The collective grouping of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers includes those families who may share aspects of a similar lifestyle but do not necessarily share the linguistic and cultural heritage and would not therefore ascribe to that ethnicity.
Data held on cohort sizes for children from Gypsy, Roma (WROM) or Travellers of Irish Heritage (WIRT) families generally present much smaller numbers than local knowledge suggests is the true picture. Families may ascribe as White British (WBRI), Irish (WIRI) or possibly White Other (WOTH) if from an Eastern European Roma background. In this way, they keep their GRT identities hidden, particularly easy to do if they live in a house since this means they are not visible.
EMTAS work with schools to encourage Traveller families to ascribe correctly to their ethnicity. Ascription is a matter of choice and should not be based on fear of discrimination or persecution. For some families, mis-ascription may because they are no longer travelling and they do not consider themselves to be ‘Travellers’. There may also be some misunderstanding about ethnicity, culture and lifestyle. For some families it may be they are fearful of what it means to ascribe and may consider their ethnicity and heritage no one else’s business but their own.
The benefits of accurate ascription are that the child, family and school can access EMTAS support for a range of issues which might include transition, attendance, academic progress and use of the T code.
EMTAS support can also allow the child to be themselves in school and not feel the need to hide their identity. This can support their social and academic progress.
EMTAS have produced a leaflet, describing the benefits of correct ascription. Schools can also download and use to promote correct ascription.