By Anna Grainger, a primary school teacher and European Movement supporter in Warwickshire.
I am devastated that we have left the Erasmus+ programme.
Back in December, when I heard the news that students across the UK had lost access to Erasmus+ I knew that the UK’s young people were being robbed of their chance to take part in something truly special. And the Turing Scheme that has been announced as a so-called "replacement" for Erasmus doesn’t even come close to replacing it.
The Turing Scheme offers less support and fewer opportunities – there will be less funding available and participants will have less access. As a result, poorer students that would have been able to access Erasmus+ will miss out. Do we really think that international work and study should be exclusively for the wealthiest?
"I cannot begin to capture the amazing cultural and educational value of Erasmus+"
When many people think of Erasmus they think of the opportunities for university students, but this programme went so much further. I am a primary school teacher and I experienced the incredible benefits that the Erasmus+ initiative eTwinning had for both students and teachers alike.
I cannot begin to capture in this blog the amazing cultural and educational value of eTwinning for students like mine, but here are just a few reasons why we need to take action and rejoin Erasmus+ eTwinning now:
- It allowed children of all abilities and all social and financial backgrounds to build cross- border friendships and broaden their horizons,
- Assisted language learning at an early age, when children are most receptive,
- Offered hard-working teachers an amazing opportunity to enrich their own careers and learn from European counterparts.
We cannot allow hundreds of thousands of students to lose out like this. That is why I have been campaigning with my local group Warwickshire for Europe to rejoin the Erasmus+ eTwinning program as a third country. I want to see the UK rejoin the whole Erasmus+ programme in the future, and this is a great way for us to begin rebuilding the case for the UK in Erasmus+.
Together we can save eTwinning, and start to build the case for re-joining Erasmus+ in its entirety.
Please sign Warwickshire for Europe's petition, and join me in standing up for the opportunities of the next generation.