” schools

What if you cannot afford school fees?

Parents are NOT legally obliged to pay school fees if they do not earn enough money. If you are struggling to make school payments, you can apply for school fee exemptions.

This includes refugees and asylum seekers.

How do you apply for School Fee exemptions?

Forms should be available at your local school.
Once you have completed the form, you send it back to the school with a letter to the School Governing Body (SGB) asking for a school fee exemption.

The letter needs to be accompanied by a payslip or a letter from your employer.

If self-employed or unemployed, then you must provide an affidavit explaining how you support the child.

The SGB has 30 days to accept or reject an application.

If you are unhappy with the decision, you have 30 days to appeal in writing to the Head of the Department of Education in your province.

You can ask a teacher or principal to help you with the exemption process.