6 Dec 2007

BULLYING, outdated policies and poor levels of attendance mean Traveller Children are not achieving their potential in education, according to a major review published today.

The joint review by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland showed that many Traveller Children are denied their right to education.

“It is extremely worrying that too many Traveller Children are leaving school too early, with no qualifications, and none are going on to further or higher education,” said Patricia Lewsley, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

“Now is the time for Government to make sure this marginalised group of children receive the education they need.”

Bob Collins, Chief Commissioner, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said: “The life-enhancing and transformative power of education is of crucial importance for children and young people from the Traveller community in Northern Ireland.

“Its absence is a powerful barrier to access to, and advancement in, employment and reinforces the disadvantage under which Travellers already live.”

The review was completed with the co-operation and support of the Travelling Community.

Ms Lewsley said: “I hope that by working together we can all help make sure these children receive their right to education.”

Notes for Editors

1. The report was formally launched at 2pm 6thDecember, 2007 at the NICCY offices, Millennium House, 17-25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast

2. Among the main findings of the report are:

  • The Department of Education policies on Traveller Children are 15 years out-of-date;
  • Not as many Traveller Children receive preschool education compared to the rest of the population;
  • Not enough Traveller Children go to post-primary education and many leave before Year 12;
  • They do not perform as well as other children in GCSE examinations;
  • There is no evidence of Traveller Children progressing to further or higher education; and
  • Good practice and voluntary sector initiatives exist and can be built upon to improve educational opportunities

3. A You can download a copy of the report here and www.equalityni.org