INDEPENDENT NEWS

Schools Baffled By Ballots

Published: Wed 9 Aug 2000 04:56 PM
The Education Amendment Act is raising more questions and causing more upset than the answers and fairness it promised.
The system is bureaucratic and time consuming, just as predicted,” says Dr Mapp.
From September 1 this year, all school boards must have in place an enrolment policy that is in accordance with the new Act. The Act requires that all pupils from out of zone areas be placed into a ballot with places filled in turn as their names are drawn. The remaining applicants names are drawn in order and placed onto a waiting list.
However, any pupils that try to enrol at a school following the closure of the ballot cannot simply have their name added to this waiting list. Instead, they must apply to have their name included in the next ballot. Once all applicants on the waiting list from the previous ballot have either withdrawn their application or been placed at the school, a new ballot must be advertised and the process starts all over again.
“Schools are now to be left in the unenviable situation of trying to explain, to understandably irate parents, why their child can not be added to an already existing waiting list. It is an absurd waste of effort to expect schools to go to the effort and expense of holding a ballot to fill one or two spaces, but that is what the Act now requires,” says Dr Mapp.
“Primary schools will have to hold even more ballots each year due to children turning five. This means that some five year olds will have to be placed in a ballot that is drawn so close to their birthday they will miss out on the extremely important pre-entry visits that acquaint them with school life in readiness for their first day.”
“Parents have informed me that some schools have already indicated the system is so unworkable they shall be ignoring it all together and keep operating on their current waiting list systems which at least take all pupils in order of their application.”
“It does not take a genius to come to the conclusion that the ballot system will cause more problems than it was trying to solve.”
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