Today the Education Select committee continued their series of sessions exploring why certain groups in society often underachieve academically in comparison to others. Previously, the committee did an inquiry on white working-class pupils, and today we were looking at the educational challenges facing children from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds.
Sadly, the data speaks for itself and we do face specific challenges. Having representation from the Roma community on the panel this morning was insightful, so I was pleased that I was able to bring forward two of my constituents, Marius and Vasile, to share their experiences as teaching assistants and members of the Roma community.
As teaching assistants, Marius and Vasile work to promote integration of children from Roma backgrounds, increasing literacy and English language skills, and act as role models for young people in the Roma community. Vasile explained that some in the Roma community don’t really understand the education system here.
Often parents think that their child can have a day or two off without explanation and when the pandemic hit, the inability of some parents to use laptops made their child’s education very difficult. Working with parents through coffee mornings, Marius and Vasile are doing an excellent job building mutual trust between schools and parents from the Roma community.