MEP Independent Evaluation

Four years after its launch in 2016, the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council was independently evaluated and the report is now published. Click HERE to read it.

On publication of the report School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Foreign languages are hugely important in today’s global economy and Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. The 7,000 students on the programme are building outstanding fluency in both written and spoken language and are giving themselves a valuable edge when competing for jobs with their peers from around the world. I am particularly pleased to see there are several schools in disadvantaged areas which have embraced the programme, demonstrating its ability to raise expectations across the country and make sure every young person has access to the same opportunities, no matter where they grow up.

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.

Katharine Carruthers, Mandarin Excellence Programme Strategic Director at UCL Institute of 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.

The report also presents the following findings:

  • 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

Mark Herbert, Director of Schools & TVET at the British Council, said:

The Mandarin Excellence Programme has met its ambition to put more than 5,000 pupils on the path to fluency in Mandarin, which is one of the most important languages for young people in the UK to learn right now. Speaking another language brings many benefits, from boosting job prospects to connecting with different cultures. The MEP will help to build stronger links and mutual trust between the UK and China, which is essential for future trade, prosperity and cooperation.

To read an expanded summary of the findings please visit the MEP Independent Evaluation webpage.