Michael  Savage  Policy Editor

The number of teachers from the EU wanting to work in England has slumped in the past year, with fears that Brexit will exacerbate staff shortages and hit language learning.

Teachers from EU countries applying for the right to work in English schools fell by a quarter in a single year, according to official data. There were 3,525 people from member states awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) in 2017-18, which allows them to work in most state and special schools. A  25% fall on the previous year, it included a 17% drop in applicants from Spain, an 18% drop from Greece and a 33% drop from Poland.

The fall comes after repeated warnings of a staffing shortage.

Last summer the Education Policy Institute said that teaching shortages would become severe, with bigger classes and falling expertise as a result.

Recruitment targets were missed last year for all subjects except biology, English, history and physical education. Teacher-training applications are also down last month compared with a year earlier, according to the National Association of Head Teachers.

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Modern languages could be among the subjects most affected by the fall in European applications to teach in England, he added.

The Labour party said plans for a post-Brexit immigration policy with a salary threshold of £30,000 for visa eligibility would hit teaching.