We are pleased to announce the signing of the French and Mandarin Bespoke Language Programme, which is a collaborative initiative involving Routes into Languages, Institut Francais and Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) UK Office. The signing ceremony, which took place at the French Embassy in London, was attended by Laurent Batut, Deputy Head of the Institut Francais in the UK, Yves Letournel, French Language Attaché, Institut Francais in the UK, Mr Tongdu Chen, Director of Hanban UK, Christina Zhang, Senior Manager, Marketing, Hanban UK, Professor Mike Kelly, Programme Director of Routes into Languages, Dr Neil Hughes, Co-Director of Routes into Languages (East Midlands), University of Nottingham.
The French and Mandarin Bespoke Language programme is based on a model developed at Nottingham Trent University and is aimed at students taking French AS and A level at schools located in economically and socially disadvantaged areas. The initiative grew out of the recognition by all of the partners involved that sustainable relationships with schools must be developed if the goal of widening participation in languages is to be achieved. The Routes into Languages, Institut Francais and Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) UK Office are committed to improving students' French language skills, increasing their knowledge and understanding of French society and culture and introducing them to Chinese language and culture via an exciting programme of activities taking place at different times in the school year. Activities will include French master classes and Chinese taster classes delivered by native speakers as well as trips to Institut Francais and Confucius Institutes in London. There will also be visits to local university campuses to raise students' awareness of the importance of learning modern foreign languages within an increasingly globalised economy and the opportunities universities provide for students to continue with language studies after A levels.
A pilot project will be taking place in the East Midlands beginning in February with 3 schools already committed to taking part: The Joseph Whitaker School, Ashfield School and Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy. If you would like more information about the Bespoke Programme or would like your school to take part in the East Midlands pilot, please contact: Mirella.Santamaria@ntu.ac.uk