Being part of the Edinburgh Swire Chinese Language Centre has brought about a completely new dimension to our school!

In this first year we have seen the study of Mandarin being introduced into Boroughmuir for the very first time.

Five S3 pupils chose Mandarin as a 2nd language for a 2 year course leading to a National 5 qualification.

Although numbers are low in this first year, the experience they have received via our Swire sponsored Mandarin teacher, Sean Sproul, has been first class.  These pupils also attended the Scottish Chinese Education Network (SCEN) conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in December 2016 along with other Scottish school Mandarin speakers from across Scotland and delegates from schools across China. It was wonderful to have Boroughmuir, for the first time, and our other Swire Edinburgh schools, represented at that event.

The introduction of Mandarin into the school proved to be a great draw to our senior pupils with over 70 of our S5 and S6 senior pupils signing up to do a 1 hour per week taster session over the year. Six of them hosted Chinese delegates to the SCEN conference in their homes and great partnerships have developed as a result of this.

Sean Sproul has also in this first year provided input to one of our cluster primary schools, Bruntsfield Primary, delivering mandarin lessons to all the P5 classes over the session – some 60 pupils!

We are now at the stage of offering Mandarin in our course options for next session. This year we are offering it as an alternative language in S1 to pupils who would normally have taken either French or German. So far 30 new S1 pupils have chosen the Mandarin option for a 4 year course of study leading to National 5 qualification in S4. This will form one S1 class of Mandarin. This degree of interest has far exceeded my expectations and confirms the place of mandarin as a fixture in our school curriculum. It is my hope that this will be repeated year on year with the S1 intake.

Our five S3 pupils will of course progress into S4 this year and will be our first cohort for presentation in a Mandarin qualification next year. Six new S3 pupils have chosen to pick up Mandarin this year as their 2nd language and I am sure that once again large numbers in S5 and S6 will be interested in receiving taster courses too.

Overall the Swire Chinese Language programme in Boroughmuir has in this first year been welcomed warmly by pupils, parents and staff – who see it as a positive enhancement to our school.

With our growing curricular provision and advanced plans for links with Shanghai schools, Mandarin will indeed be an integral part of our curricular and extra-curricular programme for a long time to come.