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Parents Handbook

This booklet will help you with important decisions about a school for your child by providing useful information on the wide range of opportunities for learning available within the County Borough. Please read it in conjunction with a school prospectus, which will provide more detailed information about the school.

Introduction

Dear Parent/Carer,

Learning is of immense importance in life. We want to ensure that learning is a safe, nurturing and fulfilling experience in all settings, where there is respect and due regard to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Parents and carers tell us how important it is for their children to have access to the best schools and a good quality of education. For our children and young people, their experience of  school is critically important and they tell us that they want to be involved and listened to in shaping the decisions that affect them.

The choices you make are important, so having good information to base your decisions on is vital. This guide provides you with the information you need regarding the arrangements for admitting your child to a school in Neath Port Talbot.

We are confident that all schools in this authority are committed to realising the four purposes of the new curriculum in Wales, where children and young people are provided opportunities to develop as:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

There are many sources of information available to you, including impartial inspection reports provided by Estyn and the website mylocalschool.wales.gov.uk which provides factual information regarding all schools in Wales. Alongside this should sit a first-hand visit of the school you are considering applying for.

Choosing the right school for your child and their future is a very important decision. I hope you find the information useful and I wish your child every success for their future years.

Andrew Thomas
Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning

Starting school

Depending on places being available, your child may start a part-time nursery class after his/her third birthday. There is no guarantee of a place and you may have to put your child’s name on a waiting list. Applications for admission are administered by the Local Authority (excluding voluntary aided schools other than Y7 pupil intake for St. Joseph’s RC Comprehensive School).

All children have to start school no later than the first day of the term after they reach 5 years of age. Full-time education is available at the beginning of the school year in which they are 5 years of age.

Between the ages of 5 and 11 education is provided in primary schools, except at St. Joseph’s Infant and St. Joseph’s Junior Schools Port Talbot where education is provided by separate schools. In these areas, pupils reaching 7 years of age by 31st August will generally transfer from infant to junior school at the start of the next school year.

The usual age of transfer to secondary school is at 11 years of age. Pupils reaching 11 years of age by 31st August will generally transfer from a primary to a secondary school at the start of the next school year.

Admission application forms will be forwarded to all parents as outlined within the Admission Policy (Appendix A). Parents may express a preference for a school of their choice. Every effort will be made to comply with this preference; however, it may not always be possible. If this is the case an alternative school will be offered.

Admissions to community schools can only be offered/confirmed by the local authority and not individual schools/Headteachers.

Leaving school

Pupils may leave school on the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16.

Where can my child go to school?

Most children go to their local school. A place may be available for your child at a Welsh medium school serving your area should you wish him/her to be educated through the medium of Welsh.

When it is getting near the time for your child to go to school you should contact the local authority admissions officer for an application form. You may also wish to contact the school in the area of your choice to arrange a visit.

The Welsh Government Schools Admissions Code-005/2013 issued in July 2013 sets out the requirements on the local authority and governing bodies in relation to school admissions and school admission appeals. Parents can apply for a school place online (excluding nursery places) or by completing and returning an application form. For nursery places parents must contact the admissions team for an application form.

The names, addresses and telephone numbers of all schools can be found on the website.

You may wish to choose a school other than the local English or Welsh medium school. If you do, you need to know that places are not guaranteed and that your child will only be admitted if there is room available. You will also be responsible for the cost of transport to the school.

All Schools in Neath Port Talbot are co-educational; that is a school in which both boys and girls are admitted to all classes in the school.

Education through the medium of Welsh

Without doubt, giving your child two languages is giving your child a bright future and a flying start. Having two languages will give your child a head start in the work place and open doors for them as they will benefit from opportunities which are available through the medium of both Welsh and English.

There are currently 9 Welsh-medium primary schools and 1 dual site Welsh-medium all-through (3-18) school in Neath Port Talbot.

At primary level at least 70% of the teaching and learning is delivered through the medium of Welsh and opportunities are provided for all pupils to become confident Welsh language  learners. Welsh-medium education is an option for all pupils from both Welsh speaking and non-Welsh speaking homes.

