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Independent School FAQs

FAQ Related to Independent School FAQs

What happens to schools which do not submit their monitoring reports to Umalusi?
Their accreditation status will be reviewed and consequently the school's accreditation may be withdrawn. Such schools will be warned about the implication of their failure to maintain their accreditation status. Furthermore, the accreditation status of schools is regularly communicated to accredited assessment bodies and provincial education departments. Schools that fail to maintain their accreditation status may have their registration status reviewed by provincial education departments and their exam centre registration status withdrawn by the assessment body on the recommendation of Umalusi. The SASA, 1996 provides for the registration and withdrawal of registration of independent schools.
How experienced and qualified are Umalusi's evaluators and subject specialists?
The evaluators and subject specialists who are appointed by Umalusi are highly experienced and suitably qualified in the education field, including educationists, school heads and senior teachers. Appointed evaluators and subject specialists further undergo specialised training by Umalusi in the accreditation processes.
Is Umalusi doing anything about what may be called "monitoring overload"?
In its ongoing meetings with provincial education departments, Umalusi discusses the need for alignment of registration and accreditation requirements and processes with a view to eliminating areas of duplication.
Is there an appeal process if we don't agree with the final outcome of our application?
In terms of the Umalusi appeal process, a request for an appeal must be submitted to Officer within 10 working days of receipt of the outcome of the accreditation application, indicating detailed reasons for the appeal. Appeals must be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer and emailed to Mary.Malia@umalusi.org.za and Gugulethu.Nkambule@umalusi.org.za Payment of the required fee must be made before an appeal is considered. The cost of the appeal will be determined by the nature of the appeal. Should the finding of the appeal be in favour of the appellant, the fee paid will be refunded to the applicant.
As far as we are concerned we comply with all the provisional accreditation criteria but our accreditation report says we are not fully compliant.
What happens to schools which do not submit their biennial monitoring reports to Umalusi?
Are schools expected to pay a fee every time they submit a monitoring report?
Schools are required to pay an accreditation fee every 2 years post accreditation. However, should Umalusi be required to follow up on schools which fail to meet the monitoring requirements, an extra fee may be charged.
Is it compulsory to submit biennial monitoring reports?
Yes. Accredited independent schools are required to submit biennial monitoring reports in order to maintain their accreditation status. Umalusi may withdraw the accreditation of schools which fail to submit their biennial monitoring reports.
How will Umalusi monitor the compliance of schools that are accredited?
With the gazetted policy and regulations on the criteria for the quality assurance, accreditation and monitoring of independent schools and private assessment bodies, schools that meet the minimum standards for accreditation are no longer granted 7 years accreditation but accreditation. With that, the approach for monitoring will be differentiated. As a minimum, schools will be required to submit a biennial monitoring report.
Our school was visited by Umalusi. Will there be another visit?
The independent school sector is fairly competitive. Why should our school be site visited by principals or senior teachers from other independent schools?
Schools are always informed prior to the site visit about their site evaluators thus the schools are given an opportunity to express their unhappiness with any of the evaluation personnel Umalusi assigns to the school. Also, site evaluators and team leaders are made to sign relevant documents to ensure that they conduct themselves ethically. Furthermore, it is Umalusi and not the site evaluator that makes the final accreditation decision.
Our school has just participated / is participating in a site visit conducted by our association. Is it necessary to also participate in an Umalusi site visit?
Yes. Accreditation by Umalusi is a legislative requirement for schools offering the curriculum leading to the National Senior Certificate and is granted by Umalusi to independent schools that participate actively in its quality assurance initiatives and meet the minimum standards in each of the criteria for accreditation.
Can the primary school and high schools (of a combined school) get different accreditation decisions from Umalusi?
If the primary and high school make an application as a combined school with one EMIS number and the whole school is on the same premises, there will be one outcome for the whole school. If the primary and high school apply for accreditation separately, then there can be different accreditation decisions for each.
Surely, our narrative should be sufficient to support our compliance with the accreditation criteria?
No. Narratives serve to explain what the school perceives to be its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the compliance criteria. Compliance is mainly determined by the relevance and adequacy of supporting evidence provided by the school, which can be confirmed through observation of the actual implementation of the policies.
How do we know that the evidence we provide will sufficiently support our compliance with the criteria?
Quality Promotion meetings are held across the provinces during the course of the year to assist schools on the evidence required for the self-evaluation report, and what to expect during the site verification visit.
Our school's internal policies are not documented, but are known to all staff members, learners and parents. Is it really important that they should be documented?
