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Brexit threatens to exacerbate the growing teacher supply crisis in Scotland, the General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has warned.

Speaking at the Union’s Scotland Annual Conference today in Glasgow, Ms Chris Keates told teachers that Scotland recruits around 500 teachers a year from the EU and that current recruitment and retention issues in the profession will be worsened if Brexit prevents or deters their appointment to posts in Scotland’s schools and colleges.

“Immigration, border control and restricting freedom of movement have serious implications for public services, including schools and colleges” she said.

“Overseas trained teachers play an important role in teacher supply. Scotland recruits on average 500 teachers per year from the EU.”

“Many of these teachers are our members and they are already reporting to us that they are seriously considering quitting teaching in the UK, particularly in the light of the increasingly hostile environment in which they work.”

“This situation is exacerbated by the Westminster Government’s migrant worker cap which requires the deportation of workers who fail to reach an annual salary of £30,000 in five years.  Given the stagnation in teachers’ pay, salaries of £30,000 are a pipe dream for most teachers.”

The teacher supply crisis is being driven by declining pay levels and spiraling workload and working hours which is ruining many teachers’ mental and physical health and driving them from the profession.

Ms Keates called on ministers to ‘grasp the nettle’ and give teachers’ pay and conditions and the recommendations to tackle excessive workload statutory force.

“It is pointless issuing strategies to tackle workload which employers and schools then ignore.  Employers must be compelled to take tangible action to address the factors which are contributing to make teaching an increasingly unattractive profession”, she argued.

Brexit further threatens workers’ rights, Ms Keates told representatives, with EU laws which protect workers at risk.

“The UK’s laws on discrimination on the grounds of age, religion and sexual orientation, provisions on working time, maternity rights and annual leave all stem from EU directives.

“It is vital to protect all of these EU derived statutory provisions which are so important to all our daily lives.”

“The fight to protect workers’ rights is at the heart of the NASUWT’s General Election campaign and must be central to the Brexit negotiations post the General Election.”

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