Opportunities are provided for primary pupils to attend residential Welsh language courses to improve their Welsh language skills and the Local Authority has a specialist Language Centre to support pupils who will benefit from intensive Welsh language support.

At secondary level, education through the medium of Welsh is available at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur, an all-through Welsh-medium community school for pupils aged 3 - 18. The school has two campuses, one in Ystalyfera in the north of the county and the other in the south at Sandfields.

Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur organises an annual programme of Welsh language activities for all Y5 and Y6 pupils in the cluster. This ensures that every pupil benefits from Welsh language support prior to transfer into Y7.

These activities have a positive impact on pupils’ confidence and achievement in the Welsh language and secure successful transition for Y6 pupils from the 9 Welsh medium partner primaries in the Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur cluster.

Teaching and learning at KS3 is through the medium of Welsh and all KS3 pupils can access a range of Welsh-medium extra-curricular activities.

Pupils’ Welsh language skills are further developed throughout Key Stage 4 and in the Sixth Form. A wide range of academic, vocational and extra- curricular courses are on offer. Further details are available from the school.

Welsh-medium education at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur is an option for all pupils from both Welsh speaking and non-Welsh speaking homes. Approximately 86% of pupils are from non-Welsh speaking backgrounds.

Our schools work closely with Menter Iaith Castell-nedd Port Talbot who support parents who do not speak Welsh and are concerned about how they can help their child with school work. This is, of course, in addition to the support provided by schools when your child becomes a pupil within the Welsh medium sector.

Church (voluntary aided) schools

There are two Church-in-Wales primary schools; one Roman Catholic infant school, one Roman Catholic junior school and two Roman Catholic primary schools in the County Borough. At secondary level, faith school education is available at St. Joseph's Catholic School and 6th Form Centre, Port Talbot.

Information about faith school education is also available directly from:

  • Church in Wales - The Director of Education, Diocese of Llandaff, Diocesan Office (Education), The Court, Coychurch, Bridgend, CF35 5EH. (Contact r. Andrew Ricketts on tel: 01656 868857 or email: llandaffdde@churchinwales.org.uk).
  • Roman Catholic – The Diocesan Director of Education, Menevia Diocese, Education Office, 27 Convent Street, Swansea, SA1 2BX. (contact Mr. Paul White on tel: 01792 652757 or education@menevia.org).

Registering your child at a school

When you have chosen a school for your child, you will need to apply online or complete a school admission application form.

Arrangements for school admissions can be found in Appendix A of this handbook. This tells you how decisions are reached when places at schools are allocated.

More information about schools in the area

All schools publish a school prospectus, which provides information on how the school is organised, the curriculum and teaching and learning. A list of schools is available on the website.

If you would like further information and advice regarding admissions to schools, contact: School Admissions Officer, Schools and Family Support Team, Port Talbot Civic Centre, Port Talbot, SA13 1PJ email: admissions@npt.gov.uk or tel. 01639 763730/763580.

Can my child be educated outside Neath Port Talbot County Borough?

If you wish to send your child to a school outside the County Borough you should make contact with the relevant Local Authority where the school is located. Please note it is likely you will be responsible for the cost of the transport to and from the school. Neath Port Talbot County Borough does not offer free or assisted places at any independent school.

Additional Learning Needs

A child with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age and/ or has a disability, which hinders them from the making use of facilities for education of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream school. There is a wide range of learning difficulties or disabilities, but they can be broadly classified into the following four areas:

  • Communication and interaction;
  • Cognition and learning;
  • Behaviour, emotional and social development;
  • Sensory and/ or physical.

A child with ALN will require Additional Learning Provision (ALP), in order to ensure their needs are met and any barriers to learning are removed. It is important that children with ALN are identified early in their school career, so appropriate intervention can be put in place at the earliest opportunity. Class teachers have a key role in this identification process

Each school within Neath Port Talbot has a financial allocation within their budget to help meet the needs of pupils who have ALN. Each school is also required to have an Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo), who has responsibility for coordinating provision for learners with ALN.

