Traveller Movement Education Website Launch

05 May 2022

The Education Site That Puts Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Families At The Centre


In 2016 the Traveller Movement embarked on an education project that would place advocacy for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) families in the UK on the frontlines.

Following a successful three-year project, the charity decided to move forward with a second education project that would focus on challenging the government’s policy and hold local authorities accountable. This project scrutinises the actions of local authorities and schools who are responsible for the every-day education of GRT children. However, when embarking on this project we recognised how much GRT families relied on our frontline advocacy and support and knew how essential it was for our advocacy service to remain a core element of our work.


Our Mission

As an organisation who specialises in the human rights of GRT people we are acutely aware of the significant gaps and issues around multiple policy areas including education. During the website’s development, we became aware of areas of significant crossover where effective advice or guidance couldn’t be provided due to significant issues in government policy or administrative/financial breakdowns in the system. As a result, we introduced a third section to the website.

This section is entitled Our Mission and will set out in an accessible way the issues we have identified and provides a reason to GRT families, who are struggling to access good education, and explain why this might be.

We have also included in this section our own policy recommendations so that GRT families can see the impact we are having, as well as our objectives, goals and aspirations for what the education system may look like in the future. We hope this new section will also serve as a transparent and comprehensive resource to policymakers and those with the relevant powers, who are able to make the changes needed to ensure that every child, regardless of race and background has access to the very best education available, ensuring the very best start in life and maximising quality opportunities throughout life.


Enabling and empowering families

As an organisation we are incredibly proud of this project and hope that it will serve as a useful tool to enable and empower families to advocate for themselves and have the confidence to challenge bad practises which damage their children and young people’s futures. When describing this project to funders, interested parties and other contributors, we have often found it helpful two liken this website, and the service it provides to a supermarket . Just as you are able to at a self-service checkout, families are able to use the resources and technology available to enable them to serve themselves, without the need for third party intervention.

This is especially necessary as we are conscious that funding for education advocacy services is often difficult to source, is expensive as well as time consuming. It’s because of these limitations that we want to ensure our communities are equipped with they need to support themselves with everyday issues.

However just like a supermarket self-checkout we are keen to ensure that should something go wrong, or become too difficult for families to reasonably be able to handle, that there will be expert support available. This includes access to specialist trained advocates, as well as access to legal advice and services.

In addition to the website’s main focus, which is to inform and support GRT families accessing education, we are also developing dedicated sections of the website to assist schools and local authorities, who have a genuine desire to improve the educational outcomes of GRT children.

This will appear in the form of a separate schools and local authorities’ hub, which will aim to share effective resources and best practises. The aim of these sections is to enable professional to reassure and improve their standards when it comes to ensuring GRT children are provided with a good standard of education and opportunities.


Local authorities support the innovative project

We have already had a good response from multiple local authority departments who are funding and working to implement innovative new practises to address key areas of concern, that fall under local authority control. These areas include; school attendance, various financial provisions, special educational needs, as well as school exclusions. As part of this hub, we are aiming to provide networking opportunities to assist local authorities and schools with their implementation of new and existing schemes.



A current example is a scheme which works to reduce the number of fixed term and permanent school exclusions. This scheme was initially piloted by Derby City Council, spearheaded by Pauline Melvin OBE, who is the Director of Learning, Skills and Education, as well as the Chair of Trustees for the Traveller Movement. The pilot has had tremendous success in significantly reducing the number of exclusions and days of education lost for children within that local authority. We are committed to working diligently with local authorities to assist them and implementing a similar policy to help ensure that any Unnecessary exclusions do not go ahead.


A special thank you…

To conclude, we would like to thank all those organisations who have contributed to the website and its contents, as well as our expert Education Steering Group made up of educational professionals and legal experts who have guided the project to be what it is today.

We would like to give a special thanks to our funder The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation who has supported this project year after year and without whom the work we are doing to improve the lives and educational outcomes for GRT children could not possibly have been undertaken.

Finally, we were incredibly lucky to be able to commission an up-and-coming Romany artist, Elijah Vardo who created the graphics used on the website and in our wider education projects. We are incredibly thankful to Elijah for his hard work and for allowing his arts to capture the beauty, colour and rich culture that we as GRT communities have celebrated for generation after generation.

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