Pupil Exclusions: Travellers:Written question - 21520

Asked by Kate Green
(Stretford and Urmston)
Asked on: 07 January 2016
Department for Education
Pupil Exclusions: Travellers
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to address the disproportionate number of exclusions from school of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils.
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 15 January 2016

The Government’s approach is to develop opportunities for everyone. This includes measures to improve literacy and numeracy, and the quality of teaching; targeting resource through the pupil premium to ensure every young person, regardless of birth or background, has the opportunity to realise their full potential.

Inequality in relation to exclusion is a complex and longstanding issue. Many of the issues that underlie the inequalities seen in exclusion are inseparable from those that lead to other educational inequalities, including academic attainment. Removing the barriers to children engaging with education is fundamental to attendance, academic attainment, improving behaviour and reducing the need for exclusion.

Through the pupil premium, schools receive additional funding to help them support their disadvantaged pupils, and have flexibility over how they use this to improve the progress and attainment of those pupils. In the current financial year, 59% of Gypsy and Roma pupils and 72% of Traveller pupils are eligible for the pupil premium, compared with 28% of all pupils.

In 2012, the Government funded two local authorities (Cambridgeshire and Kent) to each appoint a Virtual Head Teacher to support schools in raising the attainment of GRT pupils, to increase awareness of the common issues faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils and to help schools to overcome them. The findings of these pilots are available at https://www.learntogether.org.uk/Resources/Documents/Cambs%20VHT%20DfE%20final%20report.doc and http://www.edukent.co.uk/images/uploads/misc_files/VHT_Kent_Final_report_GH.pdf.

The Department has also produced short case studies of schools that have been successful in improving the attendance and attainment of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils. These are available at: www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/gypsy-roma-and-traveller-pupils-supporting-access-to-education.

Schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate against pupils, including in the exclusion process. These duties are considered as part of the inspection process and complaints processes exist to consider individual complaints.

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