More than €18m in Erasmus funding awarded to schools, youth groups, universities and colleges

Organisations across the East of Scotland have been awarded bumper amounts in EU funding from the Erasmus+ programme, totalling more than €18 million since 2014. More than 500 schools across Scotland have received funding, and in the East of Scotland alone, more than €1 million in projects has been awarded.

The aim of the Erasmus+ programme is to offer training and partnership opportunities in a variety of sectors including higher education, schools, sports clubs, youth groups and adult education organisations.

Opportunities within the Erasmus+ programme and other EU funds have been promoted by the East of Scotland European Consortium (ESEC), a partnership organisation of seven local authorities. Since 2014, ESEC has supported its councils in bringing in almost €3.5 million in EU funding.

 “Our area has been successful in being granted more than €18m to date but even this is a conservative total as it only covers local-led projects” said ESEC chair Councillor Will Dawson. “These figures highlight the value of Erasmus across many sectors, offering opportunities for people to study, work, volunteer and train overseas. Even football clubs have taken part by sending young players to elite winter camps elsewhere in the EU.”

Non-EU countries can take part in the Erasmus+ programme by contributing to the budget, but this decision will be taken by the UK government during future relationship negotiations. To date, the government has only gone so far as to say it is “open to exploring participation in the successor scheme.”

Councillor Dawson stressed that Brexit doesn’t need to mean the end of involvement with Erasmus. “It’s a great resource for our community and plenty of non-EU members take part, including Norway, Turkey and Serbia. We will be insisting that the UK government prioritises our involvement during the next stage of Brexit negotiations.”

Examples of Erasmus+ projects

The PanTayside Language Training Programme, a collaboration between Angus, Dundee City, and Perth & Kinross Councils, was awarded € 191,600 this year and over the course of the project will support 80 teachers in attending language immersion courses in France or Spain. Such intensive immersion courses have been crucial in supporting schools in delivering the Scottish Government’s 1+2 language policy.

All primary schools in Aberdeen City Council are committed to the implementation of the Scottish Government 1+2 Modern Languages initiative. As part of this, 28 teachers participated in a course held over the summer holidays at the CAVILAM Alliance Française language centre in Vichy, France. This course supported practitioners to develop the delivery of language, the use of new methodology and embedding the target language in their daily routines and lessons.

The Spinach for Popeye project, coordinated by Falkirk Council, also involved Germany, Sweden and Italy. This youth exchange gave 32 young people, aged around 14 to 16, the opportunity to participate in a programme which consisted of creative workshops, cultural presentations and activities, reflection activities, and team building and outdoor tasks.

The Dundee FC Community Trust received funding which allowed them to send 17 local teenagers to Cordoba, completing football training tasks, visiting local landmarks, and learning Spanish.

Fife Council, Fife College, Historic Environment Scotland, and St Andrew’s RC High School worked with partners from Poland and Norway in the Traditional Building Skills project. Such skills are not taught in schools in the UK, but there is a recognised skills shortage and a ready supply of traditional and historic buildings needing specialist attention. Working together with EU partners allows for sharing of new ideas and an insight into how such challenges are managed in other countries.

St. Modan’s High School in Stirling successfully applied for funding for a three week immersion course in Malaga, Spain. The aim of this project is to support the aims of the school and Stirling Council to improve the quality of learning and teaching by exposing participants to new materials including songs and media and to allow for opportunities to share good practice with colleagues from Scotland and across Europe.