Description of Contents
This training product originates from the’ irespect’ web portal to respond to the needs of Gypsy Travellers and Irish Travellers in the Gloucestershire county council, UK. These groups are nationally in the UK the most underachieving ethnic groups. It is a very clear guide on how to integrate travellers’ children in schools.
It starts with some information on Travellers (Gypsy and Romany Travellers, Irish Travellers, Showmen, Circus and new Travellers, legal documents that support their right to education and good practice of race equality within schools. It next focuses on voluntary self-declared ethnicity ascription, and developing a culturally rich curriculum. It also focuses on why traveller parents have anxieties about schools, offers ideas for good practice in school and in establishing and maintaining good relationships with traveller parents, as well as ideas for supporting traveller pupils who have little or no previous school experience. It closes on welcoming circus and other performing families to the classroom, information on developing a post for traveller liaison with a school, strategies to improve attendance and strategies for supporting year 6 pupils transfer to secondary education.
In the section of ideas for good practice in school, besides putting an emphasis on ensuring that all staff are fully informed of the Traveller pupil’s situation and that informal training is given if needed, a series of recommendations are made on underachievement causes and consequences, the anxiety of parents, the little school experience of most traveller children, or their unsatisfactory experiences at school, the poor literacy levels of parents, the difficulties of families in assessing health care, prejudice and discrimination.
The ideas for good practice include school relations to parents, attitudes, understanding of the traveller cultures, flexible behaviour to accommodate different cultures, a pupil buddy, pairing pupils, making older siblings looking after younger siblings and a flexible approach to the use of playground areas so that younger and older traveller children may get together.
There is also a section of school attendance and improving attendance and a list of resources ( a selection of recommended books for use in primary school and of websites that support Roma, Gypsies, and Travellers.
This training guide is very clear, has a logical sequence of contents and is of high educational and learning value due to the direct ways in which it advises teachers on traveller issues.
This training product claims that raising the achievement of Traveller pupils is the responsibility of everyone within the education system. It is significant that the good practice described in this guide highlights race equality as the core of all activity. Another important aspect of this guide is the series of recommendations on developing a culturally rich curriculum, which should reflect Traveller culture in the school resources, that should promote positive images of Traveller cultures and that should celebrate the traveller rich history and way of life, while making sure that children are well integrated into schools and societies.
The section on Why do Traveller parents have anxieties about school? Is particularly interesting in that it highlights that “Some parents have found that some schools are not welcoming to traveller pupils.
• Some parents have had little or no previous school experience themselves. For those parents who have had experience of attending school, it may not have been satisfactory.
• Some parents feel that their children don’t have a right to a school place if they are only in the area for a short period of time.
• Some parents have concerns about whether their children will be safe at school. Many parents are often reluctant for their children to go on school trips, which take their children out of the school environment.
• Some parents feel their children will be bullied in school or that they will be judged to be less able or badly behaved.”
Therefore, the guide considers that it may be necessary to reach out to parents over and above that which is usual in order to offer as much reassurance as possible
.On the whole the transferability potential of this guide is very high as it serves all teachers that live through similar situations in Europe.