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Ellen Wilkinson
Primary School

MFL - Mandarin

MFL - Modern Foreign Languages 

At EWPS, Mandarin is taught as our modern foreign language and due to the quality and commitment in this area we are one of only a few primary schools that have been awarded Confucius Classroom status.


Our Vision:

At EWPS we aim to develop a love of language learning that prepares pupils well for school and for life. We want to equip our pupils with skills that open doors to new opportunities and develop a curiosity about other cultures and an understanding of the wider world.  We want them to be truly global citizens. 


How we teach MFL - Mandarin:

Our Modern Foreign Languages curriculum has been designed to progressively develop skills and is taught by a specialist Mandarin teacher who stays with us for two years to deliver our Mandarin lessons. This is in partnership with the Confucius Institute with London South Bank University.

Year 1 to 6 have weekly Mandarin lessons and Reception have weekly Mandarin singing and immersion experiences such as calligraphy.

In our early years, pupils are introduced to Mandarin through rhyme and song and this is continued and developed in Key Stage One with games and by learning simple greetings. 

In Key Stage Two the building blocks of the language- phonics, grammar and vocabulary- are taught through topics and themes. Pupils learn through games, practical activities, role play and song. Writing starts to get introduced in year 3 or 4 depending on the confidence level of the cohort.

Guppy 1 worked with Miss Huang on Chinese Calligraphy during Chinese New Year.

How we ensure access for all:

We have over 40 different home languages spoken within the school and therefore one of the reasons Mandarin was chosen was because it is a new language to our children and so generally they are all starting at the same point.

We use lots of songs, pictures and repetition to help support children’s language acquisition. Having a rich cultural experience puts learning into context helping children retain their knowledge.

Children with hearing difficulties are supported by sounds being broken down into smaller parts and being positioned in the classroom so that they can see how the mouth is forming sounds.

Children who may have other barriers to learning are supported through greater use of visual cues, more opportunity for rehearsal and audio files.


How we develop cultural capital:

We ensure that Mandarin lessons have a strong immersion element. This includes learning about cities, culture, wildlife and calligraphy.

Through our partnership with the Confucius Institute we are able to access additional cultural experiences through the roadshows which incorporate singing, music recitals and martial arts. Unfortunately due to the pandemic this has been temporarily suspended but is due to resume shortly.

Therefore this is currently being replaced by recitals by our Mandarin teacher and martial arts training by one of our qualified staff. We also use recordings of previous events.

Children in year 5 have a week-long Chinese immersion experience which includes Zoom calls with children in schools in China. We are currently looking to establish a pen pal link with a Chinese school for year 6 and hope to have this in place for September 2022.


How we know your child is succeeding:

Pupils become confident about learning a language because of careful listening, frequent practice and sustained effort. They are interested and excited to learn about different cultures and countries.

We assess our children’s progress each term through an oral test based on the learning from that period.

In addition children in upper KS2  are given the opportunity to sit the Youth Chinese Test (YCT) in November. This is an international standardised Chinese language test, which is directed at examining non-native primary and secondary school students' ability to apply Chinese language in their studies and daily lives.


How you can support your child:

Learning a new language gets easier the more you practice. Therefore we encourage parents to support their children in practising their Mandarin by using the links below.

Guppy 1 - Rehearsing Twinkle Twinkle in Mandarin

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Guppy 1 have been rehearsing nursery rhymes with our Mandarin teacher Miss Huang. They have been learning to sing Twinkle Twinkle little star with actions.