World Roma Congress Jubilee website opens

Every place, there is Roma, there is Romanistan.

Slobodan Berberski, president of the First World Roma Congress in 1971,

https://youtu.be/ETO1tEc46wI

From the 8th April 2021 the online congress to mark the 50th Anniversary of the World Romani Congress will be stretched over a month starting in London and moving to Berlin joining cities as far apart as Belgrade and Buenos Aires, activists from Barcelona to Bangalore, in India

Events can be enjoyed via a live stream at www.romanistan.com a virtual place that crosses all continental borders and connects Romani people worldwide.

On 8th April 1971, the World Romani Congress founding event was held in London. It was a crucial point in the history of Romani people and is now seen as the beginning of the worldwide Romani emancipation movement. It started a political fight for equality, mobilised through Romani organisations, and the unifying flag and anthem. 

This year to mark the jubilee anniversary you are invited to join a series of diverse online events that will offer the opportunity to connect communities across the globe to celebrate Romani history and culture but also critically reflect on the ongoing challenges that are still faced by Romani people worldwide

Events can be enjoyed via a live stream at www.romanistan.com a virtual place that crosses all continental borders and connects Romani people worldwide.

At a time of rising far-right extremism and anti-gypsyism it is hoped that this anniversary year will bring Romani people and our allies around the world closer together, to create a common purpose, celebrate achievements, and build a stronger collective voice.

Grattan Puxon, one of the co-organisers of the First World Romani Congress

Ryalla Duffy 11th April 1959 – 10th March 2021

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the sudden passing of Ainlee Ryalla Duffy.

Ryalla had lived the life, lit many fires and told many stories.

Siobhan Spencer

Ryalla was well known to many ACERT members. She participated in the ROMED training in 2014 and, as well as participating actively in the training and discussions, she submitted an exceptional personal study.

“The period since [waggon time] has seen a gradual, intentional and unrelenting erosion of rights of an entire way of life, aided and abetted by legislation and media bias.”

Ryalla Duffy

Ryalla and her family went through endless enforcements themselves from 1987 in Sussex when they had to leave their own land. She was well known in the southern counties (as well as the Midlands).

Ryalla was an excellent representative for her people and Romany rights. She was very knowledgeable of the New Forest families and saw the comparisons of enforced camps and the final solution and wrote a chapter on this history of the “compounds” in the Patrin book as part of the Patrin project with the Monitoring Group, seeing the similarities of this particular aspect of Romany Gypsy history.

Ryalla worked hard in Lincolnshire and was responsible for getting the much-needed work undertaken on the Summergangs Lane site, in Gainsborough.

…. a wonderful character who fought continuously for her people and their rights and who was the author of several books and the star of 2 or 3 dvds.. She was also the subject of the classic Anglo Romani book ‘Born on the Straw’ by Dorothy Strange (1968). The community will miss her hugely and I shall miss a very dear friend. 

Bob Dawson

In 2005 Ryalla was one of the founder members of the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups and took part in police training, parliamentary meetings and conferences.

Despite the knocks, it illustrates her sense of humour and the truth in life and how I would like to remember her.One of the last days we spent together was with Lord Bourne, for a heritage tribute as he laid a wreath at the grave of Private John Cunningham receiver of the Victoria Cross, in commemoration of the 100 years centenary of the Great War, a great day with her which, as usual, ended with great laughter.

Siobhan Spencer

She leaves behind her 4 daughters, 2 sons and all of 13 grandchildren.

ACERT Condemns Government Bill

Press Release issued 19th March 2021

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021 will make accessing education impossible for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children

The Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and other Travellers (ACERT) is deeply concerned about the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021.

As a national UK charity working to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller children are able to access education at all levels, the new Bill will effectively serve to exclude the children of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller families from such public services. 

Through our active campaigning work over many years, we know very well the day-to-day challenges and struggles that are faced by families living on roadside sites. 

Being able to access services such as education can be hard enough without the damaging measures contained in this Bill, which will criminalise nomadism and severely disrupt the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. 

With family homes potentially being seized, as well as jail sentences (up to 3 months) and large fines issued (up to £2,500), the consequences of criminalising nomadism in the UK will be severe and damaging. 

ACERT aims to ensure equality of provision in education for Gypsy and Traveller children and we would urge the Government to look again at the Bill and to seriously think through the consequences of what is being legislated. 

The fundamental human right to an education for any child should not be dependent on where and how you live your life. The Government, through its actions, would seem to not share this view. 

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021 will make accessing education impossible for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children

The Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and other Travellers (ACERT) is deeply concerned about the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021.

