The admission age to an independent school for Grade 1 is age five turning six by 30 June in the year of admission, or by the latest in the year in which the child turns seven.
There are exceptions allowed in the South African Schools Act:
An independent school may admit a learner at an age lower than the admission age if:
(a) it can be shown that exceptional circumstances exist which necessitate the admission of an underage learner because admission would be in his or her best interest, and
(b) the refusal to admit that learners would be severely detrimental to his or her development.
Some independent schools believe that it is in the best interests of the children to start in Grade 1 in the year in which they turn seven. They, therefore, prefer not to admit learners who are not yet six on entry in January. This is a professional decision taken by the school and is perfectly acceptable in terms of the law regarding admissions age. Independent schools are not obliged to inform the provincial education department or the district office of their decision in this regard.