Pupils across England start intensive lessons in Mandarin

Wednesday 07 September 2016

 

A new £10 million Mandarin Excellence Programme will see at least 5,000 young people on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

Hundreds of secondary school pupils in England have already begun intensive lessons in Mandarin Chinese as the first initiative of its kind is rolled out across the country.

Secondary school pupils will study Mandarin for eight hours a week over the course of the next four years through the programme – a significant increase on the time pupils currently spend on the subject. 

Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and is seen as important for young people in the UK to master in order for the country to remain globally competitive in the future.

The programme is being led by participating schools, supported by the UCL Institute of Education, in partnership with the British Council, with the first lessons in Mandarin beginning this week as pupils return from their summer break. There are 14 schools participating in the first wave.  

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

“A high level of fluency in Mandarin Chinese will become increasingly important in our globally competitive economy. As part of our drive to extend opportunity, we want to give young people the opportunity to study the language and to acquire fluency in both spoken and written Mandarin. 

“The Mandarin Excellence Programme helps us achieve this, offering intensive study in the language which will not only be personally enriching for students, but will also give them a significant advantage when they enter the world of work.”

In addition to improving students’ fluency in the language, the UCL Institute of Education,in collaboration with other providers, aims to have trained at least 100 new qualified Chinese teachers by the end of the programme.

The Confucius Institute, based at the UCL Institute of Education, already has a network of 42 Confucius Classrooms across England and supports schools in starting and developing the teaching and learning of Mandarin Chinese and the study of China across other areas of the curriculum.

Katharine Carruthers, Director of the UCL Institute Of Education (IOE) Confucius Institute, said:

“The UCL Institute of Education is delighted to be delivering the DfE’s Mandarin Excellence Programme. Over the last decade, our work in schools has inspired increasing numbers of secondary school pupils to take up Mandarin Chinese. This programme provides a real boost and unique opportunity for more motivated pupils to be on track towards fluency in Mandarin.

“We are also developing new innovative teaching methods which will benefit the young people on the programme as well as the wider cohort of pupils learning Mandarin Chinese in our schools. The Mandarin Excellence Programme will undoubtedly further the UK’s relationship with China at all levels.”

Mark Herbert, Head of Schools Programmes at the British Council, said:

“Language skills are crucial for work and life in the global race, and Mandarin Chinese is one of the frontrunners when it comes to languages that matter most to the UK’s future prosperity. If the UK is to remain competitive on the world stage, we need far more of our young people leaving school with a good grasp of Mandarin in order to successfully work abroad or for businesses here in the UK.”

Schools in England can find out more about the programme and register their interest here:http://ci.ioe.ac.uk/mandarin-excellence-programme/

Notes to Editor

Department for Education enquiries

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 16 per cent of our turnover which last year was £973 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org

About the UCL Institute of Education

The UCL Institute of Education is a world-leader specialising in education and the social sciences. Founded in 1902, the Institute currently has more than 7,000 students and 800 staff. In the 2014, 2015 and 2016 QS World University Rankings, the Institute was ranked number one for education worldwide. It was shortlisted in the ‘University of the Year’ category of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) awards. In January 2014, the Institute was recognised by Ofsted for its ‘outstanding’ initial teacher training across primary, secondary and further education. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, 94 per cent of its research was judged to be world class. On 2 December 2014, the Institute became a single-faculty school of UCL, called the UCL Institute of Education. www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe

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