A HUDDERSFIELD headteacher aims to set up a school twinning project with China.
Gill Robinson, headteacher at Castle Hill School in Newsome, was part of a 28-strong party from Britain looking at special education overseas.
She says this first visit organised with China’s University of Wuhan last month would lead to exchange visits between staff from Castle Hill and schools in China.
She said: “China is a such a fascinating place and we were extremely well received into the schools and at the university.
“They were all fascinated by what we had to offer.
“Broadly speaking, the Chinese system now is similar to that in Britain during the 1970s, but they are keen to develop and were receptive to many of our ideas. We have so much to offer and we hope we can work together to achieve this aim.
“We visited schools with excellent reputations for deaf, blind and autistic children, but the Chinese are now keen to extend the provision for children with severe and profound learning difficulties and this is what we can assist with.
“I feel privileged that we have so much to offer the schools in China and hope this is just the start of us helping them and working together.”
Earlier this year the Newsome school for children and young people with severe and profound learning difficulties was awarded specialist status for communication and interaction.
The visit was organised by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and funded through specialist status money.
Castle Hill will receive £60,000 a year for this year and the next two years to fund training and development of staff and resources for Castle Hill and its partner schools.
The money will also help the school to forge links with other organisations.
Gill – who paid her personal costs while in China – gave a talk at the university about higher ability secondary children from Castle Hill who have been involved in a dramatisation of the Emily Brontë novel Wuthering Heights.
She was also extremely impressed with the music and drama provision at the schools she visited and enjoyed several performances by deaf and blind children.
The trip also included visits to places of cultural interest, including the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Olympic Village.
Gill said she hoped a teacher and support assistant from Castle Hill would visit China next year.
The Examiner revealed on Friday that Mrs Robinson’s daughter, Lottie Taylor, scooped a major regional award.
The 21-year-old clinched the Unsung Hero award at the Yorkshire Young Achievers in Leeds.
The same award was won posthumously last year by campaigning Huddersfield Examiner reporter Adrian Sudbury, who died from leukaemia in August 2008.
He spent his final months pushing the Government to introduce bone marrow donor awareness in all schools and colleges.
Lottie played a major role in setting up and running after-school care services for youngsters in Leeds while she was studying at Leeds Metropolitan University.
Mrs Robinson said Lottie had shown great determination and tenacity to do so much work while studying.
“It involved a lot of work and she had some major obstacles to overcome,’’ said Mrs Robinson. “But I think the fact that she had done voluntary work at Castle Hill had stood her in good stead and she has also been the personal assistant for a couple of children here.
“I think that gave her the drive to set up such a wonderful service in a disadvantaged area of Leeds.’’
Lottie set up of the Kids@Heart after-school clubs project at two schools. She recruited and trained 35 volunteers, organising them into a weekly rota to provide clubs four days a week.
Lottie has now taken up her first teaching post and moved to Reading, but the clubs she set up continue.