Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Raising awareness of Traveller culture in Hampshire's schools

Friday, 04 July 2014

June marked Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month across Britain, an annual awareness campaign that seeks to educate and raise awareness about the profile and history of Traveller communities.

In support of the national campaign, Hampshire County Council's Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) has been working with Hampshire schools to increase understanding of Traveller communities amongst pupils, through drama and music.

A drama scheme for secondary schools, 'Justice for Johnny' uses the true story of Johnny Delaney to deal with issues of racism and prejudice. The short play and associated workshops explore the racist killing of Johnny in 2003, educating young people about the dangers of bullying. The scheme was launched at Fernhill School and Language College, where 13 students from Year 9 were inspired by Johnny's story to develop a dramatic performance exploring the issues of racial prejudice in the classroom. 8 schools have already taken part in the scheme which is open to schools across Hampshire and beyond. A further 9 schools have signed up to take part in the scheme from September this year.

For primary schools, EMTAS in participation with Hampshire County Council's Music Service, commissioned music and dance workshops featuring traditional Gypsy folk songs and step dance to teach children about Traveller culture. Cranford park Primary School and Cherrywood Primary School participated in the workshops, delivered by community music and dance troupe Folkactive and inspired by research into the musical heritage of Traveller communities from Hampshire.

Schools wishing to learn more about either of these programmes can contact the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service via emtas@hants.gov.uk.

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