Gypsy Traveller Students in Secondary Schools: Culture, Identity and Achievement

Publication type: Report

Author: Other

Themes: Education

This research report compiled by Chris Derrington and Sally Kendall and published by Trentham Books presents findings on the attainment of Gypsy and Traveller students in Secondary Education. The project tracked 44 Traveller children from the age of 11 to 16 and found that only three (7 per cent) achieved five or more A*-C GCSEs this summer (the national average was 61 per cent). In total, 10 of the 44 gained five or more A*-G GCSEs (23 per cent, compared with a national average of 98 per cent). However, the overall achievement rates for the teenagers are almost certainly worse than even these disappointing figures because most of the young people tracked by the study team were living either on official sites or in houses and had good primary-school attendance records. The researchers, who presented their findings at the European Conference on Educational Research, said only 13 of the 44 had completed key stage 4. The other 31 youngsters had dropped out for a range of reasons. More than half the parents expected their children to fulfil traditional, gender-based roles in adult life. These parents assumed their sons and daughters would leave school by the age of 14. One girl, who was still 12 at the time, told the researchers: “Next year, I’ll be at home learning how to clean up – helping my mum. We don’t really get jobs. We usually stay at home until we’re 18 or 19 and then get married and be a housewife”.

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