A leading charity has launched a "pioneering" education pack about the history and heritage of Gypsies and Travellers to be used by teachers in Scotland's schools.
Article 12, a leading charity which campaigns for minority rights, said their new education resource called A Gypsy/Traveller perspective on history, culture and traditions of the community in Scotland is to be used by schools to help both teachers and pupils better understand the heritage, history and positive contributions to society of Scotland's Gypsy and Traveller people, and to tackle the discrimination and prejudice that these communities often face.
“Most importantly this guide allows for Traveller culture to be brought up in an educational setting for many young Travellers who may be hiding their ethnicity at school for fear of discrimination this will be very important” says Scottish Traveller David Donaldson (19) who volunteers at Article 12 and currently studying a degree in Social Anthropology and International Relations at Aberdeen University.
He added, “it will give not only Travellers cultural pride at school but will also allow the settled community to understand our culture better, and therefore give society a pride in Traveller culture in Scotland. It also provides much needed guidance to education staff on how to teach youth in the settled community about Traveller culture. The lesson plans as well as the huge amount of information contained within the guide will help to dispel many damaging stereotypes and get young people thinking about contemporary issues for Travellers.”
The majority of the content of the resource was produced in collaboration with young people from Article 12 in Scotland’s Young Gypsy/Travellers’ Lives project and others from the community. Where content was produced solely by the authors it was proofed for accuracy by young Gypsy/Travellers and/or tested in schools. It was also supported by Jess Smith, Patron of YGTL project, Sandy Reid and the late Sheila Stewart who lent their words to the work.
Michael Molden Young Gypsy/Travellers’ Lives project Co-coordinator, explained, “the resource was put together to ensure that the culture and traditions of Gypsy/Travellers were included on the school curriculum in Scotland, this followed a lengthy consultation and negotiation process with the Scottish Government and Education Scotland, we are pleased to say this was finally achieved in January 2017, with the resource now being available to pupils across Scotland via the National Learning Hub. It is hoped that this resource will enable the dispelling of the many myths and stereotypes about the Gypsy/Traveller community in Scotland thus making the school setting a safer and indeed happier environment for young Gypsy/Travellers to access the education rights that young people from the settled community can take as given.”
The resource pack is primarily developed for secondary school CfE level third and fourth Social Studies, Health and Wellbeing and Literacy and English but can be easily adapted for use within other levels, subjects and themes and may be useful to Community Learning and Development practitioners or others who provide support to young Gypsy/Travellers.