The International School Award

Your school linking activities already put you in a great position

The British Council support schools engaged in Global Learning in a variety of ways – from their Connecting Classrooms grant, to their Professional Development courses.

The International School Award, a three-level accreditation, is designed with a framework intended to “help you to record and evaluate international work and embed it into the curriculum and whole school ethos“.

Achieving the award has numerous benefits – it gives celebration and context to the international school work that you and your class are engaged in, and in the words of one of our former Link Coordinators:

Perhaps the most important aspect of the ISA is the context it gives to what might be called the celebration of diversity… EAL and ethnic diversity have become positive aspects of school life rather than issues that need to be dealt with” (Fiona Swanson, former LC at Impington Village College).

By providing you with a framework for your linking activities, it gives your school the incentive and opportunity to involve the wider school and foster a ‘whole school’ ethos. The benefits are multitude – you can read more about them here.

The school linking activities that all of you are engaged in with your partner schools in Ethiopia – from your exchange topic work, to Ethiopia Day events, exchange visits, letter writing, and more – are brilliant foundations for applying for the International School Award.

We have a growing number of schools who have received the Full International School Award tier level across both our Primary and Secondary schools. We hope that by bringing together all our schools thinking of, or in the process of, applying for the Foundation or Intermediate award levels, together with those schools who have successfully reached the Full ISA level, it would improve everyone’s experience of applying for the award, and allow those fully accredited schools time to reflect on their achievements (perhaps in time for re-accreditation).

If any schools are interested in applying for the award – or if you already are doing so – please get in touch, so we can support you during the application process, and so we can put you in touch with Link Coordinators from those schools who have achieved the full award!

Thanks for reading! Until next week – Ciao!


Sponsorship & School Links Manager

[email protected]

International school linking activities – like letter writing – are an ideal first step in applying for the award!


The award is a three-stage framework – Foundation, Intermediate and Full. Each has a number of requirements and expectations for applicants:


Schools will need to have:

  • received approval to proceed from your headteacher and chair of governors
  • conducted an audit of international activity
  • appointed an international co-ordinator
  • written an international policy
  • started to look for, and be preparing to work with, international partner schools
  • completed at least one activity with an international focus
  • completed at least one activity with another school, either in your home country or a different country
  • completed a set of evaluation forms for one activity based on feedback from parent, young people, educators and school visitors.


Schools will need to have achieved the above criteria, and will have :

  • set up an active working relationship with at least one international partner school
  • completed at least three activities. At least two of the three activities should be completed with schools, or organisations that support school education, in other countries. These two activities can be completed with the same school, or with different schools from around the world
  • completed a set of evaluation forms for parents, pupils, teachers, and school visitors for all activities providing individual reflection on the collaborative activities undertaken.


A school at this level will:

  • be able to demonstrate an international ethos throughout the school
  • be involved with substantial curriculum-based international activity
  • be able to demonstrate collaborative work
  • probably have a history of international activity over the past two years at least
  • have a number of teachers from a range of subjects and year groups who have successfully integrated global themes and international awareness into their lessons
  • undertaken whole-school activities. (Visit the British Council resources section for ideas).
  • probably have organised visits overseas and international exchanges or teacher study visits that closely tie in with curriculum-embedded international work.

Many of you will, in all likelihood, already have engaged in enough international activity to fulfil the majority of the criteria expected of Intermediate level schools – some of you may even be approaching the levels expected of Full level schools!

The British Council has set out detailed guidance documents that are brilliant, and vitally useful to those thinking of applying. You can read them here, and if you would like some help in working through them as you apply for the award, please get in touch and I would be happy to help guide you through!

At Link Ethiopia, we are working closely with the British Council to make it easier and simpler for our school’s to apply and achieve the award, and we design many of our activities and ideas with the criteria of the ISA (as well as for Connecting Classrooms grants) firmly in mind. Our Steering Committee initiative is designed to bring in other teachers, staff and students – just what is required of the Intermediate and Full level award.

One of our Link Coordinators, Joy Hardy at Queniborough School, has been kind enough to offer her experience and expertise of successfully applying for all three levels of the ISA. If you would like us to put you in touch with her for more support and inspiration, please get in touch and we can make a start on your ISA application!

Together We Learn - Ethiopia