Spot the difference!

Below are the sections of the guidance relating to how schools should record the absences of children of economically nomadic families. The left-hand column shows the guidance in force until the 19th August 2024, the right-hand one the guidance applying after that date.

Working together to
improve school
attendance

Guidance for maintained schools,
academies, independent schools, and
local authorities
Published: May 2022
Applies from: September 2022
Code T: Traveller absence
  1. A number of different groups are covered by the generic term traveller – Roma, English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, Showmen (fairground people) and Circus people, Bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers.
  2. This code should not be used for general absences by those groups. It must only be used when the pupil’s parent(s) is travelling for occupational purposes and the school has granted a leave of absence following a request from the parent. This code should not be used to record any other types of absence by these groups.
  3. Pupils from these groups whose parent(s) do not travel for occupational purposes are expected to attend school as normal. They are subject to the same rules as other pupils in terms of the requirements to attend school regularly once registered at a school.
  4. Where a pupil has no fixed abode because their parent(s) is engaged in a business or trade that requires them to travel, there is an expectation that the pupil attends at least 200 sessions per year. The pupil must attend school as regularly as the business permits and therefore, if the business or trade permits the pupil to attend for more than 200 sessions per year, they should do so.
  5. To help ensure continuity of education for pupils, when their parent(s) is travelling for occupational purposes, it is expected that the pupil should attend school elsewhere when their parent(s) is travelling and be dual registered at that school and their main school.

Working together
to improve school
attendance

Statutory guidance for maintained
schools, academies, independent
schools and local authorities
Published: 29 February 2024
Applies from: 19 August 2024
Code T: Parent travelling for occupational purposes
  1. The pupil is a mobile child and their parent(s) is travelling in the course of their trade or business and the pupil is travelling with them. A mobile child is a child of compulsory school age who has no fixed abode and whose parent(s) is engaged in a trade or business of such a nature as to require them to travel from place to place.
  2. Schools should not unnecessarily ask for proof that the parent is travelling for occupational purposes, this should only happen when there are genuine and reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the reason for absence given. If there is doubt over the reason given, the school may ask for proof that the family are required to travel for occupational purposes during the period of absence.
  3. To help ensure continuity of education for pupils, when their parent(s) is travelling for occupational purposes in England, it is expected that the pupil should attend a school where their parent(s) is travelling and be dual registered at that school and their main school.
  4. This code is classified for statistical purposes as authorised absence.
  5. Whilst for statistical purposes this is counted as authorised absence, if a pupil’s attendance was to fall below an acceptable level consideration may be given to attendance enforcement.

The law has not changed and ACERT is unclear what the purpose of the change is. This change has not been discussed at the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Stakeholder group.

In 2011 the Coalition Government proposed the repeal of section 444 of the Education Act 1996 which :

protects travelling parents from being found guilty of school
attendance offence if their child is absent from school, in certain
circumstances.

Improving educational outcomes for children of travelling families

ACERT along with many other organisations responded to the consultation arguing that this change would increase the difficulties faced by nomadic families and would not improve attendance. The Government did not go ahead with the repeal so parents can still argue that they are not guilty of an offence provided that they are of no fixed abode when travelling and:

(a) parents are engaged in a trade or business of such a nature as to
require them to travel from place to place, and
(b) the child has attended at a school as a registered pupil as regularly
as the nature of that trade or business permits, and
(c) if the child has attained the age of six, that he or she has made at
least 200 attendances during the period of 12 months ending with the date on which the proceedings were instituted.

Improving educational outcomes for children of travelling families

ACERT is therefore unsure whether this change in the guidance will make any significant difference but would like to hear from families who travel if they are facing new problems as a result.

What does family mean to you?

Norfolk GRT Service have developed some resources for this years GRTHM theme of ‘What Does Family Mean to You?’

These include creating a family crest with Children and Young People (CYP) in schools and exploring poetry, creating poems that share the meaning of family with others.

Information about these resources can be found in the ‘Celebrations, Displays and Assemblies’ section on their GRT Cultural Resources padlet.

Come and join St Stephens Primary School Preston’s Live Zoom Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History month assembly!

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2024, 14:30

St Stephen’s Primary School in Preston couldn’t be prouder of their Gypsy, Roma and Traveller students and families.

Click to book your spot on the Zoom call,

Every year the school’s Traveller community work alongside other staff and students at the school to plan and deliver a special assembly to mark Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History month and to celebrate the rich history and culture that Travellers bring to the school.

This year, for the first time ever, St Stephens would love to share their assembly with you and your school community too!

You don’t have to be in Preston, or even in Lancashire, because St Stephens are going to broadcast the whole assembly on Zoom so that people from all over the world have the opportunity to share and celebrate or even learn something new about this often-overlooked community.

So whether you have a GRT population in your school or not, why not get your class or even your whole school together and use the opportunity to come and enjoy watching St Stephens’ Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month assembly?

To book your spot on the Zoom call, follow this link https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu2tqzorGtL0j75WmL5TYFb8D303tyBW#/registration and sign up for the Zoom broadcast!

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2024

Please send details of events you would like to share with ACERT members and supporters.

Download our GRTHM participation packs below:
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2024 Brochure
Education Pack for Schools and Prisons 
Digital Engagement Pack (including social templates!)
Timeline of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller histories
Template images: for individuals Twitter and Instagram, for organisations Twitter and Instagram
Chatteris Museum (Cambs) is currently in partnership with OneVoice4Travellers, exploring the embedded histories of Travellers in the Chatteris area, running from March 2024 to the end of the year. I attach details of our pop-up in June that may be of interest. Other free activities will be happening over the summer. The project will be on display in the Museum from September.
Writing Gypsy History – Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month Event 
Thursday 06 June 2024 15:00 – 17:00
Elvet Riverside 1, Durham University, 83 New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3AQ
Room: ER141