Thousands of primary school children in England will benefit from the opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese and study Chinese culture as part of the new five-year initiative, Mandarin Chinese for Primary Schools, from the Institute of Education (IOE) funded by HSBC Global Education Programme.
The work of the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools (IOE CI) has focussed predominantly on the development of Mandarin Chinese in secondary schools. Mandarin Chinese for Primary Schools will extend this work to more primary schools in England and develop the most effective ways to teach Chinese language and culture at the primary level.
There are currently over 5,600 pupils studying Chinese via IOE specialist centres of excellence, called 'Confucius Classrooms', across 37 schools around England and more than 1,500 pupils and their teachers have taken part in the IOE CI's Chinese language learning Summer Camps in China. HSBC's support for the Mandarin Chinese for Primary Schools project will extend provision for Mandarin Chinese language learning into the primary sector at more than 100 primary schools across the country.
In the first year of the initiative, 30 primary schools will join the programme working with a network of secondary schools who already teach Mandarin Chinese under the provision of the IOE CI. Overall, the project will aim to reach 3500 children. Over the next five years the programme will extend to at least 120 primary schools across the country. Schools benefitting from the project will be able to share resources and develop curricula with other teachers teaching Chinese in the primary sector
Katharine Carruthers, Director, IOE Confucius Institute for Schools, said:
"Mandarin Chinese is one of the fastest growing languages in the world and it is crucial that the language is being taught effectively in schools around England. We're delighted that HSBC Global Education Programme is backing this initiative which will open up Chinese language and culture to children, parents and the wider community in the UK. This move will benefit many school communities who would not otherwise have the opportunity to study this subject."
Robin Hood Primary School in Birmingham, Greasby Infant School in Merseyside and Rosendale Primary School in West Dulwich are three of the schools that are already signed up to take part in the programme.
Kate Atkins, Head of School at Rosendale Primary said: "It is so exciting to see that the importance of primary children learning Mandarin is being recognised. This will support schools to develop effective programmes and, more importantly, get children learning Mandarin."
Lorraine Thomas, Senior Manager, Global Education and UK Community Investment, HSBC, said:
'This is an exciting addition to our current support for the British Council's China programme. Since 2000, we have been working together with the Council to help young people learn Mandarin Chinese and also learn about the Chinese culture through projects such as Chinese Language Assistants teaching in UK schools; annual residential Summer Schools for 100 KS2 UK children held at boarding schools in the UK and the annual Mandarin Speaking competition for secondary school students. The new IOE project provides more opportunities for young people to learn another language and about another culture and the importance of competing in a global economy.