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Staff Planning Visit to GAV School India

During May half term Mr Fowler and Mr Smyth travelled to India to visit Crawshaw’s partner school “GAV Public School” and also to catch up with The Tong Len Charity for which Crawshaw is a long term supporter.  They were joined on their visit this time by two teachers from Farsley Farfield Primary School who were travelling to the same place to make the first steps in developing links with a neighbouring school to GAV School.  Both Partnerships have been funded by the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms program.

After a long flight they finally arrived in India, flying into Amritsar, where they took a taxi to on the 5 hour journey to the Kangra Valley, making a brief stop off at the stunning Golden Temple before continuing the journey to their final destination in the foothills of the Himalayas.

After a good night sleep they awoke refreshed on the Sunday morning in the town of Mc Leod Ganj in Upper Dharamsala. The first day gave them the opportunity to visit the children at the Tong Len hostel, where there are now 85 children sponsored through the charity and also to talk with Buddhist monk Jamyang, the Charity’s founder.  For more info visit

Indian visitors (2 images)

Visitors from GAV school in India.

Created: 15 Jun 15 11:22 | Last modified: 15 Jun 15 11:36

India Visit June 2013 Tong Len (12 images)

Created: 24 Jun 13 09:32 | Last modified: 24 Jun 13 09:37

India Visit June 2013 (19 images)

Highlights from our latest visit to the GAV School in India

Created: 17 Jun 13 13:35 | Last modified: 24 Jun 13 09:23


On the Monday morning they arose early and took the short taxi ride to the Town of Kangra where they were to spend the best part of the week working with the staff and students at GAV School.  They were fortunate to turn up at the school on a very special day when the plus 2 result had been declared (equivalent to A level.)  For the first time in the school’s history they had a achieved a record result of 100% of students passing and achieving their targets, the atmosphere in the school was jubilant and celebratory.  That, combined with the arrival that morning of the first rain of the season, had the staff saying that the visit was very auspicious and had brought good luck and the rain.  The week saw them working on developing a number of new project ideas particularly focussing on Maths, PSHE and some computer programming.

International Mathematics!

Mr Fowler focussed on Maths which included a number of projects which he is hoping to develop within the maths department back at Crawshaw.  The students learned about money and the cost of living in the UK and India.  The younger groups looked at UK coins, most of the children had never seen UK currency and were very excited to get the coins out and have a good look.  They made some rubbings and went on to look at different ways of making sums of money.  Mr Fowler set the challenge to find the biggest amount that could be made using one of each different coin.

The older groups looked at the prices of various party foods.  Students, converted prices from Pounds to Rupees using the exchange rate and then compared this with the cost of the same items in India.  Most students were shocked by such big differences in price for example, in a UK restaurant a portion of rice averages at £1.50 but in India it costs only 8p!  Discussion followed about the reasons behind this and eventually turned to fair trade and carbon footprints.  A similar activity is planned with Year 9 back at Crawshaw. 

Mr Fowler also did some work on bearings with a group of final year students. They measured bearings of various cities around the world taken from the GAV school and used the map scale to work out the distance to each city in kilometres.  The group then went outside and drew a signpost on the floor showing the direction and distance of each city (including Crawshaw School). We are hoping to develop this idea further within Crawshaw also.

PSHE from a Global Perspective

Mr Smyth’s work with the students focussed on PSHE work, looking at developing common links with GAV school in such areas as identity and how students see themselves as either British or Indian, what that means to them and their desires to live in just and fair communities.  The classes also looked at developing work on human rights and issues around global consumerism.  They had the opportunity to study the poetry of Benjamin Zephaniah and to write their own poetry based on his ideas about being Indian as well as being a global citizen.   They also took part in a project day on sustainability.  This tied into and mirrored work done by Crawshaw students on their last focus day, with students working on developing videos with sustainability tips, a sustainable school banner and a sustainable super hero. 

Using his ICT teaching background, Mr Smyth also had the opportunity to discuss how computer programming is taught at GAV School as this is a well established key part of the ICT curriculum in India and is something that is to be introduced to the curriculum back at home. 

In the middle of the week they returned to the Tong Len Project, visiting their office to meet with staff there and learn about the various projects that they run as well as visiting the Charan Khad displaced persons community which the charity works with.  Mr Smyth said “It was really good to see the work that the organisation does with the children who live in the slum community and Mr Fowler was able to help out with the homework club which runs daily at the tuition tent.”

After 5 busy days they finally came to the departure ceremony which involved Mr Fowler giving a rendition of one of his songs from the Crawshaw school production of Oliver, which went down a storm with the staff.   After farewells and gifts were exchanged they set off on the long journey home, exhausted but all in agreement that as with previous visits, it had been an excellent week with fantastic hospitality.  We look forward to welcoming teachers from GAV School to Crawshaw later in the year and will, of course, bring you news about the event here on the website.   You can read Farsley Farfield's blog about the visit here.