Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

GTRSB (Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen & Boaters) Pledge

We are proud of the diverse backgrounds, identities, and cultures of our student and staff community, all of whom collectively enrich the life of our University. In recognition of this, we have signed up to a national pledge to support the inclusion of GTRSB (Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters) students in higher education.

GTRSB into Higher Education Pledge

The National Pledge represents our commitment to creating a welcoming environment and conditions at Sussex in which GTRSB students can thrive academically and personally. We also keen to supporting the professional and personal development of staff who self-identify as GRTSB.

Watch a video from our Vice-Chancellor Sasha Roseneil endorsing our commitment:

Video transcript

Hello. I am Professor Sasha Roseneil, Vice Chancellor at the University of Sussex.

The University of Sussex offers opportunity to all, and we seek to address the inequalities that challenge equity of opportunity.

This ethos is at the very core of our institutional history and our strategic framework and we champion kindness, integrity, inclusion, collaboration and courage.

For many years, we have been proactive in promoting awareness and inclusion of individuals from the GTRSB community (Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showman and Boaters)

We’ve sought to support community and the ambition of learners ambition through our academic research – providing evidence of experiences, by disseminating knowledge about those experiences, and hosting events sharing practice.

We deliver outreach programmes, where we’ve worked with learners, schools, and have collaborated with local authorities, and other representative and advocacy organisations, to build engagement.

But most of all, we’ve supported our GTRSB heritage students here at the University, where they’ve been known to us and we’ve welcomed, embraced, and provided opportunity to them.

We celebrate and embrace these communities and their culture but we recognise the social inequalities, the prejudice, and discrimination endured by these communities, who are subject to racism and hate crimes, as well as possessing the lowest educational outcomes of any measured group.

So we strive to do much, much more.

And it’s with great pleasure that by signing the Gypsies, Traveller, Roma, Showmen, and Boaters into HE Pledge the University of Sussex is choosing to join a growing community of universities, that have also pledged a commitment and who share similar goals and values to those that we hold, toward Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen, and Boaters.

We will do our utmost to better understand, welcome and celebrate this rich part of our society and to support their educational progress and ambitions.

Why the pledge is needed

Just 6.3% of Gypsy/Roma and 3.8% of Irish Travellers access higher education by the age of 19 compared to around 40% of all young people (Brassington 2020). Research from Sussex academics describes the reasons for this under-representation as a complex constellation of historical, political, and social exclusions, racism and misrecognition that result in poor progress through formal education (Danvers and Hinton-Smith 2022).

While very few GTRSB students currently attend Sussex, we are committed to changing this - and this pledge is an important first step.

What the pledge involves


We will gather data on GTRSB students and monitor their progress into, through and out of higher education. This helps us to know this community better, identify relevant data patterns, and target initiatives and resource.


We will build a supportive culture for GTRSB students and staff at Sussex. This will be coordinated through our Belong at Sussex programme, which offers events and activities for students from under-represented groups, including those from GTRSB backgrounds.


Our Widening Participation team will continue to offer outreach to local GTRSB communities to support their journeys into further and higher education. At Sussex, we are proud of being one of the first UK universitires to do this targeted work. The work is led by Chris Derbyshire.


We will celebrate and commemorate GTRSB cultures and communities to raise awareness of the barriers GTRSB students may face when entering higher education and more broadly in society. This includes, but is not limited to, activities to mark GRT History Month in June, such as the celebration event held on campus in June 2022.

How the pledge will be monitored

At Sussex, a group of best practice champions and community members at Sussex will meet termly to discuss progress and co-ordinate activity. This group is chaired by Dr Emily Danvers. Our progress will also be monitored externally by a GTRSB into Higher Education advisory board who will offer us ongoing support and advice. 

Contact us

Our named contact for current and prospective staff and students with GRTSB heritage is Rosie Jones.  You can also contact Chris Derbyshire to find out more about the Pledge and what we are doing to support it.