German Pupil Course Group Leaders

Each year, three posts are available for qualified UK teachers with experience of teaching German up to GCSE/S5 (for course option 2) or A-level/S6 (for course option 1) and experience of taking groups of young people abroad, to act as group leaders on the German Pupil Courses.

You will work alongside other teachers at a German school and will stay – where possible – with a German host family.

The application deadline for the German Pupil Courses Group Leaders 2020 has now passed. We will notify applicants in early April about the outcome of their application.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

German Scholarship Programme

The German Scholarships Programme is a four week long course in Germany for students with a high level of German. The course is entirely funded by the German Foreign Office and eight students are selected each year.  The students spend two weeks living with host families and participate in an international programme, involving cultural and educational excursions and activities.

This programme is open to UK pupils in their penultimate school year (Year 12 in England and Wales, S5 in Scotland, Year 13 in Northern Ireland).

The application deadline for the German Scholarships Programme 2020 has now passed. We will notify applicants in early April about the outcome of their application.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

German Pupil Courses

The German Pupil Courses are 2-week courses in Germany for UK pupils studying German. There are three courses every summer for 12 pupils and one accompanying teacher each. They are a fantastic opportunity for pupils to get first-hand experience of German life and culture and improve their German language skills at the same time.

This programme is open to pupils in Year 12 (England, Wales) / Year 13 (Northern Ireland) / S5 (Scotland) and Year 10 (England, Wales) / Year 11 (Northern Ireland) / S3 (Scotland).

The application deadline for the German Pupil Courses 2020 has now passed. We will notify applicants in early April about the outcome of their application.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Health and safety: German Pupil Courses & German Scholarships Programme

Please read the information below in conjunction with our general Health & Safety Policy.

The German Pupil Courses and German Scholarships Programme are run by the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD), Bonn in co-operation with UK-German Connection, London. The PAD runs the programme on behalf of the Auswärtiges Amt (German Foreign Ministry). UK-German Connection manages the programme in the UK on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and the British Council, and in close cooperation with the PAD. The Pädagogischer Austauschdienst is the German governmental institution in charge of international education at school level and works to develop and promote international co-operation at school level.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Joint thematic workshop – Architecture

The architecture of Berlin was the focus of this workshop, giving pupils from the UK and Germany the chance to take in some of the capital’s sights and reflect together on the cultural significance of their surroundings.


A boat trip on the Spree

Group leader Clare and her German counterpart incorporated the theme of their joint thematic workshop into one of the group’s excursions – participants and their partners enjoyed a sunny boat trip down the river Spree to take in the architecture of central Berlin. During the trip the pupils took pictures of the buildings and notable architectural features.

Understanding culture through architecture

In the classroom-based sessions, a ‘reconstruction’ of the boat trip was put together using the photos taken during the excursion including information on what they had learned about the different styles and eras of German architecture. The participants discussed what they had seen and what had impressed them most about Berlin’s architecture. German participants were able to provide their knowledge on their home city and UK participants gave their opinion from an outsider’s perspective. The importance of imperialism in Germany’s history and how it is present in the architecture was explored and gave participants a deeper understanding of German cultural heritage.

Working together creatively

Pupils then worked in mixed nationality groups or pairs to produce a poster on their favourite aspect of the architecture they had seen. The East Side Gallery, the influence of mythology, graffiti and street art, classical and neo-classical styles and the contrast of old and new buildings featured in their eye-catching creative work.

It was enjoyable, particularly with regards to the creative aspect…it was good to interact with the German students in a relaxed but educational format.

I learnt a lot about interpreting artwork and about the history behind some of the paintings at the East Side Gallery.

It helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the German culture and to express my ideas in German.



  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Opportunities for Pupils

We have a variety of opportunities for pupils to visit Germany, either as individual applicants or with a group from their school.

