What’s the plan, Justine?

The recently published Race Disparity Audit told us nothing we didn’t know already:

Pupils from Gypsy or Roma backgrounds and those from a Traveller or Irish Heritage background had the lowest attainment of all ethnic groups throughout their school years. …. around a quarter of Gypsy and Roma pupils achieved a good level of development, making them around three times less likely to do so than average. At key stage 4 the disparity is wider; in 2015/16 the Attainment 8 score – an average of points scored for attainment in 8 GCSEs including English and Maths – for Gypsy and Roma pupils was 20 points compared with the English average of 50 points and 62 points for Chinese pupils. Gypsy and Roma pupils, and those from an Irish Traveller background, also made less progress compared with the average for pupils with similar prior attainment. They were also far less likely to stay in education after the age of 16 than pupils in any other ethnic group, with just 58% of Irish Traveller pupils and 62% or Gypsy and Roma pupils staying on in 2014/15, compared with 90% of White British pupils and 97% of Chinese pupils.(p.19) read more

Parliament considers Gypsies, Travellers and local communities

The full debate makes worthwhile but, in the main, depressing reading. Most of the MPs who spoke, were intent on amending and increasing existing legal powers to remove unauthorised encampments faster and cheaper. They were also intent on preventing private unauthorised developments. Most took care to point out that they were only talking about the minority of Gypsies and Travellers though in some cases their intolerance was only thinly disguised.

After almost three and a half hours Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (DCLG) brought the debate to a close, stating:
“I am, therefore, very pleased that, today, we have signalled our intention to seek a call for evidence to review the way in which existing powers are enforced and to understand what more can be done to tackle many of the issues raised in the debate”. read more

What a day!

The ACERT mini-conference “The legacy of Plowden” was a lively and stimulating day, and the voices of the communities as strong and eloquent as ever. Rose McCarthy welcomed more than 60 participants summarising the work of ACERT over the year.

Arthur Ivatts, who was the first Field Officer for ACERT, before going on to be an HMI and influential education consultant, explained how Lady Plowden, for many years the ACERT president, had used her knowledge and status to give local authorities the funds needed to develop the national network of Traveller Education Support Services. He spoke of the Swann report which recognised Gypsies, Roma and Travellers as ethnic groups within the education system, and prejudice and hostility to them as racism. The early 21st century saw real progress with ethnic monitoring, the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History month and the National Strategies Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Achievement Programme. From 2008, with the financial crash, local government cuts and the end of ring-fenced funding, the TESS network has withered and, in some areas, died. But the legacy lives on through the experiences of young people who passed through the education system in those years. read more

50 years on: Education Rights for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Don’t miss out; places are going fast. 
The conference is free and there will be a snack lunch for those who book.

The Legacy of Plowden
ACERT mini-conference and 2017 AGM
23rd September 2017

50 years ago a report into Primary Education recognised that most Gypsies and Traveller children were not getting into school, and those who did, weren’t being treated well. Campaigners for Traveller Rights had made submissions to the enquiry, and after it was published used it to raise awareness and campaign for the education and other rights of the communities.

To celebrate the anniversary, ACERT’s 2017 mini-Conference and AGM will review what has, and has not, been achieved, and where we can go from here. Over the past few year, ACERT conferences have been interesting and enjoyable events, with the voices of community members to the fore; we believe this year’s will continue in this vein. Please come and share the day with us. read more