Celebration at Leeds Civic Hall
The successes and achievements of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in Leeds schools have been celebrated at a special event.
The celebration - which took place at Leeds Civic Hall was attended by children and young people, teachers, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, the Chief Executive of Education Leeds, Chris Edwards and members of the Gypsy Roma Traveller community.
The audience were entertained by William Langton, one of the world's best accordian players, and were impressed watching Ferdinand Koci drawing portraits during the evening.
Awards were presented to children and young people from both primary and secondary schools in the city recognising their achievements. The evening also celebrated the winners of the National and Regional Storytelling Competition - organised by the National Association of Teachers of Travellers and other Professionals (NATT+) - which saw children from across the city write a short story to celebrate Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.
Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for Learning, said:
“This month has been a fantastic opportunity for our children and young people to explore these rich and fascinating cultures.
“Ofsted has recognised the pioneering work of our Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service, which has been opening up a new world of learning and cultural understanding for over 25 years. It is great that so many children’s centres and schools have been involved.”
Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We want every child and young person in Leeds to be able to learn and develop in a happy, safe and inclusive environment.
“The Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month is another excellent chance to inspire all our children and young people with creative learning based around these fascinating cultures while challenging negative stereotypes.”
The storytelling competition and history month are the latest in a series of projects from the service which bring alive the traditions, values and culture of the Gypsy Roma Traveller communities developed on a thousand year journey across the globe.
There have been a number of events taking place across the city this month including an arts week at the West Park Centre.
Organised by GRTAS and Artforms, and featuring artists and performers including Richard O'Neill, Romany Storyteller, and Ferdinand Koci, Roma artist, the event was attended by over 400 children from 12 different schools in the city.
There is also an opportunity for children to enter an international competition to describe a unique, new picture which has been designed by Roma artist, Ferdinand Koci.