Sharing experiences across cultures is an immensely powerful learning experience and Northcote High School facilitates this through solid sister school relationships.
Sister School - Huaibei Number One High School, Anhui Province, China
Northcote High School and Huaibei Number One High School established a sister school relationship in 1999. Since that time, more than 700 students and 50 teachers have been exchanged throough annual visits. The relationship is a significant one for both schools and supports language studies, the teaching of international studies and history and a development of cultural awareness. In 2017, 35 music students and teachers will visit Huaibei to perform jointly with our sister school, in our fifth music exchange tour. In 2015, NHS extended its sister school agreement to include the Tianyi High School campus of Huaibei No1 HS. And in 2016, after four years of research, approvals and negotiation, NHS and Huaibei's Tianyi High School signed an agreement to deliver the VCE in China. In doing this, Northcote became the first Australian government school to cooperate in such a way with a Chinese school.
NHS students visit Huaibei as part of a two-week four-city tour of China, usually in September. Huaibei students spend two weeks in Australia in August. Huaibei is a medium-sized city (of about 1.2 million people) where coal mining is the main industry. Tourists are rare, so NHS students encounter a genuine and unique cultural experience. In 2010 Clifton Hill (Gold Street) Primary School signed a sister school agreement with Huaibei No 1 Model Primary School and joined our students in the 2011 China tour, which further strengthened ties with Huaibei. Since then, Alphington Primary School has joined in building relationships in Huaibei.
During exchanges, students homestay with families and develop a rich appreciation of each others’ cultures. From time to time, teachers are placed in each sister school to support language study and discuss pedagogy and educational issues. Activities for NHS students also include visits to historical sites, including the Great Wall.
In the 1930s, Northcote High School exchanging correspondance by mail with other schools around the world. These included Staszic High School in Lublin, Poland in 1935. NHS and the Polish school exchanged large hand coloured folders by mail, explaining each others country and searching for common connections. The Red Cross Group in each school was the connecting group. The elaborate folder sent by the Polish school still exists. Pages are shown below. Click on the right hand one to read their warm letter of greeting to NHS.