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High praise for gypsy travellers’ education

Bev Stephens
Presentation: Bev Stephens outside the Houses of Parliament in London

THE GROWING TREND for Gypsy Travellers in Pembrokeshire to continue their education after the age of 16 has been praised at Westminster. 

Bev Stephens, Head of the Pembrokeshire Gypsy Traveller Education Service, spoke to a committee in the Houses of Parliament last week. She gave evidence to the British- Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) Committee for Environment and Social Affairs and contributed to an inquiry into Travellers and the Roma population. After a short presentation, the committee questioned Bev about education in the County. “The committee were very interested in our success of engaging young Gypsy Travellers in education in Pembrokeshire,” said Bev. “Five Gypsy Traveller students are studying for a degree and this was highlighted as an example of success that is not being replicated in other areas.” The five students are studying a full BA degree in Education and Social Inclusion at Monkton School, run by the University of Wales Trinity St Davids. It follows on from a three-year Foundation Degree course, which is also offered at the school. Bev said the news was welcomed by the committee. “The members of the committee were fascinated to learn about the increase in local Gyspy Traveller pupils continuing their learning after the age of 16,” she added. “This is something which is not very widespread amongst other Gypsy Traveller communities, and it was seen as a very positive development.”