High Court sets aside GP Edu Dept instruction in Afrikaans school case

Judge Bill Prinsloo has found that the department did not have the authority to unilaterally override the school’s language policy and that it failed to assess the school’s capacity to accommodate the pupils.

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PRETORIA - The High Court has set aside the Gauteng Education Department’s instruction to Höerskool Overvaal, forcing it to admit 55 English speaking pupils.

Judge Bill Prinsloo has found that the department did not have the authority to unilaterally override the school’s language policy and that it failed to assess the school’s capacity to accommodate the pupils.

LISTEN: In a nutshell: Gauteng Education Dept vs Höerskool Overvaal judgment

The school governing body argued that it did not have the capacity to accommodate the children, while the department claimed the school was using language as a barrier to entry.

Prinsloo says the weight of the evidence demonstrates that Höerskool Overvaal does not have the capacity to admit the 55 English speaking pupils and that the education department did not have regard for the capacity of the school compared to neighbouring schools.

He says had the department made any effort, they would have discovered an abundance of capacity at two neighbouring English schools.

The judge also referred to regulations which state that it is for a school governing body to determine admission and language policy.