'The headteacher and deputy headteacher are committed and relentless in their work for continuous improvement.'Ofsted 2018
'Senior leaders have established high expectations of staff and pupils and lead by example.'Ofsted 2018

For twelve days in February sixth form students and staff from St Aidan’s embarked on an Immersion Project in Delhi, India.  This life changing and challenging trip was the culmination of a year’s continuous fund raising and dedication from the students.  Our focus was taking education out to children across Delhi who don’t get any or at best limited access to education.  Working closely with the charity Mine is Nine the students and staff took a wide variety of teaching and learning materials with which to engage the students.  This ranged from sporting gear through to classroom materials.  The interaction with the street children was priceless.  Their desire and determination to soak up all that education has to offer was an uplifting and heartening moment.  Our students and staff developed deep and meaningful relationships with the students from Delhi and the gratitude the street children showed us was very touching.  Some of these relationships are enduring thanks to social media.  As well as interacting with these children we spent two days working at the Mother Theresa’s Orphanage for Girls.  Here, girls with varying special and complex needs had been abandoned by their families and the sisters at this wonderful orphanage give them shelter, love and care.  Despite some of the challenging behaviours the students and staff faced, everyone relished the experience and gave the girls as much care and attention as they could.  What was palpable was the reciprocated smiles and enjoyment given off by the girls and this showed us that our time was making a genuine difference to these young girls’ lives.

As well as working closely with these groups of students, we did get some time to visit Delhi and the surrounding area.  We took a day out to visit the Taj Mahal which every member of our group thoroughly enjoyed.  The attention to detail in and around the building and the love story that sat behind it touched everyone and seemed to make the whole experience more intense somehow.  We also saw a lot of what Delhi had to offer.  There is no doubt that Delhi is a land of contrasts.  You could walk along a street where several families are living without any shelter to speak of without a penny to their names one minute then be passed by a very expensive car the next.  This shows really well some of the inequality and unfairness of India and showed the students how fortunate we are with the quality of life we all enjoy.

The staff and students saw some harrowing things.  Were touched in many ways.  Were frustrated in many ways but what every member of our party experienced was a vibrant and energetic city.  There is no doubt that the immersive nature of the trip made it a very intense experience.  But one that no member of the group will ever forget.  In fact, some of the members of our group are differing their university entries this September to return to continue to make a difference to the lives of the people of Delhi.  The longer we run this immersion project the deeper these links become.  As a school we are always thinking of ways we can leave a lasting legacy for the street children of Delhi and we all hope our younger students will be as keen to be involved as our past few cohorts have been and make that small difference to the lives of people much less fortunate then ourselves.