The Showmen’s lives are in fact much more structured than it appears, with the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain as the umbrella body looking after many of their interests and regulating how they operate. However, the Guild is primarily a business focused association and education is dealt with separately.
Each Section of the Guild has an Education Liaison Officer(s), who liaise with the Local Education Authority and the National Association of Travelling Teachers and their partners.
The National Association of Travelling Teachers (NATT) co-ordinates the 150 or more Travellers Education Services (TES) that operate throughout the country in close liaison with every LEA.
The most visible work of the TES operations is seen with distance learning packs which most of the travelling showmen’s children work with.
Each TES works within national guidelines and according to the national curriculum but also has individual projects that it may operate as well.
Equally in the North East a temporary school is just one initiative of the local TES in association with Valerie Moody, a Showoman who has just been awarded the MBE for her work. This operates at The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor Fair.
In October the children take advantage of the temporary school at Hull Fair and have done so for a number of years.
Some areas of the country where there are high concentrations of Showmen located; notably London Borough of Hounslow, Tandridge in Surrey and Ockenden in Essex have had the chance of being centres of excellence in the teaching of Show children. This has led to better results in an area of traditionally non-achievers in the education system and has also led to greater integration between travelling and non-travelling children.