Selecting students

Your school will need to select at least 20 students to join the Mandarin Excellence Programme in Year 7, and you will be expected to enrol a new cohort of Year 7 students each academic year.

Flexibility with student selection will allow your school to make informed decisions about which students are enrolled on to the programme. Schools are able to open the programme to a wider cohort of Year 7 students at first, allowing the most suited students to proceed with the programme from the start of the Spring term in Year 7.

Recruiting from feeder Primary schools

A number of schools have worked directly with their feeder Primary Schools to recruit incoming students to the programme. Schools began this process by introducing the Mandarin Excellence Programme to all parents of the incoming Year 7 cohort – either by letter or at an open evening. Parents were then invited to express an interest in their child joining the programme. Potential students were invited to attend a Mandarin taster session, which included writing a short statement outlining why they wanted to learn Mandarin. The Primary School Headteachers were also asked whether they would recommend a student for the programme; this and the students performance at the taster class led to the selection of a final student group.  A final confirmation letter outlining the programme requirements was then sent to parents.

Student selection tests

Schools are welcome to run their own selection tests as part of their recruitment process. Some schools have chosen to set an aptitude test as part of a taster sessions for incoming Year 7 cohorts, whereas other schools chose to assess students later in the year. For example, at some schools all students begun their Mandarin studies at the start of Year 7. Mandarin Excellence Programme students were then selected through a test in November – these results were combined with class performance and common assessment grades in order to select the most suitable pupils.

Parents were also invited to a Mandarin taster session and introduced to the programme before students started their studies.

Student retention

Students are expected to remain on the programme once enrolled throughout all year groups. After completing their first year on the programme, students will continue the eight hours of study per week into Year 8, Year 9 and beyond. Your school will receive payments for student retention, which are weighted on the percentage of students retained each year.

Read more about how schools have selected students and delivered the Mandarin Excellence Programme in our Case Studies document.