Education: Travellers

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance and training they provide to teachers and educational institutions about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture; and how they ensure full understanding amongst teachers of that culture.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Our education reforms, including those aimed at improving teaching, encouraging good attendance and behaviour, and strengthening the curriculum and examination system, are designed to deliver opportunity and high standards for all pupils, whatever their background. Teachers, schools and local authorities also have access to information and best practice‎ in supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils, as well as advice from community representative organisations.

The government does not prescribe the content of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. It is for individual ITT providers to determine the content, structure and proportion of courses. However, courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level. The Standards set out the key elements of effective teaching and the minimum expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers. These include the requirements that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils. In order to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status, trainees must satisfy the Standards.

The Teachers’ Standards can be found here and attached: www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards.

The ‘Framework of Core Content for ITT (2016)’ states, “Providers should ensure that trainees are equipped to identify the needs of all pupils, avoiding labelling by group, and make provision for them.” This framework can be found here and attached: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-government-response-to-carter-review.

For training to be effective, it must be tailored to the needs of the teacher. That is why decisions relating to continuous professional development (CPD) rightly rest with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves. To support schools, in 2016, the department published the ‘Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development’ and we have re-convened the CPD Expert Group to develop recommendations that ensure that all teachers have access to high-quality, meaningful support and CPD.

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