The Radical Difference of Nomadism: Inclusive Education and the Exclusions of Gypsy/Traveller Children

By David Cudworth.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Concerns over the underachievement of Gypsy/Traveller children in the UK educational system are something that has been acknowledged across a series of government reports and other documents over the last forty years. Despite ongoing commitments for inclusive education, especially within the context of multiculturalism, these children continue to experience discrimination and remain the worst achieving minority group in many European contemporary schooling systems.

With a school system based on a fixed abode and regular attendance, characterized by rigorous testing regimes and a focus on performativity, school provision becomes organized around certain kinds of priorities. Despite the rhetoric of social inclusion, where ‘Every Child Matters’, certain groups continue to be marginalised. This paper considers developments in recent education policy in the UK. It argues that the paradigm in which policy is developed assumes sedentarism and the investments of all UK communities in a particular notion of educational provision and the value of ‘schooling’. Children from a range of nomadic backgrounds often struggle to adapt to the school environment which is very much at odds with the everyday lives of their homes and communities. The paper contends that educational policies in place to tackle social exclusion per se will never be able to fully address the desires of children whose code of existence is structurally different from the settled majority. The challenge of the radical difference of nomadism is that it necessitates a genuinely pluralist policy framework which understands and respects very different lifeways.

Keywords: Gyspy/Travellers, Education, Nomadism, Sedentarism, Policy

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.243-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.148MB).

David Cudworth

Senior Lecuturer, Faculty of Humanities, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

David Cudworth is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. He is interested in social justice issues and is particularly concerned with the education of Gypsy/Traveller children on which he is researching for a PhD. He is also interested in alternative education and environmental education.

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