06/09/2016

The Brexit Effect

Thursfields Staff Member 71

As its back to school for most this week it seems prudent to consider the impact that Brexit is having on the Education Sector, the political dust having settled over the summer holiday period.

Some of the key areas within education that were noted in the immediate aftermath of the decision to leave the European Union included funding, research programs and university tuition fees.

At the time of the vote a letter to the media from Universities UK stated:

“While no-one is suggesting that UK universities could not survive outside the EU, leaving would mean cutting ourselves off from unique support and established networks and would undermine the UK’s position as a global leader in science, arts and innovation,”

It would appear that those concerns were justified as the Guardian has this week reported that uncertainty over research funding and immigration rules are to blame for a decline in our universities international rankings.

While the performance of other European universities has also declined, the most significant falls have been in the UK where universities have seen cuts to government funding for research. Cambridge, for example, has fallen out of the top three for the first time since the rankings began 12 years ago, and many of the UK’s other leading institutions have also dropped down the table.

Funding from Brussels is worth £1bn a year, which helps to boost the quality of research programmes, benefitting the economy and helping British academics to tap into a continent-wide pool of knowledge.

At the time of the vote “in” campaigners argued that to leave would restrict the number of researchers and students coming in to the UK, as well as restricting the number of British students wishing to study in Europe which would, in turn, reduce the strength of our British universities.

Whilst the government’s promise to guarantee funding levels for research projects has helped to address some of the uncertainty it would appear that more support is needed if the UK’s higher education sector is to retain its reputation for excellence.

For further information about our Education Sector please contact Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard on 01905 677051 or lhartiganpritchard@thursfields.co.uk

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