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Chapter 2

ADMINISTRATION AND DATA/INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

2.5 CORRESPONDENCE AND FILING

2.5.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
    Chapter 7, Section 59, (1) and (2) determines that schools have to provide information to anyone, especially to the Head of the Department.
  • Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 [EEA]
    Chapter A, Section 4.2, (e), (i) determines that the Principal must ensure that Departmental circulars and other information received which affect members of the staff are brought to their attention as soon as possible and are stored in an accessible manner.

EasternCape

CIRCULAR

  • Circular 17 of 2016 Electronic Records [Reference B1 17/2016]

2.5.2Guidelines for the Development of School Policy on Correspondence

  1. Format of correspondence to officials
    • All letters addressed to officials should be dated and typed or written in ink.
    • A letter should deal with only one subject.
    • A letter concerning an educator should give the full name of the educator and his/her Persal number, as well as a heading indicating the aim and content of the letter.
    • Any letter in reply to a Departmental letter or referring to previous correspondence should quote the reference number of the Departmental letter concerned.
    • All correspondence of an official nature to the Department should be signed or countersigned by the principal or on his behalf by an officer authorised by him.
    • Letters from staff employed by educational institutions should contain the following information: Persal number, name and initials of the sender imprint and institution where employed. Please add a subject line to your letter to the Department as this helps to speed up matters.
    • Personal letters of staff members to the Department should be endorsed by the principal if they cannot be dealt with internally.
  2. Correspondence to the District Office and District Managers
    • Official correspondence to the district office should be directed to the District Director (For attention: The name of the relevant official, usually the EDO/IDSO). Only in instances where the district office has repeatedly failed to respond to any correspondence should it be by-passed. Failure to follow proper channels of communication tends to delay rather than speed up appropriate action as the matter is simply referred back to the correct level. It also tends to lead to strained relations with the district office.
    • Correspondence on the following matters should be addressed to the District Director:
      • Discipline, organisation and the general well-being of the school.
      • Requisitions
      • IQMS
      • Differences of opinion or internal disputes
  3. Enquiries made by teaching staff
    • It is, in the first instance, the duty of heads of educational institutions / offices to answer enquiries made by the staff.
    • When a principal is unable to answer a query he should, depending on the nature of the query, contact the district office or the Department in order to settle the matter.
    • To ensure that an interview with officials of the Department is conducted most effectively, it is advisable to make an appointment in advance with the section concerned.
    • If the principal considers it essential that any member of staff should go to the district office or Department during school hours, he should contact the school’s IDSO.
    • Contact details of office bearers
      The contact details of the MECs and heads of departments are at REFERENCE C under reference code SP CONTACTS.

2.5.3Guidelines for the Development Of School Policy on a Filing System

(Refer to REFERENCE C under reference code SP FILING for an example of a complete filing system)

  1. Main items
    Because of the volume of correspondence and the variety of forms and records which have to be dealt with, it is essential that principals implement a functional filing system.  A suggested system consists of the following main items:

    • Media Services;
    • Examinations and Promotions;
    • Financial;
    • Buildings and Grounds;
    • Reports:
    • Class visit reports
    • Learning Area Coordinator reports
    • Whole School Evaluation reports
    • Learner Activities;
    • Medical Services;
    • Furniture and Equipment;
    • LTSM;
    • Staff;
    • Councils and Committees;
    • School Organization;
    • School Attendance;
    • Subjects;
    • Transport;
    • Hostel Organization;
    • Farming Activities.
  2. Explanatory notes on the above:
    • A file should be opened for every section. The further division of this section into Sub-sections should be done according to the needs of the school.
    • Certain subjects, sections or sub-sections are not applicable to all schools, and it is not necessary to open the file concerned. Where a school, for example, has no farming implementers, that file is omitted.
    • To avoid future confusion, care should be taken to ensure that all correspondence is filed in the correct files and that the number of the file appears on all the school’s correspondence. Example:
    • Reports of Learning Area Coordinators should be filed in the relevant learning area file and not in the file for professional reports.
    • Admission and transfer of pupils fall under School Attendance.
    • When a file is full, it should be closed and a new volume of the file, with the same name and number, should be opened. The old file becomes Volume I and the new one Volume II.  Closed volumes should be filed for future reference in the same numerical order as that used in the filing system.
    • A control card should be opened for each file and kept in the file. When a file is handed to a particular person, the details should be noted on the control card which should then be filed in the filing cabinet.  When the file is returned, the date should be noted on the card which should then be replaced in the file.
    • Every file should have an index and a record of instructions.