Myth: Uncontrolled migration is putting unsustainable pressure on school places.InFact: The shortage of school places has been caused by government errors and recent policies making it harder for local authorities to create new places. EU migrants contribute to the public finances. This wealth could be invested in schools. Brexit, by contrast, would cause a hole in the budget meaning there would be less money to spend on schools, not more.The shortage of primary school places is yet another example of how uncontrolled migration is putting unsustainable pressures on our public services,” claimed government minister Priti Patel on April 18, the day parents learned whether their children had got into their first choice of primary school.In fact, successive governments are to blame for the lack of school places. The Labour government reacted slowly to the birthrate boom of the 2000s. And the subsequent coalition and Conservative governments have put further barriers in the way of local authorities expanding and building schools in response to the need for more classrooms….
Leaving the EU will create significant challenges for universities. Although this is not an outcome that we wished or campaigned for, we respect the decision of the UK electorate. We should remember that leaving the EU will not happen overnight — there will be a gradual exit process with significant opportunities to seek assurances and influence future policy.Throughout the transition period our focus will be on securing support that allows our universities to continue to be global in their outlook, internationally networked and an attractive destination for talented people from across Europe. These features are central to ensuring that British universities continue to be the best in the world.Our first priority will be to convince the UK Government to take steps to ensure that staff and students from EU countries can continue to work and study at British universities in the long term, and to promote the UK as a welcoming destination for the brightest and best minds. They make a powerful contribution to university research and teaching and have a positive impact on the British economy and society. We will also prioritize securing opportunities for our researchers and students to access vital pan-European programs and build new global networks.
In terms of education policy, the short term impact is likely to be distraction and delay. There are vital policies already in the pipeline that need a clear focus — not least the proposed national funding formula.Can this really be implemented by a divided government facing serious budget challenges? I hope my scepticism proves unfounded. We also need action on assessment and recruitment which may prove difficult. Looking on the bright side, however, no new policies for a while wouldn’t be a terrible thing.In the longer term we may see a change of both leadership and policy in education. Perhaps a different attitude to selective education? Perhaps a retreat from engagement and investment in early years (which were a high priority for number ten)?….I don’t think class sizes will change and our school services have been heavily affected by underfunding, which can only get worse. Because of the EU, there has been extra funding going into the EU.”
There are well over 100 business schools in the UK and their performance power is quite astonishing. Of the FT’s list of Europe’s 50 top business schools in 2015, no less than 14 UK schools make an appearance.Although this influence and success does not derive directly from EU membership, most business school leaders would argue that inside the EU, it is easier for us to recruit students and staff from across Europe, and gain access to other EU markets as foreign providers. EU membership also opens up additional funding streams (e.g. Horizon 2020) and opportunities for faculty and students to gain international experience through such programmes as Erasmus. Our ability to collaborate with experts and institutions from other European states is also assisted by being at the heart of the EU and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Whilst the likes of Switzerland and Norway have strong business school communities without EU membership, there are material advantages arising from being at the core of the Union.
Many schools employ foreigners and around 14% of university staff are from Europe. No one knows what Brexit would mean but it can offer no guarantee of immigration status. If EU nationals working in Britain lose certain rights, such as free NHS care, will they up sticks and go home? Schools claim they will lose 400,000 teachers if the Brexiteers win. We already have a shortage of quality teachers — this would only exacerbate the problem. If the quality of teaching dips, parents who pay for education will start to look elsewhere.And what of the pupils? Some 5,000 children from EU countries are currently at British boarding schools. Brexit would add bureaucracy and complexity to their travel arrangements and make parents reconsider. Around 5.5% of higher education students are from EU countries. An exodus of international students would mean a vast net outflow of money from the UK from associated industries: student accommodation, cultural tourist events to name but a few.Yet voting leave would probably have some benefits. No doubt, the pound would weaken, which could make private education more affordable to international parents. There is an argument that this would cause an increase in the level of international applications as a result of this new found competitivenes; and a knock on effect to all the associated trades. However, the more likely outcome is, the schools in question will see an opportunity to increase fees to take the slack in currency weakness — and to bolster profits. After all, they are running a business too. This would lead to an even higher fee level for domestic families and even less affordability for domestic children to attend the very best institutions.