Enabling every child to fulfill his or her potential is at the heart of the Government's drive to raise school standards. Many young people from minority ethnic backgrounds achieve at the highest level but for pupils from some minority ethnic groups, the gaps remain unacceptably wide.
At present, Gypsy/Roma pupils and pupils of Irish Traveller heritage (GRT) are among the lowest-achieving groups at every Key Stage of education, although individual GRT pupils can and do achieve very well.
Attainment gaps are a complex issue and the underperformance of GRT pupils may be due to a combination of factors, including financial deprivation, low levels of parental literacy and aspiration for their children’s academic achievement, poor attendance and bullying.
We know that there is a particularly strong link between deprivation and underachievement and in primary schools, 43.2 per cent of all registered pupils registered as either Gypsy, Roma or Irish Traveller are currently eligible for free school meals; this figure rises to 45.3 per cent in secondary schools and 57.5 per cent in special schools. Those pupils who are eligible for free school meals will benefit directly from the Pupil Premium, which is providing an additional £430 per pupil from April 2011 to help raise their attainment. They may also benefit from the £125m Education Endowment Fund, which will fund bold and innovative approaches to raising the attainment of disadvantaged children in underperforming schools.
On 4 April 2012, the Department published a ministerial working group report containing 28 measures from across Government designed to improve outcomes for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
Commitments outlined in the report include:
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Details of the GRT stakeholder group.
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The National Association of Teachers of Travellers + Other Professionals (NATT+) provides a national platform for teachers and others working in the field of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller education to share resources and promote good practice. It represents and supports members at a national level and offers the opportunity for members to participate in innovative programmes of work aimed at raising the achievement and attainment Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils.
The Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers (ACERT) was founded in 1973. It acts as a campaigning and lobbying organisation and seeks to ensure equal access to education, health and community services for GRT families, as well as safe and secure accommodation and an end to discrimination on racial and other grounds.