Education of Traveller children

The Irish Traveller community has been defined as “a community of people….who are identified (by themselves and others) as people with a shared history, cultures and traditions, including, historically, a nomadic way of life on the island of Ireland". This includes those Travellers who live in ‘settled’ accommodation.

Taskforce on Traveller Education

In September 2008 the Department established the Taskforce on Traveller Education to assist in developing an action plan on Traveller Education and from this the "Traveller Child in Education Action Framework" was produced.  

The Taskforce was cross-sectoral and included members of the Traveller community from across the north, representatives from a range of non-government organisations, as well as government Departments and public bodies from all of Ireland.  

The aim of the Taskforce was to assist the Department of Education develop an action plan on Traveller education. Thematic sub groups were established and undertook more detailed work. The sub-groups each produced a report which informed the report of the Taskforce on Traveller Education:

Report of Taskforce on Traveller Education

The Taskforce has made a number of recommendations to improve the educational inclusion, attendance and attainment of Traveller pupils.

The report from the Taskforce on Traveller Education was presented to the Minister for Education on 7 December 2011.

The Department of Education consulted on the draft Traveller Child in Education Action Framework between 24 September 2012 and 31 December 2012.

You can view the draft Traveller Child in Education Action Framework and the analysis of the consultation responses via the link below:

Traveller Child in Education Action Framework

The final Traveller Child in Education Action Framework was launched by the Minister for Education, John O'Dowd on the 13th November 2013 at St Patrick's College, Ballymena.

This will progress the way forward to ensure that Traveller Children can benefit from the educational opportunities available.

You can view the final Framework below:

The Framework is the start of a journey of inclusion, to ensure that Traveller children have the opportunity to benefit from the educational opportunities on offer, and give them the best possible start in life.

School Circular

The Department of Education, in consultation with the Education Authority and the Taskforce for Traveller Education, has prepared and issued a school circular providing guidance to schools on the education of children and young people from the Traveller community and also on the inclusion of the Traveller community in all our schools.

To access the school circular see below:

Traveller Education Support Service

The regional Traveller Education Support Service (TESS) was established in April 2013.  It is funded by DE through the Education Authority and seeks to support schools, Traveller children and young people and their families across the north of Ireland.  The TESS Delivery Plan, which underpins the Traveller Child in Education Action Framework, is being implemented through working with schools, the Education Authority, Traveller children and their families.  TESS is engaged in partnership working with other stakeholder agencies to improve education for Traveller children.

Funding for Traveller Education

The Department provides additional funding directly to schools with Traveller children. Schools budgets are determined by the Common Funding Scheme, within which Traveller children constitute a ‘factor’. This funding is calculated on a per capita basis.

The Department also allocates additional funding each year to the regional Traveller Education Support Service (TESS) to provide educational services to Traveller children, their parents and their schools.  This funding is a fixed amount, adjusted for inflation, and is distributed to TESS in April each year. 

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