Pangel and the Karfins

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This is a traditional Romani tale, retold by Nick Radu, in e-book format.

 

Race report has few surprises

Since 2010, the position of UK Governments has been to avoid spending money and rely on local solutions. In the case of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers everything ground to a halt in 2013, when the so-called Ministerial Working Group to address the inequalities faced by Gypsies and Travellers, met for the last time.

Theresa May became Prime Minister pledging to make a success of Brexit and to make society fairer for hard working families. It was out of this concern that she conducted a Race Disparity Audit report pulling together statistics from different departments, focusing on variations in experience and outcome between the different minority groups, in different areas of the country. It is compelling stuff, although in education we have long been aware the Gypsies, Roma and Travellers came the bottom of virtually every index, apart from absence, exclusion and special needs.

Pupils from Gypsy or Roma backgrounds and those from a Traveller or Irish Heritage background had the lowest attainment of all ethnic groups throughout their school years. As shown in Figure 4.1, at age 5, around a quarter of Gypsy and Roma pupils achieved a good level of development, making them around three times less likely to do so than average. At key stage 4 the disparity is wider; in 2015/16 the Attainment 8 score – an average of points scored for attainment in 8 GCSEs including English and Maths – for Gypsy and Roma pupils was 20 points compared with the English average of 50 points and 62 points for Chinese pupils. Gypsy and Roma pupils, and those from an Irish Traveller background, also made less progress compared with the average for pupils with similar prior attainment. They were also far less likely to stay in education after the age of 16 than pupils in any other ethnic group, with just 58% of Irish Traveller pupils and 62% or Gypsy and Roma pupils staying on in 2014/15, compared with 90% of White British pupils and 97% of Chinese pupils.(p.19)

The pupils most likely to be absent were Gypsy or Roma pupils, and those of an Irish Traveller background, with overall absence rates (that is, the percentage of all possible ‘sessions’ that were missed) of 13% and 18% respectively in 2016. (p.22)

Gypsy or Roma pupils, and those of an Irish Traveller background were also most likely to be excluded in 2015/16: 22% and 18% of pupils in these groups respectively were given fixed period exclusions, and 0.33% and 0.49% of each group respectively were permanently excluded.(p.23)

Only around two-thirds of Gypsy or Roma pupils (62%), and those of an Irish Traveller background (58%) stayed in education, employment or training in the 2014/15 academic year.(p.23)

 

In the rest of the audit, which deals with health, employment, housing, economic well being, criminal justice there is only a single reference to Gypsies, Roma or Travellers (referring to the poor health of the over 65s). The inclusion of the ethnic categories Gypsy Roma and Traveller of Irish Heritage in the Pupil Level Census has generated data which clearly illustrates the educational disadvantage of these communities. In every other area they remain invisible, though no less disadvantaged.

Recognising the problem is only the first step on the road to solving it. The DFE has in the past few weeks been contacting local authorities who still offer some form of Traveller Education support, trying to identify good practice. It’s frustrating for those of us who contributed to the National Strategies documentation and the 2010 Research report Improving outcomes of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils. Combined these documents distill good practice.

We know what to do: we just need the support of Government to do it. Peter Norton of nomadic called for action in his letter to the Guardian, while Cassie-Marie McDonagh, of the Traveller Movement wrote a powerful opinion piece, explaining why things were unlikely to change quickly.

The shoe project

A Romanian newspaper reports the donation of shoes by the children of Mayespark Primary School in Redbridge, organised by Nick Radu on behalf of nomadic education CIC. The school also donated a whiteboard. Nick Radu works as a mentor at Mayespark, supporting the inclusion and achievement of ethnic minority pupils, including Roma.

