Strategic Planning

Delivering the All Wales seminar on Gypsy and Traveller Children’s Education

“Having Isos as independent and objective facilitators enabled really positive engagement between Welsh Government officials and many of our key stakeholders.”

The brief

Isos was commissioned by the Welsh Government to facilitate the All Wales Seminar on Attendance for Gypsy and Traveller Children.  The seminar was designed to provide an opportunity for practitioners and policy officials to work together to explore the issues facing pupils from Gypsy and Traveller communities and to generate solutions.  The brief was to deliver a series of focused workshops on six separate themes, and to capture the challenges and the solutions that were put forward.  The workshop themes were: attendance, inspection, admissions, safeguarding, transition, and bullying.

What did we do?

To deliver this brief, first, we held a focused workshop with colleagues from the relevant policy teams within the Department for Education and Skills in Wales.  This session allowed us to test and refine the key facilitation questions.  We then designed a bespoke facilitation model for the day that would ensure we covered a broad range of issues as well as focusing on the key issues in depth.

At the seminar, we drew on our experience of facilitating high-profile events, as well as our in-depth knowledge of international education systems.  We used a range of bespoke facilitation techniques to gather intelligence and evidence from front-line practitioners from schools, local authorities, Estyn (the office of the Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales), and the voluntary sector.  We then helped to analyse the issues facing Gypsy and Traveller children, their families, and the professionals working to support them, and to develop new solutions.  We produced a concise report capturing the full range of challenges and ideas put forward during the seminar in order to inform future debate and policy development in this area.

What difference did we make?

The seminar enabled leading practitioners and decision-makers to share knowledge, to identify areas of good practice, and to think afresh about ways of improving school attendance for Gypsy and Traveller children.  Some of those who attended the seminar said it was the most productive event of its kind that they had attended: the workshops were focused and challenging, yet handled sensitively by Isos' facilitators.  Our report has been shared with the Welsh Government in order to inform future policy and practice and the recommendations we made in the report are currently under consideration.

What did the client say about the work?

“Having Isos as independent and objective facilitators enabled really positive engagement between Welsh Government officials and many of our key stakeholders.  The workshops were facilitated professionally and Isos' input ensured that discussions remained focused on the most important questions.   Isos grasped the subject matter and what was required of them on the day quickly, and delivered a very high-quality service.  We had very positive feedback: delegates were extremely impressed by the event and this stands us in good stead to take forward this important agenda together.”