Poor start to implemention of Government’s equalities commitments

The ACERT president, Lord Avebury, has written to the Education Minister, Nick Gibb to express our concern about the first two education commitments in the Ministerial Working Group progress report, both of which involved OFSTED. ACERT had a positive meeting with Christine Gilbert (the then Chief Inspector) last year, but it would seem that Sir Michael Wilshaw (the current head of OFSTED) has different priorities.

Commitment 1 reads: “Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils are specifically highlighted as a vulnerable group in the revised Ofsted framework, ensuring that school inspections will pay particular attention to their progress, attainment and attendance”. read more

Do 2011 GCSE results show low achievers suffering from loss of support?

The trend (shown by the dashed line and the right hand axis) in number of pupils registered for GCSE or equivalent examinations at KS4 has continued to rise over the past four years. The gradient is steeper for Gypsy/R0ma pupils, which will be influenced by growing numbers of Roma pupils in the education system. The percentage of Gypsy/Roma reaching the benchmark 5 or more A*-C grades has also shown a significant rise. The fact that the 5+A*-C with English and Maths, has remained relatively flat, suggests that these improvements may be due to increased flexibility in the curriculum at KS4,  of which Michael Gove is critical. Newly arrived Roma pupils may also find difficulties reaching level C and above in English. read more

Annual Report 2010-11

2010-11 represented the first year of Coalition Government and many challenges for ACERT.

  • The localism agenda resulted in changes to planning guidance which Lord Avebury, President of ACERT, said  would reverse a trend in thereduction in the proportion of the caravan-dwelling Gypsy-Traveller population who are homeless, from a quarter in 2004 to 17% in 2011.
  •  The impact of the Dale Farm eviction, supported financially by the Government, clearly signalled the new climate
  • The gradual extinction of Traveller Education Support Services and the reliance on the Pupil Premium to meet needs
  • The Inter-Departmental Ministerial Working Group on Gypsies and Travellers (but not Roma), led by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
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    Cuts to Traveller Education Services

    By Michael Doherty 

    Introduction

    You already know that the cuts to Traveller Education Support Services (TESS) are bad. I guess I am here to tell you how bad. The trouble is this would only take five minutes and I would still have another 15 to fill. So I am going to tell you a bit about why and how I did the research and what I think it means.

    I realize that there is a hell of a lot of experience of working within and for the Romany Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community in this room and it’s a bit daunting because I am up here about to tell you how it is – with all of 4 months of research and experience behind me. read more