The Mandarin Excellence programme is a unique intensive language programme that started in 2016. There are now around 10,000 students enrolled on the programme and on track to fluency in the language.

The programme is expanding and recruiting an additional 21 schools over the next two years to reach an expected 100 participating schools by September 2024. 

The Mandarin Excellence Programme is delivered by the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society on behalf of the Department for Education and in partnership with the British Council.

The innovative language programme has helped thousands of school pupils in England learn Mandarin Chinese benefitting from a more intensive language learning programme, which starts in Year 7.

Between 2016 - 2020, the programme exceeded its target of seeing at least 5,000 pupils in England on track towards fluency in the language by 2020 and has had a positive impact on the supply of Mandarin teachers, by increasing the number of opportunities for teaching practice.

Mandarin Excellence Programme independent evaluation report 

Five years since its launch and at the conclusion of the first contracted phase of delivery from 2016 to 2021, the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) independent evaluation report has been published.

Key achievements from 2016 to 2021 include:

  •  71 schools within the Programme at the end of phase 1
  •  6,274 pupils enrolled across KS3 and KS4 in 2020-2021
  •  Wider pupil benefits reported around increased confidence, self-esteem and cultural learning
  • A majority of MEP schools offer training opportunities for student/Newly Qualified Mandarin teachers

The evaluation report discovered that the first five years of MEP delivered the following outcomes:

  • A well-designed and balanced programme
  • Successful achievement of initial objectives
  • National impact on the number of pupils learning Mandarin
  • A very strong first cohort of GCSE results in 2021
  • Benefits from skilled and committed delivery partners
  • A boost to teacher supply 
  • Support for teacher development

See the Mandarin Excellence Programme website for more information and the evaluation for full details of the report. View a recording of the evaluation results webinar held on 18 May 2022.

MEP video playlist 

Watch our playlist of MEP videos filmed across England over summer 2022, showcasing MEP Intensive Study events in the classroom and beyond.