Education after Brexit (services, qualifications and funding)

Last updated: 12 February 2020

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process is often known as 'Brexit'.

We're now in a transition period (also known as the implementation period) that's likely to last until the end of December 2020. This means the UK is currently still following EU rules.

In January 2021 the transition period will end and our new relationship with the EU will begin. There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland.

This may include changes to education.

The UK is now in the Brexit transition period. This means many of the details about what Brexit will mean are not yet known. This page gives the latest facts, but it will be updated as more details are confirmed. Please keep checking back for new information.

Early learning and childcare

Brexit is not likely to significantly affect early learning and childcare in Scotland.

A number of early learning and childcare workers in Scotland are EU citizens, and their right to continue working in their current role will not be affected by Brexit.

People from all ages, skill levels and backgrounds will still be encouraged to apply to work in early learning and childcare.

EU citizens will still need to apply for settled status before 30 June 2021. The EU citizens living in Scotland page gives the latest information on this, including details on how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and the Scottish Government's new advisory service for EU citizens.


Brexit should not affect the way schools operate.

Schools are run by local councils – if you have any doubts about how Brexit will affect your child's school, you should contact your local council to find out more about Brexit planning in your area.

Exams and qualifications

All Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams in 2019 will run as normal after Brexit.

SQA qualifications are currently accepted across the EU and other countries, and this will not change after Brexit.


All teachers in Scotland must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) before they're allowed to teach.

The GTCS is still welcoming applications from EU teachers.

EU citizens will still need to apply for settled status before 30 June 2021. The EU citizens living in Scotland page gives the latest information on this, including details on how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, and on the Scottish Government's new advisory service for EU citizens.

Colleges and universities

The impact of Brexit on college and university education, including staff and students, is expected to be significant but the full details are not yet known.

If the UK leaves the EU in a 'no deal' situation, the UK Government has made guarantees related to:

  • Horizon 2020 (visit GOV.UK for more information)
  • Erasmus+ (visit for more information)
  • European Territorial Cooperation (visit GOV.UK for more information)

Please visit this page regularly for updated information on:

  • EU student fees
  • the status of EU staff and students in Scotland's colleges and universities
  • the payment of fees for EU public sector staff through the pilot EU Settlement Scheme
  • Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe research and innovation programmes
  • Erasmus+
  • European Territorial Cooperation

EU students studying in Scotland (or planning to)

The Scottish Government has announced free tuition for eligible students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland who choose to start studying in Scotland in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. For more information visit the SAAS website.

Scottish or EU students on an Erasmus exchange trip (or planning to go on one)

Scottish and EU students will continue to be able to take part in the Erasmus programme until the end of the current cycle in 2020 if the UK leaves the European Union with a deal.

If there is a 'no deal' situation, the UK Government has said it will try to negotiate to allow students to continue to take part in Erasmus.

The European Union has said that applications agreed before 31 January 2020 will be able to continue.

For more information see the UK Government's guidance on studying in the European Union and information from the European Commission.

Scottish students studying in Europe

While many of the details of Brexit are not yet known, if you are a UK student studying in an EU country there are a number of things you should consider if there is a 'no deal' situation. These include:

  • your residency rights for the country you're living in
  • access to healthcare
  • your tuition fee status at your EU institution

You should speak to your higher education provider about completing your studies in your current host country. They will be able to give you information and advice.

More information and guidance is available for students who want to study or continue their studies in Scotland after Brexit. If you need to return to Scotland after studying in the EU, you may still have access to student support and student fee support. Visit the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website for the latest information.

EU citizens working in a Scottish university

If you're an EU citizen living in the UK and want to stay after 31 January 2020, you will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by:

  • 31 December 2020 (if there's a 'no deal' situation)
  • 30 June 2021 (if there is a deal)

More information on the EU Settlement Scheme can be found on the EU citizens living in Scotland after Brexit page.

If you're an EU citizen coming to work in Scotland for more than 3 months between 31 January 2020 and 31 December 2020, you will need to apply for a temporary 'leave to remain' if there's a 'no deal' situation. You will also need to apply for an appropriate visa if you want to stay longer than three years. If there is a deal, freedom of movement will remain in place until December 2020.

EU citizens arriving after 31 December 2020 will need a visa to work in the UK.

UK citizens working at an EU institution

The Brexit transition period is likely to last until December 2020. During this period UK citizens living in EU countries would have the same residency and mobility rights they are currently entitled to.

If there is a 'no deal' situation at the end of the transition period, any UK citizens living in an EU country will immediately be subject to that country's migration and healthcare policies.

More information

More details on education after Brexit will be added to this page as new information is available.

Meanwhile, there are a number of other sites you can check for updates:

The content on this site is correct as of today's date and is based on the information available at this time. Regular updates will be made as the Brexit process develops. In the event of a 'no deal', additional advice and information will be given on this site. Please continue to check back for updates.