2010-11 represented the first year of Coalition Government and many challenges for ACERT.
The localism agenda resulted in changes to planning guidance which Lord Avebury, President of ACERT, said would reverse a trend in thereduction in the proportion of the caravan-dwelling Gypsy-Traveller population who are homeless, from a quarter in 2004 to 17% in 2011.
The impact of the Dale Farm eviction, supported financially by the Government, clearly signalled the new climate
The gradual extinction of Traveller Education Support Services and the reliance on the Pupil Premium to meet needs
The Inter-Departmental Ministerial Working Group on Gypsies and Travellers (but not Roma), led by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
ACERT sought to respond to these challenges providing information to parliamentarians, stakeholders groups and government consultations. In meetings with ministers, OFSTED and the Children’s Commissioner, we sought to ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils remained on the inclusion agenda. We also worked with other organisations, such as the NATT+, ITMB and RSG, to develop effective and coordinated responses to developing policies.
This year has been a productive one in many ways. There have been regular meetings with the DCSF where Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues are discussed and we are beginning to see ways forward to building on the area of community involvement. The Appleby Fair On the Hoof project was very successful and this was aided by Cumbria’s Community Service involvement that supported the event.