Home Senior School Welcome Curriculum Subjects Mandarin


千里之行,始于足下 (qiān lǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zú xià) –

A thousand mile journey is started by taking the first step (Laozi, Chinese philosopher, approx. 571-531BC)

Students can choose to study Mandarin from Year 8

We believe that the study of the Chinese language opens the way to different important fields such as Chinese literature, history, art, politics and economy. But to study Chinese is to study the culture, the people and understand what is at the heart of this ancient civilization. What makes it so unique and powerful, and continues to surprise the world today.

Years 8-9 (Key Stage 3)

Students enter the world of this ancient yet modern language by getting to grips with the linguistic peculiarities of the language that make it so exciting to learn. These include the structure of Chinese characters, the phonetic alphabet pīn yīn, and the four tones of Mandarin. Building on from these understandings, pupils will gradually develop the four key skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. These skills are introduced through the topics of:

  • Introducing Selves and Others
  • Food and Drink
  • Free time and Hobbies
  • School
  • Holidays

We use ‘Jìn bù 1 & Jìn bù 2’ to support pupils in class and at home.

Years 10-11 (GCSE)

Examination Board: AQA

The GCSE course is designed to encourage learners to develop their ability and ambition to communicate with native speakers in speech and writing. The study of Mandarin should also broaden their horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world.

At GCSE pupils build upon all Key Stage 3 topics and are introduced to new ones. The topics are:

  • Identity and Culture (family & friends/technology/free-time activities/Chinese Customs and Festivals)
  • Local, National, International and Global areas of Interests (home, town, neighbourhood and region, social issues, global issues, travel and tourism)
  • Current and Future study and Employment (my studies/life at school/education post-16/jobs, career choices and ambitions)

Pupils will be assessed on all four skills externally at the end of Year 11.

We use ‘AQA GCSE Chinese Textbook 1&2 and Workbook 1&2 to support pupils in class and at home; the workbook is also accompanied by an on-line learning support)

Sixth Form (A Level)

Click here for the sixth form section.

Other information

Being a native speaker and growing up in China herself, our Mandarin teacher offers lunch time clinics as well as after school twilight sessions that provides more targeted support and focused practice.

An important part of learning a language is being exposed to the culture and people of the country. At Westholme we endeavour to give pupils the opportunity to improve their language skills and experience in Chinese culture, below is a sample of activities available:

  • Pen-pal link to a prestigious Chinese Secondary school in Hang Zhou
  • Using Chinese social media – WeChat to enhance the learning experience
  • Y7 Chinese culture club – to be launched in Sept 2017.
  • Week-long Chinese New Year Celebrations, including Chinese cooking class, Chinese crafts club and a lavish banquet in a Chinese restaurant
  • Participation in the National Chinese Speaking Competition organised by the British Council and sponsored by HSBC, with a trip to China for the winning pupils.
  • Launch of the much-anticipated bi-annual China Trip. In 2016/17 academic year, we spent an amazing week in Beijing and Shanghai.