All schools in Neath Port Talbot also have regular access to support and advice from the Inclusion Service, which consists of a range of professionals who have expertise in supporting Children and Young People with ALN. This includes Advisory Teachers, Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Wellbeing Practitioners. The aim of the Inclusion Service is to promote achievement and wellbeing for all Children and Young People and in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the service is committed to ensuring every Child or Young Person has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. As a result, Person Centred Practice (PCP) underpins the work of the service and ensures that Children, Young People and their Parents / Carers have their views, wishes and feelings heard.

The majority of learners with ALN will have their needs met through school based support and provision. However, in some instances, enhanced support from the Local Authority will be required. These include instances where the learner:

  • Has a low incidence condition / rare condition which requires specialism that the School cannot provide;
  • Requires regular advice and support from external agencies which is over and above that which can be reasonably arranged and accessed by the school;
  • Requires equipment that can only be used by one pupil or cannot be re-used or is beyond the reasonable resources of the school; or
  • Requires very intensive daily support which cannot be reasonably funded or secured by the school’s budget.

If you are concerned that your child may have ALN, the first step is to talk to the class teacher or the school’s ALNCo. You can also contact the Local Authority’s Additional Learning Needs Support Service at alnst@npt.gov.uk

Help ifor children from Ethnic Minority backgrounds

The Vulnerable Learners Service (VLS) provides specialist support for learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL), Ethnic Minority (EM) Groups, learners from the Gypsy Traveller (GT) Community and Service Children (SC). We recognize the importance of these specific groups given these learners are less likely to achieve academically within our education system and are more at risk of becoming NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training).

The VLS provides a range of support and interventions for EM/EAL/GT/SC learners in Neath Port Talbot schools in order to ensure their participation, achievement, attainment and wellbeing. You can contact the Service by emailing Mark New or telephoning 01639 686841.

Education Welfare Service

Children need to attend school if they are to benefit from the educational opportunities available locally. The Education Welfare Service can help with problems that may prevent children from attending school regularly. The service is available to pupils, parents and teachers. It provides an important link between home and school and helps parents and teachers work in partnership. You can contact the Education Welfare Service through your child’s school.

Parent Partnerships and SNAP

The Liaison Officer within the Additional Learning Needs Support Team can provide information about a range of organisations that support parents. For further information, please telephone 01639 763158.

SNAP Cymru is an organisation providing an independent parental support service to families of children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs. The service is free to families and is confidential.

SNAP Cymru seeks to promote partnership and participation in planning and decision making. It can also provide you with help in completing paperwork and support you in meetings with professionals.

Safeguarding arrangements

The care and well-being of pupils is a principal concern of all schools and there are clear All Wales Child Protection Procedures that school staff must follow in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Each school has a named teacher who is responsible for dealing with safeguarding matters and for dealing with individual cases of suspected abuse. You will find the details of this person in your child’s school. Where abuse is suspected the school is obliged to refer the matter to Social Services for investigation. In order to protect and safeguard a child it will sometimes be necessary to make referrals without seeking the consent of or informing parents; the school has a statutory duty to act in the best interests of the child. This is a sensitive area of work and the support of parents is important when schools take action to safeguard children.

Please be assured that school staff are working with the well-being of children firmly in mind.

What about my child’s health?

All schools have a named school doctor and nurse. They visit all schools and arrange for health screening of children for vision and growth. The health professionals provide advice for parents and teachers to ensure that any health difficulties in the school setting are addressed and appropriate help and support is arranged.

For more information about the Schools Health Service ask for the policy statement for school health services, available from your child’s Headteacher or the Consultant Community Paediatrician, Community Office, Children’s Centre, Neath Port Talbot Hospital on 01639 862000.

School meals

Freshly cooked meals are provided at every school and the Authority is committed to providing a healthy balanced meal that children will eat and enjoy.

Our Primary School Meal Service provides food and drink in primary schools that is compliant with the Welsh Government's Healthy Eating in Schools (Wales) Regulations 2013, which set out the types of food and drink that can and cannot be provided during the school day and defines the nutrient content of school lunches.

The primary school menu has been nutritionally analysed to ensure it meets the legislation. Special diets such as vegetarian, coeliac, diabetic etc. will be catered for and free milk is available for all infant school pupils.

By choosing a school meal for your child you can be sure that you are making a healthy choice for them.

