A woman in a classroom wearing a bright yellow top

Mat Wright

Bring Chinese language and culture to life!

With Mandarin Chinese set to be one of the most vital languages internationally, it has never been more important to connect young people in the UK with China.

Knowledge of China and Chinese culture opens up a world of opportunities for your students, and an ability to communicate in Mandarin can really make them stand out from the crowd.

Hosting a language assistant also means your school will automatically qualify for level 1 of the International School Award.

Our Chinese language assistants

All Chinese language assistants are qualified school teachers in China with experience of teaching the Chinese language, returned volunteers with at least one year teaching experience, and graduate students with rich experience of teaching the Chinese language.

Their experience means they can support an existing provision or introduce Mandarin to pupils for the first time. The mutually beneficial scheme provides Chinese language assistants with ongoing training in both China and the UK to fully prepare them for the role.

Chinese language assistants can:

  • create lesson plans and source cultural learning resources
  • support the teacher in class or work alone with small groups of students
  • help to prepare pupils for GCSE / A Level exams
  • organise extra-curricular or classroom activities based on China and its culture (e.g. calligraphy, Tai Chi)
  • help schools to set up partnerships with schools in China
  • work across the curriculum to introduce Chinese culture through different subject disciplines.

Local authorities can also employ Chinese language assistants on a pro rata basis to run Chinese language clubs or taster classes in schools that are considering introducing Chinese to their curriculum.

What support is available?

We provide schools with advice on administrative matters and pastoral care, provided by an experienced customer services team and online information booklet. 

The British Council provides an intensive pre-departure training course for all Chinese language assistants. The session covers:

  • roles and responsibilities of Chinese language assistants
  • effective teaching of Mandarin as a foreign language
  • review of the UK education system and adapting to UK classrooms.

They will also receive a welcome briefing on arrival in the UK.

Back to How the scheme works