Traveller children show their success in schools

A DVD to celebrate the educational achievements of young people of Traveller heritage in the boroughs of Sutton and Merton will be launched on Thursday 20 November.

The film aims to raise expectations and awareness within the Traveller communities, schools and other agencies about how to sustain education and achievement for young Travellers.

Organised and funded by The Sutton and Merton Traveller Education Service, it features local young Travellers who have had successful experiences in secondary education. The young people give an insight into their culture, what it is that inspires them to participate in secondary education and their hopes for the future.

Sarah Gwynn, from the Sutton and Merton Traveller Education Service, says:

“With Ofsted reports showing that there may be as many as 12,000 Traveller children out of secondary school at any one time, resources like this DVD are vital. We think it will make a great resource for other schools and boroughs wanting to find out more about how to make education more appealing to Traveller children and what it is that motivates them to stay in secondary education.”

Merton Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Debbie Shears says:

‘We want all children in Merton, regardless of background, to have equal access to quality education and support throughout their development.

“Both Sutton and Merton have been working hard together to ensure that local Traveller children do not become disengaged from the current education system, as is the case in many other parts of the UK.

“This film is a fantastic example of what neighbouring boroughs can achieve when we come together to put the needs of our young people first.’

Councillor Ruth Dombey, executive member for community engagement at Sutton Council says:

“In Sutton, there are students of Traveller heritage who choose to stay in education and go on to achieve very good grades. This DVD highlights their achievements and provides excellent examples of how young people of Traveller heritage can succeed in school.”

Press will have an opportunity to interview some of the many young people and families that have taken part in the making of the film.

Notes to editors:

The attendance and participation of English Gypsy and Irish Traveller young people in education has been a matter of national concern, particularly at Key Stages 3 and 4.
The Department of Children, Schools and Families has voiced concerns about the number of children of Traveller heritage who drop out of the education system before transferring to secondary school or very early in their secondary school experience.
Ofsted reports have stated that there may be as many as 12,000 Traveller children out of secondary school at any one time.
The launch will be followed by a buffet lunch – interviews with local Traveller children and families are welcome.