Expressions of interest are now being accepted from state-funded Secondary schools that wish to become part of the £10 million Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) from September 2017 for two years. The programme aims to deliver a minimum of 5000 speakers of Mandarin on their way to a high level of fluency by 2020. Funding of a minimum of £20,000 per year is available to state-funded secondary schools. Schools on the programme should also be able to:
- Provide a programme of at least eight hours a week, made up of a combination of class-time teaching, extra-curricular teaching, self-study and intensive language courses in China and the UK
- Act as or work with a hub school, growing the number of schools and pupils in the local area on the programme
- Work to ensure that pupils will be on course to complete HSK IV and V exams within 6 years of starting the programme. Pupils should also be on course to complete Chinese GCSE and A Level, IB or Pre-U qualifications during and beyond the programme lifespan.