Brexit – what it means for your school

The Key
The Key
As you know, the UK will continue to be a member of the EU until we leave on 29 March 2019. Most things will stay the same for schools until at least 31 December 2020, but there are some important things that you should be mindful of if you have staff or pupils from the EU, or when you’re planning to travel to the EU after Brexit.

If you have members of staff from the EU:

  • You’re not required and must not ask current staff for their residency information. Doing so may be considered a discriminatory act
  • You may be asked by an EU, EEA EFTA or Swiss staff member to provide documentation to support them in their application for the EU Settlement Scheme (see below). You must help with this, as far as reasonably possible
  • Be alert to any bullying or harassment in your school and make sure you deal with any incidents in line with your policies
  • If you have a lot of staff/pupils from the EU, consider having a named point of contact within your school who they can go to with any queries. This person should know where to go for answers and be able to signpost staff members and parents in need of advice (for example, to the Home Office department for visas and immigration, the DfE, unions such as ASCL and NEU, your local authority, or Citizens Advice)

What’s the situation for these employees?

EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK before 29 March will be able to live, work, study, access benefits and services in the UK on broadly the same terms as now.

If they’re planning to live in the UK after 31 December 2020, they need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 29 March 2019. The deadline to apply will be 31 December 2020 (in a no-deal scenario), and 30 June 2021 (if we leave with the withdrawal agreement).

Existing teaching qualifications are still valid

There won’t be any retrospective change for EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss teachers whose qualifications have been recognised (and who’ve been awarded Qualified Teacher Status) before 29 March 2019, or for those who’ve applied for a recognition decision before this time.

If you have current pupils from the EU

  • You’re not required and must not ask parents or pupils about their nationality
  • You should help a pupil or parent, as far as reasonably possible, if they ask you to provide confirmation of attendance to help them with their application to the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Be alert to any bullying or harassment in your school and make sure you deal with any incidents in line with your policies

For new admissions, you must not deny a child a place based on their nationality or migration status. After Brexit, we don’t currently know whether schools will have a role in collating nationality data and sharing it with any other agencies.

If you are planning a school trip abroad to the EU

If the withdrawal agreement is passed, you’ll be able to travel abroad under the same arrangements as now until the end of the transition period.

If there’s no deal, you’ll need to:

  • Remind parents to check that their child(ren)’s passports are valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel
  • Remind parents to purchase travel insurance for their child(ren), because it’s unlikely that the European Health Insurance Card will continue to provide cover after Brexit
  • Check the terms and conditions for any flights and/or accommodation carefully, as there may be terms that exclude companies’ liability if the service cannot be provided because of Brexit. If you’re in any doubt, contact them

Other issues to think about, but for which there’s currently no guidance:

  • Charges for debit or credit card transactions
  • Roaming charges (but the main mobile operators have said they don’t plan to reinstate charges after Brexit)
  • Driving in the EU, which may require additional paperwork

Members of The Key for School Leaders can read this article in full and hundreds of other resources on the latest issues in education at www.thekeysupport.com.

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