Establishing a partnership
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Once you have found a partner school or youth group that is right for you, it is important to clearly define objectives and plans, as well as make the partnership official. We recommend the following steps for getting a new partnership off the ground.
1. Establish a lead contact
Make sure there is a go-to person to keep regular communication going in preparation for a trip. Establish an internal support network – make other members of staff aware of the partnership and get them involved.
2. Prepare ideas
Involve fellow colleagues and set up a brainstorming session to collate different types of activities relevant to the topic studied. These may include special assembly presentations, classroom-based discussions and creative sessions in subjects like drama and art.
3. Do research
Research the area for possible activities related to your project. For accommodation, if you’re planning for pupils to stay in host families, do some research beforehand to match them up as well as possible. You may also need to brief parents on plans for the trip.
4. Plan with other teachers or group leaders
Bring pupils and teachers together in a virtual forum to meet and share ideas. The platform can also be used after the trip to evaluate and stay in contact. Get in touch with us for further information.
5. Meet with your German peers
Organise reciprocal co-ordinator visits to put together a plan of action, including clear objectives and timeframes for future projects.
6. Set a timeline in advance
Both parties should formally agree to a programme of specific activities and events – this might involve face-to-face and / or virtual communication. Bear in mind, not everything will go according to plan, so build in some buffer time.
7. Set up a partnership agreement
Developing a written agreement together with your partner school or youth group ensures that everyone is clear on aims, distribution of roles and the timeframe. Guidance and examples of partnership agreements are available on the British Council Schools Online website.
8. Plan your budget
When planning your project, agree to specific activities with your partner school well in advance, and find out about funding opportunities as early as possible (this may include UK-German Connection funding opportunities).
9. Get parents on board
Inform parents early on about the partnership and any planned exchanges. Many parents worry about the financial burden or worry about their child travelling to another country. Make them aware of the benefits for the young peoples' personal development from the outset. Host an information evening for parents to inform them about the partnership and your impending plans.
Are you planning on taking young students abroad? Are parents apprehensive? Towcester Primary school have successfully run several exchanges with their partner school in Germany with 10-year-old pupils. Take a look at their advice in our showcase section.
10. Involve lots of young people
Project-related activities don't have to be restricted to those taking part in a group visit.
Use pupils as ambassadors to spread the word about activities with your partner school or youth group.
Struggling to get pupils interested in activities with your partner school or youth group? Do your young people have concerns about staying with host families? Our Youth Ambassadors suggest ways of getting younger year groups involved in your partnership and talk about the myths and realities of staying with host families.
"We would definitely recommend a pre-visit to the partner project. This benefited both parties involved and helped shape both the exchange visits greatly." (Group leader, Shankill Area Project, CF)