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Ofsted recommends more support for Roma pupils

An OFTED survey, Overcoming barriers: ensuring that Roma children are fully engaged and achieving in education, has said that children from Roma backgrounds must be better supported to learn and achieve, after figures revealed the number of “Gypsy/Roma” pupils enrolling in English schools increased by 13.7% to 19,030 over the past year. The watchdog surveyed three local councils and 11 schools with a large intake of Roma pupils from Eastern Europe. Although head teachers reported no adverse effect on the achievement of other pupils already in their schools, some schools had struggled to get pupils to follow school routines and behave appropriately. Ofsted recommends that local authorities should ensure that there is a dedicated and knowledgeable senior leader who can push forward the local authority’s strategies for improving outcomes for Roma pupils. The report went on to note that some schools have felt obliged to meet the costs of lunches, uniforms and trips for Roma pupils despite not receiving funding to do so.

Some key points noted by nomadic include:

  • Strategies for including Roma are the same as used by Traveller Education Support Services and highlighted in the National Strategies Guidance, NFER research etc. including
    • an identified member of Senior Management team with responsibility for Roma
    • interagency liaison and monitoring to support achievement and transitions
    • outreach and use of community members as mediators and Teaching Assistants to promote engagement and inclusion.
  • A few schools seem to have had a significant numbers, but overall there is nothing in the report to justify scare stories in some sections of the press.
  • There is strong endorsement of specialist support services and a powerful quote from a Roma support worker confirming the value of proactive rather than reactive interventions.
  • It emphasises the financial problems for the schools and families resulting from their ineligibility for Pupil Premium.
  • There is also support for induction by high quality experienced qualified specialist teachers, and explicit criticism of Teaching Assistant led classes.
  • Concerns were raised about high levels of mobility, coordination across agencies and monitoring within schools.

Autumn Term 2014 Network Meeting

Supporting Inclusion and Achievement

Wednesday September 24th, 2014
4.15pm to 5.45pm
at
Thorpe Hall Primary School
Hale End Road
Walthamstow
London E17 4DP
Telephone: 020 8527 4062

Agenda:

  •  An introduction to Romanes , the Romani language.  Participants will receive a dictionary, essential word list and practical ways for using the language with children.
  • Nick Radu, from Riverley, will give practical hints and tips on raising Roma achievement in practice
  • We hope to hear from a Waltham Forest School, on their experience of including Roma children, and improving their outcomes
  • Brian Foster will present the TARGET model for improving outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils
  • ‘nomadic’  What’s in it for your school
Book your place

Summer 2014 network meeting

 Supporting Inclusion and Achievement

Wednesday July 9th, 2014
4.15pm to 5.45pm
at
Riverley Primary
Park Road
Leyton
London E10 7BZ
Telephone: 020 8539 4535

Agenda:

    • An introduction to Romanes , the Romani language.
    • Recent DFE data on achievement and inclusion of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils.
    • Educational issues affecting Gypsy, Roma Traveller children in East London and ways to address them (discussion).
    • Presentation on nomadic’s work in Rowland Hill Children’s Centre, Kensington and Riverley Primary Schools.

 

Spring 2014 network meeting

Waltham Forest Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Schools Network

HOW DO WE COMPARE?

March 12th, 2014
4.15pm to 5.45pm
at
Riverley Primary
Park Road
Leyton
London E10 7BZ
Telephone: 020 8539 4535

Agenda:

  • Introductions
  • Latest DfE data on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller attainment, attendance and exclusions
  • New arrivals – implications for schools
    (including video of Nick Radu with Nigel Farrage)
  • Current nomadic projects
    • Kensington
    • Folkestone
    • Cambridgeshire
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2014

Book places here

The voice of reason

January 1st saw the residence regulation on Bulgarian and Romanian national relaxed. Many had predicted a flood of migrants from those countries, particular poorer people without guaranteed offer of jobs. Roma in Eastern Europe experience high levels of unemployment and tend to work in casual and poorly paid jobs. So much of the anxiety about a deluge of poor and unskilled Romanians and Bulgarians was, in fact, code for Roma.

In the end the flood was nothing more than a trickle, but ITV’s daybreak programme decided to devote time to considering the issue on the Daybreak programme on the 6th January. Nick Radu, a member of the nomadic-education team, was asked to share a sofa with Nigel Farrage and be the voice of reason into the Eurosceptic debate in which the Roma are becoming a political football.