School leaders have warned that Brexit could make the challenging teacher shortages in the UK even worse.
In a joint open letter, teaching unions and the British Council have urged Brexit negotiators not to underestimate the impact of leaving the European Union on schools and pupils.
The letter says it must be straightforward in future for schools to recruit from European countries, and that those already working here must have their rights protected in a post-Brexit visa regime.
It also voices concerns about the impact on pupils if Brexit affected day trips and international exchanges.
The letter has been signed by the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton; the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Paul Whiteman; the joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney; and the head of schools programmes for the British Council, Mark Herbert.
It says: “Similar to the effects on the health service, we are seriously concerned that Brexit will exacerbate the already challenging teacher shortages in the UK. Therefore, the post-Brexit visa regime must ensure that those already living and working here have their rights protected and feel secure; it must be straightforward for schools to recruit teachers from European countries.
“It is also important that the prospects and opportunities for school pupils in the UK are not reduced by the UK leaving the European Union. The benefits of exchange programmes and foreign trips for pupils are widely accepted, and so visa arrangements must enable straightforward international visits and exchanges, rather than school children visiting Boulogne for the day having to apply for visas.
“Britain’s future prosperity and place in the world depends on a new generation of outward-looking, multilingual, globally minded young people who are prepared to live, work and thrive in the global economy.”