Two Ark schools have been celebrating world culture by hosting their first ever assembly together - despite being over 4,000 miles away.
Children at Ark Atwood Primary Academy, started their International Day with live video assembly over Skype with Lajpat Nagar III, a new primary school in South Delhi which is Ark's first ever school abroad.
Lajpat Nagar III, named after the area it is located in, was established through a new partnership between Ark and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), the local authority.
Ark Atwood’s pupils, who came to school dressed in outfits from dozens of different countries and cultures, sang to the children of Lajpat Nagar III – followed by the Delhi pupils responding with their school song - 'We Shall Overcome' - in Hindi.
As part of their school link, the pupils at Lajpat Nagar III sent drawings of themselves to be displayed at Ark Atwood and, in return, Ark Atwood’s pupils are working to send projects describing their lives in London.
The children also heard from Atwood teachers Stephanie Lester and Ffion Evans, both of whom had worked at Lajpat Nagar III over the summer holidays through Ark Fellows, an Ark programme which places teachers in schools in India and Uganda to help develop professionally. Milo, 8, said: “I think that Miss Evans and Miss Lester have done a great job to go and work in India during the summer, rather than just relaxing on their holiday.”
Ms Evans said: “The children at Lajpat Nagar come from very, very poor backgrounds and some of them used to be in the streets before they began attending the school.”
Daniel Upfield, Principal at Ark Atwood, said: “It was incredibly exciting to have our first ever international link-up with our sister school in Delhi to show that Ark Atwood is part of a wider, global community.”
Ark is setting up a network of primary schools in the country, with Lajpat Nagar III being the first. The aim is to provide a rigorous education in both Hindi and English to 8,000 of India’s most disadvantaged children. Educational standards in Delhi are dismal, particularly for poorer children. Over a third of school-aged children don’t complete primary school in India, and of those who do go to school, more than half leave without even basic reading or writing skills. The average family income is £75 per month, and many of the children attending Ark’s school will be the first of their families to go to school.