German Pupil Courses

The German Pupil Courses are two-week long language and culture courses, which take place in July and August in Germany. There are three course for 12 pupils and one group leader each. The pupils stay with German host families for two weeks and attend excursions and school visits while in the country. The programme is open for students in Year 10 through to Year 12.

More information about the German Pupil Courses can be found on our website for young people.

German Scholarships Programmes

The German scholarships programme is a four-week long programme in Germany for students with a high level of German. The course is entirely funded by the German Foreign Office and eight students are selected each year.  The students spend two weeks living with host families and participate in an international programme, involving cultural and educational excursions and activities.

You can find more information about the German Scholarships Programme on our website for young people.

Youth Seminars

Throughout the year, UK German connection runs thematic seminars, often based on current topics and events. The seminars are attended by young people in education or as part of a youth group and are bilateral events, held in either the UK or Germany.

You can find more information on our website for young people.

Magical Christmas Trips

The Magical Christmas trips programme is an intercultural and educational Christmas trip to Germany for primary school children and a small number of accompanying secondary school students. The four day visit allows younger children to experience German culture during the festive period.

More information, along with past experiences, can be found on our Magical Christmas Trip page.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Host a Teacher from Germany – Why take part in the programme?

Our school felt that we had brought a piece of the world into the classroom by hosting the German teacher for 3 weeks. It encouraged our students to see things from a different perspective, preparing them to become good citizens. (UK coordinating teacher, Francis Askew Primary School)

Schools that have hosted a teacher from Germany this academic year share their highlights and the benefits of the programme:

This experience has been incredibly powerful for the school and pupils. It has enabled pupils to experience a taste of Germany which is very important as many of our students would never be able to afford the opportunity to visit Germany. German language is no longer such an abstract concept for our pupils as they have been able to connect with German pupils and Germany. I would recommend every school to apply.

It’s flexible

Visits can take place at any time between September and July with the freedom to tailor the programme to your common interests.

It provides real opportunities for creativity. You can take it in any direction because you are not restricted. Putteridge High School

It’s free

For schools not able to host a language assistant, the Host a Teacher programme allows pupils to benefit from lessons about German culture and linguistic support at no extra cost.

UK-German Connection provides a great opportunity for schools to share their experience and knowledge in a cost-effective wayCharlton Manor Primary School

It’s a great way to exchange resources

Need some ideas for activities to teach a certain topic? Teachers at Oakthorpe Primary were left feeling inspired after sharing ideas and resources with their teacher from Germany.

Swapping ideas and sharing resources can be quite enlightening and stimulate further ideas for projects and links. Oakthorpe Primary

It’s an excellent professional development opportunity

Hosting a teacher from Germany can give you a unique perspective of teaching techniques and can give you some fresh ideas to try out in the classroom.

It was wonderful to be able to share my practice with the teacher and learn about how he teaches. Woodrow First School

We benefited from sharing experiences and learning from each other, particularly regarding teaching children who do not have English/German as a first language.

Pupils benefit from cultural input and linguistic support

Bring pupils’ learning to life! Having a native speaker in the classroom who is able to share cultural information first-hand provides students with a tangible learning experience and enthusiasm.

The children gained a unique perspective into a different culture and way of life. Woodrow First School

It was such a benefit having not only a “native speaker” but also a teacher – the pupils’ preparation and performance in oral exams really benefitted from her presence and input.Kelso High School

We had a fantastic experience hosting a teacher from Germany and I can fully recommend the programme to any school considering it – it may seem like extra work but on the contrary, the benefits far outweigh the initial planning. Being sent an extra teacher for free is a godsend – she was an instant hit with our students and they loved the contact with an authentic German speaker as well as hearing about school life in Germany.

It can lead to bigger things…

Hosting a teacher from Germany could open up further opportunities for activities or a possible link between the two schools.

After hosting a teacher from Löhne, Spalding High School set up an orchestra exchange, which is still going strong.

new pen pal scheme was set up between Year 7 pupils at a school in Hertfordshire and their German visitor’s school.

