Chapter 2



2.10.1Legislative and Policy Framework



  • Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 (Ss 10-18) and PAM (Chapter H 3.1) [EEA]
  • South African Council for Educators Act 31 of 2000 [SACE]
  • National Education Policy Act 27 of 1996, Norms and Standards for Educators [NEPA]
  • The Public Service Act, 1994 (act no 103 of 1994), as amended [PSA]



  • SA Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996, Chapters 2 – 4 [SASA]
  • National Education Policy Act 27 of 1996 [NEPA]



  • Policy on Learner Attendance (Government Gazette No. 33150 of 2010)  [NP 33150/2010]



  • National Guidelines on how to Manage School Records, Volume 3 – General Administration Records [NG MSR]



  • Free State School Education Act, (Act No. 2 of 2000) [Reference B2 FS EDACT]


  • How to maintain weekly attendance of  Educators, Staff and learners on SA-SAMS [Reference B2 RECORD]



  • Circular 3 of 2014: The prohibition of public schools from releasing learners from school during internal examinations [Reference B3 3/2014] 



  • Circular 0002/2014 – WCED Regulations on the Duties of Attendance Officers [Reference B9 0002/2014]

2.10.2Framework for the Development Of School Policy on Registers – Personnel

(See REFERENCE C SP REG for examples of registers)

  1. The administration of the attendance register for educators and non-teaching staff is the responsibility of the The principal is required to maintain a register of the leave taken by all employees and must not recommend paid leave when an employee has exceeded his/her allocated leave days.
  2. The principal should keep a DAILY Attendance Register for Educators and Non-teaching staff in accordance with the instructions that appear in the register.
  3. Staff members should complete and sign a leave application form for every day that they are absent from the school.
  4. When staff members have been absent for three or more days due to illness, a doctor’s certificate must be attached to the leave application form on their return. All leave forms must be signed by the principal and submitted to the district office on the day they are received from the teacher. The principal should file a copy of the leave form in the teacher’s personal file.
  5. Staff members are required to sign the staff attendance register every day on arriving at work and when leaving work. (See National Guidelines on: How to Manage School Records, Volume 3 for examples of the different types of Registers)
  6. All educators should be at school during the formal school day which should not be less than 7 hours per day except for special reasons and with the prior permission of the Principal. The Principal will exercise his/her discretion in this regard based on provincial policy.  The 7 hours per day includes the breaks and the period/s in which the learners are not at school.
  7. Procedure if an employee does not report for duty
    • An employee, may not absent himself/herself until he/she has applied for leave and such application has been approved, except an employee who has been absent due to sudden illness. In such a case the employee must provide satisfactory proof of illness immediately on returning to duty.
    • Should an employee be absent without permission, for the period exceeding one calendar month in respect of public servants and 14 consecutive days in respect of educators, he/she is deemed to have been discharged from service in terms of the applicable legislation.
    • If an employee is absent for a period of three consecutive days without informing the supervisor of the reason for absence, the supervisor must, on the fourth day of such absence, make every endeavour to trace the employee’s whereabouts and keep a record of what was done.
    • After 5 consecutive days from the first day of absence, the manager/supervisor must send a registered letter to the employee’s last known address informing him/her to return to work immediately, failing which relevant legislative provisions shall be invoked.
    • Only after following the steps outlined in the previous two paragraphs above may the services of a employee be terminated when his/her whereabouts are not known.  Termination shall be effected immediately after the expiry of the time-frames.