Yes. Policy documentation will ensure consistent and effective implementation, monitoring, review and general improvement of their effectiveness.
How would Umalusi know if the required policies and procedures were not merely developed for the sole purpose of submission and that they don't necessarily inform/guide practice at the school?
In order to ensure that submitted policies and procedures guide the actual day-to-day operations at the school, Umalusi conducts verification site visits. The main focus of the site visit is to ascertain whether schools have evidence of policy implementation, monitoring and review of the policies they submitted as part of their portfolio of evidence.
Can we use generic policies of our association in order to support our compliance with the accreditation criteria?
Yes, but they should be customised to suit the specific context of your school.
Can our school ask an education consultant to compile our self-evaluation report or to develop school policies for us?
Who evaluates our self-evaluation and monitoring reports?
Self-evaluation and monitoring reports are evaluated by qualified and experienced evaluators and subject specialists who are appointed and trained by Umalusi for that purpose.
Our school has reservations about evaluators seeing our confidential documents like audited financial statements.
Appointed evaluators are required to sign a code of ethics and oath of secrecy. Furthermore, evaluators/moderators are strictly monitored during the evaluation process.
There are surely independent schools out there which are not accredited. Is Umalusi doing anything about them?
Yes. Umalusi is identifying unaccredited schools through the list of independent schools provided by the Provincial Education Departments and the Department of Basic Education. Should you be aware of any school that may not be registered or accredited please send its name and/or contact details to info@umalusi.org.za. Umalusi will alert the relevant Provincial Education Department accordingly.
Will our school be registered as an examination centre even if it is not accredited by Umalusi?
No. In an effort to ensure full compliance with relevant legislation, Umalusi expects all public and accredited private assessment bodies to ensure that their exam centres are accredited. So, your independent school may not be registered as an exam centre if the school is not accredited by Umalusi.
Our school has moved to new premises since we applied for registration. How will that affect our accreditation application?
Accreditation is linked to the EMIS registration and registered physical address of the school. Therefore, if your school has one EMIS number but is operating at different physical addresses, you need to contact your provincial department of education to ensure that the EMIS registration and registered physical address of the school are linked.
We have a small school with very few learners and staff members. Do we have to apply for accreditation like all other schools?
Yes. Independent schools that offer the curriculum leading to the National Senior Certificate are obliged to be accredited with Umalusi and to further comply with the monitoring and evaluation requirements of Umalusi.
Are pre-schools required to apply for accreditation?
No. Only schools offering grades between 1 and 12 are required to apply for accreditation with Umalusi.
We have a combined school (i.e. primary and high schools). Do we have to apply for accreditation as one school or as separate schools?
If your combined school has one EMIS number, and one executive principal/head of institution or two principals, and is at one address, then you need to submit only one application with relevant sections for the primary and high schools. However, if the primary and high schools have separate EMIS numbers and/or are on separate premises, then you have to submit and pay for two separate accreditation applications.
We are in the process of establishing a school. Do we start with accreditation or registration?
Is the accreditation of independent schools optional or compulsory?
Accreditation is compulsory for independent schools that offer the curriculum leading to a qualification that is registered on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework (GFETQSF); currently the National Senior Certificate.
What is Umalusi's quality assurance approach for independent schools?
Our school offers a foreign / international curriculum. Are we expected to apply for accreditation with Umalusi?
In terms of section 3 of the National Qualifications Framework Act (NQF) foreign qualifications offered in South Africa are required to be registered on the NQF. Once a qualification is registered on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework (GFETQSF), then the school would be required to apply for accreditation.
How do I apply for accreditation?
Are all schools expected to apply for accreditation with Umalusi?
Furthermore, according to section 3(1) and (2) of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act, 2008 as amended, every qualification or part-qualification offered with the Republic by education institutions must be registered on the NQF in accordance with the NQF Act. Therefore, Umalusi accredits registered independent schools that offer qualifications or programmes leading to qualifications registered on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-framework (GFETQSF). Currently, the only qualification offered by independent schools that is registered on the GFETQSF is the National Senior Certificate (NSC). Public schools are not required to apply for accreditation.
How much do we have to pay for the accreditation application?
Where can one view a list of accredited schools?
Are schools offered any discounts on the accreditation fees?
There is a rebate in place for the self-evaluation and site visit fees, however there are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration before a rebate is approved to a school; factors such as whether the school qualifies for a subsidy or not, if the school is registered as a non-profit organisation, the annual fee income, etc. Schools must apply for a rebate at the time of submitting the online Letter of Intent to apply for accreditation.
Is it a problem if our teachers are not registered with the South African Council for Educators (SACE)?
