Bradley is close to the end of his primary school career, so the hunt for high schools is high on our agenda. The private school that the boys go to only goes to grade 7, so staying there is impossible.
Last year, I kind of kept track of friends that were queuing at various schools in our area, but didn’t take too much notice of it… it seemed very far away. We were also gung-ho about the boys staying in private schools, and we’ve had our eye on one in particular and knew it wouldn’t be a problem to get him in.
However, things have changed in the last year. The private school we had our eye on, seemingly won’t have space for Connor! So then we start with the problem all over again. Not to mention the cost… so, we’ve been looking at putting them in good government schools for their high school careers.
The problem is that there aren’t many of them, and every person in northern Johannesburg has got a similar problem to us, and needs to get their kids educated. Funny that! In fact, there are only 2 schools close to us that are worth trying. The feeder school he’s meant to go to is downright awful, and there’s no way I’m contemplating that.
If you don’t live close by, this notion of queueing to get the kids onto the list seems absurd, but let me explain. First, before the examples, you need to understand that the applications were only accepted today, Tuesday… some schools started taking in applications after midnight, but most opened at 6am.
1. We live close to a good primary school. The queues with parents in deck chairs camping out started on Monday morning. By last night, the queue was down the road. There were cars everywhere!
2. A friend was queuing at the school we want the boys to get into. Last year they started queuing the day before, to get her oldest son in. This year, they drove past the school on Sunday, saw the queue that had already started forming, and joined it and camped until this morning. 2 full days before applications were accepted!! The school accepts 240 odd, last year they received 3000 applications. Seriously, what hope is there?
3. Another friend queued for over 40 hours to get their application in at another school in the north! They were 170 on the list.
4. Yet another friend started queueing yesterday morning… she was number 154 in the queue.
That’s 2 days off work to place an application at one school. You get one chance. One chance at only one school.
Where are all the other kids educated?! The ones whose parents cannot take 2 days off work to queue?! The kids whose applications were too low on the list… because they sure as hell aren’t on another list if you’ve been queueing for 2 days!
It’s a crazy system. All because there has been absolutely no planning on the part of the local government. There haven’t been new schools built in years!
In fact, there’s a school that assumedly is supposed to be built in Radiokop. They cleared the ground last year. And then nothing. According to word on the street, they didn’t get proper planning permission, so they have had to stop! How crazy is that?
So anyway, back to us… guess I don’t have a choice. I’m going to have to sell my soul to get them through high school at a private school. Guess no-one said parenting was easy. I suppose we’ll only have another 5 years then to get through. At least university fees are much lower than private schooling! We’ll have a break then.
Edited to add this cartoon found on Facebook