Although more Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families are accessing Early Years provisions, there are a great number of families from these communities who still remain excluded from many mainstream services and opportunities. Many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children still do not access any pre-school education or start school in the reception year. In addition, the barriers which some families face, also hinders regular attendance. The following barriers do not apply to all Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families and are not always unique to these communities:
- Lack of permanent sites to stop, regular evictions and unplanned travel
- Living on unauthorized sites and not having a permanent address whilst trying to access funded places
- Family transport might only be available at the beginning and end of the day, not for timings of sessions, as it is used as a work vehicle
- Parents may not have experienced or be familiar with Early Years education and may not be at ease with their children accessing it due to a feeling that they may not be fulfilling their role as parents if their child is cared for elsewhere
- Parents may be worried about the security of the buildings and have concerns based on parent's own experiences and memories of educational settings
- Shortage of Early Years places
- Communication and Literacy barriers
The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Access to Education Officer visits families living on the roadside or in settled accommodation in Luton to help Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families to secure pre-school places, to fill in admission forms and facilitate liaison between home and pre-school. To contact the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Access to Education Officer email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Years practitioners know the importance of providing children with meaningful opportunities to thrive and reach their full potential. The Foundation Stage curriculum promotes learning and play that is based on experiences that the child is familiar with and understands. Both the curriculum and the resources that it lends itself to should be reflective of the local community and Britain as a culturally diverse society.