Chapter 13



13.1.1Legislative and Policy Framework


  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA] Section 58B
  • The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) [SAC]
  • Chapter 2 of The Bill of Rights, Section 29(3)(c) provides for quality education to all citizens [BoR]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
    • Section 3(4) and Section 8 mandates the Minister of Education to determine National policy for planning, monitoring and evaluation to ensure the delivery of quality education.
  • Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 [EEA]
    • Resolution 8 of 2003 (IQMS)- provides the framework to evaluate educator performance and development to enhance the delivery of quality education.
  • Basic Education Laws Amendment Act, 2011, No. 15 of 2011 [ELA]
    • Section 16(A), outlines the roles and responsibilities of principals regarding planning, reporting, accountability and performance of schools.
    • Section 58B (1) to (7), refers to the identification of underperforming schools.



  • The National Policy on Whole School Evaluation, Government Gazette Vol.433, No. 22512 of July 2001 (outlines the system by which the quality of education provided by schools can be assessed) [NP WSP
    • Section 16(1), (2) and (3) as amended – the governing body stands in a position of trust towards the school, while the professional management of a public school must be undertaken by the principal under the authority of the Head of Department.
    • Section 20(e) – The School Governing Body supports the principal, educators and other staff of the school in the performance of their professional functions.
    • Section 22(1) – The Head of Department may, on reasonable grounds withdraw functions of a governing body.

13.1.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Identification of Under-performing Public School

  1. The Principal of a public school represents the Head of Department in the governing body and it is therefore his/her responsibility to prepare and submit an annual report to the HOD in respect of:
    • The academic performance of the school and
    • The effective use of available resources
  2. The Head of Department must, annually, identify any public school that is underperforming.
  3. The Head of Department must issue a written notice to the school if he or she is satisfied that-
    • the standard of performance of learners is below the standards prescribed by the National Curriculum Statement and is likely to remain so
    • there has been a serious breakdown in the way the school is managed or governed which is prejudicing, or likely to prejudice, the standards of performance; or
    • the safety of learners or staff is threatened.
  4. The written notice must inform the school that it must-
    • within 14 days after delivery of the notice, respond to the notice; and
    • as soon as possible after that response, provide the Head of Department with a plan for correcting the situation.
    • The Head of Department must take all reasonable steps to assist a school identified in addressing the underperformance.
  5. Without limiting the nature and extent of the steps, the Head of Department must consider-
    • implementing the incapacity code and procedures for poor work performance referred to in section 16 of the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act 76 of 1998);
    • withdrawing the functions of the governing body; or
    • appointing persons to perform the functions or specified functions of the governing body.
  6. The counselling of the principal as contemplated in Item 2 (5) (b) (ii) of Schedule 1 to the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act 76 of 1998), may include the appointment of an academic mentor to take over the functions and responsibilities of the principal for the period determined by the Head of Department.
  7. In order to assist the Minister in carrying out his or her duties referred to in section 8 of the National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act 27 of 1996), the Member of the Executive Council must report to the Minister within three months after the end of a school year on the action taken by the Head of Department in regard to an underperforming public school.
  8. The principal of a public school identified by the Head of Department in terms of section 58B must annually, at the beginning of the year, prepare a plan setting out how academic performance at the school will be improved.
  9. The academic performance improvement plan must be—
    • presented to the Head of Department on a date determined by him or her; and tabled at a governing body
    • The Head of Department may approve the academic performance improvement plan or return it to the principal with such recommendations as may be necessary in the circumstances.
  10. If the Head of Department approves the academic performance improvement plan the principal must, by 30 June, report to the Head of Department and the governing body on progress made in implementing that plan.
  11. Below find an example of a Management Plan:



    Activity Timeframe / date Responsible person
    1. Identification of poorly performing schools 1st week January H/O GETSIP/ Interventions and Curriculum
    2. Head of Department provides underperforming schools with notice 2nd Week of January H/O GET-SIP/ Interventions and Curriculum
    3. Schools respond to the notice by Head of Department 3rd to 5th week (within 14 days) Principals of schools
    4. Schools provide improvement plans (academic) to Head of Department 6th to 7th week (21 days) Principals of schools
    5. Head of Department considers the submitted plans – approves or rejects 8th to 9th week H/O GET- SIP/ Interventions and Curriculum
    6. Head of Department submits his/her report to the MEC 10th week (2nd week of March) Head of Department through interventions
    7. MEC submits final report to the Minister 31 March MEC through interventions


13.1.3Criteria on Identification of Underperforming Public School

  1. Primary school is deemed underperforming if less than 60% learners perform in literacy & numeracy (LOLT) at Level 4 & above
  2. High school is deemed underperforming if learner performance in NSC is below 60% AND it produces less than 30% bachelors & diploma passes.
  3. A chronically under-performing school under performs for three consecutive years – conditions are a WSE assessment, targeted support and involvement of all stakeholders to turn school around.


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