What practitioners need to do

As a practitioner, do not underestimate the influence you can have on the lives of children and families. Below is a list of things that you can do to help.

While the role of setting leaders and managers is vital for policy change, all practitioners have a responsibility to reflect on their own practice and can:

  • ensure that they provide a learning environment in which Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) children and their families feel welcomed, respected and valued
  • enter into genuine partnerships by creating a space for dialogue – listening to the voices of GRT children and their parents
  • provide a rich learning environment with relevant, culturally reflective resources, and creative and challenging learning opportunities
  • recognise that good teaching is a vital ingredient in achievement and ensure that GRT children are exposed to good role models in all areas of learning and development
  • where possible, include positive role models from the Traveller community in the setting
  • develop patience, understanding, respect, adaptability and flexibility, and be prepared to think of different ways to engage with families and meet their needs
  • keep careful records of children's progress from entry to the setting, ensuring that expectations and progress of GRT children is in line with other groups, and investigating possible causes where variance arises
  • consider assessment procedures – checking that observational assessments of GRT children are fair, honest and free from influences of stereotyping
  • reflect honestly on personal attitudes, feelings, preconceptions and tendencies to stereotype, challenging negative attitudes within the setting (this is both possible and necessary)
  • work closely with the local authority's Traveller Education Support Services to draw on and learn from their experience and expertise in working with Traveller families
  • encourage families to ascribe to the appropriate group by ensuring a positive attitude to diversity and encouraging pride in all heritages
  • recognise the status of Gypsy, Roma and Travellers of Irish Heritage within the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000)
  • make race equality and cultural diversity training a priority for whole-setting professional development
  • review and implement, monitor and evaluate their race equality policy.