The visit has made the partnership real and personal to both pupils and staff. Bishop Hatfield Girls’ School

Top tips from UK hosting teachers

  • Plan your visitor’s timetable in advance, so that as many classes or year groups can benefit.
  • Speak to the teacher before they come to ensure that you have broken the ice beforehand.
  • Get them involved in all aspects of the school, not just the German department.
  • Ask the German teacher to prepare a presentation of their school/local area or bring photos.
  • Ask the German teacher to bring letters from their pupils introducing themselves as well as authentic materials.
  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Joint thematic workshop – Youth values: “Was ist mir wichtig?”

While in Ortenburg on their German Pupil Course, 12 UK pupils got together with their German peers to discuss what they find most important in life and to see if this differs between young people in the UK and those in Germany.

What is important to me?

To get the ball rolling, the UK and German students gathered ideas of what is important to them in their personal lives, in relation to their surroundings, job-wise and in general. This led to some deep discussions about a number of themes and they came up with answers such as:

  • Personal: health (mental and physical), family, friends, Geld, surrounding yourself with good people, Ehrlichkeit, food
  • My surroundings: people being nice, having respect, nice teachers, people to support you, kein Rassisums, dass Leute, die etwas anders sind, akzeptiert werden, living in a nice area, dass Leute gut miteinander umgehen, nature
  • Jobs: to be able to enjoy your job, earn a good wage, an interesting job, working with nice people, to be fulfilled, success, a stable job, passing exams, not at a desk
  • General: global warming, climate change, privacy, dass es Menschen in armen Umständen besser geht, kein Rassismus, nicht obdachslos sein, nicht arbeitslos sein, being patriotic, Gleichberechtigung, the meaning of existence/ theology, Umwelt

Pupils were then given answers from a questionnaire posed to the public on the theme and were tasked with matching them with the German/English equivalent. This was an opportunity for pupils to practise their linguistic and decoding skills and stimulated even more discussion about which points they found valid and why. Pupils then decided collaboratively which 5 statements they found most important and the five highest ranking statements were:

  • To live life at its best,
  • To have a good family life,
  • To have good friends,
  • To get a good education,
  • To take responsibility for your own actions.

Expressing opinions creatively

In the second session, pupils chose one statement that resonated with them personally and in mixed-nationality pairs ventured out around the school to take a picture that illustrated this statement and write about the reasons for their choice. The photos were displayed and the pupils had to identify which statement it represented.

Looking to the future with shared values

The topic stimulated lively discussion about what matters to young people, and the group realised that they share many of the same values, despite living in different cultures. The environment and being politically active were also important topics for some individuals, and this workshop helped pupils to focus on values they share as the future generation.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

When languages met science…

Skills for life

The link between Truro College, Callywith College & The Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium is a long-standing and successful one. Their work-experience exchange is highly popular among the pupils, who stay with host families in Germany and carry out a week-long work-experience placement while they are there. This year, with the support of a School Partnership Bursary from UK-German Connection, the students had a taste of the world of work in primary schools, a café, a garage and a nursing home. Taking part offered the young people not only complete immersion in the German language and culture but also valuable experience as preparation for their future study and careers.

The experiment

In 2018 for the first time, 12 science students joined the exchange with the aim of not only boosting numbers, but also developing cross-curricular collaboration as an integral part of their partnership. The science students, who also stayed with German families, took part in some German lessons to prepare themselves before the trip and make the most of their intercultural experience.

Ground-breaking discoveries

While the language students carried out their work-placements, the budding scientists took part in a week of science-related visits, talks and experiments, including a hands-on demonstration of Nobel Prize Winner Stefan Hell’s imaging of cellular structures at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. They also spent three days experimenting at the XLAB in Göttingen and visited the Otto Bock company, famous for pioneering prosthetic limb research, the Institute for Astrophysics and the Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research, where they witnessed the recent Mars landing. Though all of this, students gained a unique insight into the importance of collaboration both between different scientific disciplines but also between countries, as they work together on ground-breaking research, development and discovery.

