You are in: Research & Good Practice » The International Dimension in Education » ISA Award

The International School Award

If you are interested in the international dimension and wish to have recognition for your good work you may well be interested in applying for the International School Award.

The ISA scheme encourages schools to establish ongoing links with international partner schools, and then develop an ongoing programme of international activities.  Between them, these activities should involve the whole school, span the entire curriculum and involve collaborative work with a school’s international partners.  In this way, both the UK and international schools’ ethos and outlook is enhanced, and the curriculum is truly internationalised.  

There are currently three levels of award: 

If a school has or is planning a programme of international activities, and has or is seeking an international partner school, then this is an excellent scheme to become involved in.

The Foundation and Intermediate categories acknowledge a school’s intentions to become an international school, and any international work it has already done.  There are open deadlines for both the Foundation and Intermediate categories, and we encourage schools to apply and obtain recognition for the international work currently occurring in their school.  It is not necessary to complete each category of award – schools can jump straight to Intermediate or Full ISA level as appropriate.

Application for the Foundation and Intermediate categories is very straightforward and doesn’t take up much time.  The differences between the categories are as follows:

Foundation: Introducing Internationalism

This category is designed for schools that are just embarking on internationalism.  Schools do not need a partner school to apply at this stage, but it must be clear that the school is intending to embed international work in the curriculum: you must complete a Statement of Intent on application.

Typically, there may be some teachers in a school who are involved in projects that focus on an aspect of life in another country – for instance:

  • There may be a time when the whole school works on a European or One World multicultural event.
  • Some teachers may take a party of pupils abroad or have been on an exchange themselves.

The simple application can be completed online at:

Hertfordshire Schools Awarded Foundation ISA Level


Intermediate:  Developing Internationalism

This category prepares schools for the Full International School Award.  By this stage your school must have at least one International Partner School in place, and have completed at least three international activities.  We would also expect some progress towards planning collaborative activities with your International Partner School(s).  Schools are recognized for international work already completed.

For instance:

  • There may be a number of teachers from a range of subjects in your school who have begun to integrate global issues and international awareness into their lessons.
  • There may be whole school activities such as a European or world project.
  • One class might be exchanging emails with pupils in another country.
  • There may be visits abroad and international exchanges or teacher study visits.

Again, the simple application can be completed online at:

Hertfordshire Schools Awarded Intermediate ISA Level


Full International School Award

Schools can also apply for the Full ISA.

The Full ISA category is designed for schools that demonstrate an international ethos throughout the school, and which is included in the school development plan.  This will involve substantial curriculum-based international activity and schools must demonstrate collaborative work.  It is likely that the school has a history of international activity over the past two years.

To meet the Full ISA criteria a concrete plan for at least seven international activities that will take place in the present academic year (ie September 2010 - July 2011) is needed, for accreditation in August 2011.

These activities should show that a school will be undertaking a variety of activities throughout the school year, which involve the majority of students and curricular subjects, and involve some collaborative work with their International Partner School(s).

  • There might be a number of teachers from a range of subjects and year groups who have successfully integrated global issues and international awareness into their lessons
  • This might be in addition to whole school activities such as a European or world project
  • There are likely to be visits overseas and international exchanges or teacher study visits

If a school has strong collaborative links with a partner school/s in another country/ies and a programme of activities like that above, this is probably the best category to apply for.

Hertfordshire Schools Awarded Full ISA Level

A Full ISA school receives the following benefits:  Accreditation lasting 3 years, invitation to the national ISA Award Ceremony (which was this year hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby and with a keynote speech by Bill Rammell MP) where you are presented with an official ISA certificate and trophy, a variety of ISA gifts (stationery & CDs), use of the official ISA logo on all school stationery & correspondence and of course national recognition as an ambassador for international work.

Reaccreditation: Important Changes to the ISA from December 2011

The full International School Award is valid for a 3 year period. After 2 years the school will need to apply for re-accreditation to ensure the continuity of the Award. For example if your school was awarded the 2009 ISA, you will need to submit your action plan this Atuumn term 2011 for activities taking place in the 2011-2012 school year.

The deadline is Friday 16 December 2011.

Any queries, contact the ISA team:

or Yvonne Kennedy, International Coordinator