Students turned away at airport after India flight
SCHOOLCHILDREN visiting India on a voluntary mission have been left heartbroken after they were turned away by airport officials.
The 16 students and three staff from Poynton High School had made the long haul from Manchester to India – but were refused entry to the country at Chennai Airport.
Officials claimed they had the ‘wrong type of visa’ because they were doing voluntary work.
It meant the students had to return to the UK armed with the toys and other items they were planning to take to an orphanage where they planned to paint a mural.
Headteacher David Waugh said the school was ‘shocked and saddened’.
The school has been fundraising for the charity India Direct for the past 12 years and has raised more than £30,000 to help establish and run two children’s homes.
And there has already been three successful trips – in 2009, 2011 and 2014 – to perform voluntary work.
Mr Waugh said: “The PHS India Project is part of the DNA of our school. The students and staff have raised thousands of pounds to support this trip and to sponsor the young children in the homes through every fundraising means possible.
“As you can imagine, the staff and students are in a state of tired shock having travelled for 48 hours as a round trip. A full debrief of the situation will take place and we will take this matter up at the highest level.”
Macclesfield MP David Rutley has pledged to get answers from the Foreign Office and the Indian High Commission.
He said: “This has been a distressing and difficult experience, and they rightly want an explanation.
“I am in contact with the Foreign Office and to the Indian High Commission, to try help them get answers, and will continue to follow it up as a priority.”
A spokesman for the Indian High Commission said the group obtained the ‘wrong category’ of visa.
The Poynton High School students