Self identification using the correct ethnic code

The collective grouping of Travellers includes those families who may share aspects of a similar lifestyle but do not necessarily share the linguistic and cultural heritages of the Gypsies, Roma and Travellers of Irish Heritage and would not therefore ascribe to that ethnicity.

Data held on cohort sizes for children from Gypsy, Roma (WROM) or Travellers of Irish Heritage (WIRT) families are generally much smaller than local knowledge suggests. Families may ascribe as White British, Irish or possibly White Other if from an Eastern European Roma background and therefore keep their identity hidden, particularly if they live in a house.

EMTAS work with schools to encourage Traveller families to ascribe correctly to their ethnicity. Ascription is a matter of choice and should not be based on fear of discrimination or persecution. For some families it may because they are no longer travelling and they do not consider themselves to be ‘Travellers’ and there may be some misunderstanding about ethnicity, culture and lifestyle. For some families it may be they are fearful of what it means to ascribe and may consider their ethnicity and heritage no one else’s business but their own.

EMTAS have produced two leaflets, one for pupils and one for parents on the benefits of correct ascription that schools can download and use in order to promote correct ascription.