School students celebrating Chinese New Year with their Chinese language assistant

The British Council and HSBC are pleased to announce that up to ten grants of £3,890 will be offered to cover the costs of hosting a Chinese language assistant for the academic year of 2017/18.

This is a pilot scheme for UK schools in 2017/18 and is intended to support the Sustainable Development Goal 4 “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” Successful schools will have the full costs of hosting a Chinese language assistant from mid-September 2017 to the end of June 2018 covered.  The British Council and HSBC grant will cover the National Living Wage costs of the Chinese language assistant (£3890 for a 41 week contract at 12 hours per week - including the £200 Immigration Health Surcharge) while our Chinese partner Hanban will pay the assistant a subsidy of £800 per month. The cost of any hours worked over the contracted 12 per week will be the responsibility of the school.

It is recommended that applications involve more than one school, ideally with up to two other schools also sharing the assistant. One school should take overall responsibility and apply as the lead school, although the other schools in the application should be named. The application must explain how the schools will manage the assistant’s workload across the schools.

Applications from single schools that can offer a full 12 hour timetable to a Chinese language assistant will also be considered.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications are welcomed from state-funded schools and academies in England or their equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland and will be prioritised as follows:

(Applications from Wales will be immediately eligible to be assessed for a full grant through a separate scheme funded by the Welsh government, and should apply as normal)

  • Schools that have not previously hosted a British Council language assistant. Applications from schools that have previously hosted a Chinese language assistant are welcome to apply, although priority will be given to schools new to the programme. Schools with Mandarin not currently available on the curriculum are encouraged to demonstrate in their application how they hope to introduce it.
  • In England, priority will be given to schools in Opportunity Areas identified by the Department for Education (currently Blackpool, Derby, Norwich, Oldham, Scarborough, West Somerset, Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke).
  • Applications are encouraged from schools that are above the national average in terms of percentages of students registered for Free School Meals.  Priority will be given to those applicant schools with the highest percentages of Free School Meals.
  • Applications that that can demonstrate wider benefit than just the host school – for example sharing with other schools or benefits to the wider community. 

Quality Assessment Criteria

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, applications will be assessed against the Quality Assessment Criteria:

  • The aims and objectives of hosting a Chinese language assistant in your school
  • What impact on students you hope to achieve from hosting a Chinese language assistant and how you will measure this
  • Areas of the curriculum and extracurricular activities in which the Chinese language assistant will become involved
  • How you will utilise your Chinese language assistant to support China-related activity across the school cluster.

Applications should demonstrate clear reasons for applying to host a Chinese language assistant and the outcomes schools hope to obtain from it.

Notification of outcome

The closing date for all Chinese language assistant applications is 31 May 2017.  The British Council will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of all grant applications within one week of the deadline
  • Assess all applications with regard to the priority criteria and quality assessment criteria in the week beginning 5 June 2017
  • Notify host schools of the outcome of their applications in mid-June 2017.The British Council will issue two copies of a Grant Agreement to the host school which contain information on reporting requirements.  

Success will be provisional pending matching of an appropriate Chinese language assistant in June 2017.

Please email any enquiries regarding the Chinese language assistant or application process to

To apply for a grant-funded Chinese language assistant, please download the application form below and email it to by 31 May 2017.