Show respect to Showmen

8th March 2013 at 00:00

Your article "Travellers still face prejudice, research finds" (22 February) prompted me to respond from my own perspective. I note that the research is old now (2006-10), but I would contend that it does not portray an accurate picture of the school experience of a number of Showmen's children.

All of the children in our school, regardless of their ethnicity and background, are valued. Our school values include respect and equality. We actively reward children for demonstrating these values at assemblies and in class.

As headteacher of a Glasgow primary with a significant number of Showmen's children, my experience of working with them has been nothing but positive. I use the term "Showmen's children", as this is the preferred descriptor of the community. The Showmen feel that "Traveller" includes a number of groups and that "Showmen" is a more accurate description of the lifestyle that includes travelling as part of their business.

In our school, we value our relationship with the children and their parents. We are proud of the attainment and achievement of our Showmen's families. Many of the children have been very high achievers and attained great success in our primary and associated high school.

We have run a successful project called It's a Wonderful Life, which was featured by Education Scotland on its website. Our children presented their project in school to their families and to the other children, and took it to the Step conference at the University of Edinburgh, where they were praised.

We regularly take our children to the annual Showman's Guild luncheon, where they present some of the work they have been engaged in at school.

I appreciate that we are only one school where the children of Showmen attend; however, the research was based around only two establishments.

Shona Heggie, headteacher, Thorntree Primary, Glasgow.

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