Languages Connect How-to-Manual-for-School-Exchanges - Flipbook - Page 7
Some teachers find that correspondence before the exchange helps students to get to
know their exchange partners.
PPLI is introducing a Funding for School Exchanges Scheme from September 2018. Funding
will be awarded to ten schools over a three year period. Please see either the PPLI website or
the Languages Connect website for further details.
From 2018 there is a new section under Erasmus+ Key Action 2 called School Exchange
Partnerships, further details below.
There is no Department of Education and Skills directive in relation to vetting for language
exchanges. The DES circular 0031/2016 does not specifically mention Garda Vetting for
language exchanges. Joint Managerial Body (JMB) do not have a specific policy or directive
in relation to Garda vetting for exchanges, however they do advise schools to get both Irish
families, and the families abroad, vetted for exchanges, and they offer Garda vetting for
prospective exchange families for their respective schools. There is no ETBI policy or directive
in relation to vetting for language exchanges, each of the 16 ETBs chooses whether or not
to offer advice to schools in relation to Garda vetting. Some ETBs advise it and assist their
schools with the process. Other ETBs (Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB; and Cavan & Monaghan
ETB) do not have a policy or directive, and do not advise schools on the topic. DDLETB have
a policy that if foreign students are coming to stay with families from one of their schools,
they ask that all family members in the host home that are over the age of 18 are vetted.
However whether or not the families abroad are vetted is up to the partner school as that is
a separate jurisdiction and out of their control.
It is important to prepare students properly in advance for the reality of living with a host
family. It is good to have a clean and tidy home when welcoming a guest, but it should not
be an area of concern for teachers, students or their parents. Humans are not perfect, and
do not live in show homes. Exchanges can be great fun and they can be an eyeopening
experience, but the focus should not be on perfection.
Location is important, however it is worth noting that Carndonagh Community School in
North Donegal has a thriving exchange programme. Carndonagh is serviced by a private
bus company, but there is no railway station and no Bus Éireann stop. Direct flights are
always more straightforward. Find out where you can fly to from your nearest airport. There
is nothing preventing you from taking two flights to get to your final destination, however it
makes the journey more complicated, and potentially more expensive. It is possible to fly to
more than 180 destinations from Dublin Airport. There are direct flights from Cork Airport to
Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland; and from Shannon Airport to Spain and
Germany. If the partner school is a considerable distance from the airport, another option is to
fly and then hire a coach.
There will be several teachers and a group of students who all need to be matched. It is
best to lead by example, so if students and their families have to host partner students,
then teachers and their families should host the partner teachers. Lots of teachers find this
a really positive experience and it can lead to lifelong friendships. Ensure there is a profile
for everybody who is hosting/being hosted and try to ensure that people are matched with
someone with whom they have something in common. It is important to take any allergies
or dietary requirements into consideration. Sometimes older teachers who have either been
abroad with the exchange previously, or would like to go abroad in the future, agree to
host a visiting teacher on behalf of a younger teacher, who may be living in a houseshare,
or with their parents, and not be in a position to host. Making the exchange as inclusive as
possible for all staff has many benefits. The matching process can take time, but doing it well
contributes to a successful exchange.
How-to Manual for School Exchanges