Brexit and education

26 March 2020

Looking to the future – what is the likely impact of Brexit on education establishments?

Desk and blackboard in a school classroom
With less than a year to go until the UK leaves the European Union, our new research has revealed that over half (57%) of Britain’s schools, colleges and universities have no plan in place to deal with the impact of Brexit1.

The education sector

As of January 2018 there were almost 147,000 EU students studying a higher education qualification in the UK, contributing £5.1 billion to the UK economy and supporting 20,000 jobs2
The UK’s independent schools may be particularly affected by Brexit. The 2018 Independent Schools Council Census showed that 10% of students in the UK’s independent schools are from overseas compared to just 6% across the sector3.
Our research also highlighted the potential impact on teaching staff. One in ten of those surveyed confirmed that EU national staff were already planning to leave the UK following Brexit4.

The impact

Just 23% of independent schools feel completely prepared to deal with the change Brexit will bring1.
Over half (57%) of British schools and colleges currently employ EU nationals and a third of these are unclear if those staff will want or be able to remain in the UK post Brexit1. Depending on the nature and terms of the eventual agreement with the EU, the fallout could leave many in the sector with further recruitment issues. 

The future

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, there is still plenty of opportunity for those who are able to plan ahead. Read our guide for more information

Brexit and the education sector

Each year we conduct research to understand the opportunities and challenges in the education sector and Brexit was identified as a key concern for 2018.
Education and brexit infographic
1Ecclesiastical FWD Annual Education Tracking survey 2017
2The costs and benefits of international students by parliamentary constituency. Report Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways
3For a table of tuition fees from a number of EU countries visit
4 Independent Schools Council Annual Census 2018