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Our thinking

Our aim is to expand the learning of Mandarin Chinese in Britain. Over time, we hope this will enable future generations to develop a greater understanding of China. We believe the value of speaking a foreign language is undeniable, enabling connection between people and across cultures, and that in the context of today’s world this is increasingly important.

This is a long journey, with ambitions which will take a generation to achieve. To reach these goals, we have chosen to work collaboratively and flexibly with schools and universities across Britain, tapping into their expertise. To this end we have established a framework of 12 Swire Chinese Language Centres, each with its own model to develop its particular needs.

With a focus on the following concepts and with the support of participating universities and schools, we are building the foundations of an initiative which we hope will endure and, in time, better enable Britain’s relations with China.


Common among these centres is that each works to build a high concentration of teachers and pupils with a focus on state schools, particularly those in the more deprived areas, and with each understanding the paramount importance of quality teaching.

Sustainable ecosystems

Our vision is for these centres to become self-sustaining ecosystems, in which the teachers thrive off the demand of pupils, whose motivation in turn is inspired by the quality of the teaching and interest in the subject. We expect this interdependence and mutual benefit to spur growth.

A growth network

Overlaying each centre is a network developing across all centres which helps to cross-fertilise ideas and talent, draw in good teachers, nurture trainee teachers and inspire pupils.

Steven Jamieson – Senior Vice Principal, The Belvedere Academy

“It really is a privilege to work with the Swire Chinese Language Foundation to help develop the teaching of Mandarin Chinese across Merseyside. Their support continues to be both unwavering and generous and we are currently in the process of expanding the Liverpool Centre even further to reflect its growing success. At our own school, it has been fascinating to see the growth in the number of students of all abilities studying Mandarin, which reflects the need for it to be a main part of our curriculum offer.”