Who is going to participate in KA1 mobilities is a question which have different answers for different schools. In some schools there are too many teachers who would like to experience learning in another country. However, some schools are so overloaded with different projects that there are too few candidates willing to go. Also, some schools have the habit that only language teachers go abroad because of the language barriers. Since there are only few language teachers, also school runs out of candidates for mobilities soon.
Should we contact the course provider before applying to Erasmus+ programme or after getting the answer from our national agency?
Definitely BEFORE. There are several reasons why.
Mobilities are a key part of your project. By choosing the right course provider your project will have a good foundation for strong impact that you desire. Here are the most important advantages of contacting your course provider before applying to the Erasmus+ KA1 programme.
# Getting additional material and support from your course provider. Some course providers publish only course summary at their webpage. But you also need detailed programme, learning outcomes and competencies acquired during the training. Ask your course provider to send you that material so that writing application form will be easier for you.
# Finding information about the quality of your course provider. By contacting your course provider before application you will get the chance to see how reliable and responsive the course provider is. Ask your course provider different questions about the trainers, evaluation, monitoring, quality of the course, practical arrangement, enrollment process, your fees, any additional support the training provider offers, and you will see whether the provider assists you with good information on time. The questions may help you make the best choice in selecting a training provider. At this initial point you can easily change the provider if you are not satisfied with the outcomes of your communication. After you get confirmation from your national agency you can still change the course provider, but with additional complications. For instance, you have to include your national agency, ask them for permission if another course provider is in a different country. And maybe you will have to cover some costs by yourself if the provider is in more expensive country, because your national agency cannot give you a higher budget later.
# Write in the application form that you have already existing communication. By showing evaluators that you already have ongoing process with the course providers will give your application more credibility resulting in higher points. Write why do you think your course provider is suitable and how did you decide to apply to their course. Keep in mind also Erasmus+ priorities and write how the course provider addresses those priorities along with your learning needs. In some cases you might even attached the letter of intent provided by your course provider.
# By pre-registering to a certain course you ensure your place in the session. Some courses are very popular and quickly gets the maximum number of participants. So pre-registering will book a place for you. However, pre-registering have to be without any costs and obligations. It is better to choose different provider if a certain provider wants you to pay for pre-registration.
Brexit is expected to lead to many changes for Erasmus+. However, the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK is not yet known. People keep asking us whether they can include mobilities to United Kingdom into their KA1 application.
Success does not just happen. It is planned for. And it is the same with Erasmus+ mobility projects. Preparation of participants is one such key to success. In the application process your task is to convince evaluators that you will take care for your participants and not just leave things to go with the flow. Here are a few ideas for a systematic preparation that you can offer to your participants. Preparation covers several areas and is task-related, intercultural, linguistic, and risk-prevention.
Throughout the years of working as Erasmus+ KA1 course provider we gained a clear picture of how does a high quality KA1 application form looks like. We are happy to share our insights in order to increase the quality of international mobility projects in the field of teacher training.