My three school days at Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) in Singapore were extraordinary. I was so proud to represent Port Phillip Specialist School (PPSS) and saw for myself the significance of the opening of this new school and the introduction of the Port Phillip SS model in to Singapore.

The formal opening was held on Friday afternoon. After some speeches and performances by the current students (who have been in school only five weeks), Mr Phillip Green, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, officially opened the school. He noted how proud he was to be Australian on this day that an Australian educational model was being brought to Singapore.

A highlight during the event was meeting a prospective parent. Hearing her story about the lack of school choices as an expatriate living and working in Singapore and how important having the choice of a school with a specialised approach to cater for her daughter was moving.

Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to visit two local special schools. I was impressed with the practices I saw. It was lovely to visit staff that had previously visited PPSS in 2014. The gap is that local schools take local students as a priority. Visiting residents often wait lengthy periods to gain access. In such cases they attend International mainstream schools who struggle to cater for the individual needs.

I also met Australian educational colleagues at both the Australian International School and James Cook University. We aspire to conduct research projects at both PPSS and MSIS which would serve to strengthen data and results.

I was joined by Sue Christophers, Executive Director (Department of Education and Training). It was evident to Sue that PPSS models are far deeper than just what is down on paper. We discussed that the PPSS models rely on a brilliant team of professionals who are operating from the same ethos and principles placing individual students first. A true belief in the power of Visual & Performing Arts and working collaboratively directly influence daily practice.

This partnership is recognition that Port Phillip Specialist Schools’ Visual & Performing Arts program and Integrated Services Model are world class and highly esteemed. Congratulations to all those team members, past and present, who have worked so hard over many years.

I look forward to keeping you up to date on further developments.