Supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils in school

A focus on supporting the attendance, progress and attainment of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils can help ensure children in these groups enjoy the same benefits and opportunities during their time in school as children from other groups.

As for other children, it is important for pupils from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds to see their cultures, languages, values and histories reflected in school. This can have a positive effect on their self-esteem as well as giving all pupils a balanced, positive view of diversity within their school and local community. Work in this area can help combat stereotypical views of our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, views which often lead to intolerance and racism.

EMTAS provides a range of services to support schools to meet the needs of children from all Traveller backgrounds including Gypsy, Roma, Travellers of Irish heritage, Showmen, Circus, Bargees and New Travellers.

Range of services available to schools

EMTAS aims to offer GRT-specific services to school that meet local needs, hence there is not a one-size-fits all approach.

Schools can access support for individual GRT children or for groups of children, whichever is the most appropriate to the needs of the child(ren) concerned. Support might be given through well-being mentoring or through bespoke transition packages. For older GRT children, support might focus on the transition to post-16.

Alternatively, schools can access GRT-specific services that span longer time periods for their GRT cohorts, for example pooling the notional support allocation per GRT pupil and using it to introduce the EMTAS GRT and Showmen Literacy Ambassador programme.

EMTAS Traveller Teaching Assistant (TTA)

EMTAS TTAs can work with school staff to explore the needs of GRT pupils (either individuals or groups).  They work with the pupil(s), school staff and parents to agree on a suitable programme of support.  This may take various forms including:

  • Bespoke transition programmes to support children from GRT heritages with any/all the following:
    • transition into Year R
    • transition from an Infant School to a Junior School
    • transition from Year 6 to Year 7
    • transition from Year 11 into post-16
  • Mentoring/well-being support for individual GRT pupils
  • Bespoke retention support for individual GRT pupils (KS3 and 4)
  • Bespoke transition support for students moving into the post-16 sector
  • Signposting to the New Arrivals Ambassador scheme – a peer-mentoring scheme written with vulnerable children including Traveller children as its focus. The scheme trains existing pupils to help a new entrant to the school settle into their new environment when they join at an irregular point in the academic year.
  • GRT and Showmen Literacy Ambassador programme
EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor

An EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor can work with schools to develop practice and provision for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils and their families and communities at strategic and operational levels. This may include:

  • working with the EMTAS GRT Excellence Award
  • advice on retention strategies for students in Key Stages 3 and 4
  • support with planning for transition, including transition to post-16
  • work with school to plan and deliver schemes of work celebrating Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month (GRTHM), Traveller Horse Fairs and cultural events (supporting English, Art, Drama, Music, Food Tech, History, SMSC, PSHE & British Values)
  • coordination of services with school SLT, staff and other EMTAS support staff to ensure approaches are streamlined, cohesive and effective
  • advice, training and loan of appropriate resources for use in school and classroom
  • support with curriculum planning and implementation
  • advice on distance learning materials to support those pupils who are travelling with their families for business purposes
  • supporting schools to develop links with parents/carers
  • awareness-raising of GRT cultures through training and events