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Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children to receive extra support

The government has launched an education and training programmes to help Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children catch up on lost learning.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said children from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds are among the lowest-achieving groups at every key stage of education.

And they are likely to have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic, due to lack of access to public services and digital exclusion, which impairs access to online learning.

The programme will give more than 100 children from and young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will receive extra tutoring, one-to-one support and expert guidance to help them progress in education or find employment,

The first of the projects, provided by the Traveller Movement and Open Doors Education and Training, will provide online ‘catch-up’ tutoring for a group of up to 80 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children to support their learning and tackle the attainment gap between these children and their peers.

The second will provide up to 30 young people who are not in education, employment and training in Derbyshire, London, Essex and Kent with access to targeted support and educational resources to help move them into further education or employment.

Sarah Mann, director of national charity Friends, Families and Travellers, welcomed the support and is calling on the government to follow through with its promise to create a national strategy to tackle inequalities Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities face.

‘We welcome the news of the government funding and recognition of the brilliant work of the Traveller Movement and Open Doors Education and Training.

‘However, we are concerned that the amount of funding allocated only scratches the surface of what it is needed.

‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and young people face some of the greatest inequalities in education of any ethnic group and this gap has widened over the past year.

‘The government must make good on its promise of a national strategy to tackle inequalities in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities which is now overdue.’

MHCLG said it is leading the development of a cross-government strategy to tackle the inequalities and improve outcomes faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across the country.

The Department for Education is also running a National Tutoring Programme which will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people over the 2020-21 academic year.

MHCLG said this will help accelerate their academic progress and prevent the gap between them and their more affluent peers widening.

Communities minister, Lord Greenhalgh, said: ‘All of the evidence shows us that members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities continue to face some of the steepest challenges in society, and the pandemic is likely to have increased these yet further, especially in education.

‘Children from these communities have been disproportionately affected by being out of school, which is why I am so determined to help them bridge the gap to their peers.

‘These important projects will ensure that vulnerable children have a fair chance in life and are given the opportunity to gain further skills and experiences to help them in education or in the workplace.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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