Report Card 2021 – School Closures Severe Impact on Traveller and Roma Children

According to Report Card 2021 the Government has acknowledged that Traveller and Roma children have been more severely impacted by school closures due to inequalities in access to broadband and technology.

Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance who published Report Card 2021, also highlighted reduced timetables as a significant issue in terms of children’s rights. Ms Ward said that 24% of school principals indicated the use of reduced timetables but that more data is needed.

Report Card 2021 highlights concerns that reduced timetables in 2019 impacted disproportionately on children with special educational needs and disabilities; children of Traveller and Roma heritage and children experiencing trauma or adversity and operated without procedural safeguards. Children’s Rights Alliance called for guidelines to be published urgently.

Report Card 2021 also calls for an independent evaluation of Traveller and Roma Education Inclusion Strategy Pilot Project – promised in the Programme for Government.

The aim of the 2-year pilot, which is being implemented as part of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy, is to increase educational engagement and participation and the Government has stated that the pilot will inform the development of policy and innovative solutions to issues identified as barriers to participation and engagement.

However, the adverse affects of COVID on Traveller and Roma education has also affected delivery and evaluation of the pilots.

In Report Card 2021, Children’s Rights Alliance, of which Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre is a member, focuses on 16 promises to children in the Programme for Government. Grades range from a D minus for the enactment of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill to a B on the enactment of the Harassment and Harmful Communications Bill – also known as CoCos Law. Full report here.

Launch of Report Card 2021 on 23 February 2021 with Don O Leary, Cork Life Centre; CEO Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeline Blackwell, Catherine McGuinness and Children’s Rights Alliance CEO Tanya Ward.