Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities
The information in this section is from information published by the then Department of Children, Schools and Families in January 2010.
The content is Crown Copyright and may only be reproduced for non-commercial research, education or training purposes. NATT+ members can download this document from the National Strategies Documents section of the members' area.
The definition of individual Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities can be complex.
The reasons for this include:
- Gypsy, Roma and Travellers are not one homogenous group;
- the identity of Gypsy, Roma and Travellers is often an imposed view informed by the settled population built on myths and stereotypes.
The term Gypsy, Roma and Traveller is a collective term used to describe a wide variety of cultural and ethnic groups. There are many ways in which ethnicity may be established: these include language, nomadic way of life, and crucially, self-identification. Defining a person as a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller is a matter of self-ascription and does not exclude those who are living in houses. Ethnic identity is not lost when members of the communities settle, but it continues and adapts to the new circumstances.
This article provides schools with a brief background to the history and culture of each of these groups. However, while it is important to understand the background, history and culture of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in order to appreciate more fully who the pupils are, it is simplistic to define them by this information alone. Like all pupils their identity is based on experiences and a wide range of influences, which may vary, not only, from the settled population but also from other people within the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.