UCL-led Mandarin programme putting thousands of pupils ‘on path to fluency’
21 January 2021
Nearly 7,000 pupils are now benefitting from a national Mandarin learning initiative delivered by UCL Institute of Education, in partnership with the British Council, according to a new Department for Education report.
The Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) gives participating secondary schools the chance to offer an intensive language learning option alongside the traditional staples of French, Spanish and German.
It offers secondary state school pupils across England the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese for eight hours a week, starting in Year 7.
An evaluation report published today (Thursday 21 January) shows the programme, which began in 2016, has exceeded its target of seeing at least 5,000 pupils in England on track towards fluency in the language by 2020.
It also reveals the positive impact the MEP has had on the supply of Mandarin teachers, by increasing the number of opportunities for teaching practice.
Mandarin is the most-spoken language in the world and British Council research has identified it as the second most important language for the UK’s future prosperity, security and influence globally.
The MEP aims to be a catalyst and accelerator for the uptake of Mandarin in the state sector, with the financial and teaching support it offers enabling schools to quickly set up an intensive, high-quality language programme.
The evaluation found the MEP has multiple benefits alongside reinforcing language learning, including offering a unique and sometimes life-changing cultural experience, and building pupils’ confidence, resilience and self-esteem.
Teachers have reported that pupils on the programme demonstrate increased and accelerated learning and a much broader language and cultural knowledge base relative to non-MEP learners. It was found to allow students to see and practise Mandarin as a living global language.
- Read the evaluation report
- Katharine Carruthers’ profile
- UCL Institute for Education
- UCL IOE Confucius Institute for Schools
- Mandarin Excellence Programme
- Peking University
- Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban)
A teacher helps a student learn Mandarin. Credit: Philip Meech Photography
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 7787
Email: s.vinter [at] ucl.ac.uk