50 infant, junior and primary schools in Neath Port Talbot participate in the free breakfast scheme, funded by Welsh Government. We maintain a school meal/breakfast club website where all primary school menus can be accessed or on the individual school website. This website will tell you which schools participate in the free breakfast scheme, including many links relating to health and wellbeing.

For primary school meals/primary school breakfast club enquiries please contact us by telephone 01639 763036/763738 or e mail ams@npt.gov.uk For secondary school meals enquiries please contact the individual school for any enquiries.

Parents in receipt of additional government assistance may qualify for free school meals for their children. Applying for free school meals is straightforward. Parents can apply online. Forms are available from your child’s school or from the School and Family Support Team. For further information contact the team on 01639 763515 or fsm@npt.gov.uk

School transport

You are responsible for getting your child to school if you live within two miles of your nearest suitable/designated primary school, (the distance measured by the shortest most available walking route), with the assumption the child will be accompanied, as necessary, by a responsible person. However, if your child lives more than two miles from that school free home to school travel assistance is provided from the beginning of the school year in which s/he reaches 5 years of age. If your child travels on a dedicated home to school vehicle it remains your responsibility to ensure your child is delivered to, and received from, the school transport vehicle.

Transport is not normally provided for younger children.

For secondary pupils free transport is available to the nearest suitable/designated secondary provision providing the distance is three miles or more.

If you believe that your child qualifies for free transport, you may submit an on-line transport application form. Transport applications must be submitted by the 30th of June. Transport might not be in place by the start of term for late applications received after this date. However, please read the Council’s current Home to School Travel Policy to confirm your child’s eligibility prior to submitting your application. If you require further details on the policy please contact the Education Transport Officer on tel: 01639 861104.

If your child is not eligible for free home to school travel assistance, there may be an opportunity to apply for a spare seat. Spare seats are only offered after all eligible pupils have been  allocated a seat and where spare capacity exists on home to school vehicles, the Council reserves the right not to fill every vehicle to full capacity. For further details on the Spare Seat Scheme, please see the Council’s current Home to School Travel Policy.

School Uniform

Pupil Development Grant – Access

Welsh Government has introduced a PDG Access Grant. The purpose of which is to provide grant assistance to families on low incomes for the purchase of:

  • School uniform including coats and shoes;
  • School sports kit including footwear;
  • Uniform for enrichment activities, including but not limited to, scouts; guides; cadets; martial arts; performing arts or dance;
  • Equipment e.g. school bags and stationery;
  • Specialist equipment where new curriculum activities begin such as design and technology; and
  • Equipment for out of school hour’s trips such as outdoor learning e.g. waterproofs.
  • Laptops or tablets

We advise families to contact their child’s school/setting to discuss loaning equipment before purchasing.

Parents need to keep receipts for audit purposes.

Eligibility

We are awaiting confirmation from Welsh Government regarding the eligibility criteria for the PDG Access Grant for the 2022/2023 academic year.

Only one claim per school year is permitted.

Pupils who receive Free School Meals due to transitional protection arrangements do not qualify for this funding.

Any queries please contact the School and Family Support Team on 01639 763515 or email: fsm@npt.gov.uk

All information was correct at the time of printing and is subject to change by Welsh Government.

Fees

During your child’s time at school, the majority of the activities offered are free of charge. However, there are occasions when you will be asked to make a contribution towards costs. Details of charges and remissions are available from your child's school.

A charge is made for accommodation and food if your child is involved in an overnight stay with the school. However, this may be waivered for an agreed residential course or camp if you are in receipt of additional benefits of any kind.

Insurance Arrangements

The County Borough Council insures its buildings and their contents for fire damage. If your child’s personal property is damaged in a fire in a Neath Port Talbot school, it might be possible for a claim to be made against your own household policy.

It is recommended that you consider seeking your own insurance protection for loss or damage to all your child’s personal property and this can normally be arranged through a standard household contents policy by way of an extension. The County Borough Council is not obliged to arrange personal accident insurance for pupils attending its schools. You are advised to consider whether you should seek to arrange your own insurance for personal accidents to your child.

For more advice on insurance matters, contact the Authority’s Insurance Section tel: 01639 763711.

