Developing a parents’ network

ACERT hosted two online meetings to share our ideas for a parents’ network and dedicated website offering advice and support on issues related to education. These are associated with the Networks Conference to be held at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester on 26th June.

The material on the website will also be downloadable as a booklet for families. It will be written in direct, jargon-free language, emphasising parents’ rights and linking to other organisations supporting parents.

We also aim to include a chatroom where parents can discuss the issues which concern them, and those with more experience and confidence can empower each other.

The online meetings were positive and we learned about important work being done across the country. There is a need for an updated listing of support services across the UK and details of the kinds of assistance they can provide.

Feedback from participants was that it is a needed initiative, but would benefit from video clips, ideally of parents sharing their experiences and suggesting how issues might be tackled.

The list of issues now includes:

Education rightsAttendance rulesCurriculum content
Finding a school placeTravelling absenceSupporting education
Enrolment datesDual registrationBullying and racism
Mid-year admissionsDistance learningMaking complaints
Dual registrationExclusionsSpecial Needs
Transport to schoolTransfer to secondary school.Child protection
Home EducationSchool homework expectationPost 14 options
Vocational educationFurther and Higher EducationAdult education

…but could be extended further in future.

Please let us know if there are other topics which we should address and if you would like to be more closely involved with the development of the network.

The online meetings were conducted using Zoom, which is similar to Skype but with better quality and stability. It allows anyone with an internet connection (it works fine on Smartphones) to participate in the development of the network.

Let us know if you would like to become more involved.

Gypsy and Traveller organisations call for consultation to be withdrawn

Dr Siobhan Spencer, Trustee of the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups, co-ordinated a call for the Home Office Consultation on the strengthening of police powers of eviction of Gypsies and Travellers to be withdrawn.

A broad range of Gypsy and Traveller organisations supported the move after a meeting coordinated by Friends Families and Travellers.

  • Friends Families and Travellers
  • Traveller Movement
  • London Gypsies and Travellers
  • Leeds Gate
  • Travelling Ahead
  • Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group
  • GATEHerts
  • York Travellers Trust
  • Irish Community Care

The reasons are spelled out in the letter but are essentially these:

  • The Consultation doesn’t conform to Cabinet Office Consultation Principles and the relevant law.
  • Following the judgment in the Court of Appeal in the case of The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Bromley v Persons Unknown and Others [2020] , it is clear that the criminalisation of trespass would be unlawful.

Accommodation issues highlighted in podcast

Lisa Smith, Davie Donaldson and others feature in a BBC podcast, called The Future Of Housing For Gypsies, Romas and Travellers, released on February 28th.

It is a response to the Government consultation on whether police should evict and arrest Gypsy, Roma and Travellers living on unauthorised sites.

Click to listen