The Erasmus+ programme
More than 4 million teachers and school staff have travelled across Europe Between 2014 and 2020. They have met colleagues and peers from other countries, and have taken part in international activities, all funded by the Erasmus+ (plus) programme.
Are you interested in participating?
In this article, I have covered all you need to know about the new Erasmus+ programme.
Why not start planning your next mobility project right away?
Enjoy the article, and remember, if you need assistance with an Erasmus+ project, Europass Teacher Academy is here to help you!
What is Erasmus+?
Are you already familiar with Erasmus+?
Then, you may skip to the next section.
Otherwise, you may like to know that Erasmus+ represents one of the active steps taken by the European Union to promote the internationalization and modernization of schools.
Teachers have taken this opportunity to take part in training courses abroad and learn new teaching strategies, develop innovative teaching tools, meet people of different nationalities and cultures, and even practice a foreign language.
By attending these classes, teachers have also developed school exchange programs.
Within Erasmus+, networks of schools have also implemented international projects to promote innovation and share best practices of different school levels.
For some teachers, joining the programme has given them the possibility of visiting another European country for the first time. Furthermore, it has also encouraged many schools to complete medium and long-term planning and achieve a dedicated European mission.
The Erasmus+ Programme
At the end of every year, usually in November, the European Commission publishes the new Erasmus+ guide for the following year. The first deadlines usually expire by the end of February, check our Erasmus+ funding deadlines to stay up-to-date.
However, on a larger scale, the European Commission implements changes every seven years in which it decides on the priorities and the budget for the following scheme. In 2021, the programme expanded and facilitated the inclusion of disadvantaged groups.
In order to involve in Erasmus+ “new-comer” organizations, the programme supports schools that have fewer or a lack of organizational resources. Schools entering the programme for the first time have access to more basic projects that are easier to implement.
The goal for 2021-2027 is to fund 10 million mobility projects, not only higher education institutions, VET, primary and secondary schools, but also even pre-schools and kindergartens.
The programme has been a great success since 1987, and now it aims to develop each school and organization’s European idenity
Most funding will reach those schools that demonstrate a clear intention to develop their international capacity and participate in European projects on a continuous basis.
As inclusion is one of the main priorities of the programme, there are budget costs set aside for the needs of students who require additional support (e.g., mobility funding for an accompanying person, or for the rent of special vehicles for transportation). In regard to long-term mobility, some organizations may also use a part of their grant funding for the linguistic preparation of the participants.
Moreover, schools can also organize blended mobility through a range of activities which makes these projects more flexible, attractive and engaging.
The Structure of Erasmus+
The Erasmus+ programme is made up of four Key Actions (KA) for the education sectors (formal, non-formal and informal).
Do you know what the main difference between them is?
Let me tell you…
Any school can apply for funding in KA1, even without foreign partnerships during the application, while KA2 projects are accessible only to international school networks and organizations, that have previously held a partnership.
Let’s look at some more details.
Key Action 1 – Individual Mobility
This chance of funding is created for individual schools or organizations. Schools can also create a consortium to share the efforts of managing a project and creating new synergies.
Any new organization can enter a consortium at any given time. So, if your school has missed the deadline to apply for funding, you can still participate in the project by joining a national consortium whose proposal has already been approved.
The calls for action in this category allow teachers and students from the funded school to travel abroad for several reasons.
- Professional training for teachers and school staff. These projects let participants take face-to face courses for professional development abroad.
International courses really represent an exceptional experience to acquire new professional skills while having a break from ordinary work, with colleagues from all over the Union.
Teachers are always very excited at the end. International training courses really are a good means to bring back motivation and satisfaction in a teacher’s daily work…
… we can say this with certainty as we mainly organize them!
- Sharing good teaching practices. These projects allow teachers to travel abroad to teach their subject in another school, or to assist teachers from a foreign school with their daily tasks. These opportunities are ideal for language teachers and educators at the beginning of their careers who can greatly benefit from job shadowing. Anyone can participate!
- Student mobility. These projects allow classes of students to travel across Europe, and visit foreign schools.
It implies that schools will not need to form an international partnership (KA2) to take part in these school exchange activities.
Due to this, a school will not risk losing its funding because a foreign partner withdrew from the project. Moreover, similarly to all other projects within Key Action 1, it is possible to plan school exchanges on a regular basis throughout the course of five years, benefiting from the Erasmus Accreditation.
>> Discover more about the Erasmus+ KA1
Key Action 2 – Cooperation partnerships
This chance of funding refers to transnational networks of schools and/or organizations (“partnerships”.) To be eligible for these actions, schools must first form an international network, and then apply under the guidance from the school coordinating the partnership.
These actions have 3 objectives:
- Cooperation and exchange of good practices. They allow schools to create international networks, participate in project meetings, and reinforce the capacities of each participant organization through sharing their best practices in dealing with a certain topic or issue.
- Innovation. Cooperation partnerships must create something new by sharing the expertise of the schools and the organizations participating in the network.
Here are some of the things you may consider creating; new teaching activities and modalities, guidelines and job-aids for teachers or school professionals, innovative assessment tools, taxonomies and procedures, digital platforms and learning systems
- Research projects. These partnerships are open to cooperation with universities and other higher education institutions to produce new research.
Key Action 3 – Support for policy reform
This action refers to centralized Erasmus+ activities, that is, to high-level project actions with significant funding therefore, it is less important for educational institutions.
Usually, National Agencies do not deal with these activities. Instead, the Executive Agency (EACEA) manage them through specific calls for project applications.
Jean Monnet Actions
Jean Monnet Actions aim to promote excellence in teaching and research in the field of study in the European Union. In particular, it focuses on the process of integration in both its internal and external features.
