As Oundle School celebrated Chinese
New Year with dragon dancing in the Cloisters, a group of six pupils, who are
through to the national final of the British Council and HSBC’s Mandarin
Chinese Speaking Competition are hoping to win a trip of a lifetime to Beijing.
The talented youngsters booked their
place in the grand final at the British Museum which takes place on 3 February
after impressing the judges with their language skills at one of three regional
heats, held in London in December.
Jeremy Manger (15), Ben Joseph (16),
Tom Charton-Jaeg (17), Magnus Jeffery (15), Myles Keane (16) and Jake Blackmore
(16) will compete in the group performance category.
nationwide competition aims to encourage greater interest in Chinese language
and culture – which is vital to the UK’s future prosperity. China is forecast
to become the largest economy in the world and learning Mandarin is becoming
more and more important. On his recent visit to China Prime Minister David
Cameron encouraged young people to look beyond traditional French and German
lessons and take up Mandarin.
The competition is aimed at students
who are non-native speakers, who have started learning Mandarin Chinese
recently. The lucky winners from
each category will visit China this Easter, where they will scale China's Great
Wall, explore Beijing's Forbidden City, and enjoy cultural activities with
Chinese students at local schools.
The British Council and HSBC have
worked together to run the competition since 2003. The British Council builds
relationships for the UK through English, Education and Culture, and already
links around 43,000 pupils and teachers in the UK and China. HSBC invests in
education programmes across the world. They focus on helping young people reach
their potential through: access to education; promoting international and
cultural understanding; and developing life-skills and entrepreneurship. Since
2000, HSBC has supported more than 1,000 UK schools host teachers from China to
help children learn more about the language and Chinese culture.
Hua Yan, Head of Chinese in Oundle said, “The
competition has provided an exciting opportunity for pupils to learn Chinese
through sketches. The participant pupils have really enjoyed performing a production in Chinese.”
Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council and fluent
Chinese speaker, said, “The UK’s
future prosperity depends in no small part on our ability to communicate,
interact and build relationships with people from around the world. China is a
particularly important relationship for the UK. Familiarity with Chinese
language and culture will become increasingly important for our prosperity, as
David Cameron made clear during his recent visit to China when he pledged to
double the number of Mandarin learners in the UK.”
Simon Martin, Head of Global Corporate
Sustainability at HSBC said, "Our
global research predicts that China will become the world’s largest economy by
2050. In addition, China makes up one-fifth of the global population,
influences what we do and manufactures many items we use every day. Learning
Mandarin Chinese and understanding Chinese culture is invaluable, giving young
people a key global skill, which helps improve their career opportunities. The
competition highlights the importance of cross-cultural understanding and gives
young people from the UK an opportunity to develop and improve their Chinese
language skills. We are delighted to continue supporting the competition and
continue encouraging young people to learn about China.”
Every year, staff and pupils at Oundle
School organise Chinese New Year celebrations.
On 31 January,
pupils gathered in the School Cloisters for traditional Chinese dragon dancing
to celebrate the start of the ‘Year of the Horse’. Amidst the excitement and
anticipation they enjoyed their snacks whilst admiring the performance carried
out by the School’s Dragon Dance team.
The School’s golden
dragon is approximately 18 metres long, and 10 performers are required for the
dance. It is rare to find a dragon lantern of this size in schools across
For more information about the
competition, please contact Rowan Kennedy in the British Council Press Office
on 0207 389 4994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publicity and Press Relations Officer
About the British Council:
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for
educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international
opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust
between them worldwide.
We work in more than 100 countries and
our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals
and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English,
sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.
We are a UK charity governed by Royal
Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our
turnover which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from
services which customers around the world pay for, through education and
development contracts and from partnerships with public and private
organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and
supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.
For more information, please
You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.
About HSBC UK education programmes:
been involved with education projects throughout its history. Education has
grown to be the most significant focus of the Group’s community investment
HSBC invests around US$50 million a year in education projects and thousands of
HSBC employees get involved. In the UK, HSBC donates £14 million a year to
education programmes, helping over 41,000 young people through 12 schemes
including the British Council China Programme.
we help young people fulfil their potential and realise their ambitions, by:
providing access to education, developing life-skills and entrepreneurship, and
promoting international and cultural understanding. Find out more at http://www.hsbc.co.uk/education-programmes.
Information on Oundle School
School is situated in the quintessentially English Market town from which it
takes its name. The School's buildings, dating from the seventeenth to the
twenty-first century, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large
extent, its campus.
School's history goes back to 1556 when Sir William Laxton, Master of the
Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded
the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876,
the Grocers' Company decided to divide the School into two parts: Laxton
Grammar School, mainly for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School,
mainly for pupils from further afield. However, to mark the new millennium, the
Governing Body decided to reunite the two schools under the common name of
Oundle School, with Laxton as a House for day-pupils.
School is now able to offer a range of educational possibilities to meet
contemporary needs: co-educational day or boarding education, with Laxton
Junior as a 4-11 day school, and Oundle School as a boarding and day school,
with entry at 11, 13 or into the Sixth Form.