30 THE RIVER MAGAZINE | Autumn 2018 Harris takes up the I n 2005 just 8% of secondary schools were offering the subject and, by last autumn, that number was only at 13%. At the Croydon academy though, the subject is flourishing with students taking courses leading to both the GCSE and more advanced levels. The school, which is based on two campuses – the South at Cumberlow Avenue and the Upper at Spurgeons Road – is part of the Harris Federation, the most successful academies trust in England. The Federation believes in as much access to the language as possible for all age groups from 4 to 18 in its schools and aims to develop provision at both primary and secondary level. Harris South Norwood is one of 15 Federation academies (primary and secondary) where the language is taught on the curriculum and this is expected to grow in the coming years. At Harris, Mandarin is taught to Years 7 to 12 and will be taught to all year groups (7 to 13) from September 2019. There are over 120 students studying the language in Year 7 from September and over 200 students studying the language overall. Students learn from the very basic to a very advanced level, taking both GCSE and Pre-U (A-Level) equivalent. Some students will also be moving on to study Mandarin at university, having studied the language for the full 7 years. Mandarin is taught for 2 lessons per week in Year 7 plus another language for 2 lessons, choosing a single language at the end of Year 7. At this point, they will study for 4 lessons per week and 6 lessons per week in the Sixth Form. A number of topics include food, school, foundation knowledge for studying Mandarin, the environment, relationships and social media. Three teachers are involved with the different year groups, while the school also regularly trains teachers – some 8 teachers in the past 3 years. Harris South Norwood is also one of the leading schools behind the SWIRE Chinese Language Centre London – backed by the Swire Chinese Language Foundation – which is a teacher-sharing scheme. James Stagg, the Federation’s Mandarin Consultant, says: “We want to expand high quality provision and education in the language and culture of China to as many students as Few state schools in England have Chinese Mandarin on the curriculum. But Harris Academy South Norwood does – which makes it a very rare school indeed. by norman hayden Challenge MANDARIN E D U C A T I O N S P E C I A L