St Albans junior school’s Indian exchange

AN EDUCATIONAL exchange between a school in St Albans and another in India has allowed children and teachers to learn about the cultural differences first-hand.

Cunningham Hill Junior set up the global school partnership with Sevalaya School in Tamil Nadu, South India, which allowed teachers from both schools to visit their partner school and share information about their culture.

Headteacher, Richard Dawson, and teacher, Kathryn Shaw, from Cunningham Hill, spent a week in August visiting Sevalaya and gave talks, taught lessons to the children and continued with projects that the two schools had been working on by letter and email for over a year.

Ms Shaw said: “The study of India is part of our curriculum so a link with Sevalaya is particulary relevant. We had a fabulous experience in India but found it rather hot. Unfortunately, our visitors are finding it rather cold and wet here.”

The long-term collaboration between the schools gives the children a better understanding of another culture and pupils have looked at areas such as the environment, sustainability, global warming and festivals as part of the project. The teachers’ visits were funded by a British Council grant.

Last week, Annapooma Swamy, the deputy head of Sevalaya School, and teacher Mr A. A. Kingston, visited Cunningham Hill and taught pupils there all about Indian life.

Mrs Swamy said: “The objectives of our visit are to develop the skills of staff to better deliver the global curriculum, broaden visions, establish better contact between the schools through direct contact and further develop joint curriculum projects.”

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Sevalaya School has 1,500 children aged five-17, as well as a care-home for the elderly and a cow sanctuary. It was founded 22 years ago in an area where there was no school for the children to go to. The school is also home to 160 pupils who have no parents.

Headteacher of Cunningham Hill, Justine Elbourne-Cload, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for both schools and we are looking forward to further exchange visits, possibly involving the children, next year.”