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Languages: Qualifications

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL714, tabled on 30 June 2014

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students take GCSEs and A-levels in Mandarin Chinese; and whether they plan to increase that number.

Answered on

9 July 2014

It is not possible to identify pupils entered for Mandarin Chinese from the Department's data. However, the Department does hold information on the number of pupils entered for GCSEs and A levels in Chinese which includes Mandarin Chinese and other Chinese subjects.

In 2012/13, 2,346 pupils were entered for GCSE Chinese and 2,665 pupils were entered for A level Chinese. This information is published in the GCSE[1] and A level[2] statistical first releases.

My Rt hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has pledged to increase the number of people learning Mandarin Chinese in the UK. Offering more young people the chance to learn Mandarin will help in our efforts to encourage mobility between the UK and China, and help ensure the long-term success of our economy and society.

A number of organisations are carrying out activities with schools in support of these aims. The British Council is working with Hanban, the Office of Chinese Language Council International, to increase demand for Mandarin teaching in schools in the UK and to address supply, for example by increasing the provision of Chinese Language Assistants. The Institute of Education Confucius Institute is working with HSBC to promote more teaching of Mandarin in primary schools. The Department is taking a close interest in this work and providing encouragement and support at a high level.

[1] (Subject time series table)

[2] (Table 2)