Please be aware that the deadline has now passed to express an interest in studying Mandarin
If you would like your child to be considered for studying Chinese once they join The Piggott School in Year 7, please complete the short form at the bottom of this page.
Studying Mandarin Chinese in Year 7
The Piggott School offers four languages to Year 7 pupils and they are allocated to two of these.
All pupils study French, plus one of either Mandarin Chinese, German or Spanish.
Pupils who are placed in the Chinese classes will initially study the language for two years, with the option of continuing on to GCSE at the end of Year 8. It is strongly encouraged that those who study Mandarin in Year 7 continue their studies onto GCSE level.
As Mandarin Chinese is such a different language to the other European languages offered, the language department is asking parents to advise us if they would like their child to be considered for this subject. Should demand for the subject be very high, we may also need to liaise with the current primary schools to seek recommendations on the suitability of candidates.
Students selected for this opportunity need to be high achievers in both English and Maths. They also need to show an aptitude for languages and be actively interested in studying Chinese.
We are only able to offer Chinese to approximately 30 students per year group and are therefore unable to guarantee a place for every student. Please also be aware that studying Chinese requires a significantly greater commitment than for each of the European languages.
The Piggott School is part of the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP), delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council. The MEP is an intensive language programme that since 2016 has helped more than 8000 school pupils in England to get on track to fluency in Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin is recognised as one of the most important languages for the UK’s future. To find out more about the MEP, please visit:
Please see below some FAQs for your information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q - What exactly is the Mandarin Excellence Programme?
The MEP is an intensive language programme that since 2016 has helped more than 8,000 school pupils in England get on track to fluency in Mandarin Chinese. It’s funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and delivered by IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society (UCL IOE) in partnership with the British Council. The DfE has confirmed that the Mandarin Excellence Programme will continue until 2024.
Q - How does it work?
Beginning in Year 7 all MEP pupils are timetabled for four hours of classroom-taught lessons each fortnight, to ensure that they’re on track towards fluency. They are also set work to complete outwith lessons, to ensure they are meeting the minimum number of hours expected study. In Year 8 MEP pupils will be timetabled for 5 hours of Mandarin. In both Years 7 and 8 all MEP pupils will have one less lesson of core PE, to enable them time to complete MEP related work with their Mandarin teacher – this is mandatory.
Q - Isn’t this coverage of Mandarin per week stressful for pupils?
This is an intensive language programme, and it isn’t suitable for everyone. Schools take this into account when selecting pupils to participate and provide guidance and support to help them manage their work.
Q - Why is the government encouraging schools to teach Mandarin?
Languages are crucial for work and life in our globally competitive economy. China is recognised as the world’s second biggest economy, so it’s vital that more young people leave school with a good grasp of Mandarin.
Q - What are the benefits for pupils on the Mandarin Excellence Programme?
British Council research has highlighted Mandarin as one of the most important languages for the UK’s prosperity over the next twenty years. The ability to speak Mandarin is an incredibly useful asset for pupils, both professionally and personally. It will give them a competitive edge in an increasingly connected world, enabling them to explore and engage with China, its culture and economy.
Q - Isn’t Mandarin a difficult language to learn?
Mandarin is a fascinating and rewarding language to learn and not necessarily more difficult to get to grips with when compared to other languages. In fact, some things are simpler – for example, unlike in French, there is no conjugation of verbs.
Q - What can pupils do with their Mandarin skills in the future?
Pupils will be encouraged to continue learning Mandarin. UCL IOE and the British Council are engaging with universities to ensure that there are relevant opportunities for those on the programme to advance their skills beyond school. 77 per cent of British business leaders surveyed in 2018 said that speaking Mandarin will give school leavers a career advantage.
Expression of interest - Studying Mandarin Chinese in Year 7
If you would be keen for your child to be considered for studying Chinese once they join The Piggott School in Year 7, please complete the below short form.
Please only complete the below form if you wish your child to study Chinese. You do not need to do anything if you do not wish your child to study Mandarin.
Please complete the below no later than Monday 22nd May 2023
Thank you for your expression of interest in your child studying Mandarin Chinese at Piggott.