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)
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”.
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. Here are some of the images of the day. Click here for full conference report and download of Arthur Ivatts presentation. Click on the image for more pictures from the day