© 2018

Schooling and Travelling Communities

Exploring the Spaces of Educational Exclusion


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Dave Cudworth
    Pages 1-26
  3. Dave Cudworth
    Pages 93-129
  4. Dave Cudworth
    Pages 167-192
  5. Dave Cudworth
    Pages 219-233
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 235-268

About this book


This book calls for a re-thinking of educational provision for Gypsy / Traveller communities. Despite having been recognised by the government and educational providers for over fifty years, underachievement of children from Gypsy / Traveller communities persists. Rather than focusing specifically on access, attendance and attainment, the author provides a structural analysis of the cultural tensions that often exist between Nomadic communities and current school provision based on the interests and values of Sedentarism. The author uses spatial theory as a base upon which to build knowledge and understanding of the educational exclusion of children from Gypsy / Traveller communities, highlighting the social role that space plays within schools. This innovative book will be of interest and value for students and scholars interested in not only education and Gypsy / Traveller communities, but education for minority communities more widely. 


Traveller Roma Disrupted education Itinerant community Schools

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied Social SciencesDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dave Cudworth is the Head of the Division of Education at De Montfort University, UK. Prior to his move into academia he was a primary school teacher. His research interests include educational social justice, spatial approaches to education and forest schooling.

Bibliographic information


“This book is a fascinating, and highly readable, contribution to the growing literature on space, place and schooling. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre’s Production of Space, Cudworth’s ethnographic study of the everyday experiences/ ‘lived spaces’ of Gypsy-Traveller children and families challenges Modernity’s spatial orthodoxy of sedentarism. The historical chapters argue that Britain’s post-World War two egalitarian project, with its dual aims of nurturing social democracy and children’s creativity, has been supplanted by the neo-liberal project of competition between individuals and schools. Children are ranked by scores on tests based on age-group ‘norms.’ They and their schools are rewarded or penalised for regularity of attendance. Emanating from the metropolitan spaces of the ‘conceived,’ these assimilationist policies fail to acknowledge or build upon the nomadic spatial orientations of Gypsy-Traveller communities. Turning towards ‘progressive’ precedents such as Summerhill, Cudworth suggests practical curricula based on children’s and their families’ work and craft activities.” (Sue Middleton, Waikato University, New Zealand)

“Dr Cudworth’s book reinvigorates the debate regarding the educational exclusion of Travelling Communities. He convincingly shows how ‘Sedentarism’ is an unacknowledged aspect of neo-liberal policy, mapping the history of this idea through decades of British history powerfully demonstrating its confluence with other forms of oppression.  Empirically, the book shows through interviews with members of the TESS (Traveller Education Support Services) and children how schooling systematically codes ‘placelessness’ with deviancy. Space is developed as the missing component in theories of intersectionality in education.  Although Cudworth is aware of the ways in which neo-liberalism grounds down possibilities of resistance, through considering the positive actions of teachers and communities he provides suggestions for an alternative education constructed around nomadism.” (Professor John Preston, University of Essex, UK)