The term ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller’ encompasses a wide range of individuals who may be defined in relation to their ethnicity, heritage, way of life and how they self-identify.
- English or Welsh Romany Gypsies
- European Roma
- Irish Travellers
- Scottish Gypsy Travellers
- Showpeople such as people linked with fairground or circus professions
- People living on barges or other boats
- People living in settled (bricks and mortar) accommodation
- New Age Travellers.
Recognising this diversity is important to identifying, understanding and addressing the needs of individuals within these communities.
Why this is important
Research shows that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils have the lowest attainment in compulsory schooling of all ethnic groups, which in turn impacts their access to higher education.
A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that:
- The attainment gap in compulsory schooling between Gypsy and Roma pupils and white pupils has widened.
- The attainment gap between Irish Heritage Traveller pupils and white pupils has not changed.
- In 2017, 22 per cent of pupils from Irish Traveller backgrounds and 11 per cent from Gypsy and Roma backgrounds attained GCSEs in English and maths at grade 4 or above, compared with 64 per cent of pupils nationally.
- Rates of exclusion from school of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils is 4 to 5 times higher than national average.
- There is a shortage of expertise to provide effective support to Roma pupils.
- Many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller experiences remain invisible and ignored in wider agendas.
To address the underrepresentation of people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in higher education, providers must act on barriers to school success.