In relation to the GRT community, it is clear that although the majority or GRT children suffer within the education system, that statistics clearly show that the girls within this category are at the highest risk of disadvantage within the system. Due to this communities social construction of reality, whereby women need no academic qualifications to fulfil the norm of their society, 'hegemonic control' is created which takes a hold over the future of individuals.
Although through the evidence given on this poster it is clear to see that GRT students have the highest exclusion rates and are the lowest achievers, it is essential that schools recognise that they play a huge part in contributing to these statistics. An irrelevant school curriculum as well as unresponsive schools and a lack of understanding and so an ignorance of the GRT heritage are all factors that contribute to the educational structures that fail these students. Whilst it goes without saying that outside of school factors such as parenting play an enormous role in the success of GRT children, schools prioritising this group with the goal to make others more aware of their culture and heritage whilst offering support to not only the students but the parents too, could be the step they need towards a better educational future.
To What Extent Are Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Children, Particularly Girls, Vulnerable to the Failings of the Education System?
- Giddens however disputes Bourdieu, and considers the individual as separate from social constraints.
- This is supported through the very interesting documentary 'Access All Areas' which follows several gypsies through mainstream education to Oxbridge, whilst at the same time retaining their identities.
- "We are not what we are, but what we make of ourselves".
- As is demonstrated in figure 1, the department for education recently published a report confirming that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils have lower levels of achievement than other ethnic groups at all key stages in the curriculum.
- A statistical analysis of the National Pupil Database illustrated that 40% of GRT pupils with only Key Stage 2 SAT results attended schools in the lowest fifth of attainment, furthermore, recent statistics show that GCSE results are improving for all ethnic groups bar GRT. Despite improvements seemingly being made when comparing todays results to those twenty years ago such as the 1995 edition of the encyclopaedia Britannia, which stated that "The mental age of an average adult gypsy is thought to be about that of a child of 10”, it is clear that GRT pupils are still underachieving in schools.
Bourdieu VS Giddens
Socialist feminists suggest that the main causes of gender inequality include:
GRT Women in Education- Socialist Perspective.
GRT Pupils in Education
Giddens: Structuration Theory:
- Capitalism and its exploitation of the proletariat
- Exploitation or women’s labour both at home and in the workplace.
Educational Structures responsible for educational underachievement:
- Bullying and unresponsive schools: GRT students suffer from racism from an early age. This is Who We Are (2007) demonstrates how when asked, 8 out of 10 children admitted to suffering from bullying and racism throughout their time at school, with 92% saying that they believed it was because they were gypsies (Having our Say 2005).
- The Curriculum: Bhopala (2011) argues that the curriculum is one of the main educational structures that makes schools less inclusive for GRT pupils, as the lack of taught lessons on these communities makes pupils unable to see it reflected in a positive way and are therefore unaware of the positive outcomes that the being part of a GRT community may have.
It is widely and historically known that children from these particular communities experience the lowest levels of educational achievement in comparison to other marginalised groups such as refugees or students who don’t have English as their first language (Liegois, 1998). This is most likely due to parental influence, as Roxy Freeman (1990) points out that growing up in a gypsy community, her parents thought it more important to teach her “about the arts, music and dance”. She continues that, “Our education was learning about wildlife and nature, how to cook and how to survive. I didn't know my times tables but I could milk a goat and ride a horse.”
The Guardian (2014) reports that “A lot of travelling women have low literacy and numeracy… Their life is different from that of the settled population". The Children's Society (2007) argue in their report 'This is Who We Are' that parental influence should be blamed for the link between Gypsy, Roma and Traveller girls failure in education due to their beliefs that a woman should be an asset to the househould, with sills such as cooking and cleaning, so the report states 'many parents kept their daughters home once they reached puberty".
Figure 3 shows the percentage of Gypsy traveler children that claimed their father was the authoritative figure in the family, supporting the socialist view that women are viewed as the lesser authoritative and significant family member.
Figure 4 shows the high rates of gypsy girls fixed exclusions compared to other minority groups.