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A Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning cluster is a group of schools in the UK and overseas that work together to support one another with global learning.

Forming a cluster group doesn't have to be hard work. Cluster groups can be comprised of just four schools, with at least one of those being based overseas, although there's no limit to the number of schools taking part. Schools can work together online, and also have the option to apply for a travel grant to visit each other, once travel restrictions are no longer in place.

Find out more about the grants available to help schools work together with international partners.

How it works

Cluster groups can include a mix of primary and secondary schools. There's no limit to the number of schools taking part. However, as a minimum, there should be at least four schools involved, one of which must be from a participating country outside the UK.

To get the most out of a cluster, it's good to have a mix of the following types of schools:

Lead school

  • Must be in the UK.
  • Applies and manages any grant funding you apply for.
  • Has strong experience working with international partner schools and of development education.
  • Has a role in coordinating the activities within the cluster.

Partner school

  • Ideally, has some previous experience of development education and/or international partnership working.

Network school

  • Possibly new to international partnership work.
  • Keen to learn from lead and partner schools and start building global learning education.

One of the biggest benefits of working in a cluster group is that they are eligible to receive up to £35,000 in grant funding to work together. 

The grant covers all aspects of global learning within the cluster, including reciprocal visits and training.

How to join a cluster

There are several ways to get involved in a cluster. You can:

  • start your own cluster group
  • find out whether there is an existing cluster group that you can join.

As a first step, particularly if you are new to global learning, we would recommend speaking to a local advisor. They can advise on how to start up and manage your own cluster. They may also be able to help you find and join a cluster in your local area.

Once you are ready, the best way to find a school partner is to contact the Connecting Classrooms team who will be able to match you with school partners that are interested in similar project themes.

You can also use our Partner Finder tool to search for other schools in the UK and participating countries overseas that may be interested in collaborating. Please be aware that during this time many of the schools listed will be closed, so will not be contactable through the usual communications channels.

Managing the cluster

All clusters must be managed by a single point of contact — a UK cluster coordinator.

It is expected that this role will be filled by a teacher at the lead UK school. However, suitable parts of the role could be delegated.

Find out more about the role of UK cluster coordinator.