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Government hails performance of pupils in Mandarin language courses

24/10/2017 Joanna

The government has congratulated the first cohort of pupils taking part in its flagship Mandarin Excellence Programme, who have now completed the first year of teaching.

Almost 400 pupils from 14 schools across England are taking part in the pilot scheme, which is designed to pave the way for at least 5,000 pupils in England to become fluent in Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

More than 380 pupils in this group were able to achieve scores of more than 80 per cent in specially-created reading, writing, listening and speaking tests, after spending an average of eight hours per week studying the language.

The Mandarin Excellence Programme is being delivered by the University College London Institute of Education, in partnership with the British Council. In addition to pupil number targets, the aims of the programme include providing training for at least 100 newly qualified Chinese teachers.

State schools in England can apply to join the scheme from 2018, with funding available to support successful delivery. As part of the programme, some pupils will have the chance to go to China on educational trips from summer 2018 onwards.

This year, an additional 23 schools throughout England have initiated the programme, meaning hundreds more pupils will soon have the opportunity to learn Chinese. As the most spoken language in the world, Mandarin provides students with a hugely valuable skill that greatly enhances their employment prospects.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "I would like to congratulate the first cohort of students on their success. They have achieved some excellent results thanks to their hard work and dedication.

"This will give them a significant advantage when competing in the global jobs market, and is particularly important as we prepare to leave the European Union."

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