STAWELL - Business consultant Clyde Humphries is heading to China again this Sunday, leading a delegation of people with involvement and experience in disability services .
Representatives on the trip will include Skene Street Specialist School teachers and a Skene Street student and his mother.
Mr Humphries, in his role as a consultant to Skene Street School for their Sister School Program, said the initial aim of the trip was to visit Skene Street School's Sister School in Yiwu Zheijang Province China.
The trip would also include some sightseeing around the history and production of Chinese teas, giving teachers a valuable trip so that their experiences can be later used in the classroom.
Another highlight has emerged though, with negotiations just being finalised this week for the group to visit a second Special School for children with disabilities in the city of Huzhou also in Zheijang Province.
This school, known as the Huzhou Yishangjie School is twice the size of Yiwu with 160 pupils and about 30 teachers.
Mr Humphries had proposed the visit to the Huzhou Foreign Affairs Department last year as an exchange of professional ideas within the disability services sectors of both Australia and China, but also as an opportunity for him to assess the school's willingness to have him find another Special School in Victoria looking to twin with them and enter into a Sister School arrangement.
Mr Humphries successfully organised the Skene Street Specialist School and Yiwu Xingguang Experimental School signing of a Sister School Memorandum of Understanding in 2012.
Since then he has also opened negotiations between Horsham Special School and the Taishan Special Education Centre in Guangdong Province that last September, Mr Humphries visited with his wife Lois, who is the Seniors class teacher at Skene Street School.
Both principals and staff in Horsham and Taishan are excited at the prospect of learning more of each other's schools and teaching methods and are corresponding via email at present, with a possible visit later in the year to meet personally and advance the link further.
Skene Street Specialist School Principal Robyn Anyon said that Mr Humphries is hoping to negotiate a September visit of the principal and possibly one or two teachers from the Yiwu School while he is in Yiwu that will benefit everyone concerned.
"If we could have one of their specialist teachers in dance or music visit for a week or so it would be a great boost to the students at Stawell as well as a learning experience for both the Chinese and Australian teachers," Mrs Anyon said.
Mrs Anyon said that it is commonplace for regular schools to twin with schools in other countries.
However, if the groundbreaking work carried out by Skene Street can be replicated, it can only benefit everyone involved in the provision of education services to children with a disability and strengthen and enhance the hard work already happening in this very demanding field of endeavor.