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21/10/2021

Kildare Senator urges govt to improve school system for Traveller children following damning report

Tipperary TD calls on Government to tackle back to school costs

The Fianna Fáil Senator commented on the findings of the recent 'Out of the Shadows' report

A Senator from Kildare has called on the government to improve the school system for children from Traveller backgrounds. 

Senator Fiona O' Loughlin expressed her frustrations with the findings of the recent 'Out of the Shadows' report, which detailed how many Traveller children do not feel included, wanted, or safe in school – especially at second level.

It also found that many of their parents fear for their safety and wellbeing while their children are in school.

The Fianna Fáil politician said: "It is not good enough that we have an entire section of our society that are being deterred from engaging with our education system."

"Every child is entitled to an education and deserves to be educated in a positive and inclusive environment."

She added: "The Department needs to engage with representatives of the Traveller and Roma communities, and action needs to be taken to improve their educational experience."

Senator O’Loughlin concluded: "I believe that we need to see greater engagement with representatives of travelling community, and we need to see changes on the ground to ensure that no child misses out on education as a result of the atmosphere in their school."

Out of the Shadows, which was conducted on behalf of the Department of Education as part of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) 2017-2021, currently remains unpublished.

According to The Irish Times, the 124-page report by sociologist Dr Maria Quinlan draws on detailed consultations with 104 Traveller and Roma parents and students, and 28 teachers and principals between November 2019 and January 2020.

The 2016 Census found that the level of education among Travellers remained well below that of general population, with just 13.3 per cent of Traveller females being educated to upper secondary or above, compared to 69.1 per cent of the general population.

In addition, nearly 6 in 10 Traveller men (57.2 per cent) were educated to at most Primary level in sharp contrast to the general population (13.6 per cent).

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