Schoolzone: Impact of Brexit on schools

Impact of Brexit on schools


25 June 2016

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Teachers did not want to leave the EU (TES: 70% were Remain); young people did not want to leave the EU. The mood in schools is correspondingly glum.

School budgets in England have been under extreme downward pressure (despite government claims to the contrary) since 2010 – Osborne’s (presumably final) austerity budget cannot help this and a new cabinet may well lose the impetus on the fair funding formula, as has happened every time governments have attempted to introduce one in the past. This assumes that the next cabinet will be largely Brexiteers, which Morgan was not – and she surely needs to go after the embarrassing backbench rebellion over forced academisation.

Is there good news about “pressure on public services”? Well, around 14% of school age pupils in England have English as an additional language (in 2010 it was 13%). At most, 45% of these will be from EU countries based on the total population. However, EU immigrants are less likely to have brought their children with them – in other words, we could see a reduction of 5% or thereabouts in the number of children in our state schools – if immigration is reduced, which the Brexiteers now seem to be back-tracking on. The pressure on school numbers is coming mainly from within, owing to rising birth rates.

What about staffing? Well, relative to the other public services, the impact on teacher numbers will be relatively unaffected, but many primary schools are employing EU nationals to support their compulsory language teaching programs, which could be hit by a reduction in EU immigration. Otherwise though, the impact should be small. Hurrah.

But most important of all, what about the future of our children? The TES survey showed that more than half of teachers polled (51%) believe that leaving the EU will negatively impact on the future prospects of the pupils they teach. A quarter (24%) stated that Brexit will have no impact on the future prospects of their pupils, while 12% believe it will have a positive impact.

What are we to tell the children in our care? Apologise for ruining the economy with our endless pursuit of property? Apologise for bleeding it dry with our over-generous state pensions (available, incidentally to private sector teachers) and free higher education? Apologise for forcing the UK to leave the EU and placing pressure on Scotland and NI to leave the UK too, further reducing their options?

OK – I hold my hands up to hyperbolising (if that’s a verb) and wandering into political bias, but honestly, this referendum has really got my goat.

It’s interesting to note that the petition for a second EU referendum has already gathered over 3 million signatures and amusing (to me at least) to learn that it was actually started by a Leave campaigner before the result came in, when things were going badly for that camp. Always good to end an article on a lighter note.




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