Students from Devon and Cornwall have been learning about traveller culture in an effort to separate fact from fiction surrounding their lifestyle.
TravellerSpace, a registered charity supporting Gypsies, Irish travellers and new travellers in Cornwall and the South West, met with early years students at Duchy College to explain more about the issues families face.
Project Manager at TravellerSpace, Caroline Dann, said it was important to talk to students “to challenge stereotypes or dispel myths of the travelling culture”.
“We are based in Penzance, in the children’s centre in St Day, and work all over Cornwall. It is a great opportunity to improve the practice of when these students are in their work places,” Caroline explained.
“We deliver preschool activities and after school clubs for travellers who don’t have access to mainstream services. We have a play bus which we take to the road with activities in, and we are also a link for families who want to get children into school or preschool but they don’t have the confidence or contacts.”
There are approximately 1,500 travellers in Cornwall at any one time from different groups, along with three permanent sites at St Day, Pensilva and Carn Brea.
Caroline discussed best practice with the group, what to think about when considering different cultures and the problems children who come into school from travelling communities sometimes face.
Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools student, Katie Julian, from St Cleer, said she found the session “very informative, it really opened my eyes up to the subject in general”.
Level 3 Early Years student, Shania Stocks, from Callington, agreed saying although “there are differences in the way Gypsies and travellers live, they experience things others don’t”.
“They are no different to anyone else and children from those communities definitely shouldn’t be treated any differently in schools,” she continued.
Team Lead for Children, School and Families at Duchy College, Laetitia Mayne, said it is important for all of our students to recognise the different facets of our society and the vital role that charities such as TravellerSpace play in ensuring everyone has access to the various support networks in Cornwall.
“Once qualified our level 3 practitioners could be working in Multi Agency support roles in which they may have to provide focussed provision to children and their families,” she continued.
“It is vital that they gain as much insight into the communities around them through guest speakers and visits such as this.
“At Duchy College we are now in an exciting position to offer a suite of Early Years Educator, Teaching Assistant and Health and Social Care courses for both the 16-18 year old and adult market. Whether you aspire to be a Family Support Worker, Specialist Teaching Assistant or Speech and Language Therapist we have the courses to meet your needs.”