Paddy Doherty claims Traveller kids are being bullied out of schools
Traveller children are turning their backs on education because they are being bullied in the classroom and playground.
That is the view of Celebrity Big Brother winner Paddy Doherty who was speaking ahead of the Channel 5 documentary Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World.
The former bare-knuckle boxer is preparing to help his eight-year-old granddaughter Margaret settle into a new term at school in Wales.
However, he revealed Margaret has said she wants to leave school before the age of 12.
He said: “It’s not easy for Traveller kids and some of them are bullied in school so don’t want to go back.”
The first episode of Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World sees Margaret’s family being moved on by police after they set up camp on school grounds. As a result 800 students had to be sent home for the day.
However, Margaret’s cousin Bridget-Marie said: “They’re missing one day. We’re missing a lifetime of school.
“I am 13 and I never went to school. They say we’re being bad. We’re not bad people.”
Paddy, who rose to fame in 2010 as head of the family in the Channel 4 series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, also spoke about the roles boys and girls are expected to play in their communities, adding they are expected to “grow up fast”.
He said: “Little girls would learn to clean and cook meals by the age of four and boys worked from seven. We lived adult lives.
“We do try to maintain gender roles. Margaret always has a chamois in her hand ready to scrub the floor and she drags me home from the bar when I’ve had too much booze.”
Research carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute found that just 9% of Travellers aged 25-34 had completed their Leaving Cert, compared to a nationwide average of 86%.