The Birmingham primary school winning national awards for its Chinese language test results

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The Birmingham school has been recognised as an Outstanding Test Centre by the Chinese Proficiency Test UK Committee

A Hall Green school has been presented with a prestigious national award in recognition of its outstanding achievements in teaching Mandarin.

Robin Hood Academy has been recognised as an Outstanding Test Centre by the Chinese Proficiency Test UK Committee.

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The award was presented at a special event in London which celebrated the language and recognised education providers across the UK which supported a significant number of students to pass the UK Chinese Proficiency Test in 2023.

Robin Hood Academy saw 180 children across Years 5 and 6 sit the test, with Year 5 asked to demonstrate they have learnt 80 Mandarin words and Year 6 asked to demonstrate they have learnt 150 words.

Year 5 pupils who passed received a Level 1 qualification, while those successful in Year 6 received a Level 2 qualification, equivalent to two thirds of a GCSE qualification. All those who sat the test also received a certificate from China in recognition of their years of dedicated language learning.

The children are taught by Simone Haughey, Confucius Classroom Manager at Robin Hood Academy, who originally taught French at the school before being asked to learn Mandarin and deliver lessons in the subject 15 years ago.

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The school also receives grant funding for an assistant from China who supports the delivery of the subject.

The Robin Hood AcademyThe Robin Hood Academy
The Robin Hood Academy | The Robin Hood Academy

The enriching lessons not only involve learning how to speak and write in Mandarin in the classroom, but incorporate music, games, outdoor activities and school trips.

Robin Hood Academy has also formed a Chinese choir which regularly joins together to perform popular modern-day songs in Chinese, and has developed links with a number of secondary schools in the area which teach the subject.

Simone’s passion for the subject has seen her speak at the Institute of Education Annual Chinese Teaching Conference and also work with the BBC to compose four songs in Mandarin for its Super Movers programme, which helps children across the UK get physically active using videos linked to the curriculum.

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Simone said: “We are delighted to be presented with this award in recognition of our efforts teaching Mandarin.

“There are not many primary schools across the UK which teach the subject, and although teaching languages is part of the curriculum, it is also a rarity to have a dedicated languages teacher within a primary school.

“At Robin Hood Academy we are passionate about championing diversity and developing the whole child by teaching pupils about different cultures in fun and engaging ways.

“Children begin learning Mandarin right from Reception, and really enjoy developing their knowledge of the language. It is also excellent that we are lucky enough to have a Chinese assistant to support with the teaching.

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