With Brexit looming, the DfE has published Advice for schools on how to prepare for Brexit. We have summarised some of the most important points below.
EU Settlement Scheme
Schools should ensure that EU, EEA or Swiss staff and parents are aware that they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after Brexit. The DfE has published specific guidance in this respect, along with a toolkit for employers.
In the event of a no deal Brexit on 31 October, EU citizens and their family members living in the UK will have until 31 December 2020 to submit an application to the EU Settlement Scheme. There will be no change to their right to work in the UK until that date.
Teachers with EU, EEA or Swiss teaching qualifications and qualified teacher status (QTS) will keep this status, and there will be no change to their right to work.
In relation to new recruits however, EEA professional regulating authorities will no longer be required to automatically share information with the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) of any sanctions/restrictions imposed. Schools will therefore need to carry out safer recruitment checks on all non-UK nationals in the same way.
Schools are prohibited from taking into account the nationality/immigration status of prospective pupils now, and this will not change. Once the new immigration system has come into effect in 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will not be able to come to the UK for the sole purpose of attending a state funded school.
Children who enter the UK as a dependent of a worker or student will still be eligible for a funded school place.
Travel to the EU
Schools with trips to the EU planned after 31 October will need to check the latest foreign travel advice for the countries to be visited, particularly with regard to access to healthcare, as the EHIC card is unlikely to be valid. Travel to Ireland will not change after Brexit.
Passports must have at least six months left, and be less than 10 years old. Collective passports will remain in force, however schools should check that List of Travellers (or Visa Waiver Forms) for non-EU pupils are still valid.
An international driving licence may be required for some countries. The government has issued guidance on, for example, taking equipment (eg sports equipment) to the EU after Brexit.
The Data Protection Act 2018, which implemented the GDPR, will remain in force after Brexit. However there are additional measures that schools will need to take in relation to data transfers from the EEA to the UK in the event of no deal. You should refer to the DfE's Brexit guide: data protection for education providers.
Food and Medical Supplies
The DfE recommends that schools liaise with their food supplier, local authority or trust to check that they have planned for the potential impact of a no deal Brexit, to ensure that their secondary suppliers are prepared and menus can be adapted to allow for substitution as necessary. Schools must continue to meet nutritional standards, special dietary needs and manage allergies.
You should also liaise with your local authority or trust in relation to their contingency planning for medical supplies, so that your school can continue to support pupils with health conditions.
Erasmus+ and ESC Projects
Schools may not receive EU funding for these projects in the event of a no deal Brexit, and should register to claim Erasmus+ and ESC funding from the government guarantee.