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How to establish international partnerships for schools

Thinking about a Turing Scheme project for your school but not sure where to start? Discover tools and tips for making international connections and forming school partnerships.
Female teacher helping female pupil at laptop

Finding the right partner school is the first important step to taking part in the Turing Scheme. With the right partners, you can make the most of the experience for your school and pupils. 

Before starting your search, it’s worth taking some time to consider what type of partner would suit your needs and what you can offer them in return. Think about what kind of environment is appropriate for your students and the kind of activities you want to run. Location and demographics are also important factors. The British Council website has more information on the things you need to consider when starting an international partnership.

Partner Finder Tool

A great place to start searching for a partner school is the British Council Partner Finder tool. This free and easy-to-use tool can help you form partnerships with schools worldwide.

Once you have followed the simple registration process, you will be able to:

  • add your school to the Partner Finder database
  • search for partners
  • make partnership requests
  • exchange initial messages with potential partners

Using a digital tool such as this can be a great way to promote your school to institutions worldwide.

It is worth considering that some schools overseas may be closed due to the pandemic. They may not be easily contactable through the usual communication channels.

Helpful organisations for making connections

There is a range of organisations that you can reach out to when looking to form a partnership. Cultural organisations, embassies, universities and friendship associations are useful sources of information, resources and potential links.

For example, you may want to try:

Don’t forget you can also get in touch with your local council for existing town twinning or area links. They may already have connections or may be able to put you in touch with someone who can support your search.

Existing international links

Many schools have a wealth of global resources that may be going untapped – don’t be afraid to use personal contacts.

Have you or any of your colleagues visited other countries on linking, CPD or teaching projects in the past? You may have a connection with the organisation you visited, or you may have met a teacher from a school abroad during the project that you could reach out to. Use any previous connections you may have to see if there is interest in a future partnership.

You may also already have students and teachers from other countries in your school – don’t be afraid to explore these options. Whether that’s through reaching out to individuals directly or through a notice in your school newsletter asking for suggestions; encourage the wider school community to support you in your partnership search. Language assistants are also a brilliant resource for connecting with organisations abroad.

You may also like to contact other local schools and universities to discuss approaching their partners. They may have well-established links that they are happy to involve you in or they could explain how they set up their partnership.

Social media is also a useful tool for linking up with schools. Schools’ Facebook pages often post that they are looking for partners. If so, you can approach them via social media.

If you’re new to international projects, sign up to our dedicated mailing list for support in starting your international journey.