Brexit Britain’ does it again. EU’s Erasmus is shown to be useless.

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readAug 4, 2021

Yesterday the Government announced more details of its new overseas study programme, the Turing Scheme, which will replace the EU’s expensive Erasmus+ programme this year. What does it mean?

What did the Department for Education announce?

A total of 40,000 students and pupils are set to study and work abroad under the new Turing student exchange programme, spanning 150 countries. 28,000 of these placements are designated for university students. The DfE says that this compares with 18,300 under the EU’s Erasmus+ scheme. The total budget for the first academic year (2021–22) is £110m.

I dispute that figure. SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS

Dept for Education’s figures for the Erasmus+ replacement

  • 28,000 overseas placements for UK university students under the UK’s new Turing Scheme
  • 18,300 overseas placements for UK students under the EU’s Erasmus programme.

Brexit Britain continues to go global

As part of the new global scheme, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States are amongst over 150 international destinations where UK students will be funded to take up work and study placements — as well as EU countries like Germany and France.

The DfE said: “At the heart of the Government’s post-Brexit vision is an ambition to create a truly Global Britain where we learn, work and trade with countries well beyond Europe’s frontiers. The Turing Scheme, which has replaced the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, gives young people the opportunity to benefit from working and studying abroad while boosting our ties with international partners in the process.”

The Remain campaign’s Project Fear has been proved wrong — again

The subject of Brexit denying students the right to study abroad came up many times during the Referendum campaign and in the years that followed. Here is one example, from the campaign arm for young people called ‘Our Future Our Choice’ (OFOC).

‘Our Future Our Choice’ (OFOC)

“The outcome will impact us the most: we are losing our rights to live, work and study anywhere in our continent.”

- ‘Our Future Our Choice’ website — a Remain campaign group

Our Future Our Choice’ was funded by Best for Britain, Open Britain, and The European Movement. This means that indirectly they received funding from the foreign billionaire George Soros. FACT.

The Turing Scheme will benefit UK students — we will no longer be paying for EU27 students

For years I have published reports on the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. I continually pointed out that twice as many EU27 students were benefiting from coming to the UK compared to UK students going to the EU. It appears that the funding of EU27 students will now stop under the Turing Scheme.

I also highlighted the fact that far more UK students went to the United States than to any EU country.

The top five countries where young Brits went to study

The US. 10, 279

Australia. 2,019

France. 1,999

Ireland. 1,791

Canada. 1,632

Finally, has Gavin Williamson got his sums wrong?

The statement from the Department for Education yesterday contained the following key section:-

“The total number of individual placements supported this year through the £110m scheme stands at over 40,000 — exceeding the Department for Education’s own estimates. This includes 28,000 placements for university students — compared with only 18,300 under Erasmus+ in the academic year 2018/9.”

I cannot be sure without asking them today, but it appears that they have made the same mistake that so many Remainers have made. The figure for outgoing UK students under Erasmus+ in that year was 9,993, according to the EU’s official figures. It would appear that the Department for Education under Gavin Williamson has mistakenly included ‘trainees’ (work placements, apprentices, etc) in its total. Adding in trainees takes the EU’s figure to 18,305. If the UK Government’s new scheme provides “28,000 placements for university students”, as they say, then they must compare this to the EU’s Erasmus figure for UK students, which is only 9,993. That would make the comparison chart look like this.

UK TURING SCHEME V EU ERASMUS SCHEME for overseas study number of UK students benefiting. Correcting the DFE figures.

UK Turing scheme. 28,000

EU's Erasmus. 9,993

Source: UK Department for Education statement, 03 Aug 2021, and official EU statistics for UK students in 2019
- the last year for which numbers are available.

Once again Brexit Britain has confounded its critics. To put in place a new student overseas study programme in the first full year of Brexit must be seen as an achievement.

Even if Gavin Williamson has got his sums wrong, the Government’s new Turing Scheme will involve substantially more students than under the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. One further advantage is that the UK will no longer be funding 18,000 EU students and 12,000 EU27 trainees each year. Naturally, they are still welcome to come, but not at the British taxpayer’s expense.

Instead, the UK Government will be making available grants to worthy students from all around the world (including some from the EU of course), contributing to a continued, vibrant, higher education sector. Turning the United Kingdom once again into an exciting, globally outward-looking country is part of what Brexit was all about.

We win again. Brexit is good for the UK of that there cannot be any more doubt.

[ Sources: EU Commission | Dept for Education ]

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.