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Celebrating Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller History Month,

On Tuesday 28 June the University of Sussex Widening Participation team delivered a programme of insights, training, and discussion entitled ‘GRT in Education’.

Over 100 learners, academics, practitioners, and external stakeholders joined us on campus to consider the many opportunities and barriers within the learner-journey of this often misrepresented and under-represented community.

According to a new report which includes research from the University, young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are the least likely ethnic group to enter higher education. And they have the poorest GCSE outcomes of any measured ethnic or cultural group.

The event was opened at the Attenborough Centre by Director of Communications, Marketing and Advancement, Emily Tofield, and Pro Vice Chancellor of Culture, Equality and Inclusion, David Ruebain.

GRT in Education was a collaborative effort by staff and students across Widening Participation, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, the School of Media, Arts and Humanities, the School of Education and Social Work and significant external stakeholders.

The result was a large-scale event drawing delegates from across the southeast and incorporating elements of live performance, exhibition, workshops, film, an academic panel, and advice and guidance from key advocacy agencies.

We were delighted to see a diverse representation including members of our staff and student community, multiple local authorities, a range of non-governmental organisations and charities, and representatives from within the communities themselves.

We received some inspiring feedback from attendees, who reported feeling empowered by the gathering and saw it as a valuable networking opportunity for those involved in tackling barriers to education faced by GRT communities. Others reported that they would reflect on their own practice because of the insight they gained in the course of the day – and looked forward to attending future events now that Sussex had established a link to GRT communities.

Thank-you to those of you who helped bring about this fantastic event. We’re a University that prides itself in challenging conventional thinking. This is an important step in breaking down barriers to education for some of the most ostracised members of our society.

University of Sussex Schools and Colleges Partnership Manager and member, Chris Derbyshire

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