They have been traditionally dedicated to higher education, but since 2021 they also include the participation of schools to develop active participation in the democratic life of the Union for all EU citizens.
Jean Monnet Networks in Other Fields of Education and Training
Jean Monnet Networks in Other Fields of Education and Training aims to improve and share teaching practices on European Union subjects while also providing international insights for educators.
Teachers may take part in mobility experiences in other Programme countries to organize and deliver co-teaching / co-tutoring. Moreover, they should gather and discuss teaching methodologies for curricular and extracurricular activities about the EU through physical and online meetings and disseminate good practices by producing documents and guidelines.
Erasmus Accreditation for KA1 projects
Erasmus Accreditation is like a ‘loyalty card’, similar to those distributed by large chain shops or supermarkets, but in this case, it is specifically for schools of all types and levels.
A school needs to receive the accreditation only once every seven years-programme.
This is sufficient to make it recognized by the National Agency as an organization that deals with international mobility on a regular basis. Hence, the school that receives the Accreditation does not need to apply again for it within the 2021-2027 Programme.
To apply, educational institutions must outline their own strategy for medium- and long-term internationalization and modernization by presenting a European Development Plan (EDP) and an Erasmus+ Plan.
They must also commit to meeting Erasmus+ quality standards, which specify how the school will organize the international activity.
Receiving the Erasmus accreditation has many advantages.
Indeed, upon acceptance, the candidate school benefits from a stable source of funding for the whole duration of the Programme, simplified application procedures in response to Erasmus+ calls, as well as a quicker evaluation process.
Participation in the Erasmus+ programme
The deadline for the Erasmus accreditation usually expires in October.
However, if you missed the deadline, don’t worry!
Your school still has many opportunities to participate in the Erasmus Programme.
First, Key Actions 1 proposes one particular action, i.e., short-term projects dedicated specifically to non-accredited organizations.
Short-term projects allow a smaller number of participants to take part in shorter international mobility.
These restrictions, however, make preparing an application simpler, in which short-term projects constitute a perfect entry point for schools with no prior similar experience.
A second possibility is to join a consortium that has already been accredited.
You can also consider making your school act as a hosting organization for another accredited foreign school.
Finally, don’t forget that the call for accreditation reopens every year!
How to participate in the Erasmus+ programme
If you’ve made it this far, you have already discovered many of the opportunities offered by the Erasmus+ Program.
Would you like to participate?
I have prepared a self-paced online course, The New Erasmus+ Programme Made Easy, that shows you how to apply (you can try the first module for free).
The course explains step-by-step what you need to do to prepare an effective project with a high chance of being funded.
Below are some quick tips for maximizing your chance of success.
Prepare your application for the Erasmus+ Programme
Preparing an application is not an immediate process, and it requires careful planning.
It is useful to assign a small group of people to manage the more technical aspects, but also remember to get your institution’s governing bodies and school community involved in the process.
This is the only way an Erasmus+ project can receive the approval and support of the entire school community necessary to complete it.
If you wish to know more about how to increase the chance of approval for your Erasmus+ project, have a look at our web page dedicated to The Four Erasmus+ Horizontal Priorities.
Link financing requests to your school needs
The first aspect to understand before completing an effective application is that the financing requests must connect to the current needs of the school applying for the project.
In fact, European funding within education is increasingly linked to the implementation of whole-school projects to meet the needs of participating institutions.
Such needs must be expressed in a document known as the European Development Plan (EDP).
Make your School International: The European Development Plan
The European Development Plan does not specifically concern the project you’re making an application for. Instead, it refers to the general internationalization strategy of the school that connects to other school planning documents.
This European Development Plan which holds a harmonious vision for European strategy, with its final goal being the comprehension of school internationalization and progression in the medium and long run.
A tip: making a reference to the European Education Area can also help.
Once the school has expressed its needs and requirements in the European Development Plan, preparing an application then requires you to develop a design idea, that you will fully elaborate later.
Find partner organizations & create a partnership
With the draft of the project idea in hand, you will be able to identify an open Erasmus+ call that is consistent with your own objectives and find partner organizations with which you can create a rapport that facilitates the application process.
This last step isn’t mandatory because lots of application calls also allow schools to participate as individuals. It is essential to participate in more complex calls such as they relate to Key Action 2.
Write Your Project for the Erasmus+ Programme
Having established your working group and the partner organization, you will now be in the best position to write an actual project.
This part is not difficult, but it will be easier if both parties master the specific vocabulary, and know the basic principles of project management and euro-planning.
Are you interested in how to plan and write a successful European Project (KA1 and KA2) for the new Erasmus+ Programme (2021-2027)? Check out our face-to-face course to be thoroughly prepared!
Apply Online for the Erasmus+ Programme
Once the various members of the partnership have approved the project, you will be ready to upload it on the European digital platform.
To this aim, you must accredit and register your school on the platform by obtaining its OID code (Organization Identification Code, the old PIC code!).
The more carefully you plan your work in previous phases, the easier this step will be.
If you have thought in advance about the details of the project implementation (such as the budget, management aspects, identification and communication of results), now you do not need to do any more than copy and paste the individual sections of the project that you have already written!
Do you want to join the Erasmus+ programme? Are you ready to go?
If you would like some support, consider taking the online course The New Erasmus+ Programme Made Easy (the first module is available for free).
If your school already has some Erasmus+ funding (e.g., for short-term mobility), you can also consider taking our face-to-face course The Erasmus Program: Writing a Successful Project for your School in one of our European locations.
What kind of mobility activities would you like to organize for your school?
Remember that Europass Teacher Academy can assist your school or institution in managing your Erasmus + Project!
Tell us more in the comments!