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Education for the traveller children: the impact of legislation on travellers and its effect on educational provision for traveller children with special reference to north east England

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Disciplines
  • Education

Abstract

The broad aim of this study is to examine the quality of education provision for Traveller children and the factors which affect it. The twin themes of national policy and local response form the background against which the different aspects of provision are examined. The empirical studies of site and education provision take place in the North East Region of England. The Gypsies/Travellers are defined as a distinct ethnic group within British society with their own culture and lifestyle. The historical background of Gypsies is used as a base to illustrate the development of their relationship with society today. Education of Traveller children, as in fact with all children, is linked with a secure place to live. The importance of site provision for Travellers and its effect on their lifestyle is examined as is the ideological intent of site provision by Government and Local Authorities. The relevance of education for Travellers in schools is questioned as are the attitudes and expectations of teachers in schools where Travellers attend. The perception of Travellers by some teachers illustrates the need for the education of teachers, Examination of the development of education provision for Traveller children from the 19th. Century to the present day reveals the diversity and also uneven spread of such provision. This diversity, including no specific provision, is illustrated in the Study Region. During the period of this research there has been an increasing awareness of the educational needs of Traveller children and a commitment by Local Education Authorities to improve the situation. A matter for concern, however, is that some individual schools and teachers view education as a tool which will assimilate Travellers into the settled society.

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