The British Council offers a huge range of support. In particular, when I was a Headteacher, my students, staff, parents and I gained so much from its Chinese Language Assistants. They were so carefully chosen and supported and communications were excellent.

When I was Head of the Royal School in Bath, we introduced the teaching and learning of Chinese from the Nursery upwards in the late 1980s, with the British Council arranging for the first time for a Chinese Language Assistant. I moved to Edinburgh to become Headteacher of St George’s School in 1994, where we again introduced the teaching and learning of Mandarin and about China. Again the Chinese Language Assistants arranged by the British Council were essential. In 2006 I founded the Scotland China Education Network, and worked with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the General Teaching for Scotland and Moray House School of Education to encourage the introduction of qualifications at all levels in Mandarin, tailored for native and non-native learners. Registered Teachers of Mandarin taught examination classes, but the support of Chinese Language Assistants remained of great importance.

We need the British Council for educational support, for so many other areas.

Judith McClure CBE, Ambassador for Chinese in Scotland’s Schools, Confucius Institute for Scotland

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