Case study

Liverpool Centre

We were delighted and excited at the prospect of becoming a Swire Chinese Language Centre when initially approached in September 2015.


Belvedere has a strong reputation when it comes to teaching Modern Foreign Languages with our students consistently producing excellent outcomes in a range of languages at both GCSE and at A-Level. However, even with this strong foundation, we recognised that the learning of Mandarin Chinese would represent a significant new challenge for our students.

We submitted a successful bid to Swire outlining how we would plan the rollout of Mandarin in our Curriculum Plan over the next five to seven years. We felt strongly that the two most important
parts of establishing Chinese were to:
1. Find the right teacher/staff to develop the curriculum
2. Initially build the programme from the lower years up to allow Chinese to become established
and viable for GCSE study in a two-year window.


We established some links with our local Chinese community as well as Edge Hill University and began a recruitment strategy, which led to the appointment of our first Mandarin Chinese teacher, Miss Stefanie Behrens. Stefanie has been instrumental in designing, planning and resourcing the curriculum for delivery of Chinese lessons to our Y7 and Y8 cohort in the academic year 2016/17. Our students are growing in confidence in their lessons and the initial signs are that we will have a sizeable group of students interested in furthering their study of Chinese when we reach our next GCSE options process in January 2018.

We also complement our taught curriculum with a wide range of Chinese enrichment opportunities including language days, university visits and cultural experiences. Stefanie has also began the planning for a China cultural trip to take place in two year’s time. We hope that all of this planning and excellent teaching combined with rich cultural experiences will lead to quite a few of our students opting to study Chinese at A-Level and beyond.


It is a well-publicised fact that funding in Education has been falling and that many schools are having to make some very difficult decisions about the curriculum and what they can or cannot afford to offer. Without the support of Swire, we would not have been able to facilitate this very innovative and exciting opportunity for our students at Belvedere. Swire have been extremely supportive but at no time have they tried to impose a certain model of delivery nor have they been prescriptive in any way. Rather, they have encouraged us a Swire Centre to adopt an approach which is most suitable and that will work in our context.

Peter Kennedy - Principal, The Belvedere Academy

“All of us at Belvedere are delighted to be working with the Swire Chinese Language Foundation in helping to promote the learning of such an important world language and we look forward to our partnership developing and continuing for many years to come.”