Thousands more schoolchildren in Leicestershire will be learning Chinese after a successful trip to Beijing for 10 heads and deputies from schools across the county, organised by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
University staff accompanied the group to China in May this year, with everyone staying at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing (USTB).
DMU’s Confucius Institute (CI) worked with USTB, one of China’s key national universities, to provide the opportunity as part of a successful and ongoing international partnership.
The group spent time in Beijing schools and visited China’s national education headquarters where they looked at different teaching methods.
Mandarin teaching is now being developed at a further 15 schools across Leicestershire, as a direct result of the trip, set to benefit 2,000 more children.
A majority of these schools will form two new Mandarin centres in the county, in Melton and in Ashby, helping children learn one of the world’s most spoken languages.
Donna Moulds, Head of Oakthorpe Primary School, in Swadlincote, was part of the group who went to Beijing and is leading the Ashby centre.
Donna said: “The whole trip was really fantastic and the organisation was just brilliant.
“I would like to thank the Confucius Institute for such meticulous organisation and fabulous hospitality at every step of the way.
“I am really keen to move forward with this to ensure it has a big impact on Leicestershire pupils. I’m really looking forward to working with DMU in the future to develop more ideas.”
Jennie Green, deputy head of Church Langton Primary near Market Harborough, said of the trip: “Thank you so much for such an amazing opportunity. It is one I will never forget.”
Posters inspired by what the teachers saw in China are now being produced. The posters are interactive and when children touch a picture on the poster it will "speak" the Mandarin word to describe what is being seen.
Discussions are under way with the Beijing schools and future partnerships are on the cards.
Phillippa Denney, head of Kilby St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, who also went to Beijing, said: ‘The visit to the primary school based on USTB was a highlight of the trip.
“The children were delightful and it was fascinating to see the work they were doing towards improving their English.”
The CI, which opened at the end of 2013, provides Chinese language, cultural and creative learning on campus and in the community, and also supports opportunities for #DMUglobal – DMU’s ambitious programme giving students the chance for valuable international experiences while they study.
Posted on Monday 29th June 2015