This is a brand new service — your feedback helps us improve it.

What is Tools for Schools? How can the Inclusion Framework and OAIP support my setting?

Find out more on our info page

Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman & Boater (GTRSB) children

‘Travellers’ is an umbrella term which incorporates several distinct groups.

To ensure best practice in supporting Traveller children:

  • Staff need a good understanding of Traveller culture.
  • Communication must be clear and consistent.
  • Have a designated member of staff as the contact for Traveller families.
  • Get to know your Traveller families.
  • Know how to respond to racist incidents
  • Have high expectations for all pupils
  • Have resources for use in school that reflect Traveller culture.

Staff Training/Awareness of Traveller Culture

Schools can also use our How Traveller-friendly is your school?”  document to reflect on your own practice.

Contact the Traveller Education Support Team – [email protected] .  The team can provide training for all staff, to support their knowledge and understanding of Travelling communities. 

So, who are the different types of ‘traveller’?

Romany Gypsies are a group who were traditionally nomadic but many now live on sites or in houses. They are a recognised ethnic group. They have their own language, Romani, a distinct culture and rich history. There are English, Welsh and Scottish Gypsies. They have been part of British society since Tudor times.

Irish Heritage Travellers are a recognised ethnic group. They have their own unique culture and language and have been part of British society since the 12th Century. They may have close ties with Ireland but many are UK born and raised. They have a shared history of nomadism but many now live on sites or in houses.

Showmen earn their living by travelling with the fair, traditionally from Easter to November. They have often owned or operated the fairs for generations and their identity is connected to their family business. They are sometimes known as Occupational Travellers. Families spend the winter at their ‘yards’ repairing and renovating their rides and during this time the children are able to attend school. 

Circus folk earn their living by travelling with the circus. They are often on the road all year and may travel internationally.

New Travellers used to be referred to as ‘New Age’ Travellers. They are usually people who have opted for a nomadic way of life for personal or ethical reasons. The lifestyle grew out of the hippy movement of the 1960’s.

The Roma communities are descended from nomadic tribes who left India in the 10th/ 12th centuries and settled in Europe. They have historically faced persecution and are still marginalised and ghettoised in many Eastern European countries. In the UK many Roma do not choose to ascribe for fear of prejudice and ill treatment. They are a recognised ethnic group.

Bargees are traditionally those families who earned their living working on the boats on the UK’s inland and coastal waterways. Nowadays the term is used for anyone whose home is a boat and does not have a permanent mooring with planning permission for residential use.

Last updated 26 June 2023

Did you find this page useful?