This recent Sir John Cass’s Foundation report, ‘More than luck: Enabling access and success in Higher Education for Gypsy, Romany and Traveller (GRT) Communities’ has acted as a springboard for continued action to support greater participation in higher education by those from Gypsy, Romany and Traveller (GRT) communities. The Office for Students has acknowledged the report and it is hoped that they will work with higher education providers over the next year to enable greater engagement in this area from higher education providers. Work is already underway across the higher education sector to support this greater engagement and the report has helped with this work.
New research has been commissioned in west Yorkshire to understand the challenges that learners from GRT communities face in accessing learning is underway for example, which will report in 2021. Additionally, a group of GRT community organisations, higher education providers and the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), which is the professional organisation for widening access to higher education in England, is undertaking work to develop a pledge for higher education providers on access and success for GRT learners.
There will also by a NEON event in Spring 2021 which will use the ‘More than luck: Enabling access and success in Higher Education for Gypsy, Romany and Traveller (GRT) Communities’ report as the basis for a higher education sector wide discussion on widening access for GRT learners. It is clear that the investment that the foundation has made is playing a part in a range of efforts to extend the transformative opportunities that higher education can provide. It is hoped that 2021 will see these efforts bear fruit with significant changes in policy and practice.