Mandarin Chinese

Why learn Mandarin Chinese?

Mandarin Chinese was introduced to Eltham College Senior School in 2010 and A level Chinese has been available to native Chinese pupils who wish to study it as an additional subject since 2015.

Exposure to the most widely spoken language in the world and to a language which is entirely different to all modern European languages will not only provide a bold challenge but also great rewards for pupils. The ability to understand and communicate in Mandarin Chinese is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this country and throughout the world.

Aims of the Department

The department aims to provide opportunities for pupils to appreciate different aspects of Chinese culture and to gain an understanding of how the Mandarin Chinese language is structured, manipulated and applied differently from pupils’ own language.

We also aim to help our pupils to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in Chinese through a variety of opportunities in their learning experience.


Due to the nature of the course, Mandarin Chinese A level is currently only offered to native Chinese Sixth Form students. There are four lessons per week and it is off time table.

The course followed is the Pearson Edexcel specification and students should continue from AS level through to A2 level.

At AS level pupils study a range of topics including:

  • Food, diet and health

  • Transport, travel and tourism

  • Education and employment

  • Leisure, youth interests and Chinese festivals

At the end the AS level pupils take two examinations: an oral unit and a 2.5 hour examination paper including listening, reading and writing.

At A2 level, in addition to the topics above, students are introduced to environmental issues such as energy, pollution and environmental campaigns.

At the end of A2 Level, pupils take one examination which includes four sections: Reading, Translation, Essay writing and Research-based Essay. The Research-based Essay has four specific areas: modern history, geography of China, society and film and books and there are 14 topics under these areas. Pupils should undertake research that focuses on one of the topics identified for these four areas.

Enrichment and trips

We offer weekly Chinese lessons at lunchtime, open to pupils in Year 11 and above. We use a communicative approach and place emphasis on learning communication skills so that it helps pupils to improve their fluency and accuracy in realistic language situations.

The Chinese department organises study trip to London, also open to pupils in Year 11 and above, the most recent being a trip to visit British Museum’s China exhibition and Chinatown.

There is also a study trip to China every two years in October half term. The trip provides a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to use their Chinese language skills in many practical situations. By visiting many historical sites and interacting with Chinese students, it will increase pupils' motivation and interest in their language learning. It is certainly a beneficial experience for pupils who will be preparing for their A level Chinese speaking examination.


Mandarin Chinese is taught by: