Published on 21 January 2021
Stigma and other people’s lack of understanding could by why so many Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) students are not able to reach their full potential – but that could be about to change, as the University of Sunderland has signed a pledge to help break down these barriers.
There are very few GTR university students and graduates in the UK, with an estimated average of 200 members of the communities in Higher Education at any one time.
As part of a national initiative, which launches today, the University will make a firm commitment to take steps to support GTRSB (Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters) students into and within Higher Education.
Wendy Price, Head of Widening Access and Participation at the University of Sunderland, said: “I’m delighted that we will be one of the first universities nationally to commit to the GTRSB into Higher Education Pledge.
“We have a deep-rooted commitment to widening participation and ensuring fair access for all students, whatever their background or personal circumstances.”
The University will look to create a welcoming and supportive environment for GTRSB students to thrive both academically and personally, and where they can be confident their culture and needs are understood and celebrated. Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland, Sir David Bell, said: “For more than 25 years, we have been one of the highest performing institutions in the UK for attracting students from under-represented groups. Not only that, we operate in a region where young people are least likely to access Higher Education.
“We will ensure that staff and students across the institution are aware of the support available. We also commit to ensuring staff development opportunities, raising awareness of the barriers GTRSB students may face in entering Higher Education and more broadly in society.”