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South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996)

Chapter 7 : General Provisions

58B. Identification of underperforming public schools


1) The Head of Department must, annually, from the report contemplated in section 16A(1)(b) and from other relevant reports, identify any public school that is underperforming in relation to any matter referred to in subsection (2)(a), (b) or (c).


2) The Head of Department must issue a written notice to the school contemplated in subsection (1), if he or she is satisfied that—
a) the standard of performance of learners is below the standards prescribed by the National Curriculum Statement and is likely to remain so unless the Head of Department exercises his or her power in terms of this Act;
b) 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.


3) The written notice contemplated in subsection (2) must inform the school that it must—
a) within 14 days after delivery of the notice, respond to the notice; and
b) as soon as possible after that response, provide the Head of Department with a plan for correcting the situation.


4) The Head of Department must take all reasonable steps to assist a school identified in terms of subsection (1) in addressing the underperformance.


5) Without limiting the nature and extent of the steps contemplated in subsection (4), the Head of Department must consider—
a) implementing the incapacity code and procedures for poor work performance referred to in section 16 of the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act No. 76 of 1998);
b) withdrawing the functions of the governing body in terms of section 22; or
c) appointing persons in terms of section 25 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 No. 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 No. 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.