Mandarin Excellence Programme

The Mandarin Excellence Programme will continue until 2024, and will continue to be delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council. The innovative language programme has helped thousands of school pupils in England learn Mandarin Chinese benefitting from a more intensive language learning programme, which starts in Year 7. The programme had exceeded its target of seeing at least 5,000 pupils in England on track towards fluency in the language by 2020 and has had a positive impact on the supply of Mandarin teachers, by increasing the number of opportunities for teaching practice.

Mandarin Chinese opens up a world of opportunity – as the most spoken language in the world, 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 is a unique yet intensive language programme, started in 2016. There are now around 8,000 students enrolled on the programme and on track to fluency in the language.

Your school can be at the forefront of delivering this programme, with funding available for state-funded secondary schools across England. Support will be provided throughout by the UCL Institute of Education and the British Council. You’ll also get the opportunity to work with other schools, sharing both ideas and resources.

What does the programme involve?

All students on the Mandarin Excellence Programme will need to receive four hours of teacher-taught classroom lessons each week. This will contribute towards a programme of eight hours of study per week, which could consist of a combination of teacher taught classroom lessons, after-school teaching, self-study and intensive study courses (in China and the UK).

It is expected that your school will continue to support the growth of Mandarin in the curriculum beyond the funded project lifespan and pupils will be expected to be on track to complete their GCSE/A Level (or equivalent), and eventually HSK level 4 and 5.

More information about the programme:

The Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is being delivered by the UCL IOE Confucius Institute for Schools on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and in partnership with the British Council. The original aim of the programme was to have 5000 students on track to fluency in Mandarin by 2020. As of September 2021, there are around 8,000 students enrolled on the programme.

The programme also aims to:

  • train a sufficient number of teachers to support the programme;
  • embed effective, sustainable teaching practices that will continue to increase the number of pupils studying Mandarin beyond the life of the programme;
  • give pupils an immersive experience of China through digital media and visits to China for some pupils.

Click here to read about the Mandarin Excellence Programme in  中文.