Schools 'not getting resources for Roma'


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The Independent Online

Schools are struggling to find the finances and resources to educate Gypsy and Roma children because fear of discrimination means many of their parents are not revealing their true ethnicity, hampering efforts to provide extra funding, inspectors have said. The finding comes as official figures show the number of Gypsy and Roma pupils in UK schools have increased from 16,735 to 19,030 in the past year, after work restrictions were lifted for Romanians within the EU.

Today’s Ofsted report concludes: “The Roma parents spoken to by inspectors consistently said that they were reluctant to state their children’s ethnicity for fear of discrimination. This leads to under-reporting of Roma pupil numbers that, in turn, makes it difficult to target resources effectively.”

It added that school leaders “had experienced problems accessing available funding such as the pupil premium [which gives schools extra cash to help educate disadvantaged children] for new pupils quickly enough”. In one Sheffield primary school, 37 pupils were described as “white other” but the school was aware that at least 20 of them were from a Roma background.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said:  “Schools need to be able to get money more quickly when Roma children join them part way through the school year.”

A Department for Education spokesman said that the Government was ensuring “local authorities and headteachers have the resources and flexibility to provide the support needed by their communities”.