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Lanarkshire council praised for work in educating young travellers

South Lanarkshire Council is being recognised nationally for its efforts to educate Gypsy/Traveller teens.

The Gypsy Traveller Education Group, which runs three days a week, has educated 30 young people who would otherwise be excluded from mainstream school.

Education in numeracy, literacy and pastoral support is offered, and youths are engaged in achieving academic learning.

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The programme is run by teachers and support staff who have extensive knowledge and experience in the field.

Attainment levels for the group have improved and several students have gained qualifications in National three and above.

Cambuslang East councillor, Kirsty Loudon, said: “Gypsy Traveller support is absolutely sector leading and I’ve heard about South Lanarkshire’s work being cited at national meetings.”

Teachers also support families and previous students through phone calls and home visits, literacy based support is given to families like help with completing documents.

Online safety has also been taught to the group to ensure they are aware of issues that can arise.

The group run the programmes in Hamilton and Larkhall for Gypsy / Traveller pupils of secondary age.

Hamilton West and Earnock councillor, Mary Donnelly, said: “People that have refused mainstream education are still getting support, to learn in a way that is suitable to them, I think that is vital going forward.

“There are different ways people learn and we are taking cognises of that.”

The Scottish Government and COSLA have worked together to provide education for Gypsy/Travellers.

Over 100 digital kits have been provided to families throughout the pandemic and the government has spent £1 million to improve education for the group since January 2018.

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