two learners reading

This project aims to identify background information required to understand the education needs of pupils from the new migrant Roma communities and bring together best practice and practical strategies to help meet these needs. Additionally, it is an investigation into whether a distinctive approach is needed when working with pupils from the new migrant Roma communities from that already in place for the indigenous British Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) populations.

It examines issues surrounding ascription. (Ascription, in the context of this research, means the way schools define and record the ethnic origins of their pupils in order to establish if some groups are subject to unintentional discrimination.) The focus on ascription is to determine if there is a correlation between high levels of ascription and better attendance and achievement.

This group was chosen for the study because they are known to be the lowest-achieving cohort nationally, according to RAISEonline. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the numbers of pupils in this group is vastly underestimated in official figures and they pose resource and engagement challenges which some schools find difficult to respond to successfully. 

Research methodology

A literature review was carried out. There have been few studies or documents focused purely on pupils from the new migrant Roma communities. Most of the literature concentrated on long-standing indigenous GRT communities with occasional references to the new migrant populations. Very little of the literature reviewed is more than five years old.

Schools with pupils from the new migrant Roma communities were asked to provide attendance and achievement data on pupils ascribed as Roma and pupils known to be Roma but not ascribed as such.

Parents and pupils from the new migrant Roma communities, teachers from the schools and consultants providing advice and support to schools were interviewed. Six major cities were visited between June 2014 and January 2015.

Download the full research report

Improving education outcomes for pupils from the new Roma communities. Updated in July 2016.