I know it’s a long post and I’m sorry I can’t explain it in a shorter way but please read to the end. – Education statistics are used every day and affect all children. They are reliant on tracking monitoring and data collection. Usually grouped by Ethnicity or FSM or EAL for example This information is then used for all kinds of reasons to find out more about the children that are in schools. This data collection starts at EYFS and continues at every level in every educational setting. This information is used to find out a number of things including if children are below, above or at an expected level.
Various interventions can be put in place where needed because of this information, funding can be used and schools are even measured on their success of these interventions. Results are collected from exams such as SATs and GCSEs. Data regarding attainment for all these groups of children is used by government. Every Child Matters – But what if a group of children can not be identified in school what if there is no data? This group of children become invisible. I wonder what group of children this happens to? There is currently no way for Showmen to identify in school.
Other travelling communities can there is a a GRT box to tick on an admissions form. There is an ethnicity box to tick. We are not an Ethnic group (I am not suggesting we should be) Showmen are not Gypsy, Roma or Traveller. Our children do not use English as a second language. We do not qualify for Free School Meals. So what do we write in forms? I know many of us have wrote Showman next to the “other” box when filling in forms. But this information does not count as far as the school is concerned. When the data is transferred only “other” is recorded.
We go in and explain who we are to teachers. Teachers change and we go in again and again and again. Having Showman on the form and officially recognised and used within the education system will benefit our children for many generations to come. Sometimes we need to look to the future And we need to make a change.