The Traveller Movement

Amount Given:

£98,475 over three years (grant made in 2014)


The rights of vulnerable children and young people


The Traveller Movement

Jo Rideal,

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) children experience the highest rates of school exclusion of any ethnic group in the UK. Traveller Movement is the first organisation to set up a nationwide, culturally specific service to address this issue using community settings and trusted practitioners.  The delivery model which takes a reactive and pro-active approach, bringing direct delivery together with preventative work, with the aim of using data collected to drive policy and practice changes locally, regionally and nationally, is attractive.

Traveller Movement is one of the few organisations in the GTR sector representing multiple communities.  Larger than many others, it also has a Legal Justice Unit, putting it in a stronger position than most to challenge educational inequalities using strategic litigation and to gather evidence with which to lobby the Department of Education and Children’s Commissioner.  Traveller Movement has a track record of successfully challenging discrimination through the legal system and of working in collaboration with other organisations within and beyond the GTR sector.

Abigail Angus,

Education and Advocacy Officer, The Traveller Movement

Our education support project addresses the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families within the education system. GRT pupils are more likely to be excluded from and less likely to leave school with 5 GCSE’s or equivalent qualifications.

 The project provides families with advice, support and advocacy, empowering parents to understand what goes on in schools and challenge discrimination. We provide support over the phone, write letters to schools and attend meetings to act as advocates for parents.

Alongside this frontline casework, we also feed into our organisation’s policy work and produce our own research. We also provide training packages for both community members and schools; it aims to promote greater awareness of GTR cultures within schools as well as better knowledge of school systems and processes for parents. 

Our grant allows us to run the project for three years which is a great opportunity to work towards long-term change. We hope to see an increase in GTR parents feeling that they are able to effectively engage with their children’s schools, forming stronger relationships and challenging inequalities when necessary. We hope to see a rise in the number of families who are able to successfully appeal school exclusions, resulting in more GTR children who are able to remain in schools. We also hope to use this project to pull together research and resources to support schools in highlighting and learning from good inclusive practise when working with GTR families.


Service user

*not real name 




Bridget is a mother of five and a Traveller who has been supported by project workers around various issues relating to her children’s education. We asked her what aspects of our service she has found most helpful: 

It was helpful having someone to speak beside me in the school meeting. If I had to go in myself all they would be interested in is sending him somewhere else, with your help I got the school to put support in for him to stay.