It has always been tradition within traveller communities for girls to become homemakers.
And for Romany gypsy Shannon it means leaving school at the age of ten to swap lessons in English, maths and science for cooking, cleaning and babysitting.
By doing so, Shannon, who lives on an authorised traveller site in Hampshire, is following in the footsteps of her mother Caroline and grandmother Lena – both women also left formal education at ten.
Shannon was only six when she started at school and has struggled to fit in.
Leaving, in her eyes, will mean less stress and homework for her and she has the backing of her mother who is intent on turning her into the perfect housewife and mother.
Shannon believes that the lessons she is learning by staying at home will put her above her classmates, who she thinks are only interested in their phones.
She passes a scathing verdict using the slang-term travellers use for non-travellers – gorgers.
‘The gorgers at school try to act better than you, like they’re perfect,’ she tells Channel 5 cameras in documentary series Gypsy Kids.
‘Gorger girls don’t know a thing, they just sit on their phones on the sofa. Apparently they can’t last one minute without their phone, I can. I can last twenty minutes’, adds Shannon.
Shannon, pictured with her mother Caroline, is more concerned with learning valuable life skills like cooking, cleaning and becoming a housewife than maths or science skills
In the Channel 5 series Gypsy Kids, Shannon is already sampling what life will be like after she leaves school – taking care of her younger siblings and making them breakfast
Gypsy women like to ‘keep the home together for pride’
Shannon’s mother is confident she will be able to mould Shannon and have her marriage-ready in no time even if cooking and cleaning are not currently her strongest skills.
‘I’d love for Shannon to get married and be able to cope with things as well as I did when I got married.
‘I feel as a woman it’s obviously nice to keep the home together for pride really. It’s not because we have to, it’s because we want to,’ adds Caroline.
Unsurprisingly Shannon is thrilled at no longer having to get out of bed to go to school: ‘I can’t wait to leave school, because then I will get a bit more freedom, no homework , and no bullies,’ she says.
‘My great-grandma taught my mum how to cook, clean and look after the children.
‘I am going to follow in her footsteps as well,’ she confirms.
Shannon, pictured with her cousin Lena, is thrilled to be putting school and formal education behind her and preparing to become a homemaker
Caroline is looking forward to her daughter leaving school aged ten so that she can teach her how to cook and clean
Given her young age Shannon is unable to comprehend just how much damage the decision to end her education will have on her future.
Viewers are given an insight as she plays an innocent game of ‘shops’ with her younger cousin Lena.
An enthusiastic Shannon expresses an interest in opening her own clothing store in the future, but when questioned by the narrator she admits she would need maths for it to work.
But there are bound to be challenges ahead for Shannon, who dreams of opening her own store, when she realises she will need maths to see her through
A brighter future than the ‘Gorgers’
Shannon also provides a glimpse into how travellers perceive those who are not a part of their community.
She believes that the lessons she is learning by staying at home will put her above her classmates, who she thinks are only interested in their phones.
She slams them using the slang-term travellers use for non-travellers – gorgers.
But the youngster only has babysitting to look forward to – something she isn’t keen on.
After celebrating the end of term at a roller disco with her extended family, her aunts begin to pressure Shannon into looking after their children.
Screwing up her face in disgust and moaning that she wants her freedom she reasons: ‘If you want us to babysit you have to give me a tenner.’
Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World airs on Thursdays, Channel 5 at 10pm