EMTAS work with schools to encourage Traveller families to ascribe correctly to their ethnicity

About ascription

In UK schools, information about pupils’ ethnic backgrounds is collected and used to monitor progress and achievement.  It is a statutory requirement that all schools collect this information for every child.  This means schools have to collect ethnicity data by law.

Parents have the right to decide whether or not to give this information to the school and the school cannot make an ascription decision for a family without the family’s consent.  It is advised that schools offer support to parents to help them understand why they are being asked to provide the information.

When a child first joins a UK school, the parents will be asked to ascribe to the ethnic group they feel best represents their family’s background.  Children who are in secondary school (11-16 years old) can do this for themselves though it is recommended they do so with the support of their families. 

How is this relevant to GTRSB pupils?

Data held on cohort sizes for children from Gypsy and Roma backgrounds (WROM) or Travellers of Irish Heritage (WIRT) generally present much lower numbers than local knowledge suggests is the true picture. Some GTRSB families may choose to ascribe as White British (WBRI), White Irish (WIRI) or possibly White Other (WOTH) if they are of Eastern European Roma heritage. Furthermore, in some families there may be a blend of identities, a Showmen father with a Romany Gypsy mother, or a Romany Gypsy father with a mother whose ethnicity is unrelated to any Traveller heritage for example. Children in families like these examples might ascribe to various ethnic groups eg White Other (WOTH) or Mixed Other (MOTH). This can mean it is difficult for schools to accurately identify all their GTRSB pupils.

One reason why it is important to collect ascription data is because it is used to monitor the progress and achievement of different groups of pupils to make sure none is disadvantaged. Another is that correct ascription can provide GTRSB families with access to dual registration.

For some families, eg Showmen and Circus who may ascribe as White British (WBRI), letting the school know they are Showmen or Circus can mean it is then easier for schools to make use of the T code. The T code is used to authorise absences under specific circumstances.

These benefits may be particularly relevant to some of Hampshire's GTRSB families.

This postcard can be used to support conversations about the importance of correct ascription with GTRSB families.

Contact Sarah Coles [email protected] or Helen Smith [email protected] for advice and support with any issues relating to ascription for your GTRSB communities.