Broadening horizons

For the young people, the visit boosted not only boosted their confidence in speaking German but also their interest in future intercultural experiences: “I feel a lot more confident about speaking German now. The work experience was particularly useful, and the people were so helpful when I got stuck with the language.” Another student said, “I would love to return one day to study or work. I feel inspired to pursue my further studies in science and to try to learn the German language”.

Want to find out more about this exchange? You can read the full report here.

45 years of friendship!

How did your link with Germany start out?

The partnership was first established in 1974 by my former colleague, Alan Hemsworth, who still to this day, despite having retired eight years ago, plays an important role in the existence of the exchange. He worked closely with Jochen Hasse, an English teacher in Bebra to establish this amazing partnership. The town of Knaresborough was also twinned with Bebra, Hessen five years earlier in 1969 and they are celebrating their Golden anniversary this year, too!

How have you developed your activities over the years?

I believe it very important to have a good mix of school-based activities and opportunities outside the school environment. Having been leading the exchange for the past 7 years, I feel we now have fine-tuned this! Our German friends spend two / three days in school undertaking specially designed lessons for them in English; this is reciprocated when we return to Germany. Specific trips to English Heritage sites and local towns are included for our German guests as well as a joint German / English trip, usually to Whitby. Sampling Whitby fish n’ chips is a must!

What have been the obstacles and how have they been overcome?

In the summer of 1974 the first party of German pupils came to visit but, as Alan remembers, the exchange struggled to get off the ground. “We had serious difficulties in finding accommodation for all the pupils and only a last-minute appeal in the local paper saved the day.” In the end, two pupils stayed with the local milkman, two with the proprietor of a local coach company and two in a caravan at the bottom of a garden!

Finding host families willing to invite a 14 or 15 year-old German student into their home for a week, to experience the British way of life, has been challenging over the years at times. However, a large majority of host families, both in Knaresborough and Bebra are past participants themselves and feel that reciprocating host duties is important for the longevity of our partnership.

How has the partnership made a difference to your school as a whole?

Our strong links within both schools are well known not just in schools but also within the local community. Knaresborough and Bebra are actually twinned as towns and are in fact celebrating their 50th anniversary this year! Our partnership has truly become engrained into the lives of our schools. German is our second modern foreign language and the uptake of GCSE and A level is certainly on the rise!

What have been the benefits to the young people involved?

Our long-running partnership has touched so many peoples’ lives in both communities and continues to do so through creating memories, making friends for life, overcoming prejudices, promoting tolerance and gaining amazing experiences.

What special celebrations were planned to celebrate the 45th anniversary?

A Gala Event was held on Saturday 6h April to coincide with our German friends’ visit. What a fabulous event it was! 160 guests including our current exchange students and their host families, Headteachers from both schools, alumni participants (including someone who took part in 1979) and Mayors from both towns, as well as our special guest, John Rolfe MBE from the British Council spent an evening catching up with old friends, reminiscing and looking forward to future exchanges.

What are your plans for the future of the partnership?

The main thing is the exchange lives on, as we certainly have something very special to celebrate. The use of social media has made keeping in touch with our friends so much easier and the students are still regularly in contact with their partners, both current and previous participants! As regards the future… plans are already underway for our return trip to Bebra in April 2020 and as long as we have willing staff who are committed to the longevity of the exchange, it will not cease!

Do you have any top tips for other teachers?

Having committed exchange leaders working in schools where there is a desire to recognise and deliver strong international links with partner schools is an absolute must! This exchange has become so firmly embedded in both our schools over the 45 years and I’m convinced it can only go from strength to strength. Here’s to the next 45 years!!

Julie Allison, Teacher of MFL, 2019.

This article is part of the UK-German featured partnerships series.

Would you like to get in contact with the school and find out more about this partnership? Contact us