March has been a month of intense project activity with information to collate, lots of thinking, explaining, communicating and thinking again all the way through to the submission deadline.
Putting together a coherent project proposal takes patience, time, talent and strategic planning building on shared strengths and connecting ideas together. Now the final project plan has been submitted what lessons have been learnt?
Be prepared to start afresh
The idea for the project was first born over a year ago but initial discussions and contacts proved helpful but problematic. Did everyone want the same things from the project or did prospective partners' conflicting priorities weaken our chances of success? We felt this was a stumbling block and were not sure how to find new partners. In fact the School Education Gateway proved a great tool to find new partner schools. Research always pays off.
Take advice and feedback on board
Traditionally Global Education Derby has limited experience of Erasmus Plus. However we analysed feedback from the assessors of our previous funding bids and looked at how we could create a robust, value for money project with a legacy that would last beyond the life of the project itself. Much reading of the guidelines was inevitable and challenging. We persevered.
Challenge your assumptions
Finding European partners was the big challenge in my head. I was confident that bringing a UK school on board would be relatively easy and I had one particular school in mind for this role. However, a new headteacher, with different priorities scuppered this plan and I left it too late to recruit in the timescale. Lesson here - take nothing for granted!
Use your contacts and connections
Discussing the project with a wider network of friends and colleagues brought in more good ideas and supportive partners who can contribute should everything go well and funding is approved. Tapping into the expertise of colleagues, trustees, community members, project participants is vital, invaluable and exciting!
So glad all the paperwork is now submitted and other things can become top priorities while we wait for news. We expect to hear if we have been successful on Friday 11 August 2017.