Pupil in Limbo as City School Turns him Away

Pupil in limbo as city school turns him away

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Brandon McMullin, 15, should be at school with Grade 8 classmates. Instead he has been at home for the past three weeks after being told there was no room for him at the school one block from where he lives. Photo: Michael Walker
Michelle Jones
Education Writer
FOR more than three weeks 15-year-old Brandon McMullin has sat at home while his peers attend school.
His mother, Cheryl McMullin, applied for a spot in a Grade 8 class at JG Meiring High in Goodwood in August last year only to be told the school was overcrowded and that her son could not be accommodated.
Brandon is one of about 650 pupils around the Western Cape who have yet to be accommodated at a school.
McMullin applied to a number of other schools in surrounding areas but was repeatedly told the same thing – there was no room there.
She approached the Western Cape Education Department for assistance which suggested schools in Blouberg, Elsies River and Cravenby.
McMullin said it was not fair that principals had the authority to accept pupils who lived out of the area but did not accept pupils who lived nearby.
“They don’t have to come from so far afield. They must go to a nearby school. I think it’s greatly wrong. Must my child now travel by train and bus? And I must worry about the well-being of my son. I don’t have transport to send him there.”
Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said district officials had offered McMullin a place at Goodwood College. “She turned down the offer. She is on the waiting list for JG Meiring. We cannot guarantee places at schools of choice or give anyone preference over others on a waiting list. We will continue trying to assist her, within these constraints.”
McMullin said: “I’m not putting him there because it’s too far. I just don’t want my son to go there. I don’t want my son to go to that area at all. I want him close to home. You have to think of the safety of your child.”
Feeder zones are no longer determined for public schools.
Some schools do indicate areas from which children are accepted but many accept pupils who live outside of the area. Casey said officials in the Metro South district were trying to place more than 400 pupils, the largest concentration in any area.
“Pressure points include Tafelsig, Lentegeur, Eastridge and Beacon Valley.”
She said the Metro East district was trying to place about 120 pupils“. The Helderberg Basin is the main pressure point in the district, especially around Gordon’s Bay and Somerset West. The district has also seen a large increase in learners in Nomzamo, Strand.
“Kuils River has also seen an influx of learners in the district. Rouxville Primary, a new school in Kuils River, has helped to absorb many of the new arrivals.”
Mobile classrooms would be deployed to accommodate growth and an additional 15 such classrooms would be commissioned to accommodate learners in Grabouw once land was approved. She said officials in the Metro North district were trying to place about 80 pupils, mainly in the Goodwood and Parow areas.

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