Apply today for funding for international school visits

Travel grants are now available for secondary school or further education colleges in England to take your pupils on international school visits, through a new Department for Education programme in partnership with the British Council.

Give your students a truly intercultural experience with these grants for travel to visit a partner school or college. The visit can be used to enhance any curriculum subject teaching: it does not have to be a language exchange, although these are welcomed.

Visits should have a curriculum focus. They do not need to focus on language learning, although we welcome those that do.

Grants are aimed at young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Priority will be given to applications that show the school, college, or the group of students involved in the visit have significant levels of disadvantage (e.g., Pupil Premium, Opportunity Area, Index of Multiple Deprivation, Additional Needs etc).

Funding for financial year 2020/21

The Department for Education have now announced a one-year extension to this programme. Funding will now be available for the financial year 2020-2021, and it will extend to pupils in years 5 and 6 as well as those aged 11 -19.

Sign up to the British Council Schools newsletter to be the first to hear when full details and application deadlines are confirmed.

Which schools can apply?

  • The programme is for schools and colleges in England only.
  • Grants are available for pupils aged 11-19. 
  • Sixth-form colleges and further education colleges can apply, so long as the pupils who will benefit are within the age range.
  • Special/SEN schools can apply.
  • Independent schools cannot apply.

What are the rules about pupil premium?

  • Not all the pupils travelling have to be eligible for pupil premium. The grants given through this programme should enable the students on pupil premium to participate without being asked to pay.
  • You need to make your activity as inclusive as possible, to allow access for the most disadvantaged. You should have a strategy for lowering the barriers to participation to get more students involved who wouldn’t normally get this opportunity.

What kinds of trips are eligible?

  • Trips can be to any country (Europe, or wider World) for a minimum of four nights.
  • The trip must not be a holiday. Your trip must be centred around a visit to a partner school with the two peer groups of young people engaging on a theme and learning together. Young people are encouraged to stay with host families where possible. If the visit is not a homestay, you must ensure a lot of contact (ideally daily) with pupils from the partner school, and try to involve their families and others in the local community, if possible.
  • Visits should have a curriculum focus and/or support soft skills. They do not need to focus on language learning, although we welcome those that do.

What will the grant cover?

  • Grants can cover international travel for pupils and accompanying teachers, accommodation and subsistence, local transport and administration costs. Check the Programme Guidance notes for more information on what costs are eligible.
  • Your grant can cover a trip you are already planning, so long as it meets the criteria.
  • Grants cannot be used towards the costs of a tour company for logistical arrangements (as this is profit-making from grant money).

How can I find a partner school?

You can partner with a school in any country, and find a partner any way you choose:

  • Have you worked with any other schools on projects before?
  • Do your teachers, parents or pupils have links to other schools?
  • Is your town twinned with another?

Use our free Partner Finder to find a school to work with.

You can also find partner schools in Europe through eTwinning.

How can my partner school secure funding to make a return visit?

If this is a concern for your partner school, contact us at and we can help you to explore possibilities.

How can I get help with my application?

Guidance and frequently asked questions:

Simplify the planning of your school visit by reading our guide for making international visits safe and successful. It provides sample templates and forms to help you organise your visit.

More questions? Watch part one and part two of our Facebook Live chat where we discussed how your school could benefit from the funding and answered viewers' questions.

If you need any further assistance with your application please contact the British Council Schools team.

How to apply:

  • Register as a user for our grant form.
  • Log on to the system.
  • You will see a list of available forms. Choose the International School Exchanges form.
  • Complete the form. You can save and return as many times as you like before you submit the application.
  • The application is checked for eligibility, and externally assessed twice, using the quality criteria.
  • A programme panel verifies the procedure and signs-off the grants.
  • Grant agreements are awarded, and paid 80%-20%.
  • Final reports should be submitted within one month of your return. You do not have to submit receipts (but you must keep them for audit purposes).