“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
Since September 2017, we have participated in the government-funded Mandarin Excellence Programme with Mandarin now firmly embedded on to the curriculum. The programme has exceeded its target of seeing at least 5,000 pupils in England on track towards fluency in the language by 2020, and will continue to 2024. Students who choose this route study an intensive 4 hours per week of Chinese (plus homework) and make rapid progress.
The Year 7 Mandarin course is based on the textbook “Jinbu 1”. Each chapter introduces new vocabulary and grammar structures for the set topics (about me, hobbies, school, food & drink).
By the end of the year, all students will understand the vast majority of the key and supporting details from short listening and reading extracts in the present time frame. They can take part in an unplanned interactional oral exchange or picture-description task in spoken Mandarin and write short paragraphs of 40-50 Chinese characters from memory on the topics studied, effectively conveying meaningful and relevant information in response to questions, visual stimuli or other prompts. Students will be able to use the present time frame, express a range of positive and negative opinions, give reasons, use connectives and use modal verbs. They will have learnt approximately 200 words and can write accurate characters using correct word order.
The Year 8 Mandarin course is based on the textbook “Jinbu 2”. Each chapter revisits vocabulary and structures from Year 7, whilst introducing past and future time frames and vocabulary and structures for the Year 8 topics (holidays, all about me: appearance, clothes, daily routine, where you live, shopping).
By the end of the year, all students will understand the vast majority of the key and supporting details from longer listening and reading extracts in the present, past and future time frames. Using spoken Mandarin, they can give presentations on a given topic, comprehend and respond to questions with extended answers and take part in a role-play. Students can write longer paragraphs of 70-90 Chinese characters from memory on the topics studied, effectively conveying meaningful and relevant information in response to questions, visual stimuli or other prompts. Students will be able to use the present, past and future time frames, justify opinions with reasons, use a wider range of connectives and make comparisons. They will have cumulatively learnt approximately 400 words and can write accurate characters using correct word order.
The Year 9 Mandarin course is based on the textbooks “Jinbu 2” and “Edexcel GCSE Chinese (9-1)”. Students continue to explore aspects of ‘shopping’ and ‘travel in China’ whilst other topics which were introduced in Years 7 and 8 are now built on and studied in greater depth and breadth (my life and school).
By the end of the year, students will be able to recognise and produce new vocabulary which is now frequently more complex and less common. Past, present and future time frames are systematically revisited and applied in a range of contexts, and the present continuous and past experience time frames are introduced. Students begin to recognise and use more complex grammar structures and function words. They can interact effectively and fairly fluently on a variety of topics with good pronunciation and intonation. Students can write longer paragraphs of 90-100 Chinese characters from memory on the topics studied and also translate simple sentences from English into Mandarin and short paragraphs of approximately 50 characters into English, based on the topics studied since Year 7. They will have cumulatively learnt approximately 600 words and can write accurate characters using correct word order. This already equips students with the knowledge and skills required for working towards a high GCSE grade.
Students follow the AQA GCSE (9-1) course and use the “Edexcel GCSE Chinese (9-1)” textbook to support their learning. The students build on their strong foundation of topic-specific vocabulary and grammatical structures encountered in Years 7-9. Learners revisit and enhance their knowledge and understanding of the following topic areas: free-time and leisure, media, where I live, environment and global issues.
By the end of the year, students will be able to identify the overall message, key points, details and opinions in a variety of short and longer spoken and written passages, involving more complex language and recognising the relationship between past, present and future events. They will be able to communicate and interact effectively and more meaningfully for a variety of purposes across a range of specified contexts. They will be able to speak spontaneously and respond to unexpected questions, points of view or situations. Students will be able to produce clear and coherent text of extended length (125 characters) to present facts and express ideas and opinions appropriately for different purposes and in different settings as appropriate. They will be able to manipulate the language, using and adapting a variety of structures and vocabulary with increasing accuracy and fluency for new purposes, including using appropriate style and register. Students will be able to translate sentences and short texts from English into Chinese (Mandarin) to convey key messages accurately and to apply grammatical knowledge of language and structures in context.