Careers information and guidance

Impartial careers information, advice and guidance is available to secondary age pupils and their parents to help with decisions about career paths through Careers Wales. Careers Advisers work in schools with pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4, especially at key transition times including Year 9 when pupils are choosing their subject options and in Years 11 and 13 when options for further and higher education or training and employment are being considered.

There is an experienced team of Additional Learning Needs Advisers to help clients who may need additional help to develop their career plans. They will help draw up a transition plan to prepare children with statements of special educational needs for life after school.

Pupils, students and parents can also access information, advice and guidance from Careers Advisers via the Careers Wales Connect Helpline 0800 028 48 44. You can also chat online to our Careers Advisers at www.careerswales.com. The website also provides the opportunity to search for information on careers, courses, training and job vacancies anywhere in Wales, get tips and support to help you manage your career planning, use interactive games and quizzes, create your own personal e-portfolio and lots more, too.

You can gain further information by contacting your local Careers Wales Office at: Neath Careers Centre, 7 Water Street, Neath, SA11 3EP or Port Talbot Careers Centre, 30 Forge Road, Port Talbot, SA13 1NU Tel: 0800 028 48 44

Exams

The decision to enter your child for public examinations is taken by the school. There is a fee to be paid for each examination. The school meets the cost of this fee when your child is entered for the first time. If your child misses an exam without a valid medical reason then you will be liable for the fee. The school will be able to provide you with further details.

All schools will provide you with details of their public examination results if you ask them.

How does my child’s school know who to keep informed?

When your child starts at a school you will be asked for important information that will help the school keep in touch. Along with your child’s details, you will give contact names and telephone numbers for use in an emergency and information about you as parent and any other person who has parental responsibility. If any of the details that you give to the school later change, it is very important for you to inform the school as soon as possible.

A school needs to know who is to be kept informed about your child’s progress and who needs to be contacted when decisions need to be taken about your child’s education or when permission is needed for your child to take part in a school activity.

For a school, a parent can be the natural parent (whether married or not), any person who has care of a child (this means the person the child lives with, even if they are unrelated), and any person who has parental responsibility.

Education when your child is over 16

The majority of mainstream secondary schools in Neath Port Talbot cater for pupils aged 11–16 and, therefore, do not have a sixth form. There are two exceptions, St. Joseph’s Catholic School and 6th Form Centre and Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur, whose sixth forms offer a range of academic and vocational post 16 courses.

Pupils attending a school without a sixth form can transfer to Neath Port Talbot College to continue their education.

Financial help in sixth form or college

Young people from low income households who are continuing in further education can get up to £30 a week under the Welsh Government’s Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) Scheme. EMAs are available to 16-18 year olds.

For full details, please visit Student Finance Wales.

14-19 Learning Pathways

All young people are unique, they all act differently, think differently and they all have different talents. To support young people develop these talents the Welsh Government has developed Learning Pathways for all 14-19 young people in education and training. Over the coming years all 14-19 year olds will be able to plan their own Learning Pathway as they progress through school, college or training.

Learning Pathways offers a lot more choice than students had in the past. With the support of their teachers, tutors and parents/guardians they will be given the chance to design their own personal pathway to success. Learning Pathways gives young people the opportunity to broaden their options and provide them with a chance to study a wider range of subjects. Young people entering year 10 now have access to at least 30 options over a range of curriculum areas which will either be provided by their school or by other local education and training providers. These Options will include a number of vocational courses that may be studied at school, the local college or with training providers and local employers and will help young people prepare for further education, university or employment. Learning Pathways will give each young person the opportunity to get the most out of school and to leave with worthwhile qualifications.

To help support young people in making their choices all schools have trained Learning Coaches. These will work alongside young people’s teachers and their careers advisor to help them plan their Learning Pathway and offer advice and support. Young people will also be able to get help with any personal issues that may affect them.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offers a programme of activities for young people between the ages of 14 and 25 and is available in all secondary schools.

It offers young people an opportunity to take up challenges and experience new and exciting activities, gaining a sense of achievement and self-esteem, in a non-competitive environment.

