The Coopers' Company and Coborn School


Modern Foreign Languages are core subjects at Coopers’ which means that every pupil studies at least one foreign language up to GCSE.  In Year 7 two forms study each language. In Year 8 all pupils start a second foreign language with which they continue to the end of Year 9.  There are various permutations of first and second language combinations. Pupils may choose their first or second language for GCSE or may continue with both languages.

Mandarin was introduced as part of the languages curriculum in September 2013 due to its rising status as a global language and increasing importance in the jobs market. It is now taught at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. The department offers pupils an exciting opportunity to learn an entirely different language that is becoming increasingly prominent in the business world. From the first lesson, pupils are taught the spoken or phonetic form of the language (pinyin), and written Chinese characters. This allows them to fully appreciate the tonal quality of the language, and embark upon mastering the Chinese script. Student voice has shown that pupils find learning Mandarin highly relevant and enjoyable, and often not as difficult as they imagined!

What goes on in the classroom is only a small part of the experience of learning a language, and for the first time in July 2015 the Mandarin department organised a trip to Beijing, China for year 8 pupils. The students involved were given the opportunity to practise their language skills, as well as an insight in to China’s rich and diverse culture.

At Key Stage 3, pupils follow the Jin bu series of textbooks (Jin bu 1 and Jin bu 2), covering basic topics such as family, hobbies, food and drink, school life and local environment. At Key Stage 4, the Edexcel Chinese for GCSE textbook is used, allowing pupils to approach more difficult topics such as the world of work, lifestyle and the media. This year, Mandarin has proved a popular choice as a GCSE option in year 10, a trend that is set to continue over the coming years.