Teachers were generally in favour of remaining in the EU – six in ten (62%) voted to Remain while around three in ten (28%) voted to Leave. Reflecting overall public behaviour and attitudes evidenced in other polling and surveys on the issue, teachers have remained relatively consistent in how they would vote if a referendum were to be held tomorrow (64% would vote Remain, and 27% would vote Leave).
By a significant margin, teachers say that the biggest priorities for the Government should be the NHS (70%) and schools and education (64%). This sentiment is markedly higher amongst female teachers than male teachers, on both the NHS (73% of female teachers vs 64% of male teachers) and schools and education (67% of female teachers vs 56% of male teachers). Of note, teachers think immigration should be a comparatively lower priority issue for the Government, with less than one in five (16%) saying that it should be one of the biggest three Government priorities.
Half of teachers (52%) think that Brexit is being handled badly by the Government, as opposed to a third (35%) who think it is being handled well.
Throughout the data there is a clear theme showing that teachers think that Brexit’s impact will be most negative at an institutional and economic level rather than in their day-to-day lives. For example, three in five teachers (58%) think that the impact of Brexit on the country as a whole will be negative (less than one in ten [7%] say it will have no impact), whereas just over half (54%) say that it will have no impact on their day to day job (three in ten [29%] say the effect will be negative).
Nearly half of teachers (45%) would like to discuss the issues surrounding Brexit in the classroom with students and feel able to do so, compared to 18% who would like to but don’t feel able to do so. One in ten teachers (11%) think that Brexit is not something that should discussed in the classroom and that they would not feel able to do so even if they wanted to.
Teachers are most likely to be worried about the impact Brexit might have on investment in schools (60%), of the options tested. Around a quarter (23%) say that they are very worried about this. Teachers are least worried about the impact that Brexit might have on their own job, of those tested (29% say that they are worried about this).
Three in five teachers (61%) disagree that the school curriculum is helping students prepare for the UK leaving the EU, while a quarter (24%) strongly disagree with this. Further to this, half (49%) think schools have a role to play in supporting students, but are not being supported (54%) in doing so.
One in five teachers (18%) have experienced or heard of foreign-born colleagues receiving verbal abuse about their nationality in the past six months (as opposed to 64% who have not). The majority of teachers (57%) agree that the Government’s priority in leaving the EU should be free trade agreements and access to the single market, while half (50%) agree that Brexit is distracting the Government from the real issues this country is facing.