The Award is at three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The highest, Gold, involves undertaking a residential project designed to develop social and organisational skills. Should you want more information about the Award, enquire at your child’s school or contact the Duke of Edinburgh Development Officer, Llangatwg Comprehensive School, Cadoxton, Neath tel: 07818 443884 or online at www.nptdofe.co.uk or www.dofe.org

Youth services 

The Youth Service provides a wide range of services and activities to young people aged 11 - 25. Services include 12 community based youth clubs for young people aged 11 – 18, health initiatives and relationship advice, a Youth Council, work with unemployed young people and young people who are at risk of disengaging from school. The service also provide accredited programmes and courses such as food hygiene and First Aid, Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.

The Youth Service also works with vulnerable young people on a one to one basis and with group activities and we also engage with specialist groups such as young carers, LGBT young people and young people with speech language and communication needs. Youth workers will also provide non-clinical youth work support for young people with issues such as loneliness and isolation and also raise awareness on youth homelessness to schools and youth groups.

For further information please contact the Youth Service Tel: 01639 763030 and keep up to date with service activities on Facebook and Twitter.

Part-time jobs

Many school children have a part-time job. The employment of children is strictly regulated by law and there are limits to the hours children may work on school days, at weekends and during holidays, restrictions on the type of work that can be undertaken and the age at which they can work.

If your child would like a part-time job you will need to apply for a permit. Application forms, obtainable from your child’s school, must be completed by both you and the employer. If the employment is approved, a permit will be issued which your child should carry whilst working. An explanatory leaflet is available from the school or School and Family Support Team,  Education Department, Civic Centre, Port Talbot SA13 1PJ email sfs@npt.gov.uk Tel: 01639 763600 or online.

Entertainment productions

Some children have the opportunity to take part in the world of entertainment, such as on stage or in films and television. A licence is needed for this and, as with part-time employment, there are conditions to follow. The person arranging the production is responsible for applying for a performance licence and this needs to be done at least 21 days before the first day of the performance. There is a section of the application form for the parent to complete and if your child is involved in an entertainment production you will need to make sure that a licence has been issued. Licence application forms are available from School and Family Support Team, Education Department, Civic Centre, Port Talbot SA13 1PJ email sfs@npt.gov.uk Tel: 01639 763600 or online.

Libraries

There are 8 main libraries run by Neath Port Talbot Library Service and an additional 7 Community libraries which are managed mainly by volunteers. These libraries are located throughout Neath Port Talbot. The Library Service also operates a mobile library which visits smaller communities on a three weekly basis.

Why should my child join the library?

  • It is FREE to join
  • It is FREE to borrow books
  • FREE online resources like e books, e magazines and e audiobooks
  • No fines for any overdue books
  • Thousands of amazing books for children to help your child develop a love of reading
  • Helpful staff to support you and your child with homework and reading needs

What else does the library provide?

  • Free internet access
  • Printing and photocopying services
  • Latest DVD releases and music CDs (for a small fee)
  • Online information services to use in libraries or at home
  • Specialist local history collection and information support at our main reference library located in Neath
  • Study space


What can my child do in the school holidays at his/her local library?

  • Take part in the Summer Reading Challenge
  • Enjoy many of the online activities held throughout the summer


For more information about what goes on in Neath Port Talbot libraries, visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or please contact Library Headquarters, Neath Road, Briton Ferry. tel: 01639 899829, e-mail: npt.libhq@npt.gov.uk

Cultural and leisure facilities

There are many cultural and leisure facilities available in the County Borough, offering opportunities for children and young people to participate in or to enjoy watching sport, the arts, heritage or cultural activities. There are 4 swimming pools plus the outdoor Aquasplash paddling pool on Aberavon Beach, five sport and leisure centres, a range of parks and playing fields with adventure playgrounds and play areas, museums, arts centres and the county parks at Margam, Gnoll Estate and Afan Argoed. During the school holidays many of the cultural and leisure facilities offer special activity programmes for children and young people.

For more General Enquiries about your local leisure centre please contact 0800 0434343 or visit Celtic Leisure.

