The Peermont School Support Programme (“PSSP”) is a five year, R40 million commitment to support the creation of centres of excellence around a limited number of existing and functional high schools in the Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng catchment areas. The funds are provided by Emperors Palace, a subsidiary of Peermont Global and originate as part of its licence conditions agreed with its regulator, the Gauteng Gambling Board. The PSSP programme is a five year commitment. The goal is to create centres of excellence that can deliver quality matric results on a sustained basis and produce high school graduates that can excel in tertiary learning, or pursue working careers in the services industries, or be prepared for a life of entrepreneurship.
The ethos of the programme is one of collaboration, sharing best practise and based on a model of 'continuous learning'. The programme can have greater educational impact than solely on the seven served schools, as it is implemented as a 'pilot project' in an effort to explore, identify, implement and document different interventions that can make a material impact in the management, operations and performance of high schools and to share these outcomes with interested parties. The Gauteng Department of Education recognises PSSP as an important private sector partner in its efforts to improve the quality of education in public high schools.
The seven high schools that are supported represent a typical cross section of 'functional high schools' that were specifically selected through a detailed assessment process. 14 schools from a universe of 45 qualifying schools were invited to compete for a place in the programme by completing a detailed baseline assessment, undertaking a 'five year vision building exercise' to determine their own priorities and by motivating their case before their peers and a panel of assessors lead by then Professor Mary Metcalfe and drawn from WITS University Department of Education. Seven schools were selected to participate in the programme based on their submissions and evidence of committed and passionate leadership, while the other seven schools were awarded R100 000 of LTSM ('learning and teaching support material).
The seven supported high schools are:
Investment in Systemic Change
PSSP understands its role as an investor in these schools. Some R2,0 million of cash resources is committed to each supported high school and some R700 000 to each of their three feeder primary schools, or alternatively some R4,1 million to an 'inter-linked cluster of schools'. Consequently PSSP demands a return on this investment in the form of a commitment to pursue excellence, accountability in terms of resources allocated with regard to utilisation and impact, and delivery evidenced by improved results. The programme is collaborative, based on a model of co-determination and a reciprocal obligation to add value to the programme by sharing ideas and resources. PSSP allocates its funds to interventions that support systemic change in the schools in three core areas:
The programme aims to build effective and visible leadership in the schools, secure alignment among all stakeholders, encourage positive behaviour change towards education, and enable permanent and systemic change in the schools. This programme should touch the lives of some 30 000 learners over its five year duration and could have an enormous impact on the communities served by the seven high schools and their twenty feeder primary schools.