In February 2015 we were proud to officially open our very first Confucius Classroom. Harrogate Grammar School is the home of our school-based Chinese hub. In practice, this means that we support the school in their exploration of everything Chinese. From cultural events to in-class teaching, we are excited to be working with the school on a diverse range of learning and experiential opportunities.
Harrogate Grammar School was one of the first Teaching Schools in the UK, and is a lead members in the Red Kite Teaching School Alliance, a partnership of schools that share skills, experience and talent to help improve learning and achievement in schools across Yorkshire. With a prestigious Modern Foreign Languages Faculty, Harrogate Grammar is proud of the opportunities it offers to students to immerse themselves in other cultures. As a school new to the process of teaching Mandarin Chinese, our involvement gives the school greater confidence . We are delighted that Mandarin is now available as a subject to all pupils in year 8 and above. Those who choose to pursue their Chinese studies as they progress through the school have the opportunity to participate in exchange programmes with partner schools in Hangzhou, eastern China.
We are also able to use Harrogate Grammar School’s excellent facilities as a community hub, bringing events such as Chinese dancing and specialist cooking sessions to residents throughout Harrogate, and beyond.
Gaining Confucius Classroom status has been a real boost, not just to the Modern Foreign Language faculty, but to the whole school in general, as we seek to offer our pupils the best opportunities and encourage them to aspire to compete on a global level. We recognise that a knowledge and understanding of Chinese language and culture could be a major advantage in the future lives of our young people so we now give all pupils the opportunity to study it as an extra language if they wish to do so. The partnership not only brings us teaching expertise, but also gives us support in running cultural activities and events that raise awareness in Chinese culture and broadens our pupils’ outlooks. In February 2015 we celebrated Chinese New Year properly for the first time as a school and in July the Confucius Institute is set to support us in running a Chinese-themed Super Learning Day, with activities ranging from paper-cutting and calligraphy to Kung Fu and Chinese Drumming. Perhaps the most exciting of all is that we also give our pupils the chance to visit China, by taking part in a biennial exchange programme. Further opportunities keep arising and the future of Chinese at Harrogate Grammar School is very exciting.
Adrian Stipetic, Modern Foreign Languages faculty leader, Harrogate Grammar School
Read more on the Harrogate Grammar School website.