Foreign-born teachers 'suffer verbal assaults at school' following Brexit vote

16th April 2017 at 11:00
A survey commissioned by he NASUWT union revealed teachers' concerns about Brexit.
Lawyer tells teachers "there's a huge threat coming your way" as UK leaves the EU

Almost one in five teachers know of foreign-born colleagues who have suffered verbal abuse at school because of their nationality since last year’s Brexit vote, a poll has found.

The finding comes in a ComRes survey of 800 British teachers, commissioned by the NASUWT union, which showed 62 per cent voted to remain in the EU.

The majority (60 per cent) who took part in the poll said they were worried about the impact of Brexit on investment in schools, while 43 per cent were concerned about its effect on teachers’ job security.

Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, said: “With one in five teachers reporting witnessing or experiencing foreign-born colleagues being subjected to verbal abuse because of their nationality, it is also abundantly clear that urgent action is needed to demonstrate that such abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The survey found:

  • 18 per cent have heard about or experienced foreign-born colleagues being verbally abused about their nationality on school premises since the Brexit vote;
  • 29 per cent are worried about the impact of Brexit upon their jobs;
  • 29 per cent are worried about the impact of Brexit upon workload;
  • 49 per cent believe schools have an important role in preparing students for Brexit, but 54 per cent said their school is not supported in helping to prepare students for Brexit.

Ms Keates said: “This research demonstrates the genuine concern amongst teachers about what Brexit will mean for their jobs, working conditions and rights at work.

“The survey suggests that the recruitment and retention crisis which is engulfing schools will not be addressed if Brexit results in reduced levels of investment in education.

“The research confirms that schools and teachers need immediate support in order to help educate today’s children and young people for a future where the UK is no longer a member of the European Union.”

Yesterday, Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, told a meeting at the union's annual conference that “there’s a huge threat coming your way through the Brexit changes”.

He listed agency workers, part time workers, pregnant women and those facing redundancy as groups that could be affected by a potential loss of employment rights when Britain leave the EU.

“[The government] wants to control you, and Brexit gives them the perfect opportunity to do it,” he added. 

In January, Theresa May pledged to "ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained" after Brexit.

The conference will consider a motion about Brexit later today.

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