October 2010

The know zone

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  • Recipe for success
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  • Personnel shopper
    After working in transport, retail and local government, Tracy Nash is now personnel manager at Horbury School in Wakefield and a training consultant for ASCL. A food and wine enthusiast, she and her friends recently staged their own version of the TV show Come Dine with Me. More
  • The great call of China
    The British Council is inviting students to enter a Mandarin speaking competition and schools to apply for funding to develop partnerships between China and the UK. More
  • Lost in translation?
    The government is reviewing the teaching of languages in schools following a continued decline in the numbers taking modern foreign languages at GCSE. So what should be the future for languages in schools? More
  • Friends, romans, citizens... lend me your presentation techniques
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  • Filing down bureaucracy
    Proposals to reduce bureaucracy were at the centre of debate at ASCL’s September Council meeting, as was ensuring fairness for all in the education system as the academies programme begins to gather steam. More
  • To 'B' or not to 'B'?
    While the Secretary of State’s announcement of an English Baccalaureate could have signalled a move towards a broader, freer curriculum, the current proposal is a performance measure rather than a new qualification, says Brian Lightman. More
  • Band on the Run
    Leaders of schools and colleges have a lot in common with leaders of rock and roll bands, says Ziggy Flop, just not the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. More
  • Lead vocals
    Quotes from John Fogerty, Robert Yates, Teddy Roosevelt and Rosalyn Carter. More
  • Engaging with all students
    Many teachers have taught year 11 pupils who fail to engage in learning or are consistently disruptive in class. More
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The British Council is inviting students to enter a Mandarin speaking competition and schools to apply for funding to develop partnerships between China and the UK.

The great call of China

Each issue of Leader will spotlight an organisation offering resources, research or new initiatives to support schools and colleges.

Reflecting China’s growing global influence, The British Council is offering a host of opportunities for schools and colleges to develop Mandarin teaching, including the chance to recruit Chinese language assistants and opportunities to develop institutional and district-wide links with China.

Support and funding of up to £5,000 is available to schools and colleges to develop innovative curriculum projects run collaboratively with a partner school in China. The grant could be used towards the costs of student and teacher travel to China, materials, specialist input and other eligible costs.

In addition there are grants of up to £1,000 to enable teachers and leaders to visit colleagues in China in order to establish or expand curriculum links. See www.britishcouncil.org/schoolpartnerships-china.htm for details.

For students in years 7-13 who have had some exposure to Mandarin, there is the opportunity to win a week-long cultural visit to China, by taking part in a Mandarin speaking competition.

Entry to the competition, funded by the HSBC Global Education Programme and organised by the British Council, is via a dedicated website at www.britishcouncil.org/schoolpartnerships-chinesespeaking-competition.htm . It is open throughout October.

Individual and group entries are invited. The former give a short presentation in Mandarin on a prepared topic from the National Curriculum, translate three sentences from English into Mandarin Chinese and answer three questions on China and Chinese culture. Groups give a performance in Mandarin Chinese lasting up to five minutes. Students should be from a range of year groups and all students should be equally involved in the performance.

Entrants from schools that have not participated before are especially welcome – the most recent winning ‘beginner’ was the only entrant from a school that had been teaching Mandarin for less than a year. Since the competition started in 2003, entry numbers have quadrupled from 13 to 57 schools in 2009-10.

Regional heats will be held in mid-December and the final held at the British Museum on 10 March. The winners in each of the individual and group categories will win a week-long cultural visit to China in April 2011 with the chance to practise their Mandarin in Beijing.

A global dimension

The British Council offers a range of international partnership and joint curriculum projects and CPD opportunities with any country in Europe and the rest of the world, including China. It also runs the International School Award, which provides accreditation for international activity.

A current opportunity for schools wishing to broaden students’ horizons with peers in East Asia, India, Sri Lanka or Latin America is the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme (deadline 29 October). Full information is available at www.britishcouncil.org/connectingclassrooms

A list of the international resources and opportunities can be found at www.britishcouncil.org/learningschool-partnershipsprogramme-grid-oct2010.pdf

Local authorities, regions or school clusters looking for a partner region can also email general.enquiries@britishcouncil.org or call 0161 957 7755 for more information.