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Flying visits

* If the thought of several months away from your job seems daunting, there are plenty of short-term options. Study trips to overseas schools allow you to see how they do things, but within a week you can be back in your own classroom putting new ideas into practice. Teachers' International Professional Development (TIPD) is the biggest study visit scheme, with the DfES funding 2,500 places each year for teachers in England. Applications go through one of the Government's four chosen "providers" who operate different versions of the scheme (see below). You will probably travel as part of a group, and visits are centred on a theme such as literacy or creativity. The idea is to look and learn rather than do any teaching yourself, though there is usually a daily debriefing with the whole group.

European visits last a week and, if you travel long-haul, you should be back within 10 days.

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