£2.5m for more international exchange opportunities

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 and character.

The programme, which will be principally focused on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be run in partnership with the British Council.

The British Council's research found that only 39% of secondary schools run international exchanges. For independent schools, the figure is 77%.

The research also showed that almost two-thirds of university language students said that an international exchange helped inspire them to choose their degree course.

Funding 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.

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