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UK student visas impacting Falklands students

It can take up to a year to acquire the relevant visa for some students wishing to study in the UK.

The director of education Sarah Stannard said the UK Government requires student visas for those who hold British Overseas Territory Citizenship passports or a passport from another country other than the UK.

During Wednesday’s education board meeting Ms Stannard said the process to apply for a UK student visa can take up to one year. This was said to cause significant delays for those from the Falklands with these passports, as well as increasing costs significantly.

Ms Stannard said the issue has been raised with the Home Office during a recent visit to the Falklands and the Education Department is also submitting evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee on education in the Overseas Territories.

The benefit of apprenticeships available through the college was then discussed.

The cap being lifted on the number of apprenticeships during the last assembly was said to have had very positive impacts.

The College has 31 apprentices in training, 19 based locally and 12 overseas.

Six apprentices will finish their studies this academic year. One of those is already working in the Falklands, three are planning to return to the Islands and either have jobs organised or will be self-employed and two are uncertain of their plans.

An update in membership of the SHIELD  programme was given.  One member has successfully gained paid employment and has reduced the time spent with SHIELD.  Two new members are transitioning from the community school to SHIELD and will join full-time from September.  

The director’s report continued with a breakdown of the number of children in Stanley’s schools.

The Infant and Junior School has 313 children enrolled, including camp education pupils, and 220 children are enrolled in FICS. There are no children being home educated.

There are 42 students undertaking further education and 24 in higher education.

British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI) is said to be considering whether military families should go back to using FICS and Stanley House with an agreement being made in principle.

Ms Stannard said she is working with BFSAI on the practical implications, guidelines and agreements which will be needed before students are accepted.

An update on the Falklands home education policy was given.

The document follows a change in education law in the Falklands and outlines the process to follow for those who wish to home educate their children. The document was approved by the board.

The next meeting was scheduled for the 18th of July.

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