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Success of Mandarin Chinese teaching programme hailed by ministers

11/12/2017 Joanna

The government has held a special event to celebrate the achievements of the first cohort of pupils on the Mandarin Excellence Programme in their first year of tuition.

A celebration event held at the Foreign Office was attended by more than 140 pupils from 14 schools taking part in the scheme. Activities took place to showcase pupils' skills, including a game of Chinese whispers conducted in Mandarin, while students were also invited to contribute to scrolls that featured various words and characters they had learned.

The Mandarin Excellence Programme is being delivered by the University College London Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council, with the aim of having 5,000 young people fluent in Mandarin by 2020.

Kicking off in September 2016, results from the first year showed that more than 380 out of 400 pupils achieved marks of over 80 per cent in reading, writing, listening and speaking tests, demonstrating their rapid progress.

Pupils on the programme spend an average of eight hours per week studying the language, including four hours of classroom-based lessons.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "The level of fluency in Mandarin achieved by these dedicated pupils after the first year demonstrates the commitment of the pupils and teachers involved in the programme.

"Young people fluent in Mandarin will be at a significant advantage when competing for jobs with their peers from around the world, and will help us to build a Britain that is fit for the future and ready to compete."

The University College London Institute of Education also aims to have trained at least 100 new qualified Chinese teachers by the end of the programme, which is available to all state-funded secondary schools with good or outstanding Ofsted ratings.

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