CARJ meeting focuses on Gypsy, Roma, Travellers' education

Noreen & Mary Kate Stokes after 2018 Travellers' Mass

Noreen & Mary Kate Stokes after 2018 Travellers' Mass

Improving Education for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) Young People was the theme of an event sponsored by the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) yesterday, Wednesday 20 June at the CARJ offices in Manor House, north London.

The keynote was a talk by Mrs Hayley Dyer, Head of Crays Hill School in Essex, where the majority of pupils are from Traveller families. Mrs Dyer explained how Crays Hill had managed its educational task - resulting in a series of good Ofsted Reports and wide recognition for its success.

Other speakers included a Traveller parent, a Deputy Head from Cardinal Pole, an Ursuline Sister from Brentwood, a CARJ Associate and a member of staff from the Traveller Movement. The day was chaired by Pauline Anderson, Director of Education in Derby, and herself from a Traveller background.

Those present recognised that Traveller pupils have very low rates of educational achievement and attendance and very high rates of early school leaving and exclusions - and they are often victims of bullying. This meeting was an opportunity to explore how to support these young people and their schools and families.

Key themes running through the day included:

• building trust among GRT parents and young people;
• increasing awareness of GRT culture among staff, pupils and the wider community,
• recognising the reality of wide-spread bullying
• addressing literacy as a priority for young people and adults
• recognising the limitations of 'zero tolerance' and 'one size fits all'.
• having alternatives to exclusion;
• recognising the skills of GRT young people and providing opportunities for them to develop those skills

The CARJ Traveller Support Network includes more than fifty individuals and groups, from different backgrounds, who have a commitment to the wellbeing of GRT communities. The Network meets three or four times a year and works in partnership with others who support GRT communities.

For more information see:

Tags: Travellers, Gypsy, Roma, CARJ, Traveller Support Network, GRT

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