Cluster Partnerships

It’s easy to take part in the Connecting Classrooms programme, and there are a host of learning opportunities and support on offer to help you.

How does a ‘cluster’ work?

Remember that a ‘cluster’ in this instance is a ‘cluster of interest’. It could include schools from other places in your local authority, or from completely different local authorities. It could even include schools from other parts of the UK.

There’s no maximum number of schools in a cluster, but there should be at least two UK-based schools and two international partner schools. You can also add other UK schools as ‘network’ schools if they are perhaps new to international partnership work and want to take part in the project but don’t want to apply for travel funding. Your whole cluster can have a virtual partnership too, if none of the schools involved want to travel to their international partner school.

One of the UK-based schools will act as the Lead School; and at least one individual in that school should take on the role of ‘Cluster Co-ordinator’.

The cluster partnership route offers the following support. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at if you need any more information or advice :

Contact the Connecting Classrooms Project Manager on 0131 650 9731 or at if you need any additional information or advice at any stage of your Connecting Classrooms journey.

Start your journey

Follow the steps below to start your cluster partnership. Click on the pink hyperlinks below each step to view the resources you need for that step.

Step 1: Read the Cluster Co-ordinator Handbook and Role Profile to find out more about your preferred route.

Step 2: Find at least one other UK-based school to join your cluster, and two international partner schools (if you don’t already have them). You should have an equivalent number of schools in the UK and overseas.

Ensure that they’re from the list of eligible countries below.

Step 3: Every UK-based school in your cluster should complete an individual school self-evaluation form.

Send them to the Project Manager once you’ve completed them. Your international partner schools don’t have to complete this, but they’re very welcome to do so if they wish. You’ll then be introduced to your local advisor.

Step 4: Access free support from your local advisor and get planning!

The 3 days and 3 hours of support can be taken at any time during the lifetime of your project. Your local advisor will help you to collate the results of your individual school self-evaluations into your cluster self-evaluation. They can help you with your funding application, project planning, professional learning queries and signpost you to a wealth of resources to help you. Get in touch with us and we’ll introduce you to them!

Step 5: Submit your funding application through the British Council’s online system.

Don’t worry about missing a funding deadline – applications will be assessed every quarter until December 2020. The next deadline is January 27th 2020.

Funding for clusters covers a range of options: including travel funding, supply cover for cluster co-ordinators, training and events funding and project funding. Find out more by clicking on the links below.

Step 6: A decision is made on your application by the British Council.

Step 7: You receive feedback on your application from the British Council.

Step 8: You take action based on the outcome of your funding application.

If you’re successful, then you’ll get 80% of your funding upfront and your project can get going! Click on the links below to access resources to help you.

Remember to make the most of the remaining free support time from your local expert advisor.

If you’re unsuccessful, then you’re eligible for a further 3 hours of support from your local advisor to look at your application and help you reapply if you want. Regardless of the outcome, however, you’re still eligible to take part in our FREE professional learning opportunities.

Step 9: Submit your interim project report.

The British Council will send you details on this with your funding contract.

Step 10: Submit your final project report.

Once it’s been checked over by the British Council, and if everything looks ok, you’ll receive the final 20% of your funding.

Step 11: Receive your International School Award.

You’ll receive the relevant level of the International School Award to recognise and highlight your achievements.

Remember, the Project Manager is available to answer any queries or questions you may have at any stage of your Connecting Classrooms journey. Get in touch at We look forward to hearing from you!