The EU has encouraged student and staff mobility through schemes such as Erasmus+ for over 30 years. Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe whilst encouraging a better understanding of different societies and the sharing of educational practice. In the current 2014-2020 Erasmus+ cycle, over UK 100 colleges have accessed Erasmus+ funding to provide short work placements for students and CPD for staff. The UK-EU Political Declaration promises negotiations on future participation in EU programmes including Erasmus+ (paragraph 11).
With the Withdrawal Agreement in place, Erasmus+ funding for approved projects (including those led by a UK partner) is effectively locked in, in full, for the remainder of the 2014-2020 Erasmus+ cycle. In other words, the UK continues to participate fully in 2020. Projects successfully bid for during the current programme will continue to recevie EU funding for the full duration of the project, including those where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the tranisition period.
The current position regarding future UK participation in Erasmus+ is that government remains open to considering participation in some elements of the next Erasmus+ programme. It is considering a wide range of options with regard to the future of international edcucation exchange, including a domestic alternative. Guidance from the UK National Agency regarding Brexit and the transition period is available here.
AoC has been invited to take part in discussions with DfE regarding options for the domestic alternative and the future of Erasmus+. The spending review announced by the UK Chancellor on 25 November 2020 indicated that DfE's settlement provided funding to prepare for a UK-wide domestic alternative to Erasmus+ in the event that the UK no longer participates in Erasmus+.
AoC had continued to advocate for continued UK participation in Erasmus+; around €99.7m in vocational education and training funding has been awarded to UK colleges since the current programme cycle began in 2014. AoC contributed to a joint statement issued in summer 2020 with student and education sector groups calling on negotiators to compromise on the terms of the UK's participation in Erasmus+. In 2019, AoC also published a report analysing the impact of Erasmus+ in colleges.
With the end of freedom of movement, there will be some changes to how EU nationals travel to the UK and vice-versa. It's expected that EU nationals will continue to be able to travel to the UK for holidays or short-term trips without needing a visa. However:
- The use of national ID cards at the UK border will be discontinued from October 2021 (except for EEA nationals with Settled Status).
- Reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and the EU may no longer be available. Medical and travel insurance may be required.
- Arrangements for driving abroad, bringing in cash and mobile phone charges should be checked before travel.