) highlights a number of problems facing schools with an influx of Roma students, including a lack of specialist advice, a shortage of English language teachers and weaknesses in the transition from primary to secondary education. Schools are also struggling to support low-achieving Roma children because of delays in accessing pupil premium funding, it adds.
"All the schools and local authorities visited reported that they had struggled to recruit Roma-speaking staff who could build bridges, linguistically and culturally, between home and school," the report says.
Accordingly, managing the new students' behaviour initially proved to be a challenge at Fir Vale.
"The big issue with the students was just getting them to sit down and get on with their work," Mr Ali said. "I had a couple of Year 7s and as soon as I sat down, they'd get up and go. And I'd be running after them. It was like playing hide and seek, it was all fun and games.
"But now, we've seen massive changes. One Monday, the students were supposed to finish at 2.55pm but they wouldn't get out, they wanted to finish their work, so they stayed until 3.15pm. It's not all plain sailing but we have noticed a difference in their behaviour."
The Roma students are not taught on the main school site but at a nearby education centre, where they study a tailored curriculum of maths, English, science and other subjects. They are taught in small groups with just three students to every staff member. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, they have only half a day of lessons before heading to the gym.
"We do a warm-up and stretches," Mr Ali said. "Then they either use the equipment - learning the names is good for their literacy - or do a kick-boxing class. I don't have them fighting each other, it's all hitting pads or bags."
Roma student Dalibor Ziga, 13, moved to England from Slovakia with his family when he was 2. For him, Fir Vale's radical approach has brought immediate benefits. "It has helped me get on with learning," he said. "The boxing has helped me become more relaxed."
But although the Roma students' behaviour has improved markedly, the school still faces another challenge: funding such high-intensity support. Schools are eligible for additional pupil premium funding for students from deprived backgrounds, but Ms Martin said this did not cover the school's costs.
"We haven't got enough money to put that additional support in," she said. "The difference with these students isn't just that they don't have the language but they don't have previous experience of education. They have a level of need that is so significant."
Pain and prejudice
The Czech Republic has been told to do more to prevent the segregation of Roma children in its education system.
The Council of Europe's Roma group has said that the proportion of pupils placed in classes for young people with "mild mental disabilities" currently stands at 32 per cent, up from 28 per cent last year.
Ulrich Bunjes, the group's spokesman, has called for an end to the "unjustified" practice, which is still going on eight years after the problem came to light.
The Council of Europe's committee of ministers has now condemned the high proportion of Roma in special schools and classes, and called on the Czech government to draw up an action plan by September to address the problem.