Hanban is a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry for Education. The status is awarded by Hanban to schools outside of China that excel in Chinese teaching and learning.
Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters is committed to providing Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services worldwide, meeting the demands of foreign Chinese learners and contributing to the development of multiculturalism. IOE (Institute of Education) ‘Confucius Classrooms’ are mainstream schools across England that both have Chinese firmly embedded in their own curriculum and can give advice, support and taster classes to other schools in their region that are looking to start offering Chinese.
There are currently 37 IOE ‘Confucius Classrooms’ in a variety of different English schools (both state-maintained and independent) which teach pupils of all ages, from infant through to sixth form.
Oundle has offered Mandarin teaching since 1995, one of the first of very few schools to do so. It started as an extra-curricular option and has developed into a popular timetabled option to GCSE and Pre-U level. This year, 20 pupils took GCSE Chinese, with 16 gaining an A* grade and 4 an A grade. At Pre U level, four pupils gained an A grade and one pupil gained a B grade.
Head of Chinese, Hua Yan, commented: “We are keen to share the expertise that we have developed over the last 20 years and this will be one of our main requirements in our new role. There are very few schools in the East Anglia region that offer any Chinese, none as far as we know in Northamptonshire, so we would like to play a part in helping this to change.”
The approval process involved submission of an application to Hanban via the IOE Confucius Institute in London. This came about after the visit of Mr Shen Yang, Minister Counsellor for Education of the Chinese Embassy, to Oundle School in March 2014, when he remarked that the School was a “hidden treasure”, and recommended that the School should apply to be recognised as a ‘Confucius Classroom’.
Hua already has experience of running a ‘Confucius Classroom’ at his previous school in Darlington.
Head of Modern Languages, Sara Davidson, commented: “We are delighted to have been recognised by Hanban as a school able to do the title of ‘Confucius Classroom’ justice. We are keen to share the expertise that we have developed over the last 20 years and this will be one of our main requirements in our new role. Working in such state-of-the-art surroundings is a source of inspiration and dynamism for both the teaching staff and our pupils. Internationalism is important to Oundle; today’s pupils will be competing for jobs in a highly competitive and global world. Our aim is not only to be at the cutting edge of teaching and learning, but ultimately to enable Oundelians to learn and appreciate any language of their choosing.”
Oundle will benefit from visits from experienced Chinese teachers from China each year, and free teaching resources in exchange for promoting Chinese teaching in the region – giving advice, support and taster classes to other schools in East Anglia that are looking to start offering Chinese.