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.
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.
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.
Access to HE for GRT communities is not increasing
Less than 30% of Access and Participation Plans (APPs) mention GRT learners
Less than 5% of Access and Participation Plans (APPs) include reference to any activities to support access to HE for GRT learners
No APPs include targets related to access and participation in HE for GRT learners
Only 2 of 29 Uni-Connect partnerships are undertaking activities with GRT learners
Only 2 London HE providers indicate any work with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller learners in their APPs.
Ensure there is a specific strand of work focused on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller participation in Uni-Connect from 2021 to 2025
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
Establish a national GRT HE access and participation initiative
Integrate focus on GRT community learners in the new national strategy to tackle Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities
Mayor of London to establish a GRT education task force.
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.