Teachers in the UK are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the European Union, with the majority believing a vote for Brexit would damage the future prospects of the pupils they teach, according to new research released today by digital education company TES.
TES conducted a survey of 751 UK school teachers from 9-13 June 2016, in partnership with YouGov, to ask their thoughts on the upcoming EU referendum vote.
The results are stark: 70% of teachers polled say they would vote for the UK to remain part of the EU, while 23% say they would vote for a Brexit, six per cent are undecided and just one per cent said they wouldn’t vote.
Every region of the UK saw a majority of teachers supporting the ‘Remain’ campaign. Teachers in the South of England outside London were the most strongly in favour of staying in the EU with 74% of those polled saying they would vote to remain. By comparison, 61% of teachers in London would vote to remain – the lowest percentage of any region.
Rob Grimshaw, CEO of TES, comments: “As a business, TES endorses the pro-remain view strongly expressed by the teaching community. Remaining part of the European Union will promote the stability and economic certainty that we need to innovate, grow and create jobs. It’s also the best guarantee of the economic prosperity that underpins a strong education system and ensures a bright future for our country’s young people.”
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, comments: “I know that the first priority of every teacher is doing all they can to secure the future success and wellbeing of the pupils they teach. That’s why it’s no surprise to me that teachers overwhelmingly back staying in Europe, because they know that the economic shock of a vote to leave would hit young people the hardest. Teachers want to see their pupils leaving school and starting adult life in a country where their opportunities are magnified, not one where those opportunities end at Britain’s shores. That’s why I’d urge teachers up and down the country who think Britain is safer, stronger and better off in Europe to make sure their voice is heard on June 23rd and to make sure we don’t gamble with the future of the next generation.’
The sentiment is even stronger in higher education, as 90% of universities back Remain.
Teachers worry over negative impact of a Brexit
More than half of teachers polled (51%) believe leaving the EU would negatively impact on the future prospects of the pupils they teach. A quarter (24%) state that a Brexit would have no impact on the future prospects of their pupils, while 12% believe it would have a positive impact, and a further 12% are unsure.
Finally, when asked about the impact of a stable economy on the UK’s education system, 75% of teachers say a stable economy has an impact, with 38% of teachers saying ‘a lot of impact’.