The Department for Education has warned schools about the potential impact a no-deal Brexit could have on school dinners.
In updated guidance published today, it says schools may need to "adapt menus" and allow for "product substitution".
The Advice for schools on how to prepare for Brexit document states: “The government has been working to plan arrangements that ensure goods can continue to flow into the UK without significant delays from additional controls and checks in the event of a no-deal Brexit."
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However, it states: “We advise that you contact your food supplier(s) if your school procures food directly (or your local authority or academy trust, if they arrange food on the school’s behalf) to ensure they are planning for potential impacts of a no-deal scenario. For example, this may include plans to adapt menus to allow for product substitution.
“This would also include seeking reassurance on the ability of suppliers to continue to meet nutritional standards and to accommodate special dietary needs and allergens when introducing any substitute products.”
The document also warns schools may need contingency plans to cope with disruption in the flow of medicines and medical devices, including for children with SEND.
It states: “The government is working closely with the NHS and its suppliers to help ensure that supplies of medicines and medical devices can continue to flow into the UK without significant delays…If you have any concerns about being able to meet statutory duties relating to SEND, health and safety, or safeguarding, you should work with your local authority or academy trust to ensure there are robust contingency plans are in place.”
Despite the DfE recently launching a recruitment drive in Spain to help ease teacher shortage, today it states that schools which routinely recruit EU nationals should reconsider their recruitment strategy in light of changes to the immigration system.
It says teachers from the EU whose qualifications have already been recognised will be unaffected, but that “requirements will change” for teachers who have not already received or applied for a recognition decision by the date of exit, although there will still be a method of seeking recognition for their professional qualifications through a new system.
The guidance also repeats a previous warning that under a no-deal Brexit, the Teaching Regulation Agency will no longer automatically receive or maintain details of those teachers who have been banned, post-exit, in EU member states.