PON returns for 2017 – bigger than ever before
12 April 2017

The EU-funded scheme to boost English skills among Italian secondary pupils returns this summer, potentially benefiting English UK member centres.

PON 2017 is worth €3,000 per student and for the first time covers schools from the whole of Italy, although the bulk of funding is still concentrated on its southern regions.

Sarah Cooper, English UK’s chief executive, is urging member centres to consider taking part. “Quite a few centres were waiting for the scheme to open last year and it was very disappointing when it didn’t – it’s an excellent opportunity for members which can meet the criteria of both taking juniors and being open beyond the summer."

English UK corporate member Trinity College London has been liaising on the scheme with the Italian ministry and its head of market development Henry Tolley says: “We’d encourage centres to start taking action on this now if they’re keen to take part, as the closing date for school projects is Friday 26 May. It is an easier process if they are Trinity exam centres, as one of the requirements is for the students to sit an external test at the end of the course, whenever that is. Many English UK members are already Trinity centres: becoming one is a very straightforward process for those which are already accredited,” he said.

He is encouraging centres to approach Italian high schools and study travel agents, particularly in the regions of Calabria, Basilicata, Sicily and Campania which will receive two-thirds of the total funding together with Puglia, where the scheme opened this January. One reason to get involved early is that participating high schools must specify where they want their pupils to study when they register for the scheme, and this cannot be changed.

Trinity is also collating the names and details of Trinity centres in the UK and Ireland interested in taking PON students for its website, which can be accessed by participating high schools.

Mr Tolley, who worked in Italy for many years and has worked closely on PON in the past, is also offering to help centres seeking further information on the scheme, including arrangement of external English exams on flexible dates and at short notice.

PON 2017: how will it work?

  • Each group of up to 15 pupils is funded to €45,000. That includes €200 per student for certification
  • They must have reached at least B1 to be eligible for the scheme, and reach B2 level by the end, though individual schools may choose higher targets
  • Students aged 16-19 in participating high schools will compete for one of 15 places on offer in each
  • They must receive 20 hours’ tuition a week for three weeks
  • Students’ English level must be assessed on arriving and leaving the ELT centre, and they must also sit an external exam: payment is usually only made once all three results are provided
  • Courses are generally taken in the UK and Ireland between September and November
  • High schools must specify which UK, Irish or Maltese area they want their students to study in.

For more information, contact Henry Tolley


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