Newly released figures showing a massive fall in the number of EU citizens choosing to join the education workforce in Scotland demonstrates why migration powers must be devolved, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland has revealed data showing only 14 EU teachers from six nations have applied for registration so far in 2018, a dramatic drop from previous years.
Speaking to Holyrood magazine, GTCS chief executive Ken Muir said he thought Brexit had been the leading factor.
“Having maintained numbers pretty high from the EU, they are falling off a cliff, and that’s absolutely down to Brexit,”
He added: “Whereas in the health and care industries two years ago the numbers it more or less started to dwindle, the teacher numbers kept up.”
In the first half of this year just 14 teachers from the EU applied to regulator, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), so they could teach in Scottish schools. However, pre-Brexit trends showed the number of EU teachers applying to work in Scotland had been rising from 128 in 2015 to 186 last year.
The overall figures for overseas teachers are also down this year, with 614 registrants from outside Scotland in 2016, 598 in 2017 but only 126 in the first half of 2018.
The figures have prompted John Swinney to repeat earlier calls for migration to be devolved to the Scottish Government, accountable to the Scottish Parliament, to ensure a system that is tailored to meets Scotland’s needs.
The Deputy First Minister said: “Scotland voted clearly and decisively to remain within the European Union and we have repeatedly demonstrated that this is the best option for Scotland’s future.
“These figures show the stark reality of Brexit. Already highly-skilled and hard-working EU citizens are thinking twice about choosing to live and teach in Scotland which will not only have a negative impact on the education workforce but our economy and society as a whole.
“Last year we had citizens from almost every EU member country applying for GTCS registration but, so far this year, citizens from just six countries have applied to live and work in Scotland. And the head of the GTCS – the independent body that registers teachers – has today made plain that Brexit is driving this slump.
“Once again this underlines the clear case for the Scottish Government, accountable to the Scottish Parliament, to set the rules for a migration system tailored to meet the country’s needs.
“It is vital we continue to attract the very best candidates to work within the Scottish education system regardless of their nationality, our young people deserve no less.”
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