Thousands of Italian students and hundreds of Italian state schools will need to find English courses in the UK for their students in the summer and autumn of this year.
The Italian government has expanded a scheme it last ran in 2012 to send students in their third, fourth and fifth year of secondary education on courses in any European language.
The EU-funded PON scheme covers four regions in Southern Italy -- Calabria, Puglia, Sicily and Campania -- funded at €2.500 or €3.375 for three or four weeks' travel, accommodation and study. Each school can apply for funds to cover language courses for three groups of 8-15 students, plus teachers.
"The deadline for the Italian schools to submit their bid for funding in three of those regions has just passed, so they need to be thinking about contacting English centres now," said Henry Tolley, Head of Business Development at Trinity College. He continued: "We've been told there could be 30,000 students involved, which means it's three times bigger than 2012.
"We'd suggest that it's a good idea for English UK members to be proactively getting in touch with contacts in these regions and try to get things started, or there is a risk that it will become chaotic later in the year."
Henry said the courses would be most suitable for year-round centres as many schools will want to bring their students later than the UK summer holidays. The courses for this year's students can be taken from 1 April to 15 November. Students will have to do tests on arrival and departure, and successfully take an external English exam, achieving at least A2 for third years and B1 for fourth and fifth years.
Schools in the province of Campania had to submit their schemes earlier in the year, and may already have found partners in the UK to teach their students. The scheme's closing date for schools in Calabria, Puglia and Sicily was 7 March.
* Henry will present a session on the scheme at this year's English UK Annual Conference (as well as English UK Young Learners Conference 4 April, English UK London and LonDOSa 18 March)
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