Pavees and COVID-19: An Education Policy Analysis

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.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2020

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month may look different this year but it remains a celebration of the rich culture and heritage of Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showmen and Circus communities in London.

More than 60 people joined the event via Zoom hosted by ACERT Vice-chair (among many other roles) Tyler Hatwell. The event included a range of video clips, live contributions and awards for GRTHM competitions. A recording of the event is available on the GRTHM 2020 Facebook page.

There were individual live contributions from:
Debbie Weekes-Bernard Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement
Chelsea McDonagh The Traveller Movement and ACERT
Lois Brookes-Jones & Traveller Pride
Dr Dea Birkett
Oliver (RSG)

Video clips included:
GRTHM 2019 London Event
Ando Glaso
Circus Videos
NFCA/Fairground & Archive footage
Faith I Branko
Newham Bridging Sounds Orchestra
Roma Support Group
London Gypsies and Travellers
Newham Bridging Sounds Orchestra

50th Anniversary of the 1971 World Romani Congress

8th April 2021 will be the 50th Anniversary of the 1971 World Romani Congress, which led to the explosion of Roma, Gypsy and Traveller activism across the world.

An open-membership, non-political committee has been set up in London to liaise between people who want to organise events to mark this very special Roma National Day. 

Within the London Committee we are working towards two specific events so far:

1)     A large, interactive exhibition organised by the Galerie Kai Dikhas in Berlin to bring a selection of the best of modern Romani Gypsy and Traveller art to prestigious venues in London 

2)     A pilgrimage to Cannock House, in Chelsfield, site of the 1971 Congress, with a concert/performance event led by the Romani singer-songwriter, Pashey Smith, hopefully at the Bull Public House where the Gypsy Council was founded in 1966 (and its own 50th anniversary celebrated in 2016.)

Funding applications are pending. An academic seminar might be another possibility if one of the younger Roma, Gypsy or Traveller academics who still has a job steps up to organise it.

We would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in these events, or would like help with or publicity for stuff they are organising.

The chair of the committee is Virgil Bitu, the secretary is Thomas Acton, and Grattan Puxon, who founded the Gypsy Council and ran the first World Romani Congress is a prominent member.

Contact details

Virgil Bitu  

Thomas Acton 

Grattan Puxon

Contact Thomas Acton if you want minutes of the three meetings held so far or to go on the London Committee mailing list.