Letter Sent to All Directors of Children’s Services in England

Re: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller provision

For many years ACERT has campaigned to enable Gypsies, Roma and Travellers to access education and achieve their full potential. Over this period the work of Local Authority services has made a measurable difference to the engagement and attainment of these groups. However, these pupils continue to be extremely vulnerable to underachievement and are the lowest performing nationally at all Key Stages.

We are therefore writing to all local authorities to seek the following reassurances:

That financial cutbacks in your authority will not impact disproportionately on services supporting the inclusion and achievement of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

That your authority will continue to monitor and reach out to the most vulnerable children and young people, particularly those who are highly mobile, are registered for Elective Home Education, are Children Missing Education, are Persistent Absentees, are excluded or are identified with Child Protection concerns,

That your authority will monitor progress towards closing the gap of achievement between Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils and other groups, evaluated in comparison with your statistical neighbours and national data (see DfE/NFER Research Report DFE-RR043 October 2010).

We would also be interested to hear how, in the light of funding changes, your authority is developing its policies to improve the situation of these communities.

ACERT aims to gain a national picture of the future provision and good practice for addressing the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and young people. We will share the outcomes with the DfE and other interested parties in order to ensure that the needs of these children and young people continue to be met. We would also be pleased to offer training and advice to schools and local authorities to raise awareness of the challenges facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils, and develop effective strategies to improve aspirations and attainment.

We thank you in advance for your response.

Lord Avebury, ACERT President