KA2 – Strategic Partnerships in the field of school education

Strategic Partnerships are international projects which support the development, transfer and/or implementation of innovative practices and joint initiatives that promote cooperation, mutual learning and exchange of experience at European level. They involve at least three organisations from 3 programme countries.

Depending on the objectives and the composition of the Strategic Partnership, projects may be of two types:

  • Strategic Partnerships supporting innovation;
  • Strategic Partnerships supporting exchange of good practices with primary goal to allow organisations to develop and reinforce networks, increase their capacity to operate at transnational level, share and confront ideas, practices and methods.

To be funded, Strategic Partnerships must address either a) at least one horizontal priority or b) at least one specific priority.

Horizontal priorities:

  • Supporting opportunities for all in acquiring and developing key competences, including basic skills: In order to foster employability, socio-educational and personal development, as well as participation in civic and social life. Priority will be given to projects that support and reinforce the development of key competences for all individuals from early childhood and throughout life. In a fast-changing world, this includes multilingual competences, entrepreneurial mind-set, critical thinking and creativity, cooperation in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STE(A)M) fields, as well as skills in fields such as climate action, artificial intelligence, but also social and learning-to-learn competences. This would include actions of cooperation with players in the research and innovation sector, civil society as well as in the private and public sector.
  • Social inclusion: Social inclusion is an overarching priority across all sectors of the programme. Promote – in particular through innovative and integrated approaches – ownership of shared values, equality, social inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination. Priority will be given to projects that support and assess new approaches to reducing disparities in accessing and engaging with formal and non-formal education, as well as projects that tackle discrimination, segregation and racism. The programme will support the integration of people with migrant backgrounds, including gathering and disseminating good practices on the issue. Priority will also be given to projects that encourage the establishment of sustainable links between organisations active in education, training, youth and sport and the society at large, including at local and regional level.
  • Common values, civic engagement and participation: The Programme will support active citizenship and ethics in lifelong learning; it will foster the development of social and intercultural competences, critical thinking and media literacy. Priority will also be given to projects that offer opportunities for people’s participation in democratic life, social and civic engagement through formal or non-formal learning activities. The focus will also be on raising awareness on and understanding the European Union context, notably as regards the common EU values, the principles of unity and diversity, as well as their social, cultural and historical heritage.
  • Environmental and climate goals: the programme aims to support, across all sectors, awareness-raising about environmental and climate-change challenges. Priority will be given to projects aimed at developing competences in various sustainability-relevant sectors, developing green sectorial skills strategies and methodologies, as well as future-oriented curricula that better meet the needs of individuals. The programme will also support the testing of innovative practices to prepare learners, staff and youth workers to become true factors of change (e.g. save resources, reduce energy use and waste, compensate carbon footprint emissions, opt for sustainable food and mobility choices, etc.). Priority will also be given to projects that – through education, training, youth and sport activities – enable behavioural changes for individual preferences, consumption habits, and lifestyles.
  • Innovative practices in a digital era: The Programme will support the taking up of digital technologies and of innovative and open pedagogies in education, training, youth and sport. Particular attention will be given to promoting gender equality and addressing differences in relation to the access and use by underrepresented groups. The Programme will also support the use of the European frameworks on digital competences of educators, citizens and organisations, including the development and use of open educational resources, open textbooks, and free and open source educational software. Priority will be given to actions that promote innovative methods and tools for teaching, training, learning and assessment as drivers of improvements in lifelong learning.
  • Supporting educators, youth workers, educational leaders and support staff: Priority will be given to actions that strengthen the recruitment and professional development of educators (e.g. teachers, trainers, professors, tutors, mentors, coaches, staff in early childhood education and care), youth workers, educational leaders (e.g. school heads, rectors, department heads) and support staff (e.g. teaching assistants, career counsellors, human resource specialists in companies). Particular attention will be given to actions that allow to better deal with inclusion and diversity, including cultural and linguistic, through the use of more diverse and more adapted teaching, training and youth work styles.
  • Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications: Priority will be given to actions that support learning and labour mobility; actions that facilitate transitions between different levels and types of learning, transitions to the world of work as well as transitions between different jobs. The programme will support in particular better services and information or guidance for learners, exploring the potential of digital technologies to facilitate automatic mutual recognition and the validation – at local, regional, national, European or international level – of competences acquired through informal and non-formal learning. The programme will also support the effective launch and implementation of the new Europass framework and the access to tools and services for skills and qualifications.
  • Sustainable investment, quality and efficiency of education, training and youth systems: Priority will be given to actions that promote sustainable funding models, including exploring innovative approaches, to ensure adequate and sustainable investment in education, training and youth, including performance-based funding and cost-sharing, where appropriate.
  • Social and educational value of European cultural heritage, its contribution to job creation, economic growth and social cohesion: priority will be given to actions contributing to raising awareness of the importance of Europe’s cultural heritage through education, lifelong learning, informal and non-formal learning, youth as well as sport, including actions to support skills development, social inclusion, critical thinking and youth engagement. New participatory and intercultural approaches to heritage, as well as educational initiatives aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue involving teachers and pupils from an early age will be promoted.