The Princess Royal Theatre's impressive capacity and large stage has enabled it to host some of the highest profile events and artists to have visited the county. It has featured huge comedy names such as Frankie Boyle, Rhod Gilbert, and Alan Carr, as well as housing an annual pantomime. The theatre has also become a reputable venue for stage productions of CITV children's shows.

Pontardawe Arts Centre has built a reputation as one of the finest cultural venues in South Wales. The traditional theatre, with in-house cinema, offers something for everyone with high calibre professional events from classical music to world music and blues, dance and drama to children's theatre, and even nationally renowned comedians. In 2012 the refurbished Gwyn Hall re-opened its doors. Celtic Community Leisure working in partnership with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council look forward to welcoming you to this magnificent facility offering a range of exceptional activities which will include live entertainment and the latest 3D and digital Cinema.

Margam Country Park is set in 1000 acres of glorious parklands and offers natural beauty, history and wildlife and a range of fun activities and facilities to make it one of the best days out in Wales and for all the family. It has surprises around every corner, from the magnificent 18th Century Orangery, an impressive picturesque Tudor-Gothic style Victorian Mansion House, a 12th Century Chapter House, ornamental gardens and the best deer herd in Wales.

The narrow gauge railway, children’s adventure playground, farm trail, Fairytale Land and the splendid walks are some of the features which contribute to the experience of Margam Country Park, together with a mixed course fishery including a new junior angling club at Furzemill Pond and a programme of seasonal events for all to enjoy.

In addition, new activities that opened recently include the Go Ape high rope adventure course and Margam Adventurous Activities which offers the opportunity to participate in Mountain Biking, Canoeing, orienteering and Nordic Walking.

The Discovery Centre, situated within the Park, is managed by the Field Studies Council and offers residential and day courses on heritage and environmental aspects in the national curriculum. Participation on these courses is organised through individual schools and operates throughout the year.

For information of Margam Park contact 01639 881635 or visit the website.

Museums

Cefn Coed Museum is housed in the former Cefn Coed Colliery, Crynant, that worked from 1930–1990. The Museum has many original artefacts relating to coal mining and the industrial heritage of the area. These include the magnificent working stationary steam engine, an underground mining gallery with original colliery artefacts, the largest collection of steam producing boilers in Wales, plus the unique Neath gas-powered passenger Tram. A number of exhibitions and videos appertaining to coal mining are also open to the public.

Further information on access to the museum and its collections can be obtained from the Heritage Education Officer, Harriet Eaton, who is based at Neath Library tel: 01639 644604 or Keith Davies, Manager at Cefn Coed Museum tel: 01639 750556. Alternatively you can obtain further information from the Neath Port Talbot website

Physical activities & sport

There are many opportunities for young people to enjoy a more active and healthy lifestyle locally. The Physical Activity & Sport Service (P.A.S.S.) supports and delivers many different projects/initiatives working in Partnership with the Sports Wales, Disability Sport Wales, Governing Bodies of Sport, the Voluntary Sector Clubs, and Schools. We aim to provide opportunities to enable the Community to become more active and enjoy healthier lifestyles. P.A.S.S delivers the Active Young People programme which includes multi skills in primary schools and the 5x60 programme in secondary schools.

We also offer the opportunity in schools for volunteering via our Young Ambassador scheme. Neath Port Talbot Physical activity and Sport Service are currently working with over 200 young ambassadors throughout our schools, these include bronze ambassadors based in primary schools, silvers based in comprehensive schools. The Young Ambassador scheme is a Sport Wales initiative and operates in each local authority. Every year Neath Port Talbot provides the Young Ambassadors with an annual training day to ensure that the young people are equipped to deliver activities within their schools. The Physical Activity & Sport Service also delivers a disability sport programme.

To find out how we can help you become more physically active and enjoy a healthier lifestyle contact PASS tel: 01639 861143 or e-mail: m.napieralla@npt.gov.uk; website  Social media handles- Search @nptpass on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You Tube

School governors

Every school has a governing body that works closely with the Headteacher to promote excellence in all aspects of school life. Governors are not involved in the day to day running of the school; that is the Headteacher’s responsibility. The Headteacher would normally deal with general queries and matters concerning pupils and staff. The governing body decides on the ethos and culture of the school and draws up policies on such things as the curriculum, behaviour and attendance. Each year the Governors provide a written report to parents on what has been happening at the school during the previous year and to share the governing body’s plans for promoting high standards of educational achievement.

