Last Updated: Monday, July 29, 2019

Inclusive practice in action - Working with the travelling Showmen community

What is this?

​​This practice exemplar shows how schools and local authorities can engage effectively with their local Showmen community to provide an inclusive and supportive approach to meeting the needs of learners.

Who is this for?

​Local authorities, schools and support services, teaching and support staff, senior management teams, working groups with a range of stakeholders.

​Explore this exemplar


Schools work with families from a variety of cultural background who have their own histories and sensitivities. In the case of Showmen and other travelling groups this may result in interrupted learning.

Schools and local authorities must develop a range of approaches to planning and support in order to engage with and embrace the culture of the families they work with and to meet the needs of interrupted learners.

This example provides some ideas for local authorities, schools and staff to use as a starting points when considering:​

  • What planning and support to use in order to meet the legislative requirements for interrupted learners to have their entitlement to education?
  • Are there opportunities for pupils to access flexible curricular pathways?
  • How well do you as a school ensure all staff are aware of the culture of the children you work with and embrace the real-life experiences and achievements the children bring from home?
  • How do you support all parents, including those from travelling communities, to participate in the life of the school and to understand the value of their engagement in their children’s learning?
  • Through engaging parents, how do you respond to potential learning opportunities to ensure better outcomes for children?

What was done?

Many schools and local authorities are working effectively to provide for the needs of gypsy traveller groups. The examples provided in the document below highlight the work of one local authority with families from the showmen community. The Showmen feel so well supported and respected by these schools that they want their children to attend them.

Both schools work effectively with the Showmen families and ensure their culture is respected. The primary school uses the experiences of the children to support and enhance learning and are invited to the annual Showmen’s Guild luncheon where they share the work they do. Supporting learners who are away from the area to access the entitlement to education is central to the work done by both schools alongside developing flexible approaches to learning.


PDF file: Inclusive practice in action - Working with the travelling Showmen community (264 KB)


This resource aims to share good practice to support local authorities and schools to meet their responsibility to meet the ​needs of travelling families and interrupted learners.

What was the impact?

More children and young people attend the school on a regular basis and engagement in education and outcomes for learners has improved. Through supporting the Travelling and Showmen community over an extended period, positive relationships have developed with families. This has greatly benefited the achievement and attainment of the young people and, along with the use of flexible learning pathways, has been a significant factor in the increase of the number of young people moving into further and higher education from this community. Previous work with young people and their families is now enabling those who were involved to engage with and support their own children’s and grandchildren’s learning today.​