EXCL Labour fury over loss of data about shamed EU teachers after Brexit

Posted On: 
31st January 2019

Labour has blasted the Government after it emerged misconduct sanctions imposed on teachers in Europe will not be shared with UK authorities after a no-deal Brexit.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner
Credit: 
PA Images

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said that amid a staffing crisis in schools, ministers had “no plan for a catastrophic no-deal scenario”.

The Government admitted today it has no plan to maintain information sharing with the EU about teacher misconduct hearings if the UK quits without a deal.

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A guidance document published by the Department for Education said the rule that regulators must share details of “any sanction or restriction” on teachers in EEA countries will no longer apply.

It means professional watchdog, the Teaching Regulation Agency, will not receive data as before from EU countries, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, unless a new plan is put in place.

The Government said it would update its safeguarding guidance soon to tell schools how the professional background of teachers from the EEA can be checked in the future.

But Ms Rayner told PoliticsHome: “Even as the teaching workforce tips in to a full-blown crisis, Tory ministers are still burying their heads in the sand rather than taking the action needed to ensure that schools have the staff they need.

“Their reckless approach to Brexit threatens to make the existing shortfall in teachers even worse, with the number of European teachers in English schools falling for the first time in seven years and apparently no plan for a catastrophic no-deal scenario.

“Head teachers across the country are now struggling to staff their classrooms and the Government needs to take urgent action to ensure that the next generation get the teaching they deserve.”

'RETROGRADE STEP'

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Anything which hinders the ability of schools to check the professional competence and conduct of a prospective teacher is clearly unwelcome.

“The public should be reassured that schools will always take all steps to verify the suitability of any new teacher, but the last thing they need is a retrograde step which makes that process more difficult.”

The Government also said it did not yet have a plan to ensure how professional teaching qualifications from the continent will be recognised after a no-deal Brexit.

Ian Hartwright, senior policy advisor at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “It would be disastrous if Brexit forced overseas teachers to leave or reconsider moving to the UK for work.

“Overseas teachers are a hugely important facet of the workforce, not least because the Government has failed to meet its recruitment targets for the past six years.”

Elsewhere, the Government reminded schools about the importance of providing balanced schools meals - as fears grow about food supplies in the event of a no-deal departure.