Concern over government’s £10m Mandarin investment

The government has set itself a target of having 5,000 more students learning Mandarin by 2020.

During his recent five-day visit to China, chancellor George Osborne revealed that £10 million is to be invested to increase the “quality and quantity” of Mandarin teaching.

However, questions have already been asked about where the new teachers required to hit this target are to be found and trained.

Currently about two per cent of state primaries and five per cent of state secondaries offer the opportunity to learn Mandarin. This resulted in around 1,000 children taking GCSE Mandarin last year – a notable rise on previous years.

However, the latest UCAS recruitment figures show that just 60 Mandarin teachers entered initial teacher training in 2015/16 in England. The National Union of Teachers (NUT), meanwhile, says that schools are already struggling to recruit language teachers.

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