£2.5m to Boost International School Exchanges

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that thousands of young people will have the chance to take part in international exchanges and visits thanks to a new £2.5 million programme delivered in partnership with the British Council.

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 found that only 39% of secondary schools run international exchanges and as a result this programme will be principally focused on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme will be made easy for schools to take part in, with 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.

Over the course of the programme, it is estimated that trips could be funded for 2,900 pupils.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“I want every child to have a world-class education, and that includes the opportunity to experience other cultures and go to places they wouldn’t normally visit – whether that’s practising their Mandarin in China or learning about American history in the US.

“As Britain leaves the European Union, it’s more important than ever to show how much we value international opportunities, language-learning, and ensuring our young people have a global outlook – something I’ll be discussing with education ministers from around the world at Education World Forum.

“This investment will help schools who may not have much experience organising trips abroad to ensure their pupils don’t miss out on all the fantastic benefits these experiences can bring, encouraging children to broaden their horizons and aim high throughout their education and beyond.”

Funding will be targeted at schools with above-average numbers of pupil-premium students.

The fund will open to applications later this year. Schools can register their interest on the British Council website.

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