Mainstreaming Support for Travellers – Tewkesbury School
Karen Steger

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Whole school development.
To embed support for Traveller pupils in the mainstream working of the school. To achieve the targets of the GRT project. To raise achievement of GRT pupils.



Tewkesbury School was chosen as a pilot school for the Gypsy Roma Traveller project in Gloucestershire working towards raising attendance and attainment for GRT pupils.

English Gypsy pupils represent the largest ethnic minority cohort at Tewkesbury School. Although historically Traveller children have always transferred to the school and maintained good attendance, some pupils have failed to complete Key Stage 4 and attainment levels required challenge.

Initially a key member of staff for Traveller pupils was identified as someone who would work with the TET on the GRT project and support pupils in school. This was then extended to a member of SMT (to look at strategic planning in school) and a Teaching Assistant (to provide day to day contact for pupils and their families).

Head Teacher John Reilly visited a local site with a member of the TET to meet with families and hear any concerns that they had. From this John gained an understanding of some of the possible issues affecting Traveller students and it was appreciated that he had taken the time to listen.

A core group of students were provided with access to lap-tops and teacher support on a weekly basis. They made a Powerpoint and presentation to a local primary school about their experience of secondary school and were involved in the making of a DVD for teachers about Traveller pupils and Secondary School.

The whole school committed to training about GRT pupils and the project. The admissions form for the school was adapted to include appropriate racial groups, which meant that ascription could be raised with families.

All of the above is ongoing and, now that members of staff have been identified and are working more closely with GRT pupils, the whole school is aware of the potential of these students and the support that they may need.

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