'Pupils achieve high levels of sporting and artistic success in local, and sometimes national, events.' Ofsted


Didcot Girls' School selected to join Mandarin Excellence Programme

MEPWe are delighted to announce that Didcot Girls' School has been selected to join the Mandarin Excellence Programme run by the University College London Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council. This is a fantastic tribute to our MFL Department and the quality of language teaching at our school, and represents a huge and exciting opportunity for our new Year 7 students in September. 

Our press release is below - please read more in the Oxford Mail by following this link: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/15166077.Pupils_join_new_scheme_to_create_fluent_Mandarin_speakers/

Mrs Warwick will be writing to Rising Year 7 families to offer them the opportunity to join the Mandarin Excellence Programme this week.

Well done, DGS!


Didcot Girls’ School has been selected as one of the first schools to participate in the Department for Education’s national Mandarin Excellence Programme.

The new intensive language programme, which is being supported by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council, will see at least 5,000 school pupils in England on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

Through the programme, secondary school pupils will study Mandarin for eight hours a week over the course of their secondary education: four hours of taught lessons and four hours of independent learning each week. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and is seen as important for young people in the UK to master in order for the country to remain globally competitive in the future.

Offering the option of Mandarin in schools is one of the ways in which the Government is increasing opportunities for young people, whatever their background, to get on in life.

Rachael Warwick, Headteacher, said: “I am delighted that we have been selected as one of the first schools in the UK to deliver the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) on the basis of our Outstanding rating from Ofsted and our impressive track record in teaching modern languages. The British Council has awarded Didcot Girls’ School its International School Award for six consecutive periods, over ten years, which reflects our sustained commitment to language teaching   We already offer the opportunity for all of our students to study Chinese Mandarin up to GCSE and we run a trip to China each year; the MEP will enable a group of students to study the language intensively alongside a rich suite of enrichment opportunities, including further travel to China. We are very excited and our team of three Chinese teachers can’t wait to begin the Programme with our first cohort of students this September!

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “A high level of fluency in Mandarin Chinese will become increasingly important in our globally competitive economy. As part of our drive to extend opportunity, we want to give young people the opportunity to study the language and to acquire fluency in both spoken and written Mandarin. The Mandarin Excellence Programme helps us achieve this, offering intensive study in the language which will not only be personally enriching for students, but will also give them a significant advantage when they enter the world of work.”

Katharine Carruthers, Director of the UCL Institute Of Education (IOE) Confucius Institute said: “The UCL Institute of Education is delighted to be delivering the DfE’s Mandarin Excellence Programme. Over the last decade, our work in schools has inspired increasing numbers of secondary school pupils to take up Mandarin Chinese. This programme provides a real boost and unique opportunity for more motivated pupils to reach a very high level of proficiency in Mandarin. We are also developing new innovative teaching methods which will benefit the young people on the programme as well as the wider cohort of pupils learning Mandarin Chinese in our schools. The Mandarin Excellence Programme will undoubtedly further the UK’s relationship with China at all levels.”

Mark Herbert, Head of Schools Programmes at the British Council said: “Language skills are crucial for work and life in the global race, and Mandarin Chinese is one of the frontrunners when it comes to languages that matter most to the UK’s future prosperity. If the UK is to remain competitive on the world stage, we need far more of our young people leaving school with a good grasp of Mandarin in order to successfully work abroad or for businesses here in the UK.”






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