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Travelling people - support for children

Gypsy Traveller Education

The Gypsy Traveller Education project exists in Merthyr Tydfil to support the educational engagement and participation of young Gypsies and Travellers throughout the County Borough. In 2010, there were 54 children from the Gypsy Traveller community attending our schools.

Our Objectives are:

  • To ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people to gain access to their legal entitlement to an education that meets their needs.
  • To promote the inclusion and achievement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people in all education and training provision.
  • To enable Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people and families to become independent users of the education system.

Whilst they have a cultural identity based on a nomadic tradition, today Gypsy Traveller families may or may not travel, with many of our local families being based permanently in Merthyr Tydfil. Our Gypsy Traveller young people believe it is important that their heritage is understood, nurtured and maintained. To this end, Gypsy Traveller young people from Merthyr Tydfil have contributed to a Welsh Assembly Government / Save the Children Fund website, Travelling Ahead that aims to bring Gypsy Traveller culture into our schools, so enriching the lives and experiences of all our young people. The Travelling Ahead website has a key role to play in providing a further on-line forum for young Gypsies and Travellers in Wales to have a say on issues that concern them, and to showcase the work of their forums.

We receive an annual grant from the Welsh Assembly Government that is used to educational support to the Gypsy Traveller children and young people, their families and schools. Merthyr Tydfil is fortunate to be within the Convergence Funding area of Wales, which means that alongside the annual grant from the Welsh Assembly Government, we are able to draw down additional European funding through the Gypsy Traveller Learning and Future Employment Project. This is allowing us to provide additional support for young people of secondary school age from the Gypsy and Traveller community.

The work undertaken within the Gypsy Traveller Education Service includes:

  • placement of Gypsy and Traveller pupils on school rolls
  • supporting individual pupils both in schools and external provider settings
  • development of appropriate Learning Pathways for KS4 and post-16 Gypsy and Traveller young people
  • development of Learning Coaching for Gypsy and Traveller young people in Key Stages 3-4 and post-16
  • supporting families to break down the barriers to engagement with learning
  • supporting pre school and early years children
  • supporting schools in assessing the needs and targeting of support for Gypsy and Traveller young people
  • further development of Gypsy Traveller Forum activities, including acquiring local and national Participation Kitemarks
  • roll-out of programmes to pupils in all primary and secondary schools in the Local Authority, in order to move toward eradicating racism, including racism toward members of the Gypsy Traveller community
  • liaising with school, parents and other agencies in order to maximise engagement, attainment and progression of Gypsy Traveller young people
  • raising awareness of Gypsy Traveller culture and lifestyle
  • providing resources reflecting Traveller culture
  • monitoring attendance, achievement and attainment levels
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