Beths Grammar School, Bexley is one of the first 14 schools taking part in the DfE’s Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP). The programme has gained a lot of interest from students within the school, with many Year 7 pupils hoping to take part in the intensive Mandarin classes. Following expressions of interest from both parents and students, those wishing to take part in MEP were invited to Chinese taster sessions which highlighted the challenging but rewarding nature of the programme.
Throughout the first part of this term students have already begun discovering this fascinating language and culture, with students taking an aptitude test to demonstrate why they want to learn Mandarin and how they would show their personal determination. Of 60 Year 7 students who opted to take the test, 32 students have been selected to take on the rigorous Mandarin curriculum.
To celebrate the start of the programme, students studying Mandarin from all year groups were invited to attend a special Chinese language concert and workshop with Chinese language British band Transition. During the afternoon concert awards were given to three students who gave the best answers on questions about Chinese culture, the importance of learning Mandarin and showing their commitment to learning Mandarin.
After half-term, Mandarin Excellence Programme teaching at Beths Grammar School will focus on creating and sharing new resources for both class-based and at-home learning, including utilising technology (already a key feature of Mandarin Chinese teaching at Beth’s, as anyone who saw Xuenian Leng’s presentation at our 13th Annual Conference will know). With such an intensive programme, Beth’s know that maintaining pupils’ interest is key, and materials and learning strategies need to be engaging. We look forward to receiving further updates from our MEP schools to share with you throughout the year!
The DfE’s Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is delivered by UCL IOE Confucius Institute in partnership with the British Council. The purpose of the programme is to deliver a minimum of 5,000 speakers of Mandarin on their way to a high level of fluency by 2020. Schools interested in taking part in the programme should visit our MEP pages.