ACERT chair’s response to inequalities report

Lisa Smith, ACERT chair, said:

There are a number of clear recommendations which the women and equalities committee have made that have the potential to address inequalities in education faced by young Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.  We hope that this report will encourage action, we will be watching closely over the next two months as we await the government’s response to the enquiry.

Inequalities report recommendations

In the field of education The Woman and Equalities Committee is recommending to the Government that:

  • the Department for Education should carry out a complete audit of all local authorities to ensure that they have robust policies and procedures on children potentially missing from education, as required by section 436A of the Education Act 2006 and the Government’s own “Children Missing Education Guidance”.
  • any local authorities that are found to have inadequate processes should be required to remedy them within six months of the audit.
  • the audit should also inspect the procedures that authorities have in place for ensuring that home educated children are receiving a “suitable” education, including effective mechanisms for taking action under section 437 of the Education Act.
  • the Government should consider piloting a pupil passport scheme with rapid evaluation to ensure that, should it be successful, it can be rolled out as quickly as possible.
  • at the same time, the Department for Education should explore how such a scheme could be implemented across England and what the budgetary implications would be. Such a scheme would ensure that when children move schools or move into home education, their records and history travel with them.
  • schools should, as part of their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty, be challenging race and gender stereotypes wherever they encounter them.
  • Ofsted should ensure that inspectors are actively inspecting schools for gender and racial stereotyping or signs of sexism or racism from either pupils or staff.
  • schools have a duty to proactively plan for how they will have conversations with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents about what relationship and sex education involves and what parents’ options are for their children, short of removing them from school. These plans should be explicit and Ofsted should take them into account during inspections and assess schools accordingly.
  • there are multiple organisations in other fields that provide role models to speak and work with schools to foster good relations between groups.
  • the Government should increase the capacity of these organisation to provide similar support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller role models.

The government has “failed” Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Britain say MPs

The House of Commons women and equalities committee published the Tackling Inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communitieson Friday 5thApril 2019.

The report confirmed that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities had the worst outcomes of any ethnic group across a huge range of areas, including education, health, employment, criminal justice and hate crime, but little was being done to tackle longstanding inequalities.

The Conservative MP Maria Miller, the committee’s chair, said:

“Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people have been comprehensively failed by policymakers and public services for far too long. Access to education, health, employment, criminal justice, tackling hate crime and domestic violence – all these require services which differentiate between different groups who have different needs, and yet so many services are ill-equipped to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.”

The report outlines a series of recommendations to address inequalities in healthcare, discrimination and hate crime, economic activity and education and was the conclusion of a two-year inquiry, which heard that students from Gypsy, Roma or Traveller backgrounds had the lowest attainment of all ethnic groups throughout their school years.

It also shines a light on prejudice towards GRT students in the educational system referring to evidence given by ACERT committee member Brian Foster on how schools can be so entrenched in their stereotypes that in their minds being a Gypsy or Travellers equates to poor attainment.

ACERT AGM and Conference 2019

28th September 2019
Kings College, London 

Please put the date in your diaries. 

This year we have two main themes, “Turning the tide in inequality” where we will try and develop a strategy in response to the report of the Women and Equalities Sub Committee report on Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

ACERT response is posted below.

Our aim is to invite speakers on the key areas highlighted in the report and through discussions with participants, try to develop a campaign for the forthcoming year. We must not let this opportunity pass!

The afternoon of the event will be devoted to youth engagement events.