Bringing Mandarin learning to students across the North East so that every child can access the vital language and culture.

Newcastle High School for Girls and St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Academy recognise that learning Mandarin is a fantastic opportunity for future generations. We want to give that opportunity to pupils not only at our schools, but also to students across the region who may otherwise miss out.

“We see this project as an opportunity to further increase the chance of social mobility for our students in linking the teaching of Mandarin with the study of STEM subjects at university and beyond. China has become a high market and business leaders are looking for people who can speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context.”

We approached the Swire Chinese Language Foundation in January 2017 to propose a five year plan that would see us collaborating with primary and secondary schools across the North East to bring Mandarin into the curriculum.

Three essential steps were needed to establish our plan:

1. Find exceptional teachers

We needed forward thinking staff and brilliant teachers to develop curriculum and drive the project forward. Jennie King, Head of Faculty for Language and Digital Literacy at Newcastle High School for Girls has been appointed Director for 2017 – 2019. Two native Mandarin teachers have been appointed to deliver classes to the 500 pupils already on-board, and there are plans to grow the number of staff further into the project.

2. Start early

We felt it was important to build the programme from early primary school years, to allow Chinese to become an established and viable GCSE choice over time.

3. Share our story

We’ve created a website to support pupil learning which hosts all the resources used in the lessons.  The website also shares the fantastic projects and events that our pupils have worked on.  We are hoping that the website will grow to become an innovative and fresh portal that we can share with other Swire Chinese Language Centres nationally.

With the Swire Chinese Language Centre in Newcastle now fully up and running, we have 12 primary schools involved and two further local authorities on-board for phase two and three. The impact of our lessons is already being enjoyed by the students, as Thomas Rogers, STEM Coordinator at St Cuthbert’s RC High School observes:

“Monday’s Mandarin classes have been very popular and impactful for the students here at SCCHS. They are both innovative and enjoyable, which helps students understand the words and, more importantly, the tones. Our students feel privileged to be able to study the language of tomorrow’s business.”

“I feel lucky to be able to learn Mandarin because whilst over 1 billion people speak it there are hardly any schools which teach it here in the UK.”

For more information about the Swire Chinese Language Centre Newcastle, visit our website