India Trip: Reaching the Unreached
12th February 2015

During the Christmas Holidays, a group of twenty-one Oundle pupils led by Spanish teacher, Richard Charters, visited India to spend time at Loyola School in Karnataka, a school for the Dalits, also known as ‘the Untouchables’ of the Indian caste system. Loyola School was constructed between 2006 and 2008 and is run by the Jesuits, supported by UK based charities such as ‘Supporting Dalit Children’.


The intention of the trip was to build relations between Oundle and Loyola School and to raise money for new projects. Before travelling to India the pupils had been asked to raise £250 each for the school. Many pupils easily surpassed this figure with some impressive fundraising events. Sarah Boyle (16) and Molly May Keston (16) organised a memorable ‘Concert for a Cause’ in September. Annabelle Lee (17) organised an Afternoon Tea Classical Concert and Thomas Lambton (16) spent 12 hours broadcasting on the School’s OSCAR radio in November.


Richard commented, “The group took part in the school sport’s day and Balamela (a day of fun activities for rural village children). Some pupils spent time helping Slovakian doctors with their clinics in the villages. Under the expert tutelage of Oundle Art teacher, Mike Case, the pupils painted a huge mural of animals for one of the primary classes.”




The highlight for many of the Oundle pupils was experiencing the joy and happiness of children who had so little. Many felt that it put their own lives in to context and gave them a different perspective on the issues they experienced at home. Being so close to Christmas, many felt that they had felt the true spirit of Christmas in the friendship of the Indian pupils and said that the experience had touched them greatly.


Pupil, Jemima Burgess (17) commented, “The sense of community within the school and villages greatly touched me. Neighbours rely heavily on each other and are like family.”


Pupil, Harriet Pymont (16) commented, “The incredible work of the mission has enabled the Dalits to have aspirations and dreams. I was struck by their generosity and the warmness of their welcome and humbled that despite the simplicity of their lives how content they seemed to be.”


Pupil, George Elliot (16) commented, “A highlight for me was the cricket match we organised – England-v-India – which resulted in a draw and brought us all close together in a bonding experience which was hugely enjoyable.”


The Director of Loyola School, Father Francis D’Souza commented, “The group’s presence at the school helped to raise the ambitions of the Indian children and break down barriers as well as re-energise our efforts to serve the Dalits and other deprived sectors of society.”


Richard hopes to run another trip in December 2016 and in the meantime Mike Case is collecting pictures from the trip which he hopes to publish as part of an official picture book that will be available to purchase and also used as part of a small exhibition.  


Richard concluded, “The India trip proved a great success with pupils reacting fantastically to the challenges of living in rural India. They shared experiences and laughter with many Indian children at Loyola school in Karnataka, breaking down barriers and coming away with new friends.”


Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.


The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015. 


There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.


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