Parents of children enrolled at Spark Schools in Gauteng were left disappointed and confused when their children’s names did not appear on the registration roll, the day before schools started.
This was despite receiving emails from Spark Schools that their children had been accepted at different campuses around the province.
Distraught parents, bemoaned on the school’s Facebook media page that they had already bought school uniforms for their children because they were convinced that they had been accepted by the school. Also on the Facebook page, the school network informed parents it would not be accepting walk-in complaints and that parents should send their queries via email or over the telephone.
Nana Mashaba’s daughter had to return home on Wednesday morning as her name did not reflect in the admission list.
“Three ladies at the registration desk requested my daughter’s name and I gave them her name. Unfortunately, when they looked on the system my child’s name was not there. I was told that I need to phone the enrolment department to find out what is happening. I have been calling them since morning and they told me that I must just go home with the child because they are working on the system so that they can place her in the class. They could see that I have paid school fees, so the only thing that they have to do is to put the child in the classroom and allocate a class for her,” said Mashaba.
Mashaba said: “I am very disappointed because I woke up early in the morning and I arrived here at 6am. I was excited because as a parent I wanted to see my first child going to school. My daughter was very ecstatic, but now she has to go back home, and she is feeling sad and she was crying. She asked me ‘Mama why am I not joining the queue (other children), why am I going back home?’ I explained to her that I did everything right, but things didn’t work out properly, and I have been trying to get her a classroom.”
Spark Schools were inundated with calls and messages on social media from discouraged parents who were frustrated that they do not know where to take their children to as most schools had already closed for registration. They demanded the school to refund the fees they had already paid.
According to the Sparks Schools website, the annual fee is R21 000 for 2018 and the monthly tuition fee is R2 100.
Brian Khazamula and Manale Mabaso whose daughter was supposed to start her Grade R today at Turfontein, said: “We have done the application and paid the fees. We knew our child has to be at school today, but when we arrived here they told us we have to phone and confirm the registration. That is something that has to be done by the administration department not us. We are very frustrated, we have to go back home, and she will start her classes tomorrow.”
“She was excited when she came to school. But now her mood is dampened. She asked, ‘why am I going back home, isn’t this my school’. We had to create a story that her class starts tomorrow,” said Mabaso.
In response to parents’ displeasure, the Spark School team sent out a message to parents on Facebook notifying them they were aware of their concerns.
“We are aware that many of you do have queries regarding enrolment applications, and the first day of school. Should you have queries regarding enrolment please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 010 125 0600. We are experiencing high call volumes, so we do apologise if you are not answered immediately. Should you have any school-specific queries please contact your child’s school specifically. You can view contact details at the following page https://www.sparkschools.co.za/contact-us/. Please note that we will not assist any parents who come to the SPARK Schools Support offices. Any queries can only be managed via phone or email. We do thank you for your patience at this time,” wrote the Spark Schools’ team.
Spark School’s media team, Ogilvy Public Relations did not respond to questions sent to them before going to press.