Ethnic Identifier in Primary Education

The Department of Education and Skills is introducing an ethnic identifier at primary level. This means that in the coming months parents will receive a form from their children’s primary school that will ask them to identify what cultural or ethnic background they identify with.

Previously only Traveller children were asked to identify. Pavee Point was strongly opposed to this practice as it was not within a human rights framework and only served to make Traveller children feel further isolated within the education system.

From now on ALL children will be askedto identify what cultural or ethnic background they identify with. Parents will be asked to complete this form on their child’s behalf and return it to the school.

The question will look something like this:


Why are they collecting this information?

The Department of Education wants to collect this information for a number of different reasons:

  • For the allocation of resources to schools
  • To monitor the outcomes and achievements of pupils from different areas and backgrounds
  • For international reporting purposes
  • To monitor the impact of government policies on different groups in the education system and to inform the development of new education policies

Why should Traveller and Roma parents answer this question?
It is very important for the Department of Education to collect this information so that it can ensure that the education system is working effectively for all children and that no group is discriminated against.  With the information gathered through this question the Department can examine the impact of existing education policies and develop policies in the future which best meet the needs of all children.

What happens if I do not answer this question?
Nothing, however having this information will help the Department improve the education system for all children.