Swrna Mishra, Rakhi Choudhary, Sophie Stannard, Councillor Charles Johnson, Edward Cunningham

Students from a Darlington Academy have been forging links with part of India in a project designed to teach them about the impact of heavy industry.

 Swrna Mishra, Rakhi Choudhary, Sophie Stannard, Councillor Charles Johnson, Edward Cunningham

Swrna Mishra, Rakhi Choudhary, Sophie Stannard, Councillor Charles Johnson, Edward Cunningham
St Aidan’s Church of England Academy, in Hundens Lane, Darlington, has this week been hosting two teachers from an Indian school after being chosen to develop international links as part of a school twinning project. The visit is part of Connecting Classrooms is a UK government and British Council education initiative and St Aidan’s Academy was selected in recognition of its commitment to teaching students about global issues.   The Academy has been hosting a three-day visit of two teachers from Dayanand Public School in Jamshedpur, the industrial home town of steel firm Tata, which also operates on Teesside. Both areas also have plants run by engine maker Cummins. The visit follows a similar one earlier this year when Academy staff members Richard Johnson and Steph Francom went to Dayanand Public School at Easter, where they learnt about the areas‘ industrial links. [expand-contract expand-title=”Read-On” swaptitle=”Close” trigclass=”expand-highlight” trigpos=”below” tag=”readon”] Kiki Haines, Director of Student Progress said ” the St. Aidan’s students were very impressed by a model of the Steel Works produced by the Dayanand Public School and this has led to increased interest in industrial processes – this lead to a theme that was explored during this return visit.” During the return visit, Swrna Mishra, the Principal of Dayanand Public School, and Rakhi Choudhary, an IT teacher, visited Redcar, home of Tata Steel in the North East and also met Mayor of Darlington Councillor Charles Johnson at the Town Hall on Thursday (May 23). Councillor Johnson said: “We are trying to raise the profile of the town and encourage young people to come to Darlington and our visitors from India can take that message away. Darlington is on the world map as the home of the railways and I delighted that we can be involved in this exchange visit and talk about Darlingtons rich industrial heritage.” Year 9 student Sophie Stannard said: “It was really enjoyable to know more about the Indian culture and we also learned a lot more about the history of Darlington during our visit to the town hall.” Swrna Mishra said: “We hope the visit will allow us to exchange cultural knowledge and share best practice between our schools. It will allow us to learn about each other’s cultures. It was a delight to meet the Mayor or Darlington and we would make him very welcome if should ever visit India.” Steph Francom, St Aidan’s Assistant Principal, said: “This visit will enrich our students’ studies. It will teach them about different cultures and help them appreciate that there is a world out there beyond Darlington. “It is also interesting because 90-95 per cent of the area in which the Indian school is based is dominated by heavy industry whereas our steel industry on Teesside is recovering from difficult times. The exchange allows our students to explore the differences.” Edward Cunningham, a Year 7 student said: “It’s been amazing to learn about the cultural difference across the world.” St Aidan’s Principal Catherine McCoy said: “It is important that our students are enriched in their studies and learn about different cultures. Darlington is a small-ish town which does not have a particularly strong multi-cultural population and these kind of visits help students learn about other cultures and faiths. They help our students appreciate what they have and engage with the opportunities that are available for them.”   [/expand-contract]

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