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Joined-up working for education in travelling communities


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The seminar will demonstrate good practice in collaborative working between education, housing, health and social work colleagues, and include examples of experiential learning specific to Traveller communities and lifestyles to highlight the relevance of Curriculum for Excellence to their learning and teaching in the 21st century.

Published in: Education, Travel
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Joined-up working for education in travelling communities

  1. 1. On the move with Scotland’s Travelling Communities: Supporting learning and teaching; Connecting learners and teachers.
  2. 2. Gypsy and Traveller Communities across the UK • Scottish Travellers - Gypsies/Travellers Scotland’s oldest indigenous ethnic minority • Irish Travellers, Romani or Romanichals from England & South Wales • European Roma Gypsies - 20th & 21st centuries (EAL) • Occupational Travellers; Fair and Show Travellers, circus Travellers • New Travellers • People not belonging to any of above who live in caravans
  3. 3. Where do Travellers live? Where do Travellers live? • Local authority sites, private sites, roadside encampments, yards and houses • Many Traveller families live in houses for all or part of the year, but retain their diverse cultural identities and family-based lifestyles
  4. 4. How many Gypsy and Traveller pupils attend Scottish schools? • National statistics on ethnicity • Unreliable figures due to non- disclosure • Why Traveller families hide their cultural identities?
  5. 5. Gypsies and Travellers barriers to education • Many non-Travellers still view discrimination of Travellers as socially acceptable racism • Shared feature of differentiated histories, cultures and family based life- styles - mobility -experience of interrupted learning • Traveller pupils’ learning needs are as diverse as many mainstream pupil population
  6. 6. Highly mobile children may find it difficult to access a ‘school-based’ education • Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act (2000) – entitlement to ‘a school education’ • National Guidance- Inclusive Education for Gypsies and Travellers (2003) • Additional Support for Learning Act (2004) & Code of Practice (2006) • HMIe’s HGIOS -Taking a closer look at Inclusion and Equality: Meeting the needs of Gypsies and Travellers (2005) • Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000)
  7. 7. Encouraging families to send children & young people to school? Outreach working with families to make and maintain trust between families and: – Designated teachers (also called dedicated) – Site managers – School staff – Colleagues from other agencies offering support Interagency working within a local authority and across local authority boundaries
  8. 8. The long way round – a case study
  9. 9. Good communications are vital! • Designated staff – accompany school staff to home visits – accompany parents to meetings at school • School staff - establish direct communications between Traveller family and school staff - Travellers may not read or understand written communications - including school booklets - Pick up the phone - be a good listener - respect privacy of information - regularly update emergency contacts
  10. 10. Multi-agency working • Clearly identify role • Issues that impact on education • Facilitate access to information and services • Networks of support – local and national • Sharing of information • Transference of trust
  11. 11. Traveller parents’ concerns about schools • Personal experience • Their own lack of literacy • Security of children away from family • Social exclusion, bullying and racism • Different values and expectations • Cultural differences
  12. 12. Enrolment - flexible beginnings Offer help (sensitively) if required with the following: • Which school? • Transport from site • Form filling for uniforms for meals • Attendance and absence (STEP DVD) • Let family know that school staff understand about travelling lifestyles • & that child’s return is welcomed by the school
  13. 13. Curriculum for Excellence • Be aware of and celebrate skills valued by Gypsy and Traveller families • Many pupils within their own communities are well on their way:
  14. 14. successful learners
  15. 15. confident individuals
  16. 16. responsible citizens
  17. 17. effective contributors
  18. 18. Assessment is for Learning - reflecting achievement Would children from non- Traveller communities be able to identify • A lurcher • A Weippert • A screeve • Standard formal testing often inappropriate as culturally irrelevant & insufficiently flexible
  19. 19. Mismatch between learning priorities & skills • Formal literacy/numeracy - shaped by age/stage approaches - clash with Oral cultures • Interrupted learning or learning difficulties? • Ask a pupil “what do you feel you need to learn?” • Children learning formal skills at a later stage may progress quickly - prioritise • Place according to ability rather than level of attainment - RELAX many ways to record success!!!
  20. 20. Inclusive educational approaches Class teachers support? • Colleagues at school • Learning Support • Support Services - designated teacher • Scottish Traveller Education Programme • Traveller Education Network (TENET) • LTScotland - Inclusive education • HMIe
  21. 21. Inclusive educational strategies • Relax and allow a settling in period • Assessment is for Learning - specialist resources e.g. IRAG • Flexible placing & timetabling, regardless of age/stage • Working with others - buddies • explaining the school day, scribing, helping with reading instructions, paired reading, sharing ICT literacy support - just what you would do for all pupils
  22. 22. Children feel included if lifestyles are reflected in class room resources & displays • Resources representing Gypsy and Traveller cultures available for all pupils • Resources to meet differences between age and stage available for all pupils with interrupted learning
  23. 23. Homework - additional support needs? Offer same opportunities as for other pupils, BUT - • Be understanding about non-completion – Family not able to support – May not have resources for homework • Opportunity for school to be creative in use of Additional Support for Learning - good practice - Review homework help for all pupils - Homework club on site?
  24. 24. Alternative provision • Learning in out of school settings • Avoidance of racism – safe environment • Learning seen as relevant • Limited provision – dependant on time provision and resources • Maintain contact – lifelong learning • Access to accreditation?
  25. 25. Distance learning - ICT supported futures • Gypsy and Traveller learners (and others with interrupted learning) • Gypsy & Traveller families • class and designated teachers of Travellers (TENET) • ICT development and support officers • Education Authorities • GLOW services • LTScotland • Scottish Traveller Education Programme • Voluntary Organisations supporting Travellers • Scottish Government
  26. 26. Useful websites (STEP’s website providing contacts, networks, publications, papers, cultural information and resources for teachers) Professional organisation of teachers of Travellers sharing good practice, information and resources. 2/0 (for statistics)