Parents of pupils at Lanchester EP Primary School thank the school for their vision in offering this opportunity and enabling their children to embark on a trip of a lifetime.
“As a mixed-race British-Asian family, we were thrilled at the opportunity at our son’s primary school for him to go to India through the Turing scheme! Despite various administrative difficulties in the build-up, the Head and her staff had fostered a sense of excitement in the 16 intrepid children who headed to Rajkot in northern India, whilst the parents nervously awaited news.
Soon, a flurry of pictures sent by the dedicated staff put parents’ minds at rest as we watched the children eat their way through 4 airports and arrive in good spirits. It is impossible to capture all the children’s experiences over the week, but the cultural exchange left a huge imprint on our son and then on us as he told us his experiences.
His favourite parts weren’t the fancy restaurant experiences (although the camel ride before eating sounded exciting) but finding similarities with others despite their differences: the Sunshine school (a local school where he made new friends) and having beautiful mehndi patterns drawn on his arms with henna by the students of Panschil School.
Through the school’s photos we have been able to share the experience and we are so grateful to the school for their vision in offering this opportunity; whilst the mehndi patterns fade, the memories will last a lifetime!”
Dad of Reuben, age 10
“When we received the message to say Niamh’s name had been pulled out and she had the opportunity to head on an adventure to India with school, we knew from that moment we were embarking on a special journey with Mrs Davis, Mr Mcloughlin and the school. In the lead up to the trip we were kept up to date and well informed with everything; then suddenly it was the week they went and there was an anxious, nervous feeling in our house when we all realised quite how far apart we would be.
When saying goodbye to Niamh our advice was be brave, if you are brave you will get to try new things, have wonderful adventures and discover life outside of our family and culture. We knew we would need to be brave in letting her go.
We are grateful to Mrs Davis for being brave in deciding to send 16, 9/10 year olds to the other side of the world, trusting her staff to take care of them and the countless hours herself and Mr Mcloughlin put in to ensure they had the trip of a lifetime.
The staff who went to India were incredible. It was very hard to let Niamh go on that Saturday and be so far away for the week. Their care ensured she had an incredible experience and the photos each day put our mind at ease, seeing the smiles and extraordinary experiences they were having led to lots of chats on the parent what’s app group.
We also had an appreciation that they too, were leaving their families for the week to give Niamh and the others the opportunity of a lifetime. We know how challenging residentials with young people are and under no illusion how stressful they will have found the week. They did an incredible job and the stress and worry from our end was released when she came back through the gates at Newcastle airport safe and sound, smiling and full of hugs and when asked, would you do it again? The answer without missing a heartbeat was yes.”
Dad of Niamh, age 9
“When we heard that Molly had been allocated a place on the visit to India, our first thoughts were what an amazing experience this was going to be for her, and how incredibly lucky she was to be one of the 16 children to have gotten a place! Once we’d calmed down and processed it all, the panic started creeping in… “Oh my goodness, what was I thinking allowing my 9 year autistic daughter to travel to India without me?!”
I needn’t have worried, the school were incredibly supportive, arranging a meeting to inform us of all the arrangements and the planned schedule, being on hand to answer a million questions from a bunch of anxious parents and even organising an afterschool club for the children so that they could prepare and get to know each other in advance of their trip.
In the days leading up to the visit the house was filled with a mixture of apprehension, anxiety and pure excitement. We packed and repacked again using the very helpful kit list that the school had provided, we looked up videos of Rajkot, the city in India that they would be visiting and we soothed and reassured concerns, sometimes Molly’s, sometimes my own!
The big day arrived and I can’t express fully how I felt saying goodbye to her at that moment. Part of me was so excited for her and wanted her to get the experiences that I would likely never be able to provide for her, but the other half of me wanted to cling on to her and never let go!
Jane and the staff travelling with the children were absolutely wonderful the entire week, I can’t thank them enough. Detailed messages and photographs were constantly relayed back to us notifying us of the group’s whereabouts and the wellbeing of the children, and Jane very selflessly gave up her weekend to keep us informed, messaging us late into the night with flight updates. I really got the impression that she was as invested as we parents were, which was incredibly reassuring and reminded me of why I’d been prepared to let Molly go on the trip in the first place. Although Molly had only attended the school for just over a year, I had already developed a genuine sense of trust in all the staff and particularly in Jane who clearly cares immensely about the wellbeing of each and every child in her care. I literally trusted them with my child’s life and there was never any question of that.
The What’s App group that Jane set up for the parents and carers of the children on the visit was an absolutely life saver. The camaraderie and group spirit was so helpful and it helped to validate our feelings and emotions. Whilst our children were bonding in India, us parents were developing a different bond at home. My phone reported a massive increase in use that week! Every time it bleeped I was scrambling in my bag to check if it was an update from Jane, and by the end of the week, all my work colleagues were asking for updates as well! Seeing the photographs of what they had been up to was just amazing, it felt like we were there with them and when Molly got home we were able to use them as prompts to encourage her to tell us all about her experiences.
Seeing her face at the airport the day she came home was just magical, she looked so happy and I knew instantly that we’d made the right decision to support her in going to India. Now she will casually drop into conversation snippets of Indian or point out pictures of Sloth Bears in the Museum, informing us that she had seen live ones whilst over in Rajkot. I’m so proud of her and the bravery and commitment that she has shown, and I am eternally thankful to Jane and the team for providing her with the opportunity of a lifetime. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”
Mum of Molly, age 9
Interested in applying for Turing Scheme funding?
The Global School Alliance is delighted to be supporting another cohort of schools with their Turing Scheme funding application and student exchange trip for the academic year of 2023 to 2024.
Our support service includes dedicated support with the application, finding a partner school and organising/delivering the student exchange trip. The cost of this is covered in the ‘organisation support’ aspect of your Turing Scheme funding.
Places are limited so enquire today to find out more.