Ni Hao!

Language Learning

In September 2014 Little Bowden Primary decided to introduce Mandarin on the full-time curriculum and to make it compulsory for all our children from Foundation upwards to learn the language. In recognition of our efforts for promoting Chinese culture and inculcating a love of Mandarin, Little Bowden Primary was awarded Confucius Classroom status in 2017. The official opening was attended by Mr Lee from the Chinese Embassy as well as Professor Andy Collop, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of DeMontfort University. Our aim ever since then has been to expand the children’s horizons and to secure GCSE Mandarin for our pupils at their chosen secondary schools.



All of our Mandarin lessons are taught by a specialist native speaker or teacher from The Confucius Institute, DeMontfort University, Leicester and vary in length according to the children’s ages. In Reception, Years 1-2 the children receive a fun 20 minute lesson once a week, mainly consisting of songs, dancing learning simple phrases or playing games relating to the vocabulary.

Years 3-5: The children receive a 30-40 minute lesson once a week which builds on existing vocabulary and is designed to prepare them for the international Mandarin qualification that they will sit in Year 5 and or Year 6. Currently, a fifth of our children sit optional Youth China Tests (YCT1 and 2) in school every year and we are proud to say that we enjoy a 90% pass rate on average. The year 6 children have two 30 minute lessons a week to bring them in line with the national average.



Alongside the language lessons, all year groups are encouraged to participate in cultural activities throughout the year such as martial arts, calligraphy, cookery, reciting poetry, Chinese painting and fan dancing. The children also learn about key Chinese festivals and to embrace the cultural differences that makes China so unique. When the children leave in Year 6, the feedback that we get from parents of former pupils is that the children (boys and girls) enjoy the uniqueness of Mandarin and want to continue with their studies at secondary school. Their curiosity for language learning means that they are more likely to take foreign language options because they have a deeper understanding of other cultures; they are also eager to travel and explore the wider world. At Little Bowden we feel confident that we are fulfilling our obligations at primary level by changing the children’s mindset and that they have developed an international outlook, which will help them in the future.


Youth China Test (YCT) - Yrs 5 and 6 only

YCT recommendations from our Mandarin teachers



Chinese characters

Chinese Characters