MEP Independent Evaluation

Four years since its launch, the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) was independently evaluated and the report is now publicly available. Click HERE to read it.

The report showcases the impressive results that the MEP has achieved. Notably, the programme achieved its target to have 5,000 pupils on track to fluency in Mandarin by 2020. At the current rate of growth this number could double by the 2022/23 academic year.

Key figures and findings from the Independent Evaluation:

  • More than 5,000 pupils had enrolled on the programme by 2020
  • More than 70 state schools have been enrolled
  • Pupils sitting annual Mandarin ‘Hurdle Tests’ at the end of each school year are achieving excellent results
  • The first cohort of MEP pupils who joined the programme in September 2016 are on track to obtain strong GCSE results
  • By March 2020 a total of 1,156 pupils travelled to China for a programme of Intensive Study

MEP students in China as part of the Intensive Study Programme

  • Teachers continue to believe that their students show increased and accelerated learning and a much broader language and cultural knowledge base relative to non-MEP learners
  • On average 95% of students participating in the programme have been retained from one year to the next
  • Many teachers and school leaders talk positively about the impact of MEP on students’ self-esteem and the development of a sense of pride and obligation among participants
  • There are several schools which have embraced MEP successfully while serving communities which are relatively deprived
  • The Intensive Study periods are seen to have multiple benefits including reinforcing language learning, offering a unique and sometimes life-changing cultural experience, building students’ confidence, resilience and self-esteem and allowing students to meet, study and socialise with their peers from across the country on an equal basis. The opportunity to participate in these study periods also acts as significant motivators for students
  • The Programme is having a positive impact on the supply of Mandarin teachers. Expansion of the number of schools teaching Mandarin is increasing the number of schools able to offer opportunities for teaching practice

Student and teacher at an MEP school

  • The perceived challenges to maintaining an intensive and accelerated Programme are seen by school leaders to be finance, teaching capacity and timetabling within the curriculum
  • Sustaining the momentum of MEP into KS5 will be a challenge with the existing current Post 16 pathways.

On publication of the report Katharine Carruthers, MEP Strategic Director at UCL Institute for Education said;

The first four years of the Mandarin Excellence Programme have been a tremendous success and I am delighted that the independent evaluation published today reflects that. We now have almost 7,000 pupils studying Chinese on the MEP who really are achieving excellence. The schools and the Mandarin teachers who are at the forefront of delivering the programme should be congratulated on making the programme such a triumph and the students should be immensely proud of their progress.