10 students from 8C accompanied Jody Gee ( Headteacher) and Cate Peeters ( Head of Languages) to a prestigious event in Durban Court in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted by Nick Gibb, Minister for Education, UCL and the British Council. Students were addressed by the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening, her Chinese counterpart and Minister Chen Baosheng and Rt Hon Mark Field, Minister for Asia and the Pacific.
Mr Field spoke of the importance of our students’ language skills for the future of international relations with China, stating that “everyone was a diplomat who spoke a foreign language”.
Minister Chen called our MEP students “trail blazers” and congratulated them on their recent hurdle tests. He encouraged them to continue with their language learning, despite the challenges it presents, so that this generation could “ build a common future” between our two nations.
Justine Greening expressed her delight at the success of the programme and how much the students have achieved in their first year. She told the students that their “words could change the world for the better.”
The students were set a number of challenges during the day, including writing Chinese characters from memory on decorative scrolls, a timed sentence building competition and a very tricky round of Chinese Whispers between schools with some hilarious outcomes.
Mrs Gee said, “This was a fantastic day which our students thoroughly enjoyed. It was important for them to see themselves as part of a wider, very unique, transformational programme and the high esteem in which it is held by our government and the Ministers in China who have pledged their on-going support for our work in schools developing students’ learning of Mandarin. Yan Morris from 8C added, “ It was very interesting to see what the other schools have achieved alongside us on the MEP programme.”