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Brexit: why 'no deal' would be a disaster for schools

A no-deal Brexit means no new funding for schools. And potentially a lot worse, writes Tes' head of content Ed Dorrell

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Let us be clear: if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal at the end of this week or even in the months to come, it will be a disaster for schools.

There are the obvious immediate effects: potential disruption to exam season and teacher supply, to name but two.

Then there’s the horrifying prospect that such a scenario will somehow make hate-speech and bigotry more permissible – and see teachers battling such unpleasantness in the classroom and the playground.

But the biggest threat, probably with the longest consequences, is the one that has had the least coverage: it will deepen the funding crisis being felt across the sector. In short, if no deal happens, there will be less money for schools.

There are two main reasons. The first is that the long-trailed comprehensive spending review, scheduled for this autumn, will likely be put on hold. The noises emanating from Whitehall have suggested that the CSR might signpost a relaxing of austerity for schools have been promising. But these would vanish into thin air without a CSR. No CSR, no funding boost. 

Second, very many experts (with apologies to one Mr M Gove…) have warned that a no-deal Brexit would usher in a recession, possibly a very deep one. Put simply, a recession means less tax revenue. And less tax revenue means less funding for the public sector.

The hugely respected and politically neutral Institute for Fiscal Studies has, conservatively, predicted that no deal would result in at least two further years of austerity. You don’t have to look far to find people forecasting much worse.

With cash for the NHS ringfenced (and vast funding increases promised), and the Ministry of Defence and Home Office both likely to be beneficiaries of a no-deal government, who would be likely to feel the brunt of the cuts that follow the Great Brexit Depression?

Teachers, of course. 

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