Education head fears Brexit will worsen teacher shortage

The head of education in Fife has warned that Brexit may be detrimental in recruiting foreign teachers

According to The Courier, Fife’s head of education is warning that Brexit is likely to worsen the region’s teacher shortage.

Shelagh McLean has said that leaving the EU could mean prospective teachers from the continent will face difficulties.

“There will be complications, potentially for those who come from overseas to come and work in our schools,” said McLean.

“It’s a longer process for those coming from America and Canada. It takes longer to get checks. We’re trying to anticipate that as much as we can to bring forward processes.”

McLean discussed this issue at a recent education and children’s services committee meeting. She said that Fife Council will work closely with the General Teaching Council for Scotland to help teachers ensure foreign teachers can still be hired.

“We’re also working with the UK government about areas of teaching where there are shortages. That more relates to the secondary sector,” she said.

“We’re not entirely sure what the impact will be, but we’re doing whatever planning we can.”

James Calder, education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in Fife, added:

“As overseas recruitment was mentioned as one of the solutions to the teacher recruitment crisis in Fife, I was concerned over the impact of Brexit.

“For this reason I asked about this at the education and children’s services committee.

“Unfortunately as I expected the local authority does anticipate complications.

“Depending on what happens with Brexit, potentially recruiting vitally needed teachers from abroad could become longer and more complex.

“Right now there appears to also be a real lack of clarity for council officers.

“Considering the numbers of teacher vacancies have increased, even since the start of the school year, it is imperative that all options are available for recruitment.

“I therefore call for the UK government to take consideration of this and come clean at how Brexit will affect our education.”

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