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Race and Irish Travellers

Equality in Education

What you need to know


How can we change the law affecting people of different races in education?

The Commission has a duty to review the law and make recommendations for improvement.  Under our current proposals (pdf) for changing the law, we recommend to Government a change in the law to bring protection against discrimination and victimisation for black and minority ethnic pupils at school up to the standard of the rest of the UK.

In particular, in the rest of the UK, there is protection for BME children in schools from being victimised as a result of a protected act (such as making or supporting a complaint of discrimination) done by their parent or sibling. There is no protection in relation to this form of victimisation for BME pupils in schools in Northern Ireland.

In its Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (pdf) on the UK Government’s 18th Periodic Report in July 2011, the Commission raised its concerns about the gap between protection for people of different races in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK, including in education.

“We note longstanding and unparalleled educational disadvantage for Traveller children and the challenges
to government in providing appropriate support for BME and newcomer children in education.”
(see pages 18,19, 20 of the CERD report - pdf July 2011)


Traveller education

The Commission has been fully engaged in the Department of Education’s development of the draft Traveller Child in Education framework. In responding to the consultation on the framework, we welcomed the adoption of the majority of the recommendations proposed by the Taskforce.

The principles outlined in the document are appropriate and in keeping with our recommendation in Every Child an Equal Child.

We welcomed the recognition of the role of the youth service in delivering elements of education through an informal approach.

We said that the concept of consulting and engagement with the Traveller community should be embedded within these principles.


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