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EU teacher supply protected for no-deal Brexit

Government acts to ensure that teachers trained in the EU will still have qualifications recognised if there is no deal

The Department for Education has issued guidance for schools on preparing for a no deal Brexit

The government has taken steps to make sure European teachers can continue to get their qualifications to teach recognised in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

At the beginning of the year, the government warned that a no-deal Brexit would end the automatic recognition of teaching qualifications gained in the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

The EEA comprises all of the nations of the EU, plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.


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Automatic recognition of professional qualifications is currently enshrined in an EU directive from 2015, which the UK would no longer be subject to if the country left the EU without a deal.

Brexit 'won't block EU teachers'

While the status of European teachers who have already had their qualifications recognised in the UK would not be affected, it was not clear how teachers coming to Britain after a no-deal Brexit would be treated.

However, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy today published new guidance on the recognition of professional qualifications across a range of occupations, including teaching.

“The UK government will maintain a system that will continue to help meet domestic workforce demand, as well as to provide clarity and certainty to businesses and professionals working in the UK,” the guidance states.

“Therefore, the government has amended the 2015 regulations to ensure that there is a system for recognition of qualifications and that professionals arriving in the UK with EEA or Swiss qualifications after exit day will have a means to seek recognition of their qualifications.”

The guidance adds: “The amended 2015 Regulations retain a general system for recognition based on equivalence of qualifications. Under the amended 2015 regulations general system, UK competent authorities are obligated to consider applications for recognition from holders of EEA and Swiss qualifications but are only obligated to grant recognition to qualifications that are comparable to UK qualification requirements and standards in scope, level and content.”

The amended regulations require the Teaching Regulation Agency and other bodies which oversee professional qualifications to “consider applications for recognition where the qualification was obtained in an EEA member state or Switzerland”. 

They also have to “operate as a contact point providing detailed information to applicants about the profession”, and to “collate information (including statistics) relating to applications received and decisions taken and make it available to Her Majesty’s government when requested”.

The UK is currently legally set to leave the EU on Friday with a deal yet to be approved, although prime minister Theresa May is meeting EU leaders today to discuss an extension.

Yesterday, Tes reported that students living near to the port of Dover might have to sit their GCSEs and A levels on later dates or at alternative sites in the “nightmare” scenario of a no-deal Brexit causing significant traffic disruption.

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