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“She has won the hearts of 150 Gypsy and Traveller families.”: Praise for Torfaen Council’s Traveller education service manager

Gypsy and Traveller pupils in Torfaen are set to “buck the trend” of low achievements and absenteeism in the community, councillors were told this week.

Four young people from Torfaen’s Gypsy and Traveller Youth Forum stood up and shared their views on education at a council meeting. West Monmouth School pupils Jaiden, Chrystal, Pippin and Lexi also spoke about some of their achievements and ambitions.

‘Bucking the trend’

Lynne Robinson, Traveller education manager, said: “I have the huge honour of being the practice manager of Torfaen Traveller Education Service. We are based in West Mon but actually, we are a peripatetic team and go across Torfaen. We have 40 pupils in West Mon but 150 Gypsy Traveller pupils in primary and secondary.

“The Gypsy and Traveller community are one of the most vulnerable communities in Wales. They also have the highest rates of absenteeism in primary and secondary school. I am incredibly proud to say if our pupils stay in education we are bucking that trend. With the young Gypsy Traveller children staying on in school and onto  year 11 we can get (them) at least six to ten GCSEs.”

She said the “biggest risk” was parents choosing home education. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, ten pupils had left school to be taught at home.

Cllr Anthony Hunt, leader of the council, thanked the pupils for standing up and talking to councillors. He said: “I’d just like to thank Lynne as well for the fantastic part she plays in delivering that service. If we are bucking the trend it’s down to the hard work of people like yourselves and also of the pupils in schools who are a credit to your community.”

‘She has won the hearts of 150 Gypsy Traveller families

Cllr Sue Malson, Trevethin and Penygarn Ward. said: “In my days, when I was this age, we were not recognised in any form of race, religion or culture. I also thank you for employing her, this beautiful person. Without her (Lynne) we wouldn’t have the children achieve what they do now. In the Gypsy Traveller world, it takes a lot for a gorger, someone like you, like me, who lives in house to be accepted. She has won the hearts of 150 Gypsy Traveller families.  That’s never been done before. It’s because they believe in her, they trust her.”

Cllr Giles Davies, Abersychan Ward, said “I haven’t been down for a while (to the unit at West Mon) I’m long overdue a.visit and just to let Lynne know that I’m very proud of her and all the pupils so thank you for all that you’ve done and bucking the trend.”

Cllr Richard Clark, Croesyceiliog Ward, said he wanted to encourage all councilors to attend the open day being held at West Mon in 2023.

Cllr Janet Jones, Blaenavon Ward, thanked pupils for their work in supporting the Poppy Appeal. Pupils have made poppies to sell and will meet members of Blaenavon Poppy Appeal in November to give them the money they have raised.



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“She has won the hearts of 150 Gypsy and Traveller families.”: Praise for Torfaen Council’s Traveller education service manager

four pupils and a teacher
(l to r) Jaiden, Lexi, Chrystal, Pippin and Lynne Robinson