Detailed information on horizontal priorities (higher education, school education, vocational education and training, adult education, field of youth) is available here.

In the field of school education, priority will be given to:

    • Reinforcing the development of key competences (in line with the Council Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning) for example by promoting cross-curricular collaboration, creativity and innovative learning approaches and environments, cooperating with stakeholders in local communities and abroad, supporting teachers in delivering competence based teaching and developing assessment and validation of key competences.


    • Strengthening the profile of the teaching professions, including teachers, school leaders and teacher educators, for example by: making careers more attractive and diverse; strengthening selection, recruitment and evaluations (models of staff appraisal, assessment and feedback); enhancing teachers’ initial education and continuous professional development and linking its different phases; facilitating and significantly increasing teacher mobility, including by overcoming remaining obstacles; supporting teachers in developing innovative teaching and assessment methods, especially to promote competence-oriented teaching and learning; strengthening leadership in education, including distributed leadership and teacher leadership.


    • Promoting a comprehensive approach to language teaching and learning (in line with the Council Recommendation on language teaching and learning), building on the increasing linguistic diversity in schools, for example by: encouraging early language learning and awareness; developing bilingual teaching options, especially for border regions and/or in areas where inhabitants use more than one language; mainstreaming the use of new technologies to support language learning; supporting the integration of the language dimension across the curricula; focusing on reaching adequate competence levels by the end of compulsory education; promoting the creation of language aware schools.


    • Increasing the levels of achievement and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This priority will include, among others: promoting the development of national STEM strategies; developing partnerships between schools, businesses, higher education institutions, research institutions, and wider society; promoting effective and innovative pedagogies and assessment; promoting the STE(A)M approach to education through interdisciplinary teaching of STEM in cultural, environmental, economic, design and other contexts, with the involvement of all academic disciplines.


    • Tackling early school leaving and disadvantage, enabling success for all learners, including children with a migrant background, for example by: strengthening collaboration among all actors within schools, as well as with families, and other external stakeholders; improving transitions between different stages of education; fostering preventive and early intervention approaches; supporting networking of schools which promote collaborative and holistic approaches to teaching and learning; improving evaluation and quality assurance.


    • Developing high quality early childhood education and care systems (in line with the ECEC Council Recommendation), for example by: supporting initial and continuing professional development of all staff involved in organising, leading and providing early childhood education and care; creating, testing or implementing strategies and practices to foster participation of all children in early childhood education and care, including children in need of special support (e.g. children with disabilities, or children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, children from a migrant background); promoting the implementation of the EU quality framework for quality early childhood education and care.


    • Building capacity for promoting and facilitating recognition of learning periods abroad (including follow-up to the Council Recommendation on automatic mutual recognition), including promoting recognition of formal education and transversal competences developed through non-formal and informal learning, for example by: building administrative capacity of schools to support participation of pupils in transnational projects and peer exchanges, including by exploring the potential of intermediary bodies pooling the capacity of several schools; establishing sustainable partnerships between organisations setting cross-border learning exchanges in general education; promoting embedded class exchanges or pupil mobility in school programmes; ensuring appropriate safety standards for pupils participating in transnational mobility; developing and disseminating tools and mechanisms for the preparation, monitoring and recognition of periods abroad; and sharing and promoting good practices.


    • Developing strong quality assurance systems to achieve high-quality inclusive education and enhance trust among countries in relation to the quality of their respective school education systems, for example by: supporting countries in developing synergies between internal and external evaluations, in engaging stakeholders in quality assurance processes, or in designing their quality assurance strategies in ways to support broad competence development.


What are the activities supported in a strategic partnership?

