Improving the outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils

Client: DCSF | NFER Contact: Anne Wilkin, DCSF Contact: Tammy Campbell, Senior Research Officer

The NFER, in partnership with Brian Foster from the Inner London Traveller Education Consortium, and Chris Derrington an Independent Consultant, is currently conducting research on behalf of the DCSF to investigate improving the educational outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) pupils.

Research questions

The main aim of the study is to explore the issues faced by GRT pupils in key stages (KS) 2 to 4. It will seek to look at current and ongoing developments to improve outcomes and to explore how, as well as why, key measures (for example, attainment, attendance, exclusions) for GRT pupils differ from other ethnic groups and the national average.

Impact and outcomes

The final report, drawing together all the findings from each strand of the research, will be published by the DSCF in the summer of 2010.

Research design and methods

The research comprises four distinct strands:

1. National data analysis (autumn 2007-spring 2010)
Attainment, attendance and exclusions data for GRT pupils (KS2-KS4) will be compared with a control group of pupils with similar characteristics in order for the research to explore the outcomes for GRT pupils relative to those of others in similar circumstances.

2. Progress mapping (autumn 2007-spring 2010)
Questionnaires will be sent to primary and secondary schools with relatively high numbers of GRT pupils twice during the course of the study. The questionnaires will gather information on a range of themes on the engagement of GRT pupils, for example, transition, race equality and inclusion, as well as explore developments over time, for example, changes in practice. Data on the attainment, attendance and exclusion of GRT pupils in years 5 to 11 in these schools will be accessed via national data sets. The study aims to gather responses from 200 schools.

3. Case studies (spring 2009)
Fifteen schools (ten secondary and five primary) and five case studies involving pupils who attend out of school settings, will be selected to allow for more in-depth study of issues for GRT pupils, their schools and families. Each of the case studies will involve interviews with: the headteacher (or equivalent in out-of-school settings), a governor and parents (up to three per case study). There will also be group interviews with: pupils and young people (up to six per case study), school or other teaching staff (up to six per case study), and local authority (LA) staff (up to six per case study).

4. Literature review
A review of UK literature over the past ten years will be conducted, with a particular focus on empirically-based research on GRT pupils and their parents and evidence of improved outcomes.


The findings of this study will be of interest to schools, local authorities and GRT parents and pupils.

Time scale: September 2007 - July 2010

NFER Project Code: TGR

Research report/findings