Susan Craig-Greene

Susan Craig-Greene (Dale Farm Housing Association): Susan is originally from Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in International Relations. Susan then won a Bailey Scholarship to enter the University of Leipzig, where she studied the changing role of women in reunified Germany. She returned to teach in Germany two years later on a Fulbright scholarship and entered the private sector to work at an IT market research consultancy. Susan then returned to university and earned an MA in Human Rights at the University of Essex, where she earned a distinction for her dissertation. After graduating, Susan took a placement with Amnesty International’s International Justice Project. She left Amnesty following the birth of the first of her two children and began studying documentary photography. She lives close to the Dale Farm site.

Last chance to learn for Dale Farm children

07 Sep

The children of Dale Farm returned to school, today, to begin what could be their last two weeks in formal education.  After the residents had received their 28-day notice letters, I was sitting in Nora Sheridan’s trailer having a cup of tea when two women from the Travellers’ Education Service came by and handed her a laminated card. They explained that they will help her to place her children in a new school, and that she should give them a ring after the eviction once she has settled somewhere. She didn’t get a straight answer when she asked how this will work if she is forced onto the road and not allowed to stay in any one place for more than a few days or weeks at best. The reality is, as all of these Travellers have experienced in the past, there is no way for the children to get any sort of consistent schooling under these circumstances. Many of these children will never go to school again. Why has this not been considered by anyone throughout this process?

Jimmy Tom, proudly reading aloud from one of his books to his mother and me. Jimmy Tom will have no access to education if forced onto the road. Photo by Susan Craig-Greene, 2011.

Nora is extremely worried about having to pull her children out of the school they love and to put an end to the significant progress they have been making over the past few years. Six year-old Jimmy Tom, her youngest, who started at Crays Hill Primary School just last year, proudly gets out his books every time I come round and demonstrates how well he can read. It is amazing how fluent he is after just one year. He couldn’t wait to go back to school today.

Margaret Quilligan is devastated that she will soon have to take her six year-old son with Down’s syndrome, Dan, out of his special needs school in Basildon after the two years it took to secure him a place there. She cries as she explains that Dan had finally settled in there, made friends with the local children and eagerly waits for the bus each day. How can she possibly find him an appropriate place if on the road?

These children want to go to school and their parents want to send them. This is remarkable progress, considering the vast majority of parents do not read or write at all.  Surely, the UK government owes Jimmy Tom, Dan and the rest of the children an explanation, as to why their rights are not being considered (specifically the Article 28 right to education under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) and why it is endorsing and funding this eviction and putting them in a position where access to education is virtually impossible.


Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Sep 7th, 2011


  • Marilyn Fetcher

    September 7, 2011


    Devastating for the families, the children and the future of the travelling community. So distressing to see traveller education revert back to the 1960s, when the children couldn’t access any schooling and education authorities didn’t bother to ensure they received any. How can Basildon Council justify this abuse?

  • Jackie

    September 7, 2011


    My heart goes out to these people in this horrible situation. These people do not have education. money in the bank the means or the desire to live like so called “normal” people. The way they live is normal to them and what they wish for… they are a community and could teach many who are not of their kind a thing or two about sticking together and getting on with each other .. loyalty even. No words can express how stupid this petty behaviour is and the utter desire to be using their little bit of power to bully old, sick infirm people, children and their parents. They are no better than Nazis killing of the Jews… they would do the same if they could heartless bastards- I hope they get a few Gypsy curses to see them off.

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