The Mandarin Excellence Programme is now in its second year, with more than 1,000 new students joining the programme this year. The intensive language learning programme aims to improve proficiency in Mandarin Chinese across secondary schools in England and to have at least 5,000 students on track towards fluency by 2020.
In order to reach that level of fluency, students on the programme – on average -receive four hours of Mandarin teaching and do four hours of self-study a week, starting from Year 7. 37 schools in England are currently delivering the programme – with more to join in the coming years.
This level of study and commitment can seem like quite a challenge for students. Students from two Mandarin Excellence Programme schools, Anglo European School and Dartford Grammar School, have shared their thoughts on the programme so far. Students reported that the programme was definitely a challenge, but one that they found interesting and worthwhile.
Harry, from Dartford Grammar School, said: “The best thing about it is that I have more challenging vocabulary to learn and we do a variety of things instead of just copying and speaking. I find doing Chinese eight hours a week makes me really proud of myself.” His classmate Ben added, “The programme is worth the hard work!“
Elise, an Anglo European School student, noted that learning Mandarin has a certain ‘cool factor’ with friends, “It’s definitely a language that people say ‘Wow, you’re learning Chinese!” Many students have also been keen to share their Mandarin knowledge with friends and family. Carla from Anglo European School said that her friends also enjoyed the fact that she studied Mandarin and liked to have her teach them some words. Whilst Ruby, also from Anglo European School, mentioned that her family are “very enthusiastic” about her learning Mandarin and are trying to learn some with her.
What is clear from students’ opinions, is that they are all enthusiastic about the Mandarin Excellence Programme. This is reflected in the academic successes of students on the programme so far.
Applications to join the Mandarin Excellence Programme starting in September 2018 are currently being accepted. More information about the programme and the application process can be found on the ‘Join the Mandarin Excellence Programme‘ page.