23 June 2016. Many will agree that this date has gone down in history as the day the British public made an unprecedented decision about their future within Europe.
Brexit, as the British public vote is known, came as a shock to many. The British papers even reported that the group of activists who actively campaigned to leave the EU did not really believe they would get the leave vote.
It is no exaggeration to say that the shock waves caused by Brexit were felt all over the world and there was interest in the story from far and wide. Over a year after Brexit, it is clear that the initial aftershock has settled and the public seems to have adjusted to the fact that the UK will be leaving the EU.
The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, which officially began the negotiations to leave the EU. There is then a 2 year period from March 2017 when the negotiations should be concluded. Which could mean the UK leaves the EU anytime from March 2019.
With all these important steps taking place, at Impact Teachers we have been considering the implications of Brexit on teaching in the UK and what Brexit means for teacher recruitment.
What makes Brexit so important to teachers?
Theresa May has been quite vocal about her party’s intentions for the UK to leave the single market and customs union. The single market is quite an important aspect of the UK’s membership of the EU, because it provides for the free movement of goods and services within the EU. By this, every EU citizen is entitled to move freely within the EU to work in another EU country without immigration restriction.
The terms of the UK’s departure from the EU are still being negotiated, but Theresa May has made it clear that the UK will be seeking to leave the single market. This could mean that teachers who are UK citizens may no longer be able to work without immigration restrictions within the EU and conversely, teachers who are EU citizens may not be able to work in the UK unrestricted.
Potential immigration restrictions on teachers from EU countries coupled with increasing teacher shortages and rising student numbers in the UK presents opportunities for teachers from non-EU countries, like Australia and Canada, to come and teach in the UK.
Teaching shortage in the UK
It is no secret that there is a shortage of teachers in the UK (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmeduc/199/199.pdf).
This shortage continues despite Brexit (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39028840). In fact, it was reported in December 2016 that the UK Government did not meet its target for teacher recruitment for a fifth year in a row. Some politicians in the UK have even criticised the Government of presiding over a crisis in teaching (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/28/labour-warns-of-teacher-training-crisis-after-targets-missed-again).
The UK National Union of Teachers has also recently confirmed that there is "increasing evidence of a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, just as the number of pupils and the demand for new teachers begins to increase sharply." (https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention)
Student numbers continue to rise
As the shortage of teachers increases, so does the number of students. Some reports attribute this rise to an increase in birth rate. Whatever the reason for the rise, it is projected that the number of secondary school students will increase by 19.1% to 534,000 by 2026 and primary school numbers will increase by 100,000 by 2024 (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/07/14/baby-boom-will-lead-20-per-cent-secondary-school-pupils-ten/).
Teaching job opportunities
The Brexit process is ongoing and the terms of the UK's withdrawal are yet to be agreed. There is the potential for Brexit to arguably create even more job opportunities for teachers from non-EU countries. This is because of possible immigration restrictions on teachers who are EU citizens coupled with the teaching shortage and the increasing number of students. There have been reports of more job vacancies in the UK due to EU citizens leaving the UK after Brexit (https://uk.businessinsider.com/brexit-jobs-miracle-barclays-2017-7).
We are experiencing an exciting time in teacher recruitment, different from any other period. More than ever before there is a need in the UK for good quality teachers who can make a real impact on the education of students in the country. The UK is going through an interesting period with Brexit that presents a great opportunity for you to contribute to the education system while also gaining valuable teaching experience.
Our commitment to you
At Impact Teachers we remain fully committed to our purpose of changing and improving the world through education. We aim to achieve this purpose by developing outstanding schools, creating passionate teachers and inspiring students to engage and achieve better results.
We are committed to your success. We have many years of experience during which we have successfully established a number of teachers from Australia and Canada in teaching roles in the UK. We have a team of expert advisers available to discuss your options with you. Contact us today.