The UK Government has announced a £2.5 million funding boost to ensure that more disadvantaged pupils can take part in international exchanges and visits. Later this year, schools in England will be able to apply for grants to take pupils aged 11 and above to visit partner schools around the world, giving them the chance to experience different cultures, improve language skills and build independence, character and resilience.
Research has shown that at present only 39% of secondary schools run international exchanges and this programme aims to encourage more schools to take part.
The programme will be principally focused on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds and will be targeted at schools with above-average numbers of pupil-premium students. Over the course of the programme, it is estimated that trips could be funded for 2,900 pupils. Young people will be encouraged to stay with host families abroad where possible, maximising their opportunity to practise language skills and be fully immersed in another culture.
To make the scheme as easy as possible for schools to take part in, there will be a simple application process, grants to cover the administrative cost of organising trips, and seminars to help schools without much experience of international visits find partner institutions abroad – in Europe or further afield.
Schools can register their interest on the British Council website.