Strangers in Strange Places: The Othering of Gypsy and Traveller Children in Eudcational Spaces




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Peer reviewed


The poor attendance and underachievement of Gypsy and Traveller children within the UK education system has long been acknowledged as a source of concern ( DfES 2003, 2005; DCSF 2009, 2010; OfSTED 1996, 1999, 2003; Save the Children 2001; Liegeois, 1998; Swann, 1985; Plowden, 1967). For such communities, contemporary aims and values of education often sit uncomfortably with their own personal belief systems, especially in relation to their desire to be mobile. As a result, many children from Gypsy and Traveller communities are more likely to be misunderstood within schools and perceived as posing a challenge.

This article will examine inclusionary processes and examples of ‘good practice’ in one primary and one secondary schoos in one inner London borough in the UK. It will specifically explore these experiences in relation to the spatial aspect of the school. Gypsy and Traveller children have unique spatial orientations which are at odds with the spatial construction of the school environment. Part of this investigation will incorporate an examination of the discourses within educational policy. Specifically, we will consider the way in which by setting up the structured ‘spaces’ within schools, the implications of such policy frames continues to marginalise and other Gypsy and Traveller children within the school environment.

The overall aim of the article is not to arrive at a completed position, but hopefully by analyzing educational policy as a discursive device in terms of the unequal ‘spaces’ it produces and creates, it hopefully will stimulate further ideas around regulation, equity, power and space.



Gypsy and Travellers, Outsiders, Education, Space


Cudworth, D. and Bhopal, K. (2010) Strangers in strange places: the othering of gypsy and traveller children in educational spaces. In, British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Warwick, GB, 01 - 04 Sep 2010.


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice