Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and young people experience high levels of bullying and exclusion in schools, have lower attainment levels and are among those most likely to be excluded from school (Equality & Human Rights Commission, 2016).
In February 2020, we consulted with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people to find out about their experiences of bullying in school as part of a project delivered with Friends, Families and Travellers and funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people we consulted with reported:
- a lack of understanding and visibility of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller histories and cultures in school.
- being negatively labelled, judged and having presumptions made about them being trouble-makers or not willing to learn.
- they felt they were treated differently from other pupils and could not access additional support when they needed it.
- racist and offensive language about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and communities was going unchallenged.
- not being believed when they report bullying.
- presumptions made about them having a tendency to bully others.
- feeling they had to retaliate or hide that they are Gypsy, Roma or Traveller.
- they had learned to expect bullying because no action was being taken to prevent or respond to it.
You don’t see any representation of Gyspy, Roma and Traveller in schools. We are invisible.
Not dealt with in the same way other racial bullying is dealt with.
To better prevent and respond to bullying, the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people we consulted with said schools should:
- raise awareness of and celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ethnicities and cultures and promote positive images of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in school.
- ensure staff understand the bullying, prejudice and discrimination Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people experience.
- challenge racist language.
- make teaching more inclusive.
- develop good relationships with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils.
- take seriously the bullying reported by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people.
The good teachers notice you. They notice when you are struggling with your work. They notice that changes on your face if something is up. They notice you and come and check on you. They get to know you.
Teacher sets me down when I’m angry – he talks to me, listens, helps me.
Based on the feedback from the young people, we have developed a school audit and action planning tool and a report with recommendations - both resources are attached below.
We're developing the resources further across the next year - if you'd like to help, please tell us what you think of the Gypsy, Roma & Traveller audit tool here and the report with recommendations here.
You will also find below a range of external tools, resources and research relating to the bullying of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and young people.