Leeds & West Yorkshire

Concerns over Leeds gypsies' education

Concerns about gypsy and traveller children dropping out of mainstream education have prompted an inquiry by Leeds City Council.

A survey in November found that half of the 25 Year 11 girls from gypsy and traveller backgrounds were missing from Leeds classrooms.

The survey showed that one in nine gypsy and traveller pupils got five A to C grades at GCSE last year.

A gypsy spokeswoman said children left schools when they moved on from camps.

The council said the survey had raised concerns.

Claire Lockwood, who manages the council's Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Achievement Service, said: "We were concerned that some gypsy and traveller girls around aged 11 or 12 years of age seem to cease main stream education as they leave primary school and move to home school."

She added: "I think some do experience discrimination at school by their peers and although we are working very hard in Leeds with the schools and the schools are working very hard, it does happen."

Eileen Lowther, from Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange, said: "The problem is children are still getting moved from camp to camp in circles, where if the council got them somewhere to live or to stay the children would get an education."

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