Priti hateful

The Home Office’s work in this particular area actually refers to some of the criminality that takes place and that has happened through Traveller communities and unauthorised encampments. 

Now that’s very different to Gypsy and Roma communities. The two are absolutely separate.

But basically we saw a police officer that was ‘effectively murdered’ through a robbery that took place by a Traveller family.

Priti Patel in conversation with Gillian Merron

Priti Patel made these comments (and other) in an online ‘Conversation with the Home Secretary‘ event hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Chief Executive Gillian Merron referred to the Home Office consultation launched last year on whether to make “unauthorised encampments” a criminal offence.

She rehearsed the familiar tropes, that Gypsies and Roma are traditional and respectable, and that Travellers, who live on unauthorised sites are essentially criminal. The racist generalisations and stereotypes will be all too familiar to ACERT members but profoundly depressing coming from a cabinet responsibility for this area. She also appears to have her facts wrong.

We believe that she is refering death of police officer Andrew Harper, 28, in August last year for which Jessie Cole, Albert Bowers and Henry Long were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 42 years in July this year. All three have lodged appeals against their sentences, with Bowers and Cole also seeking to appeal their convictions

The Travellers Times reports that none of the three men are Irish Travellers or have connections to “unauthorised sites”. Long was arrested on an authorised Berkshire site where English Romanies and Irish Travellers live alongside each other. They also do not appear to be “a family”.

Pauline Anderson, chair of The Traveller Movement has written an open letter calling for an apology

We consider your comments during this meeting to constitute hate speech as it brands an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.

You have a duty as a public figure to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and encourage good relations between all groups. Your comments not only pit ethnic groups against one another, they also single out an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.

The Traveller Movement Open letter to Priti Patel

The questions about Gypsies, Roma and Travellers come at 34:53.

Pavees and COVID-19: An Education Policy Analysis

Chelsea McDonagh is the Education Policy and Campaigns officer at the Traveller Movement and is a member of the ACERT Executive Committee. She is an Irish Traveller from London and Master’s student at King’s College London. She will present the findings of her research to the 2020 ACERT AGM

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and, in the process, has had devastating effects on the most vulnerable people, none more so than Pavee (Irish Traveller) children who are being failed by state policy once again. There is much research exploring the less positive outcomes of Pavee children and young people in education but what is much less explored is the state of education policy addressing the needs of Pavee students, an alarming omission when considering the impact that policy has on the lives and educational experiences of students. This research explores the policy silence phenomena in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and contextualises it in the historic policy arrangements surrounding Pavee people.

Independent report finds GRT access to Higher Education is not increasing

A report written by Dr Graeme Atherton, Director of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) has found no significant increase in the progression of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities into Higher Education and makes recommendations how the situation might be improved. It was commissioned by the Sir John Cass Foundation focussing on groups of young
people who are under-represented in higher education.

Main findings

  1. Access to HE for GRT communities is not increasing
  2. Less than 30% of Access and Participation Plans (APPs) mention GRT learners
  3. Less than 5% of Access and Participation Plans (APPs) include reference to any activities to support access to HE for GRT learners
  4. No APPs include targets related to access and participation in HE for GRT learners
  5. Only 2 of 29 Uni-Connect partnerships are undertaking activities with GRT learners
  6. Only 2 London HE providers indicate any work with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller learners in their APPs.


  1. Ensure there is a specific strand of work focused on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller participation in Uni-Connect from 2021 to 2025
  2. Ask all HE providers to outline how they are supporting access, participation for GRT learners in their annual APP statements to the Office for Students
  3. Establish a national GRT HE access and participation initiative
  4. Integrate focus on GRT community learners in the new national strategy to tackle Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities
  5. Mayor of London to establish a GRT education task force.

2020 on-line AGM

We have not been able to organise an annual conference this year, but we will be holding an extended on-line AGM on Saturday 3rd October between 10:00 and 11:30am. In addition to the election of a new executive, we will also have an discussion on key issues for families in 2020-21 and what ACERT can do to make a difference.

The link to join the meeting and further details will be circulated later.