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Education, Identity and Roma Families: teacher and children’s reflections on needs, practice and possibilities. Gill Crozier, Roehampton University, London,

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Presentation on theme: "Education, Identity and Roma Families: teacher and children’s reflections on needs, practice and possibilities. Gill Crozier, Roehampton University, London,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Education, Identity and Roma Families: teacher and children’s reflections on needs, practice and possibilities. Gill Crozier, Roehampton University, London, UK Jane Davies and Kim Szymanski, University of Sunderland, UK

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3 3 The Roma/Romani in Britain In the UK the main groups are: Gypsies; Irish, Scottish, Welsh Travellers; Eastern or Central European Roma; New Travellers, Bargee or water craft people; Fairground and Show people; Circus people (Tyler 2005) Estimated numbers approx. 350,000 Exact numbers of Eastern and Central European Roma are not known

4 4 The Roma in the UK Roma, Gypsies and Travellers continue to suffer overt racism and discrimination in the UK and throughout Europe. Roma migration to Britain is part of the migration of Eastern Europeans following accession to the European Union. This migration has also been caught up in the movement of asylum seekers and refugees as a result of global conflicts.

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6 6 Sivanandan argues these peoples are demonised, just as Black and Asian people were previously, to justify on the one hand slavery and on the other colonialism. Today the new migrants are demonised “to justify the ways of globalism” (Sivanandan 2001:2). He describes these attitudes as xenoracism: The racism we are faced with today [in the UK] is not the racism we [South Asians] faced 50 years ago, when we first came here…that … racism [state, institutional and popular] continues….But there is a new racism…even more virulent and devastating … this racism is meted out to refugees and asylum seekers irrespective of their colour. This is the racism that is meted out to Roma and Sinti and poor whites from Eastern Europe ….” (2002, accessed 29/5/08

7 7 UK Education Policy Provision There is significant legislation in the UK against racial discrimination and racist abuse. Including: The Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) and Community Cohesion Strategy There is substantial educational support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and a raft of initiatives through:Traveller Education Service (TES) in every Local Education Authority, the government strategy: Raising Achievement (2003) and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF Guidance on the Education of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children (2008) (DCSF) School based initiatives and anti-discriminatory law. However, the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children are amongst some of the lowest educationally achieving children.

8 8 The INSETRom Project UK Between December 2007 and November 2009 Worked with teachers of Roma children in two primary schools in the North East of England (Norton). Involved a needs assessment and analysis with the teachers, interviews with young people in the local community Staff development work with the teachers.

9 9 Significance of Context: school, society and political Two primary schools 3-11 Located in disadvantaged area: low SES; high unemployment; low educational achievement; poor quality housing BME population Both schools predominantly working class and ethnically diverse Westfield below average academic attainment; high SEN Castlereagh academic performance equates to national average

10 10 Continued… The impact of neo-liberal education policies and the performative culture of the school Statutory requirements New leadership in both schools

11 11 Key Issues Arising from the Needs Analysis Identification and/or Disidentification of Roma Children/Families Poor communication between school and families Stereotyping of Roma children Compartmentalisation of practice Teachers’ lack of training and understanding of issues of racism/anti-racism/diversity Desire for cultural artefacts

12 12 INSERVICE EDUCATION AND TRAINING: What we did Starting point the teachers’ needs and perspectives Supportive environment – challenge and development of a critical pedagogy through a dialogic approach/community of practice Interactive and practically based sessions. Resource packs of information, teaching materials, references and web links. Negotiated follow-up activities and teaching strategies The training programme culminated with further change strategies for teaching and work to involve the parents.

13 13 What we did Analysing and interrogating patterns of pupils’ achievement, looking at possible school effects Though it is readily available – information –about the Roma history. Engaging with problems of homogenising/essentialising people such as the use of labels as in ‘Eastern European’ or even ‘Roma’. ‘Myth-busting’ which sets out to challenge some of the stereotypes. Where do these stereotypes come from? Curriculum development – how can the curriculum be adapted to be more relevant/hold more appeal/be more accessible to Roma pupils Classroom teaching strategies particularly aimed at older pupils who are new to English or who lack academic English eg maximising opportunities for modelling, scaffolding activities etc. Identifying racist attitudes and behaviours and dealing with these. Dealing with racist bullying.

14 14 What we did…. 1. What is ‘Culture’? 2. Roma History and ‘Culture’ 3. Diversifying the Curriculum 4. The Multilingual Classroom 5. Creating an Inclusive Classroom – dealing with stereotypes and conflict management 6. Teacher-Roma Parent Communication and Parental Involvement Session 1 7. Teacher-Roma Parent Communication and Parental Involvement Session 2 8. Curriculum Development – developing and adapting the National Curriculum and Standards in Education (England)

15 15 Outcomes On-going; such work is very long term Dysconscious racism – need longer to address this and also need closer working relationship Tensions between teacher desires for factual information and our desire to achieve critical perspectives and practice Our anxiety about ‘losing’ the teachers Conflicting demands on teachers’ time and conflicting expectations Teachers were developing a more reflective and reflexive approach Teachers valued working with colleagues from another school Need proactive school leadership

16 16 Contact Details:

17 17 Art work by Ferdinand Kochi

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