According to the ONS, over 6% of early years teachers are EU migrants and freedom of movement has allowed the sector to increasingly rely on migrant teachers to bridge the supply gap.
In the conclusion of its 2016 workforce survey, the National Day Nursery Association (NDNA) warned that the “catastrophic recruitment crisis” in nurseries could be exacerbated by Brexit, as more EU teachers leave the UK to return to their home countries.
Migrant student teachers on our training courses have expressed concerns that the qualifications that they are working towards may not be valid in their home countries and that post-Brexit VISA restrictions could mean that they find it impossible to obtain a permit to work in the UK. Whether these concerns are founded remains to be determined, but this uncertainty could be a factor in more teachers seeking opportunities back home.
We have had many European mentors at INICIO over the years, tutoring French, Spanish, Italian, German etc. and they have been some of the best! The end of the free movement of people could potentially have a huge impact on businesses like ours, and so we can imagine how that projects through the entire sector.
The Erasmus programme is a student exchange programme that provides funding for students who want to study across Europe as part of their degree course. Funded by the EU, Erasmus has been running for over 25 years and, in that time, over 200,000 British students have benefited from the superb opportunities on offer.
Brexit means that Britain faces exclusion from the program, or that the UK’s access to Erasmus funds will be limited.
Brexit could cause a significant reduction in the numbers of students from across Europe who choose to come to university in the UK; once Britain officially leaves the EU, tuition fees may rise as EU students could be treated as international students. This, along with a more complex visa process, is likely to cause a drop in the free movement of students.
In fact, UCAS has reported that there was a 7% fall in applications from EU students in 2017 following the Brexit vote.
Vice-versa, UK students trying to avoid high tuition fees and opting to study in other European countries could find that their tuition costs rise once we leave the EU too. The visa process, again, is likely to become more complicated and less attractive for students who are looking for the opportunity to live abroad and experience other cultures while studying.
Life Long Learning
The European Social Fund has supported a number of projects to deliver skills training to those in work who are seeking to upskill or re-skill, as well as to young people not in education, employment or training. Following Brexit we will no longer be paying into the EU and so it is highly unlikely that they will be funding schemes like this on UK soil.
At INICIO we consider life long learning to be a priority and all of our mentors are encouraged to keep training, learning and growing! Among other things, Charlotte has been offered piano lessons and we support Amelia with her French too.
We know that, as with all things Brexit, this is all about possible changes and that nothing is set in stone; the aim isn’t to fear-monger, only to discuss and highlight the potential changes afoot.