If enough parents make a request to meet with Governors regarding an issue affecting the whole of the school, then all parents will be invited to this meeting. Parents can request to meet with Governors up to three times in a school year, providing certain criteria are met.

When your child starts school you should find out who the parent governors are, the school will be able to help you. You can speak to them if you have any comments about the general running of the school.

Can I become a school governor?

All sorts of people become school governors. Governors don’t need particular qualifications or experience, many governors are not experts in education, but can offer time and other expertise to help improve the school. Most schools have between ten and twenty governors; the bigger the school, the more governors it has.

The governing body will always include:

  • parents, chosen by other parents at the school
  • staff, chosen by their colleagues at the school
  • people chosen by the governing body
  • people chosen by the County Borough Council
  • in voluntary aided schools – people chosen by the church authorities

Every four years (or sooner, if there is a vacancy) the school has to hold an election for parent governors. All parents can put themselves forward for election. If you can give some time to help your school and the next generation, then you could stand for election as a parent governor. To help school governors with their work regular training is provided. Training for new Governors is now mandatory.

If you would like to know more about school governing bodies, or find out how to become a governor, contact School and Family Support Team, email governors@npt.gov.uk tel. 01639 763600.

How can parents influence the decisions of the County Borough Council?

The County Borough Council has two parent governor representatives on its education scrutiny committee who are also invited to join the Neath Port Talbot Governors Association Management Committee.

The parent governor representatives express the views and concerns of parents when important decisions affecting education are taken. Parent governors from schools in the area choose the representatives.

What can I do if I am not satisfied with my child’s education or have a complaint?

If you have any concern about your child’s education first try to resolve the matter on an informal basis through discussion with staff at your child’s school.

If you feel that your complaint has not been resolved, you can approach the Headteacher with your complaint, which you may be asked to put in writing.

If the problem is still unresolved you may refer your complaint to the governing body’s complaints committee. Your child’s school will be able to give you full details of the general complaints procedure. If your complaint is about a member of staff of the local authority you may have recourse to the Council’s Complaints Procedure.

Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP)

The Council is committed to providing high quality education for all children and young people across the County Borough. It has implemented a Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP) that will help ensure that the right schools are in the right places and that they are capable of delivering an education fit for children and young people in the 21st Century. The  Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP) also informs the planning and decision making processes that will enable the Council to secure first class schools, delivering high  standards of teaching and learning – for now and into the future.

Why is the School Improvement Programme (SSIP) necessary?

At the heart of the programme is the delivery of quality educational experiences that encourage and support pupil development - experiences that meet the aspirations of young learners, enhancing and enriching their lives and their life opportunities.

What changes will be seen?

Implementing the Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP) involves reviewing existing educational provision and determining the number and type of schools needed to deliver education effectively and efficiently across the County Borough. As a result of this, there is likely to be changes which will involve opening new schools, closing existing schools, merging or amalgamating schools, federating schools and promoting new initiatives that support collaborative working between schools. The changes will be necessary to improve standards of dducation, reduce surplus places, reduce large building repair bills and ensure the right schools in the right places for both English and Welsh medium education.

The Council has already brought about some of these changes and you are able to view all current and past proposals on the dedicated Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP) webpage.

The completion and occupation of a replacement brand new 21st Century school at Cefn Saeson Comprehensive – the old school buildings will demolished to make way for external sports facilities including grassed and floodlit artificial playing surfaces.

  • The completion and occupation of a brand new 4 classroom teaching block at YGG Rhosafan providing much needed additional space to accommodate existing pupils.
  • The completion and occupation of a significant refurbishment and two new build extensions to provide additional Welsh-medium pupil places together alongside a new childcare and community hub at YGG Tyle’r Ynn
  • The completion and occupation of two new build extensions providing additional Welsh-medium pupil places and a new childcare provision at YGG Cwmllynfell

Appendix A - School Admission Policy

Appendix B - Faith Schools Admission Policies 

Appendix C - Neath Port Talbot Schools

School Term Dates