Brexit: Vote to leave the EU will delay education policies
Questions have been raised about the impact of today’s vote to leave the European Union on the government’s education policies.
Prime minister David Cameron, who led the Remain campaign, announced this morning he would quit before the Conservative party’s conference in October.
Leave won the referendum with 52 per cent of the votes.
Headteachers’ union leader Russell Hobby said it would be “tough to implement” the national funding formula with “turmoil” in the government.
The national funding formula plans to create a new funding system, after years of campaigning by politicians and school leaders who claim the huge variation in per-pupil funding between different areas of the country is unfair.
Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, told Schools Week: “The result of the EU referendum and change in Number 10 will have huge ramifications for the country. For school leaders, there will be concerns around the gulf in aspirations between the generations. School leaders will of course do their best to discuss the result calmly and clearly in schools.
“They will also be worried that time, energy and attention will focus on the EU at a time when the education system needs attention. The government will be distracted from dealing with the chaotic assessment system, the unfair funding arrangements and the crisis we are seeing in recruitment.
“The status of a new national funding formula is uncertain, for example, and schools could face cuts if we experience the threatened austerity budget. School leaders will seek reassurances from government at this time of great instability.”
Malcolm Trobe, interim general gecretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “There will undoubtedly be effects on the education system, just as there will be in every sector. It’s too early to know what these will be.
“We will be working constructively with the government to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible and that the interests of schools, colleges and young people are safeguarded.
“Over the next week we will be working closely with senior civil servants in the Department for Education to understand the implications for education.”
Nicky Morgan, education secretary, was also a Remain supporter. Her long-term position in the cabinet is unclear, but a government source said she would remain in post until October’s conference.
He said: “The cabinet will continue as is until Conservative party conference. It is far too early for anything else. Nicky is focused on the job. There is a lot of we want to get done before summer, and she will be focused on a positive, one nation Conservatism, with social justice at its core. Education is central to that.”
The Independent Schools Council said in a statement: “With a move away from the European Union we will expect, in time, to see changes to legislation which are specifically relevant to schools. It is especially likely this will concern international pupils in our schools.”
The Department for Education said it would have a clear idea of the impact of today’s vote in “due course”.
Russell Hobby has also written an opinion piece for Schools Week on the implications of today’s vote on schools, where he argues that the focus must now be on channeling “frustrations” into “positive change”.
This story will update as more information comes in.