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We formed a partnership with Swire Chinese Language Foundation in 2016 to promote the learning of Mandarin Chinese at Belvedere and it has become a key subject in our Academy. The Swire Group has been in business for over two centuries, and for more than half that time has supported education around the world, we are grateful for their ongoing support in our Academy.
Introduction of Chinese
Mandarin has now featured on the Belvedere Academy’s curriculum for four years. Students are highly enthusiastic about learning Mandarin and value this opportunity. Year 8 and Year 9 cohorts are enjoying this subject so much that they are increasingly opting to study Chinese as their MFL GCSE choice. The subject is now fully embedded in our curriculum and in the near future we hope to ensure that Chinese is studied at A-Level and beyond.
Our Students and Classes
In Year 7, all students have 1 Chinese lesson a week and this continues into Year 8. At the end of Year 8, students can opt to continue studying Chinese to GCSE level. Our class sizes on average for lower school are thirty students per class and at GCSE around the mid twenties.
We are a SWIRE Chinese Language Centre; one of only twelve in the country. This means that we not only offer Mandarin as an option at Belvedere, but have also established partnerships with many secondary and primary schools in Liverpool and on the Wirral. It is our vision to maximise the number of students having the opportunity to learn this language. We currently work in King's Leadership Academy, St Austin’s Primary School, Sudley Primary School, the Birkenhead Highschool Academy’s Junior and Senior School, Belvedere Preparatory School and Liverpool College. This is an immensely rewarding partnership that we hope to develop further in the coming year.
Technology and Investment
In addition to imaginative and creative lessons, our students develop their digital literacy through the use of Chromebooks and Google Classroom in each lesson. The Chromebooks allow students to have more ownership and autonomy over their learning and they develop proficient digital skills. This is not only contributing to outstanding learning, but it enables our staff to deliver outstanding lessons and opportunities across the Academy. As well as teaching up to date and engaging language lessons, our teachers include fun facts about China’s history, economy and society in every lesson.
Trips, Events, Competitions and Activities
We love to engage the whole Academy in the learning of Chinese Mandarin and each year host a huge variety of activities. A highlight was in October 2019, when we took twenty students and four members of staff on a life changing trip to Beijing. We hold an annual Year 8 China Day which includes activities such as paper cutting and Kung fu, and run workshops throughout the year teaching students how to make mooncakes, spring rolls and dumplings. Every year, we organise a Chinese lunch, where all students and staff eat Chinese food with chopsticks. We travel locally to partner schools and partake in events to celebrate Chinese New Year, both in the Academy and at city wide gatherings. Our popular pen-pal scheme with students living in China is very successful, as are the multiple extra-curricular clubs that run on a weekly basis throughout the academic year.
We have two full time members of staff at the Belvedere Academy and are looking to appoint another to commence their post in January 2021. Collectively, we will further develop the teaching and learning of Mandarin at the Academy, as well as extend the provision that we can offer at our existing and new partnership schools.
Why learn Chinese
We believe the value of speaking a foreign language is undeniable and enables connection between people and across cultures. In the context of today’s world this is increasingly important. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken language in the world and therefore sets our students apart and gives them huge advantages for their futures.