Race Disparity Audit illustrates vast gaps in data for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

On 10th October 2017, the government launched its Race Disparity Audit website entitled ‘Ethnicity Facts and Figures’. The aim of the Race Disparity Audit is to find information about the different experiences of people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds in the UK. It gathers data collected by government in one place, making it available to the public, specialists and charities.

What does the Race Disparity Audit say about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities?

The Race Disparity Audit highlights the huge gaps in data on Gypsies and Travellers in most areas, from health, to the criminal justice system. The one area where comprehensive statistics on Gypsies and Travellers exist is in education, where the fact that Gypsies and Travellers have the lowest educational attainment out of any ethnic minority in the UK, stands out starkly. The key findings in this area where that:

  • In reading attainment for children aged 5-11 Gypsy/Roma children were the least likely to meet the higher standard and Irish Traveller children made least progress in reading between key stage 1 and key stage 2.
  • Gypsy/Roma are the least likely to achieve A-C in English and Maths GCSE with only 10% of Gypsy/Roma and 21% or Irish Traveller achieving this, compared to 63% of all pupils.
  • Irish Traveller and Gypsy/Roma students were least likely to achieve 3 grade ‘A’ A levels, at 0%. The number of students in these groups is extremely small, 17 Gypsy/Roma and 4 Irish Traveller students took A levels in 2015/16, according to recorded statistics.

Very little data and statistics on Gypsies and Travellers is disclosed in the other categories outlined in the Race Disparity Audit, although under the Housing category, it is noted that compared to all other ethnic groups, Gypsies or Irish Travellers had the fewest new social housing lettings.

Responding to the statistics reported within the Race Disparity Audit, Emma Nuttall, Advice and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said,

“The urgent question now is what action will the government take to address these low educational outcomes as a matter of priority?”

“The statistics revealed in the Race Disparity Audit are not new in the sense that there has been an awareness of low educational outcomes for Gypsy and Traveller young people for decades. However, measures which would assist in tackling it, such as sufficient sites for Traveller children to live on so they can access education and a zero tolerance of racism and bullying of Gypsy and Traveller children in schools fail to be taken, and vital Traveller Education Services which bridge children into schools have been cut to virtual non-existence.”

Adding to this, Sarah Mann, Co-Director of Friends, Families and Travellers said,

“Whilst the information outlined in the Race Disparity Audit about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller educational outcomes is appalling and outlines the government’s failure to deliver on key educational outcomes for these young people, it is perhaps even more shocking how little data on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities is included in the Race Disparity Audit as a whole.

“We know from anecdotal evidence, from our case work and from other reports and publications that outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities within criminal justice, health, housing and employment are just as worrying. However, for as long as the government refuses to record and monitor data in these areas for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, they will not be able to make serious and tangible efforts to improve the lives of thousands of families in the UK.”


Find out more

If you would like to find out more information about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and the Education in the United Kingdom, please visit our Policy and Publications section.


Media Contact

Sarah Sweeney

Tel: 01273 234 777 Email: [email protected]

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