'No evidence' EU migration harms educational outcomes or school choice

There is “no evidence” that migration to the UK from Europe reduces the educational outcomes of non-migrant children or the choice of schools on offer to parents, according to an influential committee that advises the government.

Research by the Migration Advisory Committee found that there is “no statistically significant relationship” between a higher migrant share and the percentage of parents getting their first preference of school.

Furthermore, the committee also found that in areas where the proportion of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) increased, the proportion of non-EAL pupils achieving their target level in their SATs and GCSEs also rose.

The findings form part of the MAC’s report on migration to the UK from the European Economic Area, or EEA, which found that migrant children and the children of migrants make up a larger proportion of the school population than of the school workforce.

The report recommends that unless a UK immigration policy is included in any agreement with the European Union, there should be no preferential treatment for EU citizens after Brexit.

This would mean that visa restrictions and earnings thresholds that currently apply to non-EEA migrants would also apply to those from the EU.

However, the committee has also recommended that the shortage occupation list – a list of professions that qualify for easier admission to the country – be “fully reviewed”, with the possibility of extending it to other professions, leaving it unclear what would happen to teachers wanting to come here from the EU under a future system.

Teachers of maths, physics, general science, Mandarin and computing are currently on the shortage occupation list, meaning they do not have to meet the same requirements when moving from outside the EEA as teachers in non-shortage subjects. These requirements include a £35,000 earnings threshold for those who want to settle in the UK, a particular problem for teachers early in their careers.

Teachers from Europe currently make up 2.6 per cent of primary school teachers and 3 per cent of secondary school teachers in the UK.