Give your students a unique opportunity to learn Mandarin and be part of the future with the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

Mandarin Chinese opens up a world of opportunity – it can connect speakers with an exciting and dynamic culture as well as boost career opportunities. Mandarin has been identified as one of the most important languages for the UK’s future prosperity, so now marks the perfect time to help students in your school be on track for fluency.

The Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is a unique intensive language programme that started in 2016. The programme offers funding and support for secondary schools in England. It has helped thousands of school pupils in England learn Mandarin Chinese through classroom teaching, self-study, intensive study and immersive cultural experiences.   

The MEP is delivered by the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and in partnership with the British Council.  

“In our area of social deprivation, the MEP offers life-changing opportunities.” 

“This programme has revolutionised the way our students learn languages and given our students the most amazing enrichment opportunities which has brought this language to life in many different contexts.”

Quotes from head teachers at MEP schools

What you can get for your school

  • £20,000 per year for schools in the programme
  • extra annual payments for student retention and intensive learning
  • partnership with a hub school to help you develop the programme
  • specially designed teacher meetings for professional development and to share ideas and resources
  • a professional network of MEP teachers
  • online teaching materials and resources
  • support and guidance from the programme coordinator
  • opportunities for an immersive experience of China through digital media and visits to China for some pupils

Intensive Study

Students at MEP schools take part in a period of intensive language study each year, including inspiring activities and events in schools and universities across England, as well as a visit to China for students in Year 9. 

Who can join the programme

  • The programme is open to all state-funded secondary schools in England with ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted ratings.
  • Schools who can ensure students study Mandarin for an average of 8 hours per week, with a minimum of 4 hours face to face teaching (of which a minimum of 2 hours must be timetabled teaching).  

What it costs

The programme is funded by the Department for Education and there is no cost to join. 

When it’s available

The programme is currently open to applications for new schools to join.

How to apply

Read the application process on the Mandarin Excellence Programme website and email