Gypsy traveller pupils in schools in the London Borough of Greenwich: a report on good practice


Bhopal, Kalwant and Myers, Martin (2006) Gypsy traveller pupils in schools in the London Borough of Greenwich: a report on good practice. London, UK, Education and Inspectorate Advisory Service, 26pp.

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Description/Abstract

This report examines examples of good practice in schools in Greenwich. It argues that ‘good practice’ is not a simple set of measures, policies or procedures that can be implemented at will. Rather it is a culmination of attitudes and behaviours that reflect the school’s ethos and the whole relationship between the institution and Gypsy Traveller families. Within this holistic view some identifiable trends can be seen to emerge that are symptomatic of ‘good practice’ and were seen to be embedded within some schools in the London Borough of Greenwich. These are elements of ‘good practice’ that are firmly in place and clearly result in a marked and positive impact on the educational achievements of Gypsy Traveller children. These include:

 Those schools who are showing success with Gypsy Travellers are those who work alongside the TES as partners as well as independently. The support provided by the TES to schools is crucial to the development of good practice. The TES is not however a substitute for the schools educational and welfare responsibilities.

 The commitment of the head and senior management to the inclusive ethos of the school is crucial in setting the tone of the school towards the positive treatment of Gypsy Travellers. Outside the school gates Gypsy Traveller culture is often misunderstood and misrepresented; within the school gates the commitment to providing an inclusive education requires an understanding of differences in culture and sensitivity towards Gypsy Traveller culture.

 Schools that demonstrated ‘good practice’ tended to be flexible in their approach to meeting the needs of all pupils. This flexibility needs to be seen within a context of shaping multi-cultural understandings within the school gates that are understood by everyone at the school. Respecting and understanding the culture and identity of individual pupils and particular communities of pupils, and the respective differences between individual and communities, may not in itself provide schools with a clear understanding of what ‘good practice’ should look like. However, by engaging in such conversations with pupils and communities about their culture and identity more informed choices can be made.

 The motivation of Gypsy Traveller pupils to attend school and fully participate is strongly influenced by the quality of intercultural relations and the anti-racist policies and practices.

 Confidence and enthusiasm for learning is directly influenced by the extent to which the curriculum and resources reflect the reality of Gypsy Traveller culture, language and history.

 The schools with the most effective practice invest significant management resources into the establishment of positive relationship with parents and pupils. These are schools that listen to parents and pupils and welcome communication with pupils regarding the education of their children.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Keywords: gypsy travellers, good practice, primary and secondary schools, inclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Professional Practice & Pedagogy
ePrint ID: 42877
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:27
Publisher: Education and Inspectorate Advisory Service
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/42877

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