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Mandarin Language: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relative levels of study of Chinese in private and state schools; what steps they are taking to increase the teaching of Chinese in state schools; and what assessment they have made of the importance of developing Chinese language skills to the UK’s trade relationship with China post-Brexit.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is encouraging pupils to take a language at GCSE as one of the academic subjects making up the English Baccalaureate school performance measure. To target Mandarin uptake in particular, the government’s £10 million Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) aims to have at least 5,000 young people on track towards fluency in Mandarin by 2020. As of September 2018, there are over 60 state-funded schools on the programme, meaning we are on track to delivering the MEP’s target.

The proportion of pupils taking Mandarin at GCSE has increased over time, with the number of entries at GCSE and A level both increasing this year. Pupil matched data for 2018 will be available in the autumn.[1]

The time series for the number of GCSE entries in Chinese for the most recent five years of published data in England is given in the attached table (a).

The time series for the number of A level entries in Chinese for the most recent five years of published data in England is given in the attached table (b).[2]

[1] Joint Council of Qualifications data 2018, https://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-results. This data is not discounted and is not comparable to the data in the tables below. We will have comparable data in autumn 2018.

[2] These figures are all published as part of the 16-18 performance tables publications: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years.

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