Students also prepare for and take the HSK 3 exam in Term 5 which demonstrates their knowledge of mastering 600 commonly used words and related grammatical structures and their ability to communicate in Chinese at a basic level in their daily, student, and professional life, as well as travelling in China.
Students complete their GCSE course by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the following topics: holidays, food and drink, world of work.
Students will be confident in making independent, creative and more complex use of the language and manipulating it for a variety of purposes and in a variety of contexts, including weighing up advantages and disadvantages, discussing problems and proposing solutions. In writing, they will be able to respond to structured and open-ended tasks and produce clear and coherent text of extended length (125 characters), to present facts and express ideas and opinions. Students will speak more fluently, spontaneously, and will have learnt how to sustain communication by using rephrasing or repair strategies. Students will be able to deduce meaning from a variety of short and longer written texts and spoken passages from a range of contexts, including authentic sources involving some complex language and unfamiliar material. They will be able to recognise and respond to key information, important themes and ideas in more extended written text, including some extracts from relevant abridged or adapted literary texts. They will have developed their skills of being able to scan for particular information, organise and present relevant details, draw inferences in context and recognise implicit meaning. They will be able to demonstrate their understanding by answering questions, extracting information, evaluating and drawing conclusions. Students will be able to translate sentences and short texts from English into Mandarin (40 words) to convey key messages accurately and to apply grammatical knowledge of language and structures in context. They will have a sound awareness and understanding of the Chinese culture and identity of China. By the end of the course, learners will be prepared for all four components that form the assessment for GCSE: listening, speaking, reading, writing, each worth 25% of the overall grade.
We offer a two-year course of study (A Level), following the Edexcel Specification detailed below. All students follow a linear two-year course of study.
Students enhance their linguistic skills and develop their capacity for critical thinking on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and society of China, through the following topics:
- Contemporary changes in Chinese society: Family, Education & Work
- Chinese culture: Traditions & Cultural activities
- The development of Chinese society: Communications & Technology, Economics & Environment
- Post-1978 economic reform and its effect on China: Social Transformations, Sino-British Relations
The course also involves the study of a film and a literary component in Year 12 (which is revisited in Year 13). We currently study the film Please vote for me and the book A Very Special Pigeon.
Through the Individual Research Project, students will also be able to develop their knowledge and understanding of the cultural context by researching a chosen subject of interest linked to the social and cultural context of the Chinese-speaking world and give ideas, examples and information related to this.
Year 12 and Year 13 students who are not taking an A Level in Chinese also have the opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese as an enrichment subject alongside their core A Level subjects.
This involves 1 hour per week of lesson time and a recommended 1 hour per week independent study to consolidate learning.
Successful completion of the course will result in students being awarded a HSK 1 or HSK 2 qualification (equivalent of Cambridge Proficiency Tests in English), which covers the basics of Mandarin Chinese, including greetings, family information, food and drink, shopping transactions, travel and directions.
This course is an optional extra and would make an impressive addition to a UCAS personal statement or job/apprenticeship application.
Students benefit from a wealth of enrichment opportunities which allow learners to develop their disciplinary knowledge, academic literacy and cultural capital. MEP students are encouraged to extend their interest in Mandarin by taking part in the following activities and events:
- Year 7 Intensive Learning Day (cultural activities including dumpling making; calligraphy; singing; dancing; paper cutting & blow painting)
- Year 8 ‘China in London’ trip (British Museum, Chinatown, Karaoke)
- Year 9 trip to the V&A and Kew Gardens (TBC)
- Year 9 two-week intensive study trip to China (or online)
- Year 10 four-day intensive study tourism project
- Language & Culture trip to Singapore/Taiwan (TBC)
- Year 11 & 12 Confucius Institute University and Schools’ Day
- Chinese New Year in-school celebrations and activities
- Chinese Bridge Mandarin Speaking Competition
- Pen pal or email exchange with school in China
- Speaking Lessons with CLEC teacher
- Chinese culture club (Lower School)
- Mandarin support club/games club for all years
- Interschool Spelling Bee
- Anthea Bell Translation Prize
- Subscription to The Chairman’s Bao for Years 10-12
- Subscription to Languagenut for Years 7-12
- Mentoring programme
- HSK 1 & 2 in Year 12 & 13