Over the lifetime of a project, and depending on the type of Strategic Partnership, projects may typically realise a broad range of activities, for example:

  • activities that strengthen the cooperation and networking between organisations;
  • testing and/or implementation of innovative practices in the field of education
  • activities that facilitate the recognition and validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning;
  • activities of cooperation between regional authorities to promote the development of education
  • activities to support learners with disabilities/special needs to complete education cycles and facilitate their transition into the labour market, including by combating segregation and discrimination in education for marginalised communities;
  • activities to better prepare and deploy the education and training of professionals for equity, diversity and inclusion challenges in the learning environment;
  • activities to promote the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants and raise awareness about the refugee crisis in Europe;
  • transnational initiatives fostering entrepreneurial mind-sets and skills.

Strategic Partnerships may also organise transnational learning, teaching and training activities of individuals, in so far as they bring added value in the achievement of the project’s objectives.

Who can participate in a Strategic Partnership?

The participating organisations can be schools (i.e. institutions providing general, vocational, or technical education on any level from pre-school to upper secondary education), either public or private (private schools must be accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia), and any other organisations active in the field of education, training and youth: institute/educational centre; a non-profit organisation, association, NGO; a public or private, a small, medium or large enterprise (including social enterprises); a public body at local, regional or national level; a social partner or other representative of working life, including chambers of commerce, industry, craft/professional associations and trade unions; a cultural organisation, library, museum; etc.

How to apply?

To submit an Erasmus+ project, applicants must follow the four steps described below:

  • To submit an application, you will need an Organisation ID. Organisations that have already participated in an Erasmus+ managed by a National Agency and have a Participant Identification Code (PIC) have been assigned an Organisation ID automatically. Organisations/groups that have already obtained a PIC through their participation in other EU programmes do not need to register again;
  • check the compliance with the Programme criteria for the relevant Action/field;
  • check the financial conditions;
  • fill in and submit the application form.

To register in the Participant Portal, the person representing an organisation (or an informal group of young people) must carry out the following steps:

  •  Create an EU login account (unless the person representing the organisation/group already has an account). For more information consult ECAS user manual;
  • To submit an application, you will need an Organisation ID. Organisations that have already participated in an Erasmus+ managed by a National Agency and have a Participant Identification Code (PIC) have been assigned an Organisation ID automatically. Organisations/groups that have already obtained a PIC through their participation in other EU programmes do not need to register again;

At the time of the registration, organisations must also upload the following documents in the Participant Portal: the Legal Entity form and the Financial Identification form. Each form must not exceed 6Mb. It is advisable that each document is scanned original in pdf format.

Step-by-step guide to submitting project application is available here.

How to find partners?

You can use some of the following resources:

The School Education Gateway is Europe’s online platform for school education, currently available in 23 EU languages, intended to provide everything that teachers need in terms of information, learning and professional development, peer support and networking, collaborative project and mobility opportunities, policy insights etc. The SEG offers a wide range of content, such as good practices from European projects; monthly blog contributions and video interviews of European school education experts; online courses for teachers to help tackle topical classroom challenges; resources such as teaching materials, tutorials and the European Toolkit for Schools; information on school education policies; topical news and events; etc. It offers special tools to support teachers and school staff in finding training and mobility opportunities for professional development (on-site courses, job shadowing, teaching assignments etc), which can be funded under Erasmus+ Key Action 1.

eTwinning is a community of teachers from pre-primary to upper secondary schools, hosted on a secure platform accessible only to teachers vetted by national authorities. eTwinning promotes school collaboration and school networking in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It provides advice, ideas and tools to make it easy for schools to set up partnerships and start collaborative projects in any subject area.

What are the funding rules?

The budget of the project must be drafted according to the following funding rules:

  • Project management and implementation – planning, finances, coordination and communication between partners, small scale learning/teaching/training materials, information, promotion and dissemination (e.g. brochures, leaflets, web information, etc.)
  • Transnational project meetings;
  • Travel, individual support;
  • Special needs support;
  • Linguistic support;
  • Intellectual outputs;
  • Multiplier events;
  • Exceptional costs (subcontracting or purchase of goods and services).

More information on Strategic Partnership projects in the field of school education is available here and in the Erasmus+ programme guide.

For additional information please contact Group for schools, pre-schools and adult education at Foundation Tempus:

Foundation Tempus Group for schools, pre-schools and adult educationRuze Jovanovic 27a, 11000 Belgrade, SerbiaTel/fax: +381 11 3342 430schools-vet@tempus.ac.rs  www.erasmusplus.rs
Useful links:

School Education Gateway
eTwinningEU Login

EU Login guide 

Legal entity identification form

Legal entity financial identification form

E-form technical guide

Erasmus+ programme guide 

A practical guide for school leaders

European Commission 

Last modified: November 12, 2019