2.10.3Framework for the Development Of School Policy on Registers – Learners

  1. Irregular school attendance
    • The Principal should report instances of regular absence from school to the District Office after discussion with the IDSO/DEC.
    • According to the Policy on Learner Attendance, the definition of “absent” is: “A learner is deemed to be absent from school when the learner is not present in class or not participating in a school activity when the register is marked”.
    • The policy aims to promote regular school attendance of learners by instituting proper recording and monitoring systems.
  2. The key aspects of the Policy on Learner Attendance, are:
    • All learners, with the exception of Grade 12 learners, must attend school on every school day, including examination periods (before, during and after examinations) for the total number of official school days of each year;
    • Grade 12 learners may take five days study leave before the first day of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination;
    • A learner’s records will be cancelled in the class register if he/she is absent from school for 10 consecutive school days without a valid reason. Learners’ records cannot be retained in the class register when they are no longer attending schools as this inflates learner numbers.
    • Other reasons for cancelling a learner’s record include exemption from compulsory school attendance, expulsion, transfer to another school, registration for home education, etc. If a learner returns to school after his/her record has been cancelled, the learner must be readmitted to school.
    • The policy re-asserts the responsibility of parents/caregivers to ensure that their children attend school regularly. It is of utmost importance that parents, in cases of severe irregular attendance of learners, be informed of the importance of regular school attendance and also of the consequences for parents referring to Chapter 2, Section 3 of SASA on compulsory attendance. School Governing Bodies are expected to monitor learner attendance rates at the school. Provincial Education Departments should raise public awareness of the educational and social importance of regular attendance at school.
  3. The Policy further states that the following might be valid reasons for absence of a learner from school:
    • study leave taken by a grade 12 learner in terms of paragraph 16 of this policy;
    • physical or psychological illness, for which a principal may require communication from the parent that the learner is unable to attend school, or written confirmation by a registered medical practitioner or traditional healer if the illness lasts longer than three days;
    • giving birth, subject to written confirmation by a registered medical practitioner or registered midwife;
    • religious or cultural observances approved by the School Governing Body (SGB) in terms of the National School Calendar Policy;
    • death of a family member;
    • appointment at court, social services or other official agency, for which a principal may require documentary proof;
    • suspension by the SGB;
    • acts of nature (that is, events that are outside of human control);
    • exceptional circumstances for which, in the view of the principal, a temporary absence from school is in the best interest of the learner, or was unavoidable.
  4. Certificates for regular school attendance
    The Principal may apply to the District Office to issue certificates for regular attendance to in October every year.
  5. Exemption from compulsory school attendance
    Parents with children of school-going age may apply for their children to be exempted from compulsory school attendance:

    • Parents must complete the departmental forms, which are available from the District Office’s Education Auxiliary Service (EAS) and from the Early Childhood Development official.
    • In certain cases, learners who are already attending school may seek exemption from school attendance if they:
      • are taking up employment
      • have fallen pregnant
      • wish to marry
      • are terminating school at a special centre where the maximum learning age is 18.
      • The Principal should consult the learner’s parents and staff members closely involved with the learner before discussing the case with the IDSO/DEC.
  6. Admission to hospital school and absence due to hospitalisation.
    • Learners in hospital schools should remain on the registers of their actual schools so that school finances, staff allocation and statistics are not disrupted.
    • The Principal of the hospital school should notify the Principal of the learner’s actual school when the learner is discharged from hospital.
    • The Principal of the learner’s actual school will then resume responsibility for the learner.
  7. Determining the school’s tenth day enrolment
    • These figures are extremely important because they are used to calculate staffing and provisioning figures. It is imperative that they are correct and submitted on time.
    • Only those learners who:
      • are actually present
      • are enrolled for the new year, or
      • are legitimately absent on the tenth school day may be included in the tenth school day count.
    • Learners who were enrolled the previous year, but who have failed to return by the tenth school day, may not be counted unless the Principal can produce written proof that such learners have not been enrolled at other schools, and that they will be returning to the school in question.
    • The Principal should submit the tenth day statistics to the District Office on the forms provided by the District.
    • Any returns concerning staffing allocations should be discussed with the IDSO/DEC and should be completed and returned to the District Office.
    • If the Department finds that a school’s staff allocation or financial allocation was too high due to incorrect tenth day enrolment figures, the Department reserves the right to take action against the Principal.
  8. Daily attendance register
    • School admissions should be recorded in an admission register. School administrative staff should keep the register up to date and complete it according to the instructions provided with the book.
    • When a learner is admitted to school for the first time, the Principal should insist on the submission of a birth certificate, a copy of which is kept by the school.
    • The name and date of birth of every learner indicated on the register should correspond with the information on the learner’s birth certificate.
    • The educators concerned should keep a daily attendance register for every class according to the instructions provided with the register.
    • According to the Policy on Learner Attendance (Government Gazette No. 33150, Notice 361 of 2010), the following should be noted on registers:
      • “Registers are official documents of the PED. The following documents will be used in accordance with this policy:
      • Class register (which includes a temporary class register) maintained by a class teacher;
      • Period register, maintained by a teacher.
      • If a class teacher or teacher is absent, another staff member must mark the class register or period register.
      • A register must be made available to an authorised official of the PED or an authorised judicial officer upon request.”

Also see Chapter 1.3 Developing of Policies


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