Since being selected to participate in the Department for Education’s nation Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) earlier this year, students at Saint Gregory’s have been busy honing their language skills in a bid to promote the importance of an international education in the 21st Century.

Earlier this week students from Saint Gregory’s welcomed their MEP hub partners from Gumley House School and Didcot Girls’ School as they toured the city of Bath, sampling Chinese shopping and culture. Almost 100 students from across the three schools took part in the event, organised by staff and students at Saint Gregory’s.

Students took part in a range of activities including a Chinese themed treasure hunt and walking trail of the city, a shopping adventure in Hondo Chinese Supermarket as well as a special workshop led by staff at the Museum of East Asian Art and completed with an authentic Chinese lunch at Tasty Restaurant. In every venue, students were required to use their newly acquired language skills in Mandarin to converse with staff, helping to improve their knowledge and proficiency in Chinese.

Head of Mandarin at Saint Gregory’s, Dr Theresa Munford, said: It was a pleasure to welcome our MEP colleagues from partner schools and show them the delights of our city whilst demonstrating the array of cultural opportunities right on our door-step. We are very lucky to have such a wealth of resources to pull from in Bath and thank everyone involved for their support in hosting such a successful day.”

Now in its second year, the intensive language programme is being delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council and, nationally, will see at least 5,000 school pupils in England on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020. Saint Gregory’s is one of only 37 state schools across the country to be selected to join the programme. Saint Gregory’s was selected for the MEP as a result of its long-standing commitment to the teaching of Mandarin.