UCL IOE & The British Council to Continue Delivery of MEP 2021-2024

We are delighted to announce that the Mandarin Excellence Programme will continue to be delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council for a further three years’ from 2021-2024, with the next cohort of 2,000 pupils enrolling in September 2021.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards, said:

The Mandarin Excellence Programme has enabled more than 6,000 pupils in over 70 schools to learn one of the great world languages. Committing to 8 hours a week of study, these pupils are on their way to fluency in Mandarin. It has been a hugely successful programme, which is why I’m delighted to be able to announce its continuation and a further £16.4 million of funding.

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.

Katharine Carruthers, Director of the UCL IOE Confucius Institute said:

I am delighted that UCL Institute of Education and the British Council have been selected to deliver the next phase of the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP). This is an exciting and ground-breaking initiative – nothing else like it exists. Over the last five years, MEP schools and teachers have achieved fantastic outcomes with their pupils, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to achieve success and to develop more fluent Mandarin speakers over the coming years.

Around 2,000 new Year 7 pupils will join the programme each year from September 2021, from 75 schools across England. They will receive intensive Mandarin learning made up of four taught hours and four hours of self-study – significantly more time than most schools spend on languages. This will include the provision of innovative online and blended learning and training making best use of technology.

A key part of the programme will continue to be a two-week residential intensive-learning course in China for Year 9 pupils. International trips with a strong focus on language and culture can offer unique and sometimes life-changing experiences, building confidence and resilience and shaping future study and career choices. The British Council has previously found that nearly two thirds of language students at university were inspired to study a language degree because of an international exchange trip whilst at school.

UCL IOE will continue to develop a motivated and sustainable network of Chinese language teachers, with 20 new teachers to be recruited annually through its PGCE Mandarin pathway. Many of the teachers trained on the pathway are recruited by MEP schools

Mark Herbert, Director Schools and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) at the British Council, said:

Mandarin is one of the languages that matter most to the UK’s prosperity, and the British Council is delighted to continue its involvement in the Mandarin Excellence Programme. Over the next four years, this programme will help thousands of young people in England to develop the language expertise and intercultural skills which will open the door to a whole world of study and career opportunities.”