Ask The Traveller Movement: Back to school help and advice

3 September 2018
The Traveller Movement Logo

Its that time of year again when the summer is coming to a close and the kids are going back to school.The Traveller Movement are here to remind parents that they are able to offer support with a whole range of education issues from dealing with bullying to school transport.

Hi everyone..................writes Patricia Stapleton. I’m the manager of the Education Team here at the Traveller Movement. While school can be a great time of learning and discovery, we know that Travellers and Gypsies face certain and distinctive disadvantages. Our job in the Traveller Movement is to advise and support families with any educational issues they may have.

It’s so important to speak to someone if you are concerned that your child’s needs are not being met. The Traveller Movement provide advocacy and support to Gypsy and Traveller parents with issues such as:

  • attendance
  • admissions
  • school transport
  • financial support for school resources
  • bullying
  • school transfers
  • mediation
  • dealing with bullying
  • advice relating to special educational needs.

 

We also support schools, who will call for advice on how to positively engage with GRT communities.

If you are concerned, or just have a question please feel free to get in touch on 0207 607 2002.

Adult sat in classroom with young people

How we can help

Going back to school can be a stressful time for all parents. Finding the money for school uniforms, getting the necessary resources, or trying to find appropriate school transport can come at a high cost. GRT parents are no different. If you need assistance in securing extra funding, please get in touch with the team and we will advise accordingly.

Our team have lots of expertise and experience in helping Gypsy and Traveller children and their families through schooling. We can write letters, attend meetings, make relevant contacts and have discussions with the appropriate people in order to ensure that the children we work with get a fair chance at educational success.

If your child is not returning to school, but is still of compulsory school age perhaps you are considering elective home education. This is the term used by the Department for Education (DfE) to describe parents' decisions to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school. If you would like more information regarding elective home education we would be more than happy to speak to you.

Where we cannot assist, and where further legal input is required, we can refer you to a solicitor. 

Cassie stood in classroom
Cassie

Why we are here

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller kids have the lowest educational attainment rate of all ethnic minority students in the UK. They are over-represented in exclusions statistics, early school leaving and in home education statistics. Many of the calls we get relate to unaddressed and persistent racist bullying of GRT kids. We think this is unacceptable. In our work we encourage schools and parents to work alongside one another to help find workable solutions that best support the children. We advise on the best course of action and the best way to support children to get the education they deserve. 

In our work with schools, we encourage teachers to engage more positively with Gypsy and Traveller families. We encourage better implementation of anti-bullying policies; and we request that schools do their utmost to ensure children have all the supports they need in order to complete their education. We also promote Gypsy, Roma Traveller History Month (GRTHM) as a way of integrating the heritage and culture of GRT communities into the school curriculum. Schools that celebrate GRTHM tend to have better retention of GRT pupils, and are more willing to want to eradicate GRT prejudice and discrimination in schools. Last year we developed resources with Twinkl to help schools celebrate History month, and those that did had a marvelous response from teachers and children alike.

This need has been recognised by Esmee Fairbairn, who kindly fund our education project.

Our fact sheets

You can find lots of information on our website or you contact the education team in the Traveller Movement and we will do our best to help you. 

Our education fact sheets are a good place to start!  

Click here for information regarding Types of Schools

Click here for information on School Admissions

Click here for information on School Applications

Click here for information regarding Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Click here for information regarding Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)

Click here for information on School Exclusions

If you would like to talk in person you can ring us on 0207 607 2002 or call the mobile 0794 953 3342 and we’ll do our best to support you. Or, you can email us at education@travellermovement.org.uk.


Category
Region