Ethnicity & Education: The Evidence on Minority Ethnic Pupils

Publication type: Report

Author: Other

Themes: Discrimination, Education

This research paper outlines the following information and evidence about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils:

The figures for the two Traveller groups, Gypsy/Roma and Travellers of Irish Heritage, are probably the least reliable. (page 3)

Over half of pupils recorded as Traveller of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma are eligible for free school meals compared to 16 percent of all pupils. This is the highest of any ethnic group. (page 6)

The Foundation Stage Profile consists of Early Learning Goals; the lowest performing are Travellers of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma children. Both Gypsy/Traveller groups have extremely low attainment. Although it is estimated that many children from these groups are not recorded in the Annual School Census, are not present during key stage assessments and/or do not continue in education up till Key Stage 4, for those that have a recorded result, attainment is very low:

  • At Key Stage 1, 28 percent of Travellers of Irish Heritage and 42 percent of Gypsy/Roma pupils achieved Level 2 or above in Reading compared to 84 percent of all pupils.
  • At Key Stage 4, 42 percent of Travellers of Irish Heritage and 23 percent of Gypsy/Roma pupils achieved 5+ A*-C GCSE/GNVQs compared to 51 percent of all pupils. (page 9)

Table 2 shows a widening attainment gap for Gypsy/Roma and Travellers of Irish Heritage. (page 12)

The research acknowledges there is no national data on school attendance by ethnicity. (page 17)

Travellers of Irish Heritage were the ethnic group most likely to be permanently excluded in 2002/03. Though actual numbers were small, their rate of exclusion was nearly four times that of overall rates. Gypsy Roma were third most likely; 0.01 point below Black Caribbean pupils. (page 19)

The research shows differences in SEN identification; Traveller groups more likely to have identified SEN Gypsy/Roma, Travellers of Irish Heritage and Pakistani pupils being more likely to be attending a special school (page 21 & 22)

Travellers of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma pupils are more likely to be over-represented in nearly all SEN types. (page 24)

The research quotes Parsons et al. who analysed schools compliance with the Race Relations Amendment Act. A number of factors were identified that could help support fulfilment of the schools race equality duties:

  • Public commitment through regular review of policies.
  • Training for curriculum content for a multi-ethnic society; for classroom management; specifically for governors on their role in relation to minority ethnic issues and exclusions.
  • Specific projects such as mentoring, counselling, youth work and preventative initiatives for vulnerable groups.
  • Constructive links with minority ethnic community organisations.

(page 20)

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