Gypsy and Traveller students starting university doubles in a year – new government figures reveal
Over 600 Gypsy and Traveller students started a degree course at university or college last year, which is more than twice as many than the year before – new government figures released this week reveals.
Every year the Office for Students releases the figure of the self-identified ethnicity of new and existing students in English Higher Education establishments, and the latest figures for the academic year 2021-2022 were released on Wednesday, 25/07/2023.
In 2021-2022, the total number of Gypsy and Traveller students starting a degree was 620, compared to 310 in 2020-21.
A further breakdown of those figures shows that 410 Gypsy and Traveller students started a degree in business and management, 60 in design, creative and performing arts, and 10 in education and teaching, with the rest not known.
This brings the total number of Gypsy and Traveller students studying at degree level in England during that year to 1,000 in total. Degree courses generally last three years.
60 Gypsy and Traveller students were also studying at post graduate level in 2021-2022 – either for a masters degree or a doctorate. This is a rise of 10 from the year before.
The government has been collecting the statistics for Gypsy and Traveller Higher Education students since 2011-12, when it recorded 10 Gypsy and Traveller students starting a degree, and the numbers have been rising ever since.
Gypsy and Traveller education experts generally agree that the rise is due to two main factors: More Gypsies and Travellers are going to university, and when they are there, they are becoming more confident about revealing their ethnic identity, whereas in the past prejudice and racism may have caused them to hide who they were.
Ground-breaking work by campaigners based in and around Buckinghamshire New University has signed up many universities and colleges to ‘pledge’ to do more for Gypsy, Traveller, Showmen and Boater students.
Mike Doherty/TT News