Bucks New University supports National Inclusion Week

28 September 2020
Professor Margaret Greenfields

Buckinghamshire New University is supporting National Inclusion Week, with Inclusive Employers, highlighting the key role the University is playing in developing enhanced opportunities for Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) communities to enter Higher Education.

Margaret Greenfields, Professor of Social Policy and Community Engagement, is speaking at a panel event during the week-long programme of activity from 28 September - 4 October, celebrating inclusion in all forms, with a theme of Each One, Reach One.

Prof Greenfields will be part of a panel on Wednesday 30 September, on Roma Access to Higher Education, whereas part of her discussion she will speak about steps Bucks New University has taken to widen the participation of GTRSB communities in HE.

Prof Greenfields said: "I'm absolutely delighted to have been invited to take part in this important National Inclusion Week programme of activities with a focus on 'Strengthening Roma Inclusion in the UK and Europe'.

"The opportunity to take part in the panel on Access to Higher Education creates scope to further explore with colleagues and Roma participants how best we can collectively work as academics, community members and NGOs, to provide tailored support and guidance for Roma students and their families.

"We will do this through engaging universities to deliver high-quality opportunities which enable more GTR community members to enter higher education."

Bucks New University's work includes coordinating the collaborative development of a ‘good practice pledge’ for universities to sign up to, which is aimed at supporting access to higher education and recognition within universities, for members of the communities.

The pledge, developed with input from academics, graduate and student community members, NGOs, and educational policy organisations, is supported by Baroness Whitaker, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma and President of Friends, Families, and Travellers.

Baroness Whitaker will be delivering a welcome address on the first day of National Inclusion Week, outlining the importance of inclusive policies and an action plan for 'Strengthening Roma inclusion in the UK and Europe'.

In 2019, nearly 1,500 organisations took part in National Inclusion Week through internal events and activities covering a wide range of workplace inclusion topics, as well as webinars and daily challenges from Inclusive Employers.

This year, the week also features a flagship celebration of the organisations participating in the Inclusive Employers Standard, an accreditation tool from Inclusive Employers which recognises organisations’ commitment to creating more inclusive workplaces. More information about National Inclusion Week and how to get involved is available on its website.

Later this year, Bucks New University will continue its work highlighting the importance of creating opportunities for GTRSB communities to enter Higher Education when a colleague takes part in a Westminster Higher Education Forum policy conference on 'Addressing racial discrimination and improving the ethnic minority experience in Higher Education' on 30 November.

Sherrie Smith,  Research Assistant on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Engagement, and a member of the Romani Gypsy community will be part of a panel on 'Improving racial equality within HE - the curriculum, research funding, recruitment training, and addressing the attainment and pay gap'.

Sherrie will join Dr. Zainab Khan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Outcomes and Inclusion, at London Metropolitan University; Ellie Mulcahy, Head of Research at The Centre for Education and Youth; and Howard Chae, BME Officer at University of Cambridge Students’ Union.

Prof Greenfields added: "It is vitally important that Bucks New University and our network of collaborators and partners, continue to support and have our voice heard at these influential engagement events as we continue our commitment to influencing and shaping inclusive education policy and positive change for the benefit of GTRSB communities."