ACERT Education Network 28/2/24. 

Apologies: Sue Mutter

Attendance: Anne Walker, Jolene Chisholm, Sam Hoban, Heather Bottomley. Esther Stubbs, Gibson, Safeenah, Ian Lake, Ellen Tout, Selina, Narvenka, Joseph McCarron-Shipman (TTM), Jonathan Green, Ngee, TJ Whittaker, Jethro, Rose Wilson, John Wilson, Selina Costello, Dee Cooper.

Introducing the Pledge

Heather Bottomley is dislexia tutor at Leeds Beckett University. A senior member pf the Equality team of GRT heritage had been working to introduce the Pledge, but had left her post and subsequently no further work was done to implement it. Heather would like to revive it and is seeking advice and contacts from the Network. 

Esther Stubbs is at Anglia Ruskin Uni which has implemented the pledge (led by David Smith at ARU and Margaret Greenfields nationally. Selina recommended Wendy Price at Sunderland University. Jethro reported some resistance to the pledge from UAE. Jon Tan is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett.

New Community Development team 

Jolene Chisholm began work in Aug 2023. as a member of the 15 strong team. The County Council have – been doing for ages but not Cambridge City.

She began by emailing 60 professionals and received generally positive responses. Set about organising advice sessions on Education, Finance, NHS, Vaccinations and Drop in clinics without appointments. Screening clinics. Avoiding waiting times. Red Table Talks – raising issues for families in a way they can engage with.. Getting a couple of GPs and possibly making a podcast. Trrip to National Horse Racing museum in GRT History Month. Pediatric First Aid course with 30 participants 

Jolene finds services want to reach out and she acts as a mediator. Margaret explained that the Mayor of Greater Cambridge is a doctor who was very supportive in the past and Mairéad Healy who used to be with TTM is an elected Councillor on Cambridge City Council, where she serves as the Executive Member with responsibility for Health and Wellbeing, Anti-poverty and Equalities; she was one of those who lobbied for the creation of Jolene’s post.

Dee Cooper founder of the Surrey Traveller Womens’ Health Group which runs drop in centre. NHS have asked her make films. Nurses have cultural awareness training.

John Wilson

When John moved to Orpington he found 70% of pupils in the school his children enrolled in were of GRT heritage. The Trav. Ed. Service used school as a hub. John became chair of Governors and raised awareness among school staff and families.

When Bromley Community project folded, NOVAS a small housing association took over the management of two small sites. They developed work across country, including the north of Ireland, where they managed group housing schemes; integrated into other housing projects.

In the late 60s and 70s, the Greater London Council built 47,000 homes on reclaimed marsh land, previously occupied by Travellers. Peabody is coordinating the process of regeneration doubling the capacity by 2050, and improving the quality of exisiting buildings..

There are many settled GRT families in Thamesmead and some keep horses. 4,500 people work for Peabody but only one identifies as GRT, although John knows of 6 or 7. He produces a newsletter with Peabody and in schools. Elder GRTs proud of their role in building Thamesmead. “Memories of the marshes” by Betsy Cooper. Thomas Acton also published a book of photographs and the Gypsy Council was formed in the area. John uses this information to work in Primary Schools and is developing an oral history project.

Early literacies research

Spyros Themelis introduces ROMLIT

What’s the focus?

  • Understanding the original, multiple and diverse literacies of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers
  • Recognising the role that children, parents, siblings, community members and early years practitioners play in early years literacies
  • Identifying and co-creating empowering practices working with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

What are we doing?

  • Learning about literacy approaches that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and communities use
  • Exploring the way Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children navigate different levels of literacy
  • Identifying strategies to promote positive relationships across communities and settings

How are we doing it?

  • Working across different regions of England with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
  • Looking at practice that take place at home, in education and within the community
  • Working in partnership with communities, settings and experts from across the UK
  • Producing materials that celebrate and support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children’s needs.