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Marginal groups in marginal times: Gypsy and Traveller parents and home education in England, UK

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  • Kalwant Bhopal
  • Martin Myers
This article examines the experiences of home education for Gypsy and Traveller groups in England, UK. We argue that home education is perceived in a particular historical ‘moment’ characterised in the media and more generally throughout society by ‘risk’. Against this backdrop this article considers Gypsy and Traveller experiences of home education and their relationships with local education authorities. Drawing on case study data with 10 Gypsy and Traveller families living on the south coast of England we argue that the marginal status of Gypsy and Traveller families exposes them to particular vulnerabilities associated with failure, incompetence and lack of concern regarding the education of their children. This is further heightened in present day ‘risk society’. Drawing on the work of Ulrich Beck, we suggest home education is both a reaction to the risks associated with modernisation and also a perceived risk in itself when equated with issues of child protection and welfare. Despite maintaining community networks and longstanding traditions of home education, Gypsy and Traveller lifestyles are still perceived as being at risk within a ‘moment’ in which home education is under scrutiny.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5–20
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Marginal groups in marginal times Gypsy and Traveller parents and home education

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bhopal, K. and Myers, M. (2016), Marginal groups in marginal times: Gypsy and Traveller parents and home education in England, UK. Br Educ Res J, 42: 5–20, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/berj.3198. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 253 KB, PDF document

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