Six pupils from Oundle School in Northamptonshire
are through to the National Final of the British Council and HSBC’s Mandarin
Chinese Speaking Competition – where they are hoping to win a trip to Beijing.
impressing the judges with their language skills at one of two regional heats,
held in London in December, the pupils will now compete in the grand Final at
the British Museum on 9 February 2015.
Willey (18), Coco Brown (16), Finn Taylor (16), Egan Pashley (16), Jason Parker
(16) and Mimi Campbell-Breeden (14) will compete in the Group Performance
competition aims to encourage greater interest in Chinese language and culture
– which is vital to the UK’s future prosperity. Chinese is already spoken by
more than a billion people worldwide and is gaining greater and greater
importance, with China being the world’s second biggest economy. However, the
British Council’s Languages for the Future report in 2013 showed that
only 1% of UK adults can speak Mandarin.
competition is aimed at pupils who are non-native speakers and who have started
learning Mandarin Chinese recently. Over the past twelve years, it has helped
to inspire hundreds of young people to further their Mandarin studies - some
going on to graduate in Mandarin Chinese. The lucky winners from each category
will visit China in 2015, where they will have the opportunity to put their
Mandarin to good use and experience Chinese culture first-hand.
British Council and HSBC have joined forces to run the competition since 2003.
The British Council builds relationships for the UK through English, Education
and Culture, and already links thousands of pupils and teachers in the UK and
China. Globally, HSBC invests US$50 million a year in education projects and
thousands of HSBC employees get involved through volunteering. Together, HSBC
helps young people fulfil their potential by: providing access to education,
developing life-skills and entrepreneurship, and promoting international and
cultural understanding. Since 2000, HSBC has supported over 1,000 UK schools
host teachers from China to help children learn more about the language and
Hua Yan, Head of Chinese at Oundle said, “We are always keen for pupils
at Oundle to learn Chinese in a creative way, which includes learning Chinese
through sketches. By doing so they have improved their confidence in spoken
Upper Sixth former, Ed Willey commented, “It has been great fun to learn and perform
this sketch with the others in the group, and we are looking forward to going
to the Final in February. I have been offered a place to study Chinese at
Cambridge after I leave Oundle in the summer, and believe that the extra work
and practice that we have done has really helped me to improve my language
Last year Oundle
School was recognised as a ‘Confucius
Classroom’ by Hanban, the Office of Chinese Language Council International
which is a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry for
Education. The status is awarded by Hanban to schools outside of China that are good enough and ambitious
enough in Chinese teaching and learning.
Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters is
committed to providing Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and
services worldwide, meeting the demands of foreign Chinese learners and
contributing to the development of multiculturalism. IOE (Institute of Education) ‘Confucius
Classrooms’ are mainstream schools across England that both have
Chinese firmly embedded in their own curriculum and can give advice, support
and taster classes to other schools in their region that are looking to start
There are currently 37 IOE ‘Confucius Classrooms’ in a variety of
different English schools (both state-maintained and independent) which teach
pupils of all ages, from infant, age 4 through to Sixth Form College, age 18).
has offered Mandarin teaching since 1995 and was one of the first of very few
schools to do so. It started as an extra-curricular option and has developed
into a popular timetabled option to GCSE and Pre-U level. This year, 20 pupils
took GCSE Chinese, with 16 gaining an A* grade and 4 an A grade. At Pre U
level, 4 pupils gained an A grade and one pupil gained a B grade.
Oundle will benefit from visits from experienced
Chinese teachers from China each year, and free teaching resources in exchange
for promoting Chinese teaching in the region - giving
advice, support and taster classes to other schools in in East Anglia that are looking to start offering Chinese.
Hanban teacher, Shunyong (Leo) Ge arrived at Oundle in late October.
Vicky Gough, Schools Adviser at the British Council
said, “For the UK to continue to prosper in the
global marketplace, we need more of our young people to develop their language
skills to work confidently around the world and in multinational organisations
here in the UK. With China now the world’s second biggest economy, there are
few more important partners for us in this respect. A good understanding of
Chinese language and culture will give young Brits the advantage they need to
live in a global society and compete in a global economy – it is fantastic to
see so many talented young people already choosing to learn Mandarin Chinese
and bringing their skills to this competition.”
Lorraine Thomas, Senior Manager Global Education and
UK Community Investment at HSBC said,
“HSBC Global Research predicts that China
will become the world’s largest economy by 2050. Learning Mandarin Chinese and
understanding Chinese culture will be invaluable; helping us build connections
with China, and increase cross-border business and trade in the future. 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
encouraging young people to learn about China.”
information about the competition, please contact Kristen McNicoll in the
British Council Press Office on 0207 389 4967 or firstname.lastname@example.org
information on Oundle’s Adamson Centre for Modern Languages
The opening of Oundle School’s Adamson Centre
in 2013 marked a new and exciting phase for the Modern Languages Department and
is the latest completed project in Oundle’s comprehensive and ongoing
development plan. A stunning blend of traditional architecture and contemporary glass
features, the Adamson Centre, formerly the Sir Peter Scott Building, has been
redesigned specifically with the teaching of foreign languages in mind. In
addition to welcoming over 900 pupils a week, the Centre will also provide a
hub of excellence within the wider community of teaching, with staff hosting
conferences and lectures to promote the development of languages.
The Modern Foreign Languages Department is one of the
largest in the School, with seven languages being timetabled: Arabic, Chinese,
French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. More pupils than ever are
learning two or more languages, with many more taking advantage of the breadth
of clubs, societies and lectures on offer outside the curriculum. A Level and
Pre-U results continue to rise; last summer saw pupils gain 45 A* and A grades
at A2, with 20 Oundelians going on to read one or more languages at university.
The building is named after major
benefactor and former pupil David
Frederic Dobell Adamson who left the School in 1937. He requested that “this bequest be used to improve facilities for and
give opportunities to students to learn to speak and communicate in foreign
The Adamson Centre facilities include:
Rooms: Each classroom
focuses on a single language and culture and is equipped with high quality
audio speakers, an interactive whiteboard and projector.
2 Sony Language
Laboratories: Two dedicated PC suites combine all the features of a
traditional laboratory with the latest multimedia technology, including Sony
Virtuoso language software.
Assistant Pods: Fully equipped with
touch screen computers, these modern glass fronted rooms are designated
specifically for conversation classes and oral examinations.
The Raymond Lee
International Suite: The centre-piece
and ‘hub’ of the Department, this Suite provides a perfect venue for language
conferences, films, lectures from visiting speakers and competitions. It is
equipped with the latest Skype technology, blu-ray cinema system, projector and
Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in
the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of
London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are
dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates 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 Grocer’s Company divided
the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants
of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In
2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of
Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th
century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by
its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation
as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still
renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science
complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now
embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well
as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the
Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the
development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering
and philosophically, enabling pupils to
move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the
achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will
upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including
a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015.
There are currently 1110 pupils
on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the
Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children
aged 4 to 11.