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Parents of students denied entry to India still without answers

The pupils from Poynton High School were denied entry to the country for a trip of a lifetime this summer.

Pupils at Poynton High School who travelled to India

Parents of teenagers denied entry to India for a school trip this summer say they are still demanding answers.

It was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime for 16 students from Poynton High School who set off to India after their exams in July, following years of fundraising.

But when their flight landed in Chennai Airport they were stopped by immigration and denied entry to the country.

They were told they had the wrong type of visa because they were due to do voluntary work at an orphanage and the students had to return home.

The teens were heartbroken and parents have been looking for answers as to why it happened.

But four months later the parents have not been told what happened. The school has been investigating and working with Macclesfield MP David Rutley, who pledged to get answers from the Foreign Office and the Indian High Commission.

Phil Robertshaw, whose daughter Kate was on the trip, said: “Kate and the other students were heartbroken. They worked so hard and it would have been the trip of a lifetime.

“It was a really disappointing, distressing experience. We’ve been patient but now we are demanding to know what went wrong and who is to blame.

“After all these months we’ve had enough. We don’t feel Mr Rutley has pursued this with full vigour and we’re not happy with the communication from the school.”

However, headteacher David Waugh said: “Since our students and staff were refused entry to India as part of the charity trip, extensive efforts have been made to seek clarity over why immigration officials believed that the party was travelling on an incorrect visa having undertaken the same excursion three times previously.

“I have been in dialogue with our MP, the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, the Indian High Commission and visa application agencies but we do not have a definitive reasons.

“I have now been put in communication with the High Commissioner himself and await a response. I have offered the students a significant refund of over £1,200 through reimbursements from various companies involved.

“The situation continues to sadden us as the India Project is part of the DNA of our school. Our students have missed out on an experience of a lifetime visiting the children’s homes the charity India Direct supports and experiencing the culture of the region.”

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