Harrogate Grammar School Chinese New Year Extravaganza

Harrogate Grammar School, a Business Confucius Institute Confucius Classroom, celebrated Chinese New Year with an event for students and parents on 6 February 2020.

Year 8 Mandarin students and their parents were treated to jaw-dropping cultural performances before tucking into delicious Chinese food put on by the school’s own award-winning catering team. Other attendees included representatives from the Business Confucius Institute (BCI) and students from local school Rossett Academy who are learning Mandarin with BCI teachers.

Headteacher Neil Renton welcomed guests and thanked the BCI for its continued support. After BCI Marketing Executive Frances Noble spoke about some of the many benefits of learning Mandarin, Adrian Stipetic (Head of Modern Foreign Languages) paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of the students learning Chinese, particularly as classes take place at lunchtimes and after school.

Performing at this celebration for the third year running, the troupe from Manchester based Jinlong Culture and Performing Arts Ltd once again had the audience transfixed with their amazing skill, agility and showmanship.

Their performances included traditional Chinese music (erhu and opera), a lion dance, juggling, acrobatics, contortion and much more. When audience members were invited to have a go at the hat juggling and diaobolo it was clear just how skilled the professionals are in comparison – but some students demonstrated a lot of promise!

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate students’ achievements. Mandarin teacher Richard Barnard presented students with their YCT (Youth Chinese Test) certificates. This year ten have passed the level 1 exam and 13 passed level 2. YCT exams provide useful progression for students, allowing them to gain test experience and recognition of their progress as they move through the levels.

Winner of the Mandarin Spelling Bee Robin Wilkins was presented with the trophy and also recognised for his achievement in winning North of England Mandarin Reading Competition.

Reflecting on the past year, Adrian Stipetic said:

Mandarin at Harrogate Grammar School continues to go from strength to strength with events such as the China Big Picture Day and Chinese New Year Celebration now fixtures in the school calendar. This is the first year that non-native Chinese speakers at Harrogate Grammar School will be sitting GCSE Mandarin, with five dedicated learners preparing for the exam this summer (one student is even going for A-level too).

We continue to be delighted with the growing profile of Chinese here, and thank the BCI for their ongoing support. I’m confident that the Year of the Rat will bring more exciting developments and that our students will continue to do us proud!

Photos from the event coming soon.