It is predicted that children born today will leave school to see China as the largest economy in the world. The recent state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping demonstrates the importance the UK government places on UK-China relations and the immense opportunities it offers in terms of jobs and investment.  Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to increase funding to give UK students the language skills needed to be part of that growth. To quote Mr Cameron: “I want Britain linked up to the world’s fast growing economies. And that includes our young people learning the languages to seal tomorrow’s business deals.”

CLSG has long recognised the importance of providing Chinese teaching to its students and is one of the early pioneers of the subject in the UK. Chinese is offered from students from Years 7 through to 13.

The aims of the Chinese Department are:

  • To develop linguistic skills which enable students to communicate confidently and effectively in Chinese
  • To instill in our students a passion and enthusiasm for Chinese and an appreciation of Chinese culture and society
  • To provide lessons which challenge the students, but at the same time are enjoyable and accessible to all
  • To inspire students to develop a life-long interest in China and the Chinese language that can open up opportunities for them in their life beyond school.


Now the world's second biggest economy, China has become a leading international player on the world stage. Chinese is the official language in China, a country with a population of around 1.3 billion. But Chinese is spoken and understood by millions more in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Chinese communities overseas, not to mention the increasing use of the language in international businesses.

Learning Chinese gives students an insight into a vastly different language, thinking and culture. For many students, it provides an opportunity to stretch themselves linguistically in a completely new way. Learning Chinese combines intellectual rigour and discipline with a strong artistic appreciation of the written script and requires keen listening skills to distinguish and replicate the differently pitched tones in spoken Chinese. Students receive a real sense of achievement when they are able to read and write characters and communicate in Chinese.


YEARS 7 - 9

Students can choose to study Chinese as one of their two language choices in Year 7 to 9. Students begin to read and write Chinese characters from the outset and have access to on-line language learning tools to supplement classroom teaching activities in school. By the end of the Year 9 students are able to communicate across a range of everyday topics in written and spoken Chinese, as well as having developed the skills needed to decipher Chinese written texts.

YEARS 10 and 11

Students can choose to continue with the language to GCSE level. The course focuses on all four skills areas (reading, writing, speaking and listening) across the GCSE topics of Media and Culture, Sport and Leisure, Travel and Tourism, Business, Work and Employment. By the end of the course students will have knowledge of around 600 Chinese characters.

YEARS 12 and 13

From 2015, the Chinese Department has offered students the opportunity to continue their studies into Years 12 and 13 with the introduction of Cambridge University Pre-U Mandarin Chinese. This challenging course is designed to develop advanced linguistic skills, as well as foster an awareness of Chinese culture and history. Pre-U is widely seen as providing a stepping stone for university courses, by encouraging students to develop independent learning skills as part of the syllabus.

Students study the following six topic areas, looking at how they are reflected in modern Chinese and British society:

  • Family
  • Young People
  • Education
  • The Media
  • The Environment
  • Work and Leisure
 In addition, students study Chinese history from 1936 to 1956 and the Chinese film “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress”, both of which are examined in English.


GCSE:   Edexcel

Pre-U: Cambridge International Examinations


  • Year 10 and 11 Trip to Beijing, October 2015
  • Year 10, 12 and 13 Chinese Kunqu Opera Performance, July 2015
  • Year 9 Visit to the British Museum and China Town, March 2015
  • Year 12 and Year 13 Annual Presentation on Asia for Sixth Form Students, December 2015
  • Year 12 Student China Conference, November 2015
Vsit to China Town in London
City of London Festival

Beijing Trip

"Learning Chinese opens up so many opportunities, both in the business world and culturally" Alice

Head of Department

Ms E Garner