Going to school isn’t always easy for Gypsy Traveller children – especially going to secondary school.
Chantelle told Reach about her time at school and what she thinks would make school better for Gypsy Traveller children.
These are the main issues Chantelle thought young Gypsy Travellers face at school:
- “People say things like ‘oh, the Gypsies are coming to school – make sure you’ve got your school bag with you because they steal.’ People hear things like that on TV and in the newspapers but if they spoke to us they’d realise that we’re not like that.
- The settled community and Gypsy Travellers need to come together and try to break boundaries. If settled people got to know Travelling people – and the other way too – they’d realise we are not bad, not like the people you read about in the papers and on the TV. It’s like getting settled people, parents and teachers all together and saying ‘We are all the same, we all struggle with some things.’
- Bullying and discrimination. For instance, the way that Traveller girls dress is really different from settled communities. The abuse the girls get just for wearing short skirts or low tops, just because they wear different clothes.
We asked what would help young Gypsy Travellers in school:
- More awareness raising and training in schools, trying to challenge the way young people think
- Training for teachers
- More flexibility in how education is provided. Teachers could come out to the sites so that young people feel safe within their own community
- More Gypsy Travellers teaching
- More support to ask for help!
- Chantelle’s school came up with the idea of a Gypsy Traveller School in the local community centre; a teacher from the high school came and taught her and some of her family.
“Go to high school, stick it out, get all the grades you can. Get the education you can get and do the best you can!”
- How could schools be more flexible when it comes to teaching children and young people from the Gypsy Traveller community?
- How could schools raise more awareness about Gypsy Traveller children?