Millfield has been chosen by the Chinese Government to be Somerset’s first ‘Confucius Classroom’ to lead in the promotion of Chinese language and culture within the region.
Named after the noted Chinese Philosopher Confucius, the Confucius Institute was formed in 2004 as a non-profit public educational organisation affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. As part of UCL (University College London) Institute of Education Confucius Classrooms programme, Millfield will use its Chinese department to provide advice, support and taster classes to other schools in the region, building on activities the school has already undertaken in recent years.
Over the last two years the Chinese Department have provided teacher support and guidance to West Buckland School (Devon) for their Chinese A level examinations and most recently the Head of Languages from Prior Park College, Bath visited Millfield for guidance on introducing a Chinese curriculum to their own school.
As part of the programme, a native Chinese PGCE trainee teacher from UCL has joined Millfield on a placement and will teach pupils in Years 9, 10 and Lower Sixth for eight hours per week under the guidance of Millfield’s Head of Chinese, Jing Keeler. As the project develops Millfield will create a programme to offer opportunities to local schools and the wider community including a weekly Chinese Club for beginners and an annual summer trip to China with all the in-China costs paid for by the Chinese Government. Further initiatives, such as an adult general Chinese class may also be launched in due course.
Headmaster Gavin Horgan said, “Millfield is a school that has always embraced internationalism. The opportunity to work with UCL and be a centre of excellence for Chinese language is a testament to the quality of our Languages Department. As a school we look forward to working with people from across the region to open up the Chinese language and culture to all in Somerset.”
Jing Keeler added, “This is an exciting time to be learning Chinese language and culture as China becomes a strategically important partner to the UK. The Chinese department at Millfield is proud to be the base for such wonderful opportunities with the support from the Chinese Government. With the annual funding and teacher support that come with the Confucius Classroom status, we are aiming to provide our local community with a gateway to this fascinating country.”