Why does an independent school have to be accredited?
Accreditation is a legal requirement for independent schools in terms of the following legislation: - General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance (GENFETQA) Act, 2001 (as amended) - National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act, 2008 as amended, - Policy and Criteria for the Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Monitoring of Independent Schools and Private Assessment Bodies as promulgated by the Minister of Basic Education on 29 October 2012 (Government Gazette 35830), as amended; - the Regulations regarding the criteria for the Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Monitoring of Independent Schools and Private Assessment Bodies (Government Gazette 41206 of 27 October 2017.
What is registration?
Registration of an independent school refers to a process that independent schools must undertake with Provincial Education Departments in order to operate in South Africa in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of South African and the South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996. An Independent School must be registered with the Provincial Education Department prior to seeking accreditation with Umalusi
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is the recognition of the capacity of an independent school to offer a qualification on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Framework, and the independent school's implementation of the curriculum in support of the qualification, at the required standard. Accreditation attests to the capacity and the quality of the offering in an independent school.
Our school uses an Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) approach. Are we required to apply for accreditation with Umalusi?
Umalusi accredits ACE schools which prepare their learners to write the national examination, designed to lead to the acquisition of the National Senior Certificate (NSC).
Is it really a major problem if our teachers are not registered with the South African Council for Educators (SACE)?
Yes. According to Chapter 3 of the SACE Act of 2000, "no person may be employed as an educator by any employer unless the person is registered with the council". Put simply, it is illegal for principals or owners of schools to appoint teachers who are not (at least provisionally) registered with SACE. More importantly, Umalusi will not accredit schools whose teachers are not registered with SACE.
Does Umalusi accredit private providers of curriculum material, including teaching and learning aids?
No - Umalusi accredits institutionalised providers that are offering a qualification that leads to the National Senior Certificate.
Our school is a confirmed candidate with 7 years "blanket accreditation" from 2013 to 2020. Are we required to do anything before 2020?
The 7 years "blanket accreditation" (from 2013 to 2020) was granted to schools which had the status of confirmed accreditation candidates in terms of Umalusi's transitional arrangements. A condition of this "blanket accreditation" is that schools must comply with the requirements of Umalusi. One of the requirements (point 4.2 of the letter sent to the affected schools) is that Umalusi will visit the institution within the first 5 years of the 7 year accreditation period." In order for Umalusi to conduct a verification site visit, the school must first submit a self-evaluation report, since the verification site visit is based on that self-evaluation report. Schools with the "blanket accreditation" process are therefore required to go through the full accreditation process within the first 5 years of the 7 year accreditation period. The dates by which schools with "blanket accreditation" are required to submit a self-evaluation report are as follows: Schools confirmed in 2006/2007: by 31 October 2014 Schools confirmed in 2008: by 31 March 2015 Schools confirmed in 2009: by 31 October 2015 Schools confirmed in 2010: by 31 October 2016 Schools confirmed in 2011/2012: by 31 October 2017 Should a school not comply, their accreditation status will be reviewed and consequently, the school's "blanket" accreditation may be withdrawn. Such schools will be warned about the implication of their failure to maintain their accreditation status. Furthermore, the accreditation status of schools is regularly communicated to accredited assessment bodies. Schools that fail to maintain their accreditation status may have their exam centre registration and their registration status reviewed by provincial departments of education on the recommendation of Umalusi. The SASA, 1996 provides for the registration and deregistration of independent schools.
Does the public know about our school's accreditation status?
Accredited schools appear on Umalusi's website. This information can be accessed at www.umalusi.org.za
How much do we have to pay for the full accreditation fee?
The fees currently range between R 29 829 for a primary school and R56 749 for a combined school (Grades 1 - 12). These fees are payable in two tranches; the first when the Letter of intent to apply for accreditation is submitted, and the second before the site visit takes place. The fees cover the full process for the period of accreditation, including monitoring in years 2 and 4, and attendance of 1 person from the school at Quality Promotion Workshops. There is a rebate in place, however there are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration before a rebate is given to a school; factors such as if the school receives a subsidy or not, if the school is registered as a non-profit organisation, the annual fee income, etc. Schools must apply for a rebate at the time of submitting the online Letter of Intent to apply for accreditation.
As far as we are concerned we comply with all the provisional accreditation criteria but our accreditation report says we are not fully compliant.
First look at Umalusi's evidence requirements and compare them with the evidence provided by your school. If you still feel that your school is compliant, then your school can apply for the review of the accreditation decision. However, a non-refundable admin fee is payable. The fee is revised on an annual basis and is available on request.

 

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