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EU Exit: No deal preparations for schools in England


Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario.

We are intensifying and accelerating no deal planning to ensure we are fully prepared.

The government has launched a public information campaign to ensure that UK citizens, businesses, EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EUare well informed about how EU Exit will affect them and the practical steps they will need to take to be ready. Some of the advice applies in both a deal and no deal scenario.

All information will be published on the Prepare for EU Exit website.

EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals and the EU Settlement Scheme

In a no deal exit, EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals1 and their family members living in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to remain in the UK and work, study, and access benefits and services on broadly the same terms as now.

EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss citizens will need to apply to stay in the UK if they are planning to continue living in the UK after 2020. In a no deal scenario, the EUSettlement Scheme would be open to those living in the UK by 29 March 2019. The deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal.

Irish citizens’ right to live in the UK will not change after the UK has left the EU. They can continue living their lives here as they do now. Irish citizens do not need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, but their family members who are not Irish or British citizens will need to. The rights to work, study, access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals. There will also be full protection and maintenance of the current arrangements for journeys between the UK and Ireland. For more information, read our guidance on Citizens’ rights - UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area.

New arrivals

In the event of no deal and following the ending of free movement once the Immigration Bill is enacted, European temporary leave to remain will be granted toEU, EEA EFTA and Swiss citizens newly arriving in the UK after exit to live, study and work here for a period longer than 3 months.

EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to study in the UK during the transition period. After an initial 3-month period, they can remain in the UK for 36 months if they successfully apply for leave to remain.

Irish citizens will not need to apply for European temporary leave to remain, but their non-British or non-Irish dependants will.

Further guidance on European temporary leave to remain is available.

School places

Any child living in the UK can apply for and access a school place in England irrespective of migration status. This will continue after our exit from the EU.

In England, school admissions processes do not take into account either immigration status or nationality and so schools must not deny a child a place on the basis of their nationality or migration status. Guidance on admissions processes are set out in the statutory school admissions code. EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals currently have access to a school-based education in England.

In a no deal scenario, following the UK’s exit from the EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals living in the UK by 29 March 2019 can remain in the country and access benefits and public services, including education, on broadly the same terms as now. Receipt of certain benefits might also qualify families for free school meals. Check if your child can get free school meals in England on GOV.UK. They would need, however, to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020 to remain beyond this date. The government has published arrangements for theseEU citizens in the case of a non-negotiated exit from the EU and for EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals.

The right of Irish nationals to access education in England/the UK is/will continue to be protected under the Common Travel Area arrangements.

Applications for a school place can be made from overseas by those with a right of residence in the UK, but admission authorities and local authorities may require an applicant to provide proof of residence in the UK so that schools can apply their admission arrangements. UK nationals returning from the EU should be considered for admission to a school on the same basis as people living in the UK. UK nationals who return from the EU after EU exit will be legally entitled to access benefits in the same way as they are now.