Mandarin was introduced at St Paul’s in 2006 with great success and every year students go on to study the subject to Senior School level and beyond.

Mandarin features as one of the languages in the MIV (Year 7) language discovery course and can then be selected at the end of MIV as ML1 or at the start of UIV (Year 8) as an ML2.

Cambridge IGCSE Mandarin Chinese gives students a solid foundation in the language while offering insights into the culture and society of the Chinese speaking world. In this course, students will be expected to understand and express themselves on the following topic areas: everyday activities, personal and social life, the world around us, the world of work and the international world.

Following the IGCSE, students of Mandarin will study for the Pre-U. In the VII (Year 12) students deepen their grammatical knowledge and significantly extend their active vocabulary to explore issues relating to the position of young people in society. They have to be able to offer opinions on relevant topics, ranging from the positive and negative effects of the one-child policy to social changes caused by rapid economic and technological developments.

From the summer of the VII (Year 12) they will embark on the study of a literary work, which they will write about in English.

The second year of Pre-U asks the student to consider their position as a member of society and interestingly is one of the few Senior School subjects which insists that students explore ethical issues, such as the impact of the latest developments in media and equal opportunities.

The discursive essay prepares them well for many higher education courses which require such skills, whilst the use of language paper hones their linguistic awareness and rigour. The cultural paper allows them to explore one literary work in depth as well as a cultural topic related to Chinese geography, history, or economics.

Students on a trip to Beijing.

Trips and cultural opportunities

The V (Year 10) are offered a ten-day exchange to the high school affiliated to Beijing Normal University. Senior School students have the opportunity to take part in an intensive Chinese language course in a university in Hangzhou or Taiwan and volunteer at a local school for disabled children.

Every year, we celebrate the Chinese New Year within school through performances of Chinese folk dancing, kung fu and Chinese instrument workshops. Chinese tea tasting and Chinese calligraphy sessions are also popular. Day trips to London for special conferences and events, for example visiting Chinatown and having dinner in Chinese restaurants, are organised during term time. We also regularly participate with great success in the HSBC/British Council Chinese speaking competition in London.

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