Top Tory backs #LetThemTeach campaign

Robert Halfon is backing Tes call for government to stop international teachers being turned away from our classrooms

Martin George

Robert Halfon, let them teach, tes, campaign, recruitment, crisis, visas, visa, education select committee

The chair of the influential Commons Education Select Committee has thrown his weight behind the Tes campaign to stop non-EU international teachers from being turned away from Britain's classrooms.

The #LetThemTeach campaign follows a Tes investigation, which revealed that desperately needed international teachers are being forced to quit their jobs and leave the country at short notice because they cannot renew their visas.

To stop this from happening, Tes is calling for the entire teaching profession to be added to the "shortage occupation list", which gives higher priority for visas each month.

Currently only teachers in four subjects – maths, physics, computer science and Mandarin – are on the list.

Robert Halfon, who was a Conservative education minister before being elected to chair the committee, said he would be “delighted” to support the campaign.

The MP added: “Just as I strongly welcome that Sajid Javid has opened the door to allow trained nurses and doctors to help our NHS, we should do the same in terms of teachers and make sure that Britain is open to the best of teachers around the world.

“We also need to do a lot more to recruit and retain new teachers in the UK as well.”

He joins the leaders of England’s major teaching unions, the University and College Union, the Chartered College of Teaching and the Association of Colleges in backing the campaign.

Members of the select committee have already highlighted the issue, questioning education secretary Damian Hinds about it when he appeared before them last month.

Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull, told Mr Hinds: “The campaign is exposing how non-EU teachers have been unable to get visas and how many of them are being sent back to their countries, which is fuelling the recruitment crisis.

“Heads are being prevented from hiring talented teachers from abroad.”

Please support our campaign and sign the Let Them Teach petition. If the petition hits 10,000 signatures, the government is obliged to formally respond to it. If it hits 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for a debate in Parliament. To sign it, click here. 

Find out more about Tes’ campaign by visiting the Let Them Teach homepage.

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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