Information for parents and carers

We hope Roma and Traveller parents will find this section useful.  You’ll find information about learning in school and about how you can help children to learn at home, when you are travelling, or moving between places.  There are many people you can speak to about education in the area where you live, or move to, so we’ve provided a map with contacts.  You can also find information leaflets and links to useful websites.  You can call the STEP helpline if you have any questions and we’d love to hear from you if you have ideas about how we can make education better.

These resources provide simple advice on what to do if your child feels bullied.  Bullying should never be tolerated and schools are experienced at dealing with it.

Dealing with bullying


Poster maker

Here are the top four questions we are asked by travelling families.

Do I have to tell the school we are Travellers?

No, if you feel worried about this. But it is useful for the school to know because they will be able to make links between your culture and the school curriculum.

The law says, under the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, that local authorities and their schools must promote equality for children and families from a recognised ethnic minority background and promote good race relations.

Does my child have to go to school?

Parents have the responsibility to make sure their child gets an efficient and suitable education, either in school or at home.

If you register your child with a school, then you have a duty to send them to school.  Once a child has been registered they can only be withdrawn from school education in agreement with the education authority.  By law, schools must note when a child is in school and if they are absent the reason why.  Education authorities can refer the child to the Children’s Reporter if the parent does not make sure their child goes to school.

 For Gypsy/Traveller families who travel, absences can be agreed as authorised by the school.  The important thing is to keep in touch with the school.  Families should let schools know when they plan to travel and when they might come back. This allows the school to make plans to help children learn when they are away.

 Action is usually only taken against parents when there is too much unauthorised absence and no reasons are given to the school.  Find out more about the law HERE.

How will we be affected by GIRFEC?

GIRFEC stands for Getting It Right For Every Child. It was introduced in Scotland to make sure that every child gets everything they need to be successful and confident in life. GIRFEC tries to make sure that every child is happy, safe, achieving their best, nurtured (loved and cared for), active, included (treated fairly and equally) and respected (listened to and involved). You will not be affected if your child’s needs are all met.

Sometimes some of these needs are not met and GIRFEC tries to make sure that children and their families can get the right help at the right times. When a child needs help, they will have a plan which describes what needs to happen to make things better. Children and families will always be involved in making their plan and their views will be respected.

Who is the 'named person' for my child?

A ‘named person’ will be available to listen, advise and help a child and family. If a child needs help, the ‘named person’ will make sure that the right people come together to make the child’s plan work. If your child goes to school, the ‘named person’ will usually be the Head teacher or Depute Head Teacher. If your child does not attend school, one of the local authority staff such as the Traveller Education Teacher will be ‘named person’. Your child should always know who their ‘named person’ is.

It is useful to know:

  • A named person does not affect the role of the parent and carer and will not ordinarily interfere in a child’s life.
  • Children and parents have no obligation to take up the advice or help offered.
  • The named person will not be a social worker.
  • Police or social services will continue to act, as they have done in the past, in cases where a child is at risk of significant harm.

These leaflets hold useful information for parents and carers. A few pieces of information may be slightly out of date so we are updating them and will have new versions online shortly.

Being safe at school in Scotland

About education in Scotland

Additional support for learning

STEP information line : 0131 624 6444
Tuesdays to Thursdays between 10.30am and 4.30pm

Call us and we will try to answer your queries or direct you to someone in your area.

What do young people and families think?

We’re enjoying using the iPads for stories. We’ve got one and wouldn’t have dreamed of using it like this.

Gypsy/Traveller mum

When I went at first I liked the work but the best part was lining up in the dinner queue with my new pals.

Gypsy/Traveller girl, age 10

The most beneficial thing would be learning English. Learning the language would really change our lives. (interpreted)

Slovakian mum