SID: Recommended age for admission is 6 years of age. Learners are discharged from school at the age of 18 years of age. Learners must present with sub-average intellectual functioning as measured by an individually administered intelligence test. Learners who present with an intellectual functioning within the range 35 to 55, namely the severe to moderate range of in intellectual functioning (DSM V) are admitted to Mary Harding School. Significant delays in at least to two areas of adaptive functioning as assessed by a psychometric test or a reliable alternative process.

These delays are in the following areas:

•        Communication

•         Self-care

•         Home living

•         Social/interpersonal skills

•         Use of community resources

•         Self-direction

•         Functional academic skills

•         Work

•         Leisure

•         Health and safety

Generally these abilities are at an age equivalent 50% below their chronological age. Additional challenges example epilepsy, ADHD, ADD, cerebral Palsy, unusually high anxiety levels, etc. These would qualify as additional diagnoses and will be recognised as areas that require intervention to improve the overall quality of life of the learner at school. The curriculum in the mainstream school must be a major barrier to learning. The learner must be independently mobile, not be a safety risk for himself/herself or others.

ASD: Learners who present with the following challenges and who are not able to cope with the academic demands at other schools: Social interaction and relatedness, Language and communication, Narrow and rigid patterns of thinking and sensory dysfunctionality. Screening interviews and observation periods are arranged before admission in order to determine whether the learner would benefit from the school’s learning programmes. All admissions need to be approved by the WCED.

Assessment procedures for placement 

Referrals from the Education District and medical auxiliary centres such as school psychologists, private medical practitioners, clinics and hospitals will be managed in the following manner:

School: The School Based Support Team (SBST) of the school screens the application. The school provides the parents or referring agency with a date for the intake interview. The school requests all relevant documentation such as additional reports, birth certificate and clinic card.

The parents/guardians complete the school admission and CEMIS forms.

Initial screening through the intake interview by the school. In attendance, teacher (Departmental Head) school nurse, therapists, psychologist (when possible) and Deputy Principal / Principal (if possible).

Observation period: During this period the child will be observed and evaluated by the teacher, therapists, psychologists and school nurse. The time frame may be extended or shortened depending on the nature of the learner’s needs.

Final decision: In consultation with all stakeholders, the SBST will arrive at a decision regarding the placement of the learner. At a feedback meeting attended by members of the SBST and the learner’s parents, the parents are presented with the findings of the SBST. When a learner is accepted, a full discussion regarding the educational and support programme to follow is formulated. Should the learner be found unsuitable for admission, the parents are to be supported in finding alternative placement. The referring agency must be informed.

All cases of assessment are presented at a placement sifting meeting of the District Head of SLES, the school’s SBST and the WCED programme managers for SID and ASD.


The School Governing Body was elected in March 2021. It consists of 7 parents, 2 educators,1 non-CS educator and the principal who is ex-officio. SGB meetings are held at least once a term.

Status of the school

The school is functioning under the auspices, guidelines, regulations and policies of the Western cape Education Department (WCED). It is a public ordinary school which caters for learners with Severely Intellectually Disability (SID) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).


Klipfontein Road, Athlone



© 2024 Mary Harding School. All Rights Reserved. Website designed by Giving More