§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What action they are taking to improve the 47 per cent participation in education of traveller pupils at key stage 4 as outlined by the Office for Standards in Education's report Provision and support for Traveller pupils, of 3 December 2003. [HL647]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)
We welcome the Ofsted report and the focus that it has brought to meeting the educational needs of gypsy/traveller pupils. We acknowledge that the participation rates of gypsy/traveller pupils at key stage 4 are unacceptably low.
Local education authorities and schools have an important role to play in ensuring that all children receive a good quality education. Education welfare services in each area have a responsibility to identify vulnerable children, such as those from gypsy/traveller families, and to help them back in to education.
In July 2003, to support schools and LEAs to meet the needs of gypsy/traveller pupils, the Department for Education and Skills published a good practice guide on raising the achievement of gypsy/traveller pupils which offers advice and practical guidance on actions to take to raise the achievement of gypsy/traveller pupils. The department is, additionally, funding a project in six LEAs at secondary school level which aims to improve attendance, raise attainment and engage gypsy/traveller parents through encouraging best practice.124WA