As a national UK charity working to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller children are able to access education at all levels, the new Bill will effectively serve to exclude the children of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller families from such public services. 

Through our active campaigning work over many years, we know very well the day-to-day challenges and struggles that are faced by families living on roadside sites. 

Being able to access services such as education can be hard enough without the damaging measures contained in this Bill, which will criminalise nomadism and severely disrupt the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. 

With family homes potentially being seized, as well as jail sentences (up to 3 months) and large fines issued (up to £2,500), the consequences of criminalising nomadism in the UK will be severe and damaging. 

ACERT aims to ensure equality of provision in education for Gypsy and Traveller children and we would urge the Government to look again at the Bill and to seriously think through the consequences of what is being legislated. 

The fundamental human right to an education for any child should not be dependent on where and how you live your life. The Government, through its actions, would seem to not share this view. 

UK Gypsy and Traveller Education Charity Condemns Government Bill

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021 will make accessing education impossible for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children

The Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and other Travellers (ACERT) is deeply concerned about the implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021.

As a national UK charity working to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller children are able to access education at all levels, the new Bill will effectively serve to exclude the children of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller families from such public services. 

Through our active campaigning work over many years, we know very well the day-to-day challenges and struggles that are faced by families living on roadside sites. 

Being able to access services such as education can be hard enough without the damaging measures contained in this Bill, which will criminalise nomadism and severely disrupt the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. 

With family homes potentially being seized, as well as jail sentences (up to 3 months) and large fines issued (up to £2,500), the consequences of criminalising nomadism in the UK will be severe and damaging. 

ACERT aims to ensure equality of provision in education for Gypsy and Traveller children and we would urge the Government to look again at the Bill and to seriously think through the consequences of what is being legislated. 

The fundamental human right to an education for any child should not be dependent on where and how you live your life. The Government, through its actions, would seem to not share this view. 

Pledge raises awareness in HE

Bronte Sheldon and Wendy Price

Wendy Price, Head of Widening Access and Participation at the University of Sunderland shared this video interview with Bronte Sheldon, a second year Media, Culture and Communications student.

Bronte got in touch after learning that we had recently signed the GTRSB into HE Pledge and wanted to share her perspectives on Romani inclusion and identity. Bronte has also agreed to work with Wendy’s Department to develop their priorities and key actions relating to the Pledge.

FFT Resources for teachers

Friends and Families of Travellers have asked us to draw ACERT supporters attention to their resources for teachers at https://www.gypsy-traveller.org/teaching-resources/.

We have created this page to support teachers and other staff in educational settings bring Gypsy, Roma and Traveller histories and cultures into the classroom. Below, you can find a range of resources, books and media to enrich your own understanding of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller histories and to share with young people.

FFT, Resources for teachers

We have added the link to our Traveller Education and Training categories on the ACERT website Links pages

150 attend Higher Education Pledge launch

Universities, regulators, politicians, policy specialists, NGOs and members of the Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showpeople and Boater (GTRSB) communities came together on 20 January 2021, to launch the Good Practice in supporting GTRSB students into and within Higher Education Pledge in an online event attended by more than 150 people.

The Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, Professor Nick Braisby, chaired and opened the event calling on senior leaders in Higher Education to take time to understand the experience of the GTRSB communities, to sign the Pledge, and implement the changes necessary to enable more students to flourish.

Education policy approaches to widening participation

Speakers included:

  • Baroness Whitaker, Co-Chair for All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG)
  • Kate Green – Shadow Education Secretary
  • Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Higher Education regulator, The Office for Students
  • Professor Julia Buckingham, President of universities membership body, Universities UK
  • Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia

Baroness Whitaker, said the Pledge needs to act as a catalyst to create a welcoming environment in universities for the release of talent. Kate Green thought It is really important we tackle discrimination and structural barriers that exist throughout the education system by increasing staff training and raising awareness of the history and culture of their students in curriculum content.

Chris Millward and Prof Buckingham reflected on the opportunities and momentum that the Pledge provides for universities to demonstrate leadership in society and transform the lives of students. Prof Richardson spoke of how institutions may perpetuate systemic racism, acting as a key barrier to inclusion.

Experiences in Higher Education
  • Lisa Smith (ACERT)
  • Professor Colin Clark of the University of West Scotland
  • Martin Gallagher, Ph.D student, Northumbria University
  • Chelsea McDonagh, the Education Officer for the Traveller Movement
  • Sherrie Smith of Buckinghamshire New University
  • Dr Aleksandar Marinov, University of St Andrews
  • Shelby Holmes, an Oxford University graduate
  • Allison Hulmes, British Association for Social Work Cymru, National Director, and co-founder of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Social Work Association
  • Dr Rosa Cisneros of Coventry University.

Lisa stressed that better support in education, and access to higher education is a matter of social justice and that institutions committed to the Pledge can signal a real step-change and improvement for members of the GTRSB communities. Colin Clark spoke of his own academic journey and emphasised that it was the responsibility of everyone in Higher Education to level the playing field and enhance equalities and inclusion. Martin Gallagher discussed the challenges and barriers he faced at secondary school which ultimately inspired him to return to study in his late 20s while Chelsea McDonagh praised the support she was given by individual teachers which opened up educational opportunities for her. Sherrie Smith told how her journey through Higher Education created a ‘ripple effect’ through her networks and extended family

Dr Aleksandar Marinov said he never came across fellow Gypsy, Roma and Traveller students at university; he hoped the Pledge will encourage institutions to include their history and culture in curricula to increase the visibility of the diverse communities. Shelby Holmes described her “iron will” to gain an education which meant she had to sneak away from fairground duties to complete her schoolwork. She had had conversations with older Showmen who told her that they would have loved to had the chance to experience Higher Education.

Allison Hulmes spoke of her great hope that the Pledge will make a difference to communities and the social work profession which needs to be more aware of diversity and discrimination faced by members of the GRTSB communities. Dr Cisneros discussed the Pledge’s importance in enabling universities and key policy agencies such at the OfS and HESA to gain more data.

Videos from universities who had taken the Pledge prior to the launch event: Hull; Sunderland; Strathclyde; Winchester; and Buckinghamshire New University.

Travellers in West Yorkshire, we need your help!

My name is Grace and I work at Leeds Gate a charity working to support Gypsy and Travellers. We need your help to make sure that our young people in West Yorkshire get the best possible chance to reach their full potential!

We are working with Northumbria University, Buckinghamshire New University, together with partners from ACERT and NEON to find out more about the challenges that young Gypsy, Roma and Travellers face in education and the things that work to help our young people in West Yorkshire. 

The research is looking at how young people get into higher education, what helps them be successful and what supports them to go further in education. 

If you’re a young person or a parent or relation of a young person aged 14- 25 in education in West Yorkshire we would love to hear from you. You can help us by sharing your experiences in education the good and bad. 

This research will help advise educators on what works for our young people and what doesn’t and create more knowledge that can support our children to get the beat deal possible deal in education. 

Get in touch by calling Leeds Gate on 01132 402444 or email

Professionals help improve outreach and support in West Yorkshire

If you’re a professional working to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people aged 14-25 in West Yorkshire we really need your help to complete an online survey.

The findings will be written up into a report for Go Higher West Yorkshire and used to inform outreach and support activities for GRTSB communities in the area. Your knowledge will be hugely helpful in understanding what works and how current  provision can improve opportunities for young people. We look forward to receiving your responses!   

My names Grace and I work at Leeds Gate a charity working to help improve the life’s of Gypsy and Travellers. At the moment we are working on a piece of research with Northumbria University, Buckinghamshire New University, together with partners from ACERT and NEON. We want to better understand the barriers and enablers to higher education access, success and progression for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller – and also Showmen and Boater young people in West Yorkshire. 

Innovative online resource launched

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller LGBTQ+ Spoken History Archive

This unique initiative by the Romani Cultural & Arts Company brings to light the important, fascinating and often moving stories told by members of the global Gypsy, Roma and Traveller LGBTQ+ community, highlighting the valuable roles they play and celebrating the intersectional heritage, culture and experiences from across the world.

It is the result of research carried out by the RCAC, with the support of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture.

This timely project gives long overdue voice to the often hidden that our community members carry with them and at the same time offers greater insight into the wider Gypsy, Roma and Traveller experience—insight which feels particularly relevant during this current period of social isolation during global pandemic. 

The RIBA Foundation in Architecture

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Foundation in Architecture is a very unique, affordable course, delivered all online and differs substantially from full time education. Here below is a comparative table outlining the key differences. This will enable foundation level students to make the most appropriate choices that best suit them.

Dr Maria Faraone, an ACERT member, is a Senior Lecturer in the Oxford Brookes University, School of Architecture. She is Programme Director for the RIBA Studio which is a practice-based route to qualification as an Architect.

The course she runs has been specifically designed to give young people without formal qualifications and with limited finances the opportunity to develop their skills and understand the career opportunities in architecture.