Follow Umalusi on:
Umalusi - Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training

Independent School FAQs

FAQ Related to Independent School FAQs

What is Umalusi's quality assurance approach for independent schools?
In line with its quality assurance mandate, Umalusi uses a set of criteria to accredit independent schools to offer a qualification that is registered on its sub-framework. Umalusi's main focus in regard to independent schools is their internal quality management of education provision. The criteria for the accreditation of an independent school to offer a qualification on the General and Further Education and Training Sub-framework are as follows: Criterion 1: School Ethos Criterion 2: Leadership, Management and Communication Criterion 3: Teaching and Learning Criterion 4: School Results
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 college. If you still feel that your college is compliant, then your college 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. Enquiries: Telephone: 012 349 1510 x 256 / 012 030 00800 Email: Vani.Chatty@umalusi.org.za Fax: 012 349 1511
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.
Are all schools expected to apply for accreditation with Umalusi?
No. Public schools are not required to apply for accreditation. According to the amended General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance (GENFETQA) Act, 2001, Umalusi is required to quality assure independent schools that are registered in accordance with the South African Schools Act (SASA), 1996, as amended. Furthermore, not all registered independent schools are expected to apply for accreditation with Umalusi. According to the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Act, 2008, Umalusi is only responsible for the quality assurance of independent schools that offer qualifications that fall within its sub-framework of qualifications. These are independent schools that intend for their learners to satisfy all the requirements of the National Senior Certificate (NSC).
How do I apply for accreditation?
Application for accreditation is an online process, which can be accessed on Umalusi's website: www.umalusi.org.za. Click on the link "Apply for accreditation". You will then be guided through the online application process.
Our school offers a foreign / international curriculum. Are we expected to apply for accreditation with Umalusi?
No. Foreign / international qualifications fall outside of Umalusi's quality assurance mandate.
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 the accreditation of independent schools optional or compulsory?
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.
We are in the process of establishing a school. Do we start with accreditation or registration?
Your school must first be registered with the relevant provincial department of education as an independent school before it is accredited by Umalusi. However, the exam centre status of independent schools is linked to the independent school's accreditation status.
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.
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, 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.
Are pre-schools required to apply for accreditation?
No. Only schools offering Grades 1-12 are required to apply for accreditation with Umalusi.
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.
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.
Will our school be registered as an examination centre even if it is not accredited by Umalusi?
In an effort to ensure full compliance with relevant legislation, Umalusi expects all its accredited assessment bodies to ensure that their exam centres are accredited. So, your school may not be registered as an exam centre if it is not accredited with Umalusi.
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
There are surely independent schools out there which are not accredited. Is Umalusi doing anything about them?
Yes. Umalusi is identifying unaccredited schools through its site visit process and through other means. Once the schools are identified, the necessary steps are taken to ensure that they comply with relevant legislation. Should you be aware of any school which may not be registered or accredited please send its name and/or contact details to info@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.
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. Under no circumstance should a financial statement be handed directly to an Umalusi evaluator/moderator.
Who evaluates our self-evaluation and monitoring reports?
Self-evaluation and monitoring reports are evaluated by adequately qualified and experienced principals, senior teachers, and educationists, who are appointed and trained by Umalusi for that purpose.
Can our school ask an education consultant to compile our self-evaluation report or to develop school policies for us?
Although it is obviously the prerogative of schools to use consultants in portfolio and/or policy development, it is Umalusi's considered view that policies compiled by consultants do not always provide an opportunity for staff members and learners at the school to participate actively in their development. Subsequently, it is unlikely for staff members to take full ownership of the processes of policy implementation, monitoring and review. In the main, Umalusi believes that an increased role of consultants limits the entrenchment of an internal culture of quality management.
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.
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 our site visits 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.
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 do we know that the evidence we provide will sufficiently support our compliance with the criteria?
Quality Promotion workshops are held across the provinces during the course of the year to assist schools on how to apply for accreditation, the evidence required for the self-evaluation report, and what to expect during the site verification visit.
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.
Can the primary school and high schools (of a combined school) get different accreditation decisions from Umalusi?
Yes. Although common policies may be submitted in some cases, one part of the school may not submit sufficient evidence of compliance or implementation in areas that are only relevant to them. For instance, there are differences in regard to assessment of learner achievement in primary schools and high schools.
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 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.
How experienced and qualified are Umalusi's site evaluators?
The site evaluators and team leaders that are appointed and trained by Umalusi are experienced educationists, school heads, or senior teachers.
The independent school sector is fairly competitive. Why should our school be site visited by principals or senior teachers from other independent schools?
As schools are always informed prior to the site visit about their site evaluators, they have the right to express their unhappiness with any evaluator. Also, as indicated elsewhere in this document, 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 was visited by Umalusi. Will there be a second visit?
With full accreditation Umalusi will visit a school for the second time if there is a complaint lodged by learners, parents or a member of the public, etc. There may also be a visit as part of the biennial monitoring process, or to verify evidence subsequently submitted if your school receives an outcome of provisional accreditation.
How will Umalusi monitor the compliance of schools that are accredited for 7 years?
In year 2 and year 4 of accreditation the school will be required to submit a monitoring report. If in some cases there are complaints about such a school, Umalusi has the right to conduct an urgent site visit.
Is it compulsory to submit biennial monitoring reports?
Yes. Accredited independent schools are required to submit biennial monitoring reports in order for Umalusi to maintain their accreditation status. Umalusi will not extend the accreditation period of schools which fail to submit their biennial monitoring reports. Affected schools may have to re-apply for accreditation.
Are schools expected to pay a fee every time they submit a monitoring report?
The accreditation fee covers the monitoring in year 2 and year 4 of the period of accreditation.
What happens to schools which do not submit their biennial 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. Schools that fail to maintain their accreditation status may have 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.
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.
Why does an independent school have to be accredited?
Accreditation is a legal requirement for independent schools in terms of the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance (GENFETQA) Act, 2001, the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Act, 2008, and the 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).
Is Umalusi doing anything about what may be called monitoring overload?
In its ongoing meetings with PEDs, Umalusi discusses the need for an alignment of registration and accreditation requirements and processes with a view to eliminating areas of duplication.

What should learners know

The Certificates Umalusi issues
Search accredited service providers
Apply for accreditation
Online evaluation
National fraud hotline 0800 000 889
For any queries phone 012 349 1510
Makoya

Makoya

Issue 12 : September 2016
Official Newsletter of Umalusi

Annual report

Annual Report 2015/2016

Official Annual Report of Umalusi

Annual report

Heartbeat

Issue 2 – June 2016

Basic education
Higher education & training
SAQA
che
QCTO
NQFpedia
Copyright Umalusi 2015. All rights reserved
Designed & developed by Unwembi
Top