Macclesfield pupils heading to China

Macclesfield MP, David Rutley, visited Tytherington School in Macclesfield to meet pupils involved in the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

Last week, 30 students and three teachers from Yancheng, China, travelled to Macclesfield as part of the school’s commitment to learning Mandarin Chinese.

David, who is Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Minister for the British Council, joined British Council representatives to meet with Headteacher Manny Botwe before speaking to pupils from the school and Yancheng as part of a special farewell ceremony.

The Mandarin Excellence Programme, which is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by UCL and the British Council, is an intensive language programme that sees secondary school pupils studying Mandarin for eight hours a week, starting in Year 7.

In July, students from Tytherington will travel to China to join around 2,000 other pupils from across England learning Mandarin as part of the programme. Pupils will take part in a mixture of Mandarin lessons and cultural and tourist trips to practice using their Mandarin.

The trip will be the largest of its kind the programme has ever run.

Following his visit to the school, David Rutley said: “The British Council has a vital role to play in building connections and understanding between the UK and countries across the world. As Minister for the Americas, Caribbean and Overseas Territories, I have had the opportunity to see their important projects at work in Latin America. Today, I have been delighted to see how the British Council has boosted educational opportunities in our local community.”

Mr Botwe said: “We were delighted to welcome over 30 secondary school students and teachers from the Jiangsu region of China to Tytherington School. The students shadowed several of our students and took part in lessons. This was a great opportunity for students from across the school to get some insight into what life is like for a teenager living in a different part of the world. Crucially these types of visits are a great opportunity for both sets of students to gain a greater understanding of each other’s cultures and recognise that there are many more similarities than differences between them.”

There are currently more than 6,500 pupils from state schools across England participating in the Mandarin Excellence Programme. Since its inception in 2016, it has empowered more than 11,000 young learners on the path to fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

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