Mandarin Excellence Programme Opens for Applications (England)

Applications are now invited from state schools in England to join the Mandarin Excellence Programme for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Programme aims to deliver a minimum of 5,000 speakers of Mandarin on their way to a high level of fluency by 2020.

Grants of a minimum of £20,000 per year are available to state-funded secondary schools in England.

In order to take part in the programme, it is highly desirable that schools should:

  • have an Ofsted rating in your most recent inspection of 1 (outstanding) or 2 (good)
  • already be committed to a strong presence of two or more languages on curriculum
  • be committed to teaching Mandarin Chinese to MEP pupils for whom that is not their first language

Schools on the programme should also be able to do the following:

  • 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. This should include four hours of teacher-taught classroom lessons, ensuring a rigorous programme of study for all pupils in the programme.
  • act as or work with a hub school, growing the number of schools and pupils in the local area on the programme, to contribute towards meeting the national minimum target of 5,000 Mandarin pupils on track to a high level of fluency by 2020. This includes retaining pupils on the programme so that they reach a high level of fluency, through the delivery of the rigorous programme of study and other activities.
  • 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.

Some pupils will have the chance to visit China.

The next intake of Mandarin Excellence Programme schools will need to start delivering the programme in September 2019.

Schools interested in taking part in the programme should download and complete an Expression of Interest form. This document outlines the key programme requirements, funding arrangements, and allows schools to explain how the programme could work at their school.

Once complete, please email the completed Expression of Interest to

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