What is SSIP?
SSIP stands for ‘Strategic School Improvement Programme’.
In September 2008, the Council announced its intention to review
educational provision across the County Borough’s schools.
The review will help the Council ensure that the right schools are
in the right places and that they are capable of delivering an
education fit for the 21st century learner.
It will inform the planning and decision making processes that
will enable the Council to secure high quality schools, delivering
high standards of teaching and learning – for now and into the
The Council has adopted four key principles, giving clarity of
purpose and transparency of approach to the delivery of its school
improvement programme. They are:
- standards in education
- the need for places and the accessibility of schools
- the quality and suitability of school accommodation
- effective financial management.
Why is SSIP necessary?
Having the right schools in the right places and ensuring that
they are ‘fit for purpose’ is fundamental to the programme’s
success. In relation to a number of areas of current
provision, the Council has decided that action needs to be taken
without delay. Not to take action could adversely affect the
standard of education provided to the children and young people of
Neath Port Talbot.
The improvement programme focuses on raising educational
standards and supporting continuous improvement. At the heart
of the programme is the delivery of high 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.
The SSIP will inevitably propose changes, these changes will
involve the building of new schools, remodelling schemes, the
amalgamation and closure of some schools and some different ways of
There is a clear expectation that all local authorities should
use funding for education cost effectively. This
expectation is reinforced by the Welsh Assembly Government,
Estyn and the Wales Audit Office.
In a recent inspection, Estyn, the Inspectorate
for Education and Training in Wales, rated Neath Port Talbot as
good for its access and school places arrangements. The
inspectors found evidence of effective decision-making and
prioritisation about school improvement and school
organisation. They also found that the SSIP has led to a
series of decisions and proposals that are well attuned to the
specific needs of young people and their communities. In
their report, the inspectors highlight the need to reduce surplus
places in Neath Port Talbot schools in line with the key principles
in the SSIP and require the Education Service to action plan