National Higher Education initiative launch

Wed, January 20, 2021 10:00am – 12:00noon

Join the launch of the national initiative to support Gypsy Traveller Roma Showman and Boater students in Higher Education

You can find more information and register for the event via Eventbrite

You are invited to join the launch of the new GTRSB into Higher Education pledge, this ground-breaking initiative is designed to encourage and support Universities, Colleges or educational institutions to undertake certain steps to support Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman, and Boatmen students into and within higher education.

The national initiative is the first of its kind and is not be missed if you have an interest in education. There will be a range of guest speakers from Bucks New University and the Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman, and Boatmen communities.

Speakers include: 

  • Baroness Janet Whitaker, Co-Chair APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma
  • Kate Green, MP, Shadow Education Secretary
  • Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Buckinghamshire New University
  • Professor Margaret Greenfields, Professor of Social Policy and Community Engagement, Buckinghamshire New University
  • Sherrie Smith, GTRSB Research Assistant, Buckinghamshire New University
  • Chelsea McDonagh, Traveller Movement
  • Professor, Colin Clark, University of the West of Scotland 
  • Lisa Smith, Chair, ACERT 
  • Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation

For further information on the pledge and how higher education institutions can take the pledge, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact

29 join first Education network meeting

29 teachers and other education support staff joined the first Education Support Network Zoom call on 9th December 2020. The response was heartening because there was wide representation from across England and their contributions suggested that there is plenty of good work continuing despite the many challenges faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families and the services trying to promote their inclusion and opportunities.

Lisa Smith, ACERT chair, who previously worked as part of the Worcestershire TESS, described how important was the support her family received from the service, allowing her to progress to Higher Education and wider career opportunities. She emphasised the importance of creating a strong support network in a hostile political and media climate, without the support of NATT and under the threat of the pandemic.

Contributions came from Darlington, Hampshire, Norfolk, Liverpool, Worcester, Sussex, Wiltshire, Greater Manchester, Middlesborough and Cambridgeshire. People had different roles within local authorities, as traded services and in the voluntary sector, working from Early Years to adult education and addressing a wide range of issues relating to health, accommodation and benefits in addition to education focuses of access, attendance and achievement.

Several participants described their work, much of which was innovative and encouraging. Most reported education in staff numbers, reorganisation and changes in the relationship with schools. Several services still meet with those from neighbouring areas to share ideas and coordinate provision. In some cases staff have adopted new skills to respond to the priorities of schools and the pressures on mainstream services.

It was decided that we should arrange to meet each half-term. ( Jan 27, Mar 10, April 21, June 9 and July). Contact if you wish to participate and have not received an invite.

FFT survey of education challenges

Friends, Families and Travellers are working to raise public awareness on the experiences of young Gypsies, Roma and Travellers at school. They need your help! If your family has faced challenges in education, complete these surveys as a parent or with a young person and help to build understanding of how schools can support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller students.

Here’s a survey for parents:

This is a survey for young people to complete with parents:

Each survey will take about 5 mins and when you complete you will be entered into a draw to win a £50 voucher. Thanks for taking part!

Zoom network for Traveller education support services

Since NATT folded last year, staff employed in schools and local authorities to support the inclusion and achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children have felt quite isolated. The issue was raised earlier this year when we consulted about the Parent’s Network (which we’re also working on) and again at The Traveller Movement conference last month.
In response to these requests, we are planning a monthly Zoom call, the first one of which will be on Wednesday 9th December 2020 at 2:00pm. (Apologies for an incorrect link in the Keep in touch with ACERT mailing.)

We hope the education staff who participate will be able to plan and develop the network but ACERT will be there to support. Spread the word!

Join